Can You Cook On A Kerosene Heater? Should You?

A kerosene heater is convenient to have around during emergencies. It can provide heat to large areas during freezing weather, but can you use its heat for cooking food? We did some research, and here's what we found out.

Yes, you can use portable kerosene heaters for cooking food. However, it is only possible on round convection-type heater models and not the radiant type.

With a convective type kerosene heater, you can boil water, warm food, fry, sauté, make broth, and even deep fry. The type of food you can cook depends on the Btu measurement of the heater.

Should you cook in a kerosene heater? Yes, you should, as most convective-type kerosene heaters have a frame on top that is specifically designed to accommodate cooking pots and pans.

Would you like to learn more about the types of kerosene heaters you can cook with? Read on below because we created a guide for you to learn more about kerosene heaters.

Can I Cook On Top Of A Kerosene Heater?

When stuck in an emergency situation where heating and cooking are not available, having a kerosene heater handy can save you from freezing and starving.

Kerosene heater

Kerosene heaters are very helpful in incidents such as power outages and calamities. It's also great for outdoor use when camping because it serves many purposes.

Does this purpose include cooking? It certainly does. You can cook all types of food on top of a kerosene heater. Just take a look at this video below.

If you haven't owned a kerosene heater before, another thing you are probably wondering about is whether a heater is suitable for cooking. Should you cook in a kerosene heater?

The answer is, yes! In fact, the convective-type heaters have casings that designed specifically to accommodate pots and pans on top so you can cook on them.

Kerosene Heater BTU

One thing you need to know when choosing a kerosene heater with cooking features is how much is the unit's heat emission. You will see this information indicated in the heater's product description. It will be noted through the British thermal unit (Btu) measurement.

For instance, this kerosene heater's product description indicates that it has a 23,000 Btu.

View this 1.9 gallon capacity kerosene heater with 23,000 Btu on Amazon.

Kerosene heaters emit different Btu ranges depending on the model. It can be anywhere from 9,000 up to 30,000 Btu.

If you want to be able to cook properly in large quantities, it is recommended to buy a heater with a Btu of 20,000 and higher. This is already very hot and you can cook food in large quantities for large groups of people.

The heat is enough to do the following:

  • boil water
  • sauté vegetables
  • cook meat
  • make broth
  • brew coffee or tea
  • deep fry

You can also cook food in heaters with lower Btu but cooking will be limited to warming food or frying small portions like eggs.

Types Of Kerosene Heaters

Types of kerosene heaters

There are two types of portable kerosene heaters, the convective type, and the radiant type.

A convective kerosene heater is designed to heat a large area of up to 1,000 square feet. Convective heaters warm up the air around them and are therefore not recommended for small spaces. It can be used indoors or outdoors.

Below is an example of a convective heater.

Check out this 10,500 Btu kerosene convection wick heater on Amazon.

A radiant kerosene heater is for smaller areas and can be placed indoors or outdoors. Radiant heaters direct the warmth on objects and surfaces.

Below is an example of a radiant heater.

View this 10,000 Btu radiant kerosene heater on Amazon.

Can you use both types for cooking? Unfourtunately, no. Only convective kerosene heaters are dual-purpose and can be used for cooking.

Let's look at the different types of convective kerosene heaters you can cook with.

Convective Kerosene Heaters

There are different types, models, and sizes of convective kerosene heaters you can buy depending on where you will use them. There are small, portable ones you can use for camping and bigger commercial types used in construction sites, factories, and other large spaces.

1. Portable Camping Kerosene Heaters

Camping heaters are small and light enough to be carried along on any outdoor adventure. It can double as a water heater, grill, stove, and food warmer.

With this type of heater, you can cook simple meals like eggs, beans, vegetables, or practically anything that doesn't require intense heat. It has a protective cover on top where you can place your kettle, pot, or pan.

You can place the unit safely in the middle of a large tent to warm you up or outdoors beside you during activities like fishing. It is available in the Btu range of about 9,000 to 10,000.

Check out this 9000 Btu camping kerosene heater on Amazon.

2. Commercial Kerosene Heaters

Commercial kerosene heaters are bigger at around 25 inches high and heavier at around 27 pounds. They can heat a room of up to 1000 square feet. It also has a bigger gallon capacity, which means it could heat up a space for hours without having to worry about refilling the fuel.

These bigger kerosene heaters usually have a Btu of around 23,000 up to 30,000, enough to do heavy cooking such as boiling, baking, and deep frying.

Check out this 23,500 Btu portable convection kerosene heater on Amazon.

Tips When Cooking In Kerosene Heaters

Retro oil stove in an old Japanese house

Kerosene heaters are not like stove tops or ovens that you can use any time you need them. If you're going to use it for heating as well as cooking, here are some tips to maximize its use:

  • Plan your meals. It's best to turn it on only when you really need to warm up your home. This is also the best time to cook your meals so you can kill two birds with one stone and save on fuel.
  • When baking, you can use aluminum foil to cover the pot to help lock in the heat and moisture.
  • Always clean kerosene heaters before and after use to prevent the heater from producing a smell while burning

Is It Cheaper To Heat With Electric Or Kerosene?

With the rise of heating costs all over the world, you might be wondering whether it's cheaper to heat with an electric or kerosene heater. According to sources, it is generally cheaper to use kerosene than electricity, but this all depends on your heating goals.

Kerosene is generally cheaper than electricity when comparing consumption per kWh, but before you make a decision on which heating course to use, you need to consider many factors.

What is the size of the area you want to heat up? Are you placing it outdoors or indoors? Is it just a supplemental heater or is it the main heater for the entire room?

When you factor in all these things, it doesn't matter which one is cheaper upfront, as you'll still need to choose which type will provide the most efficient heating according to your needs.

How Do You Keep Fumes Down On A Kerosene Heater?

Old kerosene warming stove

When cooking on kerosene, you might be worried whether the fumes it emits might affect your food while cooking. To prevent this, you can follow these suggestions:

  1. Use 1-K kerosene which is the pure form of kerosene
  2. Do not use old kerosene fuel when cooking because it can have a weird smell while burning
  3. Clean the heater after every use
  4. Keep the wick level only to about half an inch
  5. Always keep the wick clean and trimmed, and replace it when necessary
  6. Keep the burner in a stable position inside the heater
  7. Clean the fuel tank when it gets gunky
  8. If your heater has been in storage for a long time, take it outside first for the first 10 minutes after lighting to allow the dust and dirt to burn out outdoors

With proper maintenance and usage, a kerosene heater should not produce any smell or smoke.

Wrapping Up

Blue flame of a kerosene heater

Most convective-type kerosene heater models are built both for ambient heating and cooking. When purchasing a kerosene heater, always choose a model with cooking features so you can maximize its use and get the most value for money.

Thank you very much for reading and we hope you were able to cook properly on your kerosene heater. For more outdoor cooking tips, here are some great articles to read.

Best Pots For Cooking Over Campfire – Type And Size

Can A Blackstone Griddle Be Built Into An Outdoor Kitchen?

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