Arizonans are Baking in Their Hot Cars—Literally

In my home state of Vermont, it’s rare for temperatures to get over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, even in peak summer. But, even temperatures in the 80s and 90s can lead to dangerously hot cars. So, when hot weather in the triple digits hit Arizona and there wasn’t much else to do, TikTokers turned to some hot new stunts. Videos showing baking and cooking food in hot cars quickly became the thing to do.

Can you really cook or bake food in a hot car?

@thejoebrown

Reply to @gasmoneysnipers this cake was BUSSIN’ #cake

♬ original sound – ??? ?????

There are a number of dangers lurking in a hot car, but some people are trying to find the bright side of crazy high heat in their towns. You may be familiar with the old story of frying an egg on hot pavement (in a frying pan, of course) but what about brownies, cookies, cake, or steak a la car?  

AZ Central reports on popular TikTok users who recorded videos of themselves melting, cooking, or baking things in their cars during heat waves. One such user, Joe Brown, has racked up a huge following for cooking food in a hot car.

“Brown, who has been identified by Fox 10 as a Gilbert resident, has ramped up his food experimentation and now posts two videos per day: one introducing the item that will sit on a baking sheet in his 200-degree car, then a follow-up several hours later. Some items he recently featured were gummy bears, instant mac and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, and pumpkin pie.”

-AZ Central

While cooking or baking in your car won’t be as simple or consistent as doing so in an oven, the intense heat of a car’s interior can actually bring raw food up to a low baking temperature. You can heat food in a car if the outside temperature gets hot enough.

Can you leave cooked food in a hot car?

Cooking in hot cars is a new fad.
Cookies baking in a hot car | Pam Menegakis via Unsplash

Car cooking has enjoyed a big spike in popularity lately, but what about transporting food in your car when the temps get hot? Can you leave cooked food in a hot car?

According to reporting by MotorBiscuit’s Joe Santos, leaving food in your car can be dangerous. Hot food needs to stay hot, and cold food needs to stay cold. With temperatures like those seen in Arizona, you may actually be safe leaving warm, cooked foods in a hot car for a short period of time. However, that could lead to bacteria growth, so it’s always best to keep food in appropriate storage places.

Any foods that need to be refrigerated should never be left in a hot car. Make sure that you schedule your errands so that you can head home right after the grocery store! Get that ice cream, milk, and veggie platter in the fridge ASAP.

Other dangers of hot cars in the summer

A child in a blue sweatshirt leans out of the open window of a red, older model year car
Heat can be dangerous for children in cars | Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

Food items aren’t the only worst things you can leave in your car. Laptops and other forms of technology can be destroyed when left in a very hot car on a summer day.

But, that’s not the worst of it. Every year, and sometimes all year long, there are reports of hot car fatalities. Children and pets can overheat quickly in a car that is not being appropriately cooled on a hot day. 

Consider the video above—if a car’s interior can fully bake a cake, it can do serious damage to a living creature’s body. Be car smart this summer.

Ways to keep your car’s interior cool in high temperatures

A teal classic car driving along a road next to the ocean on a hot summer day
Car on a hot summer day | Simon Berger via Unsplash

There are many ways to keep your car’s interior cool when parked, ranging from simple to tech-savvy. The easiest ways to keep the cabin temperature down are to use a windshield sunshade and to always park in the shade with the windows cracked. These can help, but your car’s interior will likely still be pretty warm.

If you need to really break out the big guns, consider an Aluminet sun shade car cover. These breathable covers not only reflect sun and heat but also provide shade to the car. They come in different sizes and styles. Significant coverage of a car, plus the use of a windshield shade and leaving windows down, can actually leave a car’s interior 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the outside air!

Looking for ways to help keep your dog cool while traveling? Scroll down to read why crating pets in the car has a lot of benefits!

RELATED: Can a Full Gas Tank Make Your Car Explode in the Summer?