I'm talking about a small gas or alcohol stove, for example like this:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Images from: https://www.rei.com/blog/camp/diy-how-to-make-an-alcohol-stove-from-soda-cans

If I'd use a glass mason jar instead of a cooking pot - would the glass shatter? What about using a tin can? Is that material safe for food? I read about a plastic lining on the inside that might turn out problematic. But I can just "burn it off"?

Any other ideas?

The reason for my question (and subsequently a constraint for any answers) is my very low budget. I do have pots at home, but they are very heavy and... well, I need them at home. Obviously, there are camping cooking pots that would work very well, but they are expensive.

I'd appreciate your insight. Thank you very much.

  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because chefs are not necessarily qualified to know about metallurgy, or the consqueences of burning off plastics.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 17:45
  • On the other hand - glass would shatter, a regular can would be too small to fit your rig. Also, you can buy a really cheap pan for about the price of a can of food.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 17:46
  • @Tetsujin people who don’t know the answer should refrain from answering. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good question.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 18:42
  • 1
    I'm seeing 15-20 piece camping sets starting at around $25. I'm sure they aren't great but compared to a glass that's going to shatter or using a can I know which way I'd go
    – eps
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:33
  • 1
    Perhaps asking this question on The Great Outdoors or Lifehacks would bring better answers.
    – mustaccio
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


Using a Mason jar or a tin can on top of an open flame is a risky proposition. The glass is not designed for direct heat, and the stresses would cause it to potentially shatter or explode.

You have correctly identified that cans have an inert liner sprayed on to prevent corrosion. How exactly this will react to an open flame is difficult to quantify, it may burn off or it may leave a residue that will taint the food. Either way, it will probably give off toxic fumes you would not want to inhale or ingest.

A cheaper and safer option would be reusable/disposable tin foil trays used for takeaway containers or pies. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and have the additional benefit that you can bend them if need be to make them more stable on the heat source.

Ideally though, you want to invest in an aluminium mess tin with a lid. This is designed for the task, can be used on multiple fuel sources and can be used to store tea lights etc. for cooking with.


If you can, purchase a cheap copper pan from a car boot sale, for camping pans they're great.

A mason jar is likely to crack and break.

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