Introducing the HERC Oven: Powered by Tealight Candles

Just this week I learned about the HERC Oven, and it put my homemade Applebox Oven to shame! It may cost a little more than a free box, but it’s definitely a great way to go if you’re looking for a durable oven to cook with during emergencies.

One of my biggest fans (ok, I added that part :) posted some pictures of her HERC Oven on my Facebook page and I immediately had to know more. I thought I knew about all of the alternative cooking methods out there, but apparently not.

I went ahead and asked if she wouldn’t mind explaining how it worked, and she actually said YES! I was so excited, and hopefully you are too!

Get ready to be enlightened…

 HERC Oven: Needs only tea light candles to cook! An emergency cooking method you need to check-out! #alternativecooking #emergencyprep
I thought I was buying an “Emergency Oven”, not starting a new hobby…
I’ve always been interested in preparedness and self-sufficiency and learning about better and more practical ways to help my family survive when disaster strikes.
When I found out about this new invention, the HERC (Home Emergency Radiant Cooking) Tea Light Candle Oven by Titan Ready Water,  I immediately recognized it as revolutionary.  I ordered one for myself for Christmas.  Does anyone else buy themselves Christmas presents?
That being said, I generally feel like I have everything I need – In fact, I have a beautiful, newly remodeled kitchen – but it would be absolutely worthless in an emergency, or even having to go a few days without electricity.  So this year, I found something that I actually needed
inside the emergency oven
While waiting for my oven to arrive, I was asked to teach a class on Emergency Preparedness to our Women’s Church Group.  Since I didn’t have my own oven yet, I called the inventor, who happens to live about 25 miles away from where I do, and he generously agreed to let me borrow a demonstration model.  He even said I could go ahead and try it out!

Baking in the HERC Oven:

I must admit, I was really curious to see how/if I could actually bake things with something as inexpensive and readily available as tea light candles. This small oven uses 10 tealight candles.  The baking time from one set of (10) might vary, depending on what brand of candle you are using – my bag of candles (Yummi – from Fred Meyer) says they last 4 hours.  After letting the oven pre-heat for 30 minutes, I got about 3 1/2 hours of baking time in!
This oven also comes in a larger size (turkey anyone?!) called the XXL, which uses 20 tealights.  I have only tried the small oven (so far!).
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

First, I tried out our favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  It baked the cookies very well, and took approximately 6 more minutes than the conventional oven.  They were browned slightly on the bottom as they are supposed to be.  There’s a baking stone in the top and the bottom of the oven to retain the heat, so when you open the lid to change cookies, etc. all the heat does not escape.  The stainless steel is also very thick, and it is dishwasher safe.
 cookies cooked in HERC oven
  • Cranberry Orange Muffins

My next experiment?  Krusteaz mini Cranberry Orange Muffins.  I am not a “cake mix” type of girl, but I was looking for something I could store that would be quick to grab in an emergency, and this mix uses water only. No eggs, oil, etc.
They also turned out well.  I wanted a side-by-side comparison, so the tin on the left was done in my conventional oven (electric) and the tin on the right was baked in the HERC.
Again, just a slightly longer cooking time.  And, my little mini muffin tins fit perfectly.
 muffins cooked in HERC oven
  • Frozen Lasagna

It was performing so well, I decided to really push it to the limit.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and purchased a frozen lasagna.  I wanted to see if this little oven could take on the frozen solid casserole scenario.
I sometimes freeze a couple of extra homemade entrees for later use, and if I needed to use up my freezer contents in a hurry at the risk of losing them in a power outage, I wanted to see if the HERC could do it:
frozen lasagna before going in herc oven
I don’t know if you can tell by the photo, but I got a kick out of the positive affirmations about the benefits of having family meals together.  If I believe Stouffer’s, I now expect my children to “get better grades, confide in their parents, and be more likely to feel their parents are proud of them.”  Actually, my children score well in those categories already.  Maybe it’s because we actually do eat together regularly :)
Drum roll please…
 lasagna cooked in herc oven
The HERC oven actually baked the lasagna BETTER than my conventional oven.  Yes, it took longer – about 2 1/2 hours in total – but I’ve made these a couple of times before, and this is how it compared to my previous experience:
  • Conventional oven:  Burned around the edges, cold in the middle.
  • HERC:  Evenly cooked, hot and steamy in the middle!  I couldn’t believe it. And, it actually tasted better.  Hmmm.
Note:  My longer cooking times might be because of the particular tea light candle I’m using.  I’m using what I had on hand. My new HERC oven will come with an oven thermometer, so I’ll know at what temp. I’m baking. The beauty of just picking up the loaner oven and using what I had (candles), is that I’m still getting outstanding results!  Plus, it’s kind of fun to experiment.
Also, you need to let the oven “preheat” for about 30 minutes while the candles melt a bit and get up to their optimum burn.
  • Hazelnut Crusted Halibut and French Garlic Roasted Green Beans

This really got me to thinking:  If the electricity went out today, what would I have on hand to make for dinner?  I pulled some (thick) halibut filets, local hazelnuts and French green beans (drizzle w/ olive oil, garlic, Penzey’s Forward Seasoning, coarse salt) out of the freezer and placed them in the  HERC:
cooking halibut and green beans in herc oven
You know all those little tiny baking sheets and things that come with your toaster oven?  Don’t throw them away (I have 5 children and never thought that size would be practical)!  We try to be thrifty whenever we can, so we went to Goodwill and my husband found these awesome little pans:  Heavy 9X9 square pan and some Wilton mini loaf pans.  Perfect if you agree with my 5 year old, and don’t like your food to touch.  I’m sure things would have turned out just as well if I had thrown it all into the same pan (9X9 square)…
Only 25 minutes later: Hazelnut Crusted Halibut and French Garlic Roasted Green Beans
 dinner cooked in emergency oven
Can you believe it?  The fish was so flaky.

Other things I like about the HERC Oven:

  • I can cook without the dependence on the sun (like the Sun Oven would ever work here in Portland, Oregon anyway), or limited sources like propane, charcoal, generator, etc.
  • The price is much less than the Sun Oven (again, not an option if you want to cook in the evening, or in Portland, OR)
  • No toxic fumes!  Safe for inside!
  • Tea Lights are inexpensive and readily available.  I’ve been using the Yummi brand that I bought at Fred Meyer – a bag of 100 for $4.99 on sale @ Christmas time.  I have 800 in a 5-gallon bucket!
  • Did I mention it all comes apart and stores so flat/compact you will not even believe it?
  • Cute little window so you can check on your creations
  • Comes with a carrying tote
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Bottom stays cool enough around the edges to touch during baking
  • Made in the USA
  • Imagine if your child had a birthday during an emergency situation?  This would easily bake a cake (8″ or 9″)!

Helpful hints:

  • You’ll want to remain in the same room with your little oven since it is a flame that you’re cooking with
  • I’ve added the “Ove’ Glove” (a pair would be nice) to my wish list because it can be tricky to get my pans in and out while wearing my jumbo oven mitts.
I think it’s a must-have for everyone who wants to be a little more prepared.  I’m calling my HERC “Easy Bake Oven for Big Girls”. 
I’m sure there’s more to know and discover about this oven – the possibilities are endless.
Do you have an emergency oven, and if so, have you tried cooking with it?


  1. 1


    HAHA! Easy Bake Oven for Big Girls :) I love that. I haven’t heard much about this oven so thanks for the review! I love my Solar Oven duing the summer, but I have some of the same issues in Spokane WA that you have in Portland. I’ll have to check this out as an alternative. Also, Stouffers Lasagna rocks.

    • 2


      Hi, This is Kris Johnson and I am the owner of Titan Ready Water manufacturer of the HERC & HERC XXL and one of my test kitchens is in Spokane! I can tell you this, once you use the HERC you will NEVER use your Sun oven again. My Spokane tester says for baking bread she will use the HERC instead of her conventional oven (which is gas by the way) and Mrs. D. can bake bread better than anyone I know…

      • 3

        C says

        Kris Johnson- can a fellow Spokanite meet up with your test kitchen in Spokane? I would like to see/try this out. Do you have any more at a discounted rate? thanks

    • 4


      I thought that was pretty cute too – I want an Easy Bake Oven for Big Girls! It does seem like a great alternative to the Sun Oven. I’m sure my husband would love me bringing home another cooking device ;)

      • 5


        Yeah, I’ll just bet! LOL This is very interesting, my wife seems to collect those “tea light” candles! I’ll bet we have 4 bags of them! Thanks for this Jamie, this is a good 1!

  2. 6

    Jen says

    I have to wonder if you gutted an old toaster oven and used this principle, with some insulating material like tiles on the bottom, whether you could sort of reproduce this. I love the oven but it’s a little too much for my budget. Now I have to try it.

    • 7


      Hi Jen, I would be very careful about trying to convert a toaster oven for these reasons and the first being a toaster oven is made to be compact and uses an electrical element to supply heat whereas the candles need space and airflow to operate otherwise the candles will not stay lit or the paraffin will reach its flash point and combust causing a big fire you don’t want in your house.
      Next toaster ovens are too thin of sheet metal and too much plastic. If you pull it off please let us know, I would love to see it and might even send you a HERC on me for doing what I could not.
      Kris Johnson President Titan Ready Water, Inc.

      • 8


        I think I might try converting a toaster oven if it means getting a HERC ;)

        Thanks for explaining how these works. We don’t want anyone burning down their kitchens!

      • 9

        Jen says

        OK I’ll have to research this flash point thing. I promise I won’t set the house on fire. I just like options. As much as I’d love to buy the real thing it’s good to have a spare source for cooking. You really outdid the concept though. It must have taken a lot of trial and error and burnt stuff.

        • 10


          Hi again Jen, have you seen the new ECO HERC?!? ECO for economy and it is designed specifically to not only be safe with the tea light candles but also to get the most out of their stored energy, baking bread’s and cooking meat like nothing else.

          It’s like this would you rather have a screwdriver or hammer if you had to drive nails all day long? You could use a toaster oven with the guts ripped out and she likes has a heating source I hundred, a thousand times but it only takes one flare up and

  3. 17

    Evil says

    Sound like another great Idea, stock up on the tea candles before too many of these things are sold. Smells like another great giveaway, wait, no that’s just biscuits I smell, mine are burning. Gotta go.

  4. 20

    ledzepgirl says

    This is amazing!! Living in NE Indiana really makes the Sun Oven not an option. I have been trying to find something like this for awhile and have literally been on the internet searching for 3 days trying to find some type of oven to cook indoors. I live in an urban area so outdoor cooking would not be an option. I’m going to have to save up for it because being retired limits spending. This oven is just perfect! Thank you!

    • 22


      Hi LEDZEPGIRL, I am sorry I didn’t see this post until now. My name is Kris Johnson, President of TITAN READY WATER and inventor the HERC (Home Emergency Radiant Cooking). This is a much needed prep for us in the NW also and the fact is everywhere… Even in the desert you don’t want to be outside, in the sun, dehydrating yourself. Better have your AR-15 at the ready because outside is where the unprepared will be running around taking from Sun oven owners. LZG I want and everyone to be safe & secure in your own home so lets put your pennies to good use now and if you will contact me I have some perfectly good HERC ovens with a scratch or two that I can’t sell as a first. If you can live with a couple scratches we’ll get you your very own HERC. Maybe we should get JAMIE S. to do a review and giveaway! Who’s with me on this? JAMIE S. what do you think???

      • 23


        I’m up for it ;) I would be happy to do a review and giveaway.

        I’ve also been doing the alternative cooking portion of the emergency fair the past few years so it would be fun to ditch my box oven and bring this instead!

  5. 25

    Monica says

    *Very* cool product. Or rather very *hot*! Cooking with candles! Wow! This is great for any power outage, but especially great for the northwest’s winter rainstorm/trees down on the powerlines outages. Great to see a local product with so much to offer!

  6. 27

    Samara says

    I too would like a scratched unit as a DEMO in our soon to open Emergency Preparedness store in NC! Let me know how I can get one! The more people that see this in action, the better!

  7. 29

    Jodi says

    Hi! I am eager to purchase this wonder-Herc oven! Where is it available? Please reply. I love your info. Thanks

  8. 31

    Eric M. says

    I think this is amazing. I do hope you come down in price, offer bulk sale prices, or create an inexpensive kit version that can be assembled by consumer, because I would love to have many of these. I volunteer my time during disaster situations in NYC, and buy most supplies with my own money. Between 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy which destroyed many of my neighborhoods in Queens, I would have loved to have items like this to donate to those in need. Keep evolving. I’ll be watching. Love this! Thank you, prepared Housewives for this article and review!

  9. 32


    Jamie this review is awesome! As a fellow Northwesterner, I was really hesitant to cough up the dough for a sun oven. We have a rocket stove we’ve been using during power outages and such, but this thing look SOOO much more convenient. I think I’ll need to start saving up!

  10. 33

    Susan B says

    How does a box oven with charcoal compare to these tea light ovens? Other than the convenience of cooking indoors versus outdoors! A box oven currently fits my budget so much better!

    • 34


      Great question. With the box oven you’ll need to store charcoal, and with the HERC you’ll need to store tea light candles.

      As far as cooking goes, I think the HERC is easier to use, you just light the candles and let it do it’s job. With the apple box oven I have to keep adding charcoal to it, but that one is definitely more budget friendly and a great place to start!

  11. 35

    Christi says

    It should light the candles, mix the batter and take the food out for $389! Why don’t the inventors make these things reasonably priced so more people could afford to buy them. I can buy a full-sized propane stove/oven for that price!!!!


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