Baking cookies in a car

dashboard cookies
When it is hot outside – a very common occurance here in So. Cal in the summer – my car starts to feel like an oven if it is parked out in the sun. It never really occurred to me to try and capitalize on this heat, since my kitchen’s oven works so well and so reliably, but after hearing about a woman who regularly bakes big batches of chocolate chip cookies on the dash of her RAV4, I will admit that my curiosity was peaked.

Lately, I’ve been seeing even more news stories about bored reporters/locals/etc. who have been trying to replicate the experiment themselves with varying degress of success. Everyone starts with premade cookie dough (the kind sold in tubes) and uses some kind of baking sheet. The more successful bakers have oven thermometers in their cars, or at least keep an eye on the cookies without opening the door to let heat out. And even unsuccessful batches will leave a delicious smell in the car.

I’m still hoping to try and replicate the experiment myself, but I’m going to have to wait for it to get a little bit hotter outside. In the meantime, I’m formulating some dough theories that will (hopefully) help my car cookies turn out well when I do have a chance to bake them. If you want to try your hand at it before then, here are a few tips that I’ve compiled from the various articles I’ve read on the subject:

Rules for baking cookies in a car:

  • Park the car so that the dashboard gets full sun for an extended period.
  • Place something under the cookie sheet to prevent damage to your dash board.
  • Put an oven thermometer in the window so that you can monitor the temperature.
  • Check on the cookies periodically (they will definitely take longer than normal cookies) to prevent overcooking.
  • It must be at least 95F outside, preferably warmer.
  • Don’t plan on driving the car for a while.

Update: I tried this technique myself. Find out how it works step-by-step and what recipe I used!


  1. At last, a way to get some use out of my car while we’re saving up the money to get the transmission fixed!

  2. When I lived in Phoenix we used to cook stuff on the dash too. Something to do when it is 115F outside.

  3. I have never in my life heard of such a thing! How interesting. I don’t think it would ever get hot enough her for me to try it though.

  4. It doesn’t need to be a hot summer day to use the car for cooking. My husband grew up eating hotdogs that had been wrapped in foil and tucked onto the car engine as the family drove across Minnesota to go skiing. By the time they reached Trollhaugen, the dogs were steaming and dinner was served. In fact a whole cookbook has been written on cooking with your car engine: Manifold Destiny,by Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller.

  5. Yes, definitely interesting. I haven’t heard before that car can be a sort of cooking stuffs too. How nice. :D

  6. Ha Ha, great ideea. But my car smell not so good.

  7. This is a wonderful blog and a nice summary here

  8. Wow. This is a good idea. I both love cookies and at the same time cars. Now I know that baking cookies on a car is possible.

  9. I have a look at your article and learn from some useful information. This is my first time to be here and i really like to post a recommend here, thank you for this useful information.

  10. Today my pre-k “baked” chocolate chip cookies in the Yukon on the dashboard. I wanted parents and the children to understand that a car/truck/bus can become as hot as an oven. We learned so many things from baking today, and it was eye opening. I have to say we used an oven thermometer, tsp size dough on a metal cookie sheet and it took 3 hours in 100f heat direct sunlight. This is something that will remind my kiddos in Pre-k to never stay and play in a car.

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