The Hot Box

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the HOTBOX work?

The HOTBOX uses the principle of insulated cooking. If you can keep the heat that is used to cook food, no replacement heat is necessary to complete the cooking process.

What type of dishes can you make in the HOTBOX?

Absolutely any food or dish that you would simmer in its liquid once you have brought it to the boil. All beans, legumes, grains and pulses; all soups, stews and casseroles; custard and yoghurt; steamed veggies; basmati, white, brown and sushi rice; mieliepap, samp and even pasta.

What are all the different uses for the HOTBOX?

The HOTBOX has a wide variety of uses. It is used to cook foods, to transport and continue cooking your food, as a warming oven and also used next to the braai keeping meat and all braai foods piping hot, as a plate-warmer keeping plates perfectly hot in the dining room, the garden or on the beach, it is a cooler box which is ideal for keeping drinks ice cold and storing ice, an incubation chamber for the making of foods like yoghurt and breads, a foot cushion or ideal camera rest when doing wildlife photography from your vehicle. (Really!)

Do I need to heat the HOTBOX?

Keep the HOTBOX away from open flame or fire. The heat required to cook the food is generated conventionally with electricity, gas, fire or paraffin. The HOTBOX is never heated in any way.

How long do foods cook for in the HOTBOX?

The cooking time for different foods varies from 20min (whole rolled oats) to 12 hours (oxtail). Foods mostly cook for more or less the same length of time or just slightly longer.

What environmental impact would the regular use of the HOTBOX make?

If you used the HOTBOX only 5 times per week your household would save 119kg of CO2 per year. If 500 000 households did that it amounts to more than 60 000 tons of CO2 per year. At least 70-80% of cooking time is saved and therefore the use of valuable resources such as electricity, gas, wood, paraffin, money and time is drastically reduced.

Does it really cook my food?

Yes! It really cooks your food. To truly benefit from the HOTBOX a subtle shift in thinking is required but once you see the incredible benefits you could never look back. It cooks your food and keeps it piping hot. The more you incorporate it into your daily life, the more you will find you use it.

What if my food isn’t cooked?

A degree of experimentation is necessary to get exact cooking times for different meals. It is important to use pots with tight-fitting lids and check that you’re not opening the lid unnecessarily. Hard and dense foods that have to be soaked such as chickpeas may need to be re-boiled and placed back into the HOTBOX for the last few hours. Alternatively just boil food on the stove for a little longer before transferring to ensure that all the food is at boiling temperature and not just the water.

How long does food stay hot for?

Food stays hot for up to 8 hours and remains warm for a few more hours. After 8 hours, unopened, the temperature of the food in the HOTBOX is approximately 56 degrees Celsius.

What do I use it for when I’m braaing or on holiday?

Keep braai meat and veggies hot as it comes off the fire. Cook and keep meals hot whilst traveling or hiking. Ideal when traveling in confined spaces such as caravans or yachts because you can reduce the amount of cooking gas needed by up to 50% which frees up your space.

Is there any safety measures involved in the use of a HOTBOX?

The HOTBOX must never be heated or held close to open flame or fire due to the flammable nature of the polystyrene balls. For health reasons don’t put a partially-eaten pot of lukewarm food back into the HOTBOX without first heating it, since HOTBOXES are not only excellent cookers but also ideal incubation chambers for yoghurt and other bacteria-rich food.

Why is it a healthier way of cooking?

Once the food has been transferred to the HOTBOX, the heat drops quite rapidly from boiling point to approximately 88 deg Celsius. This heat is then maintained and very gradually drops by an average of 4-5 deg per hour. It is a known fact that high heat destroys the live enzymes in your food and therefore cooking at a lower temperature preserves nutrients. HOTBOX cooking can never over boil or burn your food and food definitely retains more juiciness and flavor.

What type of pot do I use in the HOTBOX?

The pots that you usually use at home. A nice tip is to line the bottom HOTBOX cushion with an old dish cloth to protect the base of the HOTBOX from dirty or stained pots.

How do I wash the HOTBOX?

Hand wash or machine wash on a gentle/delicate spin cycle with cold water. Wash at max 30deg Celsius. Dry thoroughly in the sun – shake during drying to move polystyrene balls and to dry equally.

Do not dry clean or iron. Machine washing is the sole responsibility of the consumer. Fabric has not been pre-washed.


Brown and White Rice:

  1. Put 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of cold water in a pot.
  2. Add salt to taste.
  3. Place lid on pot and bring to the boil.
  4. Simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from the heat and place in the HOTBOX for 30 minutes (white rice) or 45-60 minutes (brown rice), or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Rice remains perfect in the HOTBOX for hours as it does not dry out or overcook

Lamb or Beef Stew:

  1. Fry onions, garlic and spices in oil.
  2. Fry your cubes or knuckles of meat until brown.
  3. Add selection of chopped vegetables, tinned tomato and stock.
  4. Ensure that the food is covered by the liquid.
  5. Bring food to the boil and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Transfer to the HOTBOX – bigger and tougher pieces of meat require up to 12 hours of cooking in the HOTBOX.
  7. Return to stove and thicken your stew with Bisto or cornflour just before serving (optional)
  8. Serve directly from the HOTBOX with rice or pasta and a green salad.

Creamy Chicken & Corn Soup (a little time consuming but delicious)

  1. Place a whole chicken in a pot and fill with water, barely covering the chicken.
  2. Add celery sticks, whole garlic cloves, stock powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the water.
  3. Bring to the boil for a few minutes and transfer to the HOTBOX for approximately 2 hrs.
  4. In a separate pot melt approx 100-150 grams of butter until it sizzles.(the more butter you use the richer your soup will be)
  5. Add a variety of chopped veggies (such as cabbage, carrots, broccoli, leeks, onion, beans and courgettes) to the butter.
  6. Stir it with a wooden spoon to coat the veggies in the butter.
  7. Turn the heat down as low as possible and place the lid on tightly.  “Sweat” the veggies in the pot until soft, stirring every once in a while.  The sweating process takes about 30-40 minutes.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked drain off the water/stock into a jug or suitable container (You will use this lovely chicken stock to make your white sauce)
  9. Make a regular béchamel/white sauce with a small amount of milk and use the chicken stock for the rest of the sauce.
  10. Debone your chicken – the meat will be very soft and tender – and cut chicken into small bits.
  11. Add the chicken, “sweated” veggies and fresh or frozen corn to the white sauce.
  12. Add a dollop of cream or Greek yoghurt to the soup and season according to your taste.
  13. Garnish with ground black pepper and a small bunch of fresh coriander.

Traditional South African Mielie pap:

  1. Bring 2 ½ cups of water to the boil
  2. Stir 1 ½ cups of mielie meel and a pinch of salt into the boiling water.
  3. Stir thoroughly whilst boiling until all the water has been absorbed.
  4. Transfer to the HOTBOX and leave for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Serve directly from the hotbox.

Samp and Beans

  1. Place I cup of samp & beans in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight.  Rinse and drain.
  2. Bring samp & beans to the boil in 3 cups of salted water and simmer for approximately 20 minutes on the stove.
  3. Bring it back to a rapid boil and then transfer to the HOTBOX for approximately 4-5 hours or until soft and all the water is absorbed.
  4. Add butter, freshly ground black pepper, seasoned salt and crumbled feta cheese and enjoy as a light meal or accompaniment to a meal.

4 Responses to “The Hot Box”

  1. 13 Ways to Cook Without an Oven | Inedible To Incredible Says:

    […] Boxes Best for crockpot-esque meals, a hot box is an insulated enclosure in which you place a pot of already-boiling food. The vessel sits and […]

  2. Koken op je motorblok » Mancave Says:

    […] gootsteen. Best jammer, want je kunt er zonder fornuis nog veel meer in koken. Met een zogenaamde Hotbox, gebruik je dergelijke afvalwarmte om mee te koken. Immers, als je je pan maar goed isoleert, koelt […]

  3. David Booth Says:

    I once butchered a giant old rooster and put him in a big stockpot. I brought it to a boil, then simmered for maybe ten minutes more. Then I put the pot in a banana box filled with wool, with towels on top of the pot. SIXTEEN hours later I opened it up and it was still steaming hot. The meat of that tough old bird, who had seen better days, fell off from the bone. I would have had to simmer it for a good four hours on the stove, and it wouldn’t have been as tender and delicious. More insulation is better when you are cooking with a hot box. Also, more mass, ie a big pot of hot liquid, will stay hot longer.

  4. 13 Ways to Cook Without an Oven | 13 Ways to Cook Without an Oven dr oz | 13 Ways to Cook Without an Oven dr oz diet | Dr Oz Diet > Dr Oz Website > Dr Oz Vegan Diet Says:

    […] Boxes Best for crockpot-esque meals, a hot box is an insulated enclosure in which you place a pot of already-boiling food. The vessel sits and […]

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