Special Delivery: Mailbox Lasagna

If you can make cookies in the car, why can’t you make lasagna in the mailbox?

This was the thought that propelled me forward on my next wild experiment. If global warming is going to get worse, I can only get weirder in response.

Why Lasagna In A Mailbox?

Many news stations like to offer this tantalizing idea as a quirky way to lighten the mood when oppressive summer heat sets in. The earliest reference I can find to it is from 2019, attributing it to the Nation Weather Service, but I can’t find that original reference. What’s more alarming is that despite being re-posted and shared thousands of times, I couldn’t find evidence that anyone had actually tried it. That’s where I come in.

The idea is that by prepping your meal in advance, stuffing it in a hot mailbox all day, it would bake though pure solar power, keeping the kitchen cool and saving electricity. I’m dubious that the actual cost savings would add up to a full cent, but given how prone my state is to rolling blackouts, I’ll do everything I can to conserve.

How To Make Mailbox Lasagna

The procedure is pretty much as you’d imagine, starting with your favorite lasagna recipe.

  • Use any lasagna recipe you prefer, scaled down accordingly to fit your pan. Use only fully cooked components (no raw proteins) to prevent potential food poisoning. While unlikely, it’s better to be safe than sick.
  • Make sure you use no-boil noodles, no matter what the recipe originally calls for.
  • Cover with foil to seal in the heat before placing it in the mailbox. Close the door and lock it if possible. This is to keep both nosy neighbors and hungry critters out.
  • Go about your day and let the lasagna “bake” for 6 to 10 hours.
  • Handle carefully, with potholders, because it will be hot! Remove the foil to check that the cheese has melted and your pasta is al dente. It won’t brown due to the lack of intense direct heat. The Maillard reaction only occurs at 149°C/300°F and higher.

Tips and Tricks

There are a lot more variables to contend with when using a mailbox instead of an actual oven. Bear in mind these factors before writing it into your dinner menu:

  • Ideally, plan this experiment for a Sunday or federal holiday so there’s no mail delivery that might end up in your meal.
  • Start by cleaning out your mailbox. If it’s anything like mine, it’s also full of dust, dirt, and the occasional spiderweb. None of those are great seasonings, so you’ll want to give the interior a good rinse before adding food.
  • Select a metal pan to better conduct heat, and make sure it fits inside your mailbox. I’d recommend a loaf pan in most cases, unless you have a giant mailbox equal in size to a conventional oven.
  • Start around late morning (10 or 11am) when the mailbox is in direct sunlight. There needs to be a high of at least 105℉ (40°C) outside to attempt this with any level of success. Sorry if it’s not as brutally hot in your neck of the woods; it simply won’t work otherwise.

What Does Lasagna Cooked In A Mailbox Taste Like?

Here’s the thing: It’s fine. Edible, for sure. The cheese comes out melt-y-ish if not fully melted (though your mileage may vary depending on your brand), the pasta is soft enough after sitting and soaking in sauce for a few hours, and if you started with flavorful sauce and filling ingredients, it tastes as good as those did to begin with.

It’s not as good as lasagna baked in the oven because it lacks the textural contrast of crispy edges, the caramelized bits and browned surfaces. It’s a novelty that can amuse your friends and scare your neighbors, not a culinary treasure.

Honest Thoughts On Mailbox Lasagna

Is it the best lasagna you’ve ever eaten? No.

Is it the easiest lasagna you’ve ever made? Also no.

But is it the silliest and most fun lasagna you’ve ever tried? Absolutely a strong contender. I’d love to hear if you’ve come up with something wackier, because that would be a must-make for me.

17 thoughts on “Special Delivery: Mailbox Lasagna

  1. Too funny, Hannah! It might work where we live. We have those mailbox units that have slots for a number of homes in the same area. My husband’s medicines were delivered a few days ago and at least one of the bottles of soft-sided pills was filled with one mass of stuck pills. They probably sat in the postal worker’s vehicle most of the day as we don’t usually get our delivery until late afternoon. But as we can’t count on a regular time, they probably sat in the mailbox for a time too. Sigh. Trying to get the prescription resent was lots of fun, too, because they have to authorize having it sent with ice.

    1. Ugh, that’s awful! Many times, I’ve had companies ship me food samples and not account for the heat properly… I can’t tell you how many melted/rancid/moldy things I’ve unwrapped over the years. Prescription medication is much worse (and expensive) to lose.

  2. How Unique is this.. Lol…. Loved how it turned out..
    So inventive and resourceful too… Well done you.. :-)
    I am in the process of experimenting cooking in my Air-Fryer… I baked bread now in there, instead of the large oven… Tomorrow I experiment with baking a cake for the first time in it..
    We all have to try to be economical in these inflationary times… xx

    1. The air fryer is one of my favorite all-purpose kitchen toys! I still have so many air fryer recipes I need to share…

    1. It’s absolutely crazy. Have to try to at least have fun with it. Still many more ideas to try!

  3. Haha, this mailbox lasagna experiment is definitely an entertaining and creative way to beat the summer heat! It’s a unique idea to use solar power to “bake” the lasagna, and I appreciate your adventurous spirit in trying it out. It’s amusing to imagine a mailbox turning into a mini oven. While it may not be the most practical cooking method, it’s definitely fun and quirky! BTW I had tried the 150KM steaks using car engine, wrapping it in aluminum foil then securing it in the engines manifold

    1. Now THAT is creative! I wish I knew more about cars so I could experiment with that too, but I’m honestly afraid to even open the hood unassisted. With my luck/lack of skill, I’d make it inoperable, and no one would believe the reason why.

  4. Oooh, interesting idea! I have been wanting to make more car dashboard cookies, but I just haven’t got around to it yet. Looks like we may only have another week before temps dip back below 100, so I should get a move on!

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