Canned Heat

There is a wide variety of canned heat available that will burn from 2-6 hours per can. They are frequently used for catering and can be purchased at wholesale warehouses (i.e. Sam's Club) or in the camping section of other stores. Use in a small Sterno stove, chafing dish, or fondue pot.

It is safe to use canned heat indoors. The cans are filled with forms of alcohol or a purplish gel (petroleum product) that is flammable but does not burn quickly. It puts out a visible flame and a good amount of heat. The heat and flame go straight up with little spread. They are safe, lightweight, store nicely, and great for reheating foods



This variety of canned heat is a 6 hour can. The flame is visible (however you can't see it in this picture) and goes straight up along with the heat. Use caution as flame may be difficult to see in some lighting.

Do not blow on flames to extinguish. Simply smother flame with lid.


Boiling Water

Canned heat will cook hot enough to boil water. Notice that the heat is in the center of the pan. Cover with a lid to help achieve higher temperatures and conserve fuel.


Cooking and Reheating Foods

Canned heat will make great scrambled eggs, reheat canned foods, or fry meats and vegetables.

Stir food frequently to prevent scorching in the center due to the heat concentrating in the center of the pan. Use a lid to increase fuel efficiency and decrease cooking time.


Increasing Cooking Power

I have a large chafing dish which I place 3-5 cans of canned heat under depending on what temperature I want the food to cook at.  If I am boiling pasta, I need all 5 cans.  If I'm just simmering I might use 2-3. 


Storing Canned Heat

Canned heat is safe to store indoors. It stacks nicely and takes up very little space. Storage life is 10 years to indefinite depending on the manufacturer. Be sure to store upright, away from heat sources, and dispose of any dented or damaged cans.

This is a one year supply of canned heat for our family.  However, canned heat is only one of the options we have planned for.  Others include a sun oven, wood burning cookstove, charcoal, etc.