Can You Cook Food in a Jetboil?

Can You Cook Food in a Jetboil?

Most backpackers who buy Jetboil stoves, buy the Jetboil Flash or Jetboil Zip models without realizing that they’re designed for boiling water to rehydrate freeze-dried or dehydrated backpacking meals and not simmering food slowly on a low flame, which is what people think of when it comes to “cooking” food. While Jetboil does make stoves that you can simmer with (see below), you can still cook some basic meals with a Jetboil Flash or a Jetboil Zip using the methods we describe below.

Make / ModelFuel TypeVolume (L)IgniterRegulatorSimmeringBTU
Jetboil FlashCanister Gas1.0Yes--9000
Jetboil ZipCanister Gas0.8---4500
Jetboil MicroMoCanister Gas0.8YesYesYes6000
Jetboil MiniMoCanister Gas1.0YesYesYes6000
Jetboil SumoCanister Gas1.8YesYesYes6000
Jetboil MightyMoCanister GasNot IncludedYesYesYes10000
Jetboil JouleCanister Liquid2.5YesYesYes10000
Jetboil GenesisPropane5L, 10" SkilletYesYesYes10000
Jetboil HalfGenPropane9" SkilletYesYesYes10000

The problem with the Jetboil Flash and the Jetboil Zip is that it’s very difficult to turn their flames down low without having them flicker out completely. They also have small diameter pots with small cooking surface areas that make it hard to heat the food higher up in the pot because it’s farther away from the burner head and therefore lower temperature. That said, you can still cook food in them if you are very careful and you stick to very watery and soupy meals like Ramen noodles or small pasta.

The chief danger in trying to cook in a Jetboil Flash or the Jetboil Zip is a boilover where you get burned from getting boiling water on your hands. For example, if you’re cooking noodles, the noodles will float to the top of the pot, while the water below continues to boil. The top floating noodles will form a kind of “lid” capping the soupy mixture and can easily boil over if the water below gets too hot and needs to blow off some steam.

You can also get burned if your Jetboil tips over and the contents of your dinner spill onto you. The best way to prevent this is to use the orange fold-away pot stand that comes with a Jetboil and locks onto your fuel canister. It’s worth carrying the extra few grams that it weighs with any stove system, to prevent tip-overs, even when you’re not using a Jetboil Flash or Jetboil Zip.

If you do try to make a noodle dish in a Jetboil Flash or Jetboil Zip, I’d start by only filling the pot half full of water to help prevent a boil-over. When cooking, use a long-handled spoon to mix the mixture so that it gets heated equally throughout. Gentle stirring will help release some of the pressure building up under the virtual lid made by your noodles.

There’s also another way to safely cook a noodle dish in a Jetboil Flash or Jetboil Zip which I recommend you try. Simply cover your noodles with water, bring the water to a boil, give your noodles a stir, and then turn off the heat (keeping the pot covered.) Full stop. Your pasta will cook in the same amount of time and to the same texture as it would have if it cooked at a boil. See Forget Boiling: How to Cook Pasta and Save Stove Fuel for more details.

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About the author

Philip Werner has hiked and backpacked over 7500 miles in the United States and the UK and written over 2500 articles as the founder of SectionHiker.com, noted for its detailed gear reviews and educational content. A devotee of New Hampshire and Maine hiking and backpacking, Philip is the 36th person to hike all 650 of the hiking trails in the White Mountain Guide. He is also the author of Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers, a free online guidebook of the best backpacking trips in the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine. In addition, Philip volunteers as a 4 season backpacking leader for the Appalachian Mountain Club, a Long Trail Mentor for Vermont's Green Mountain Club, and a Leave No Trace Master Educator. He lives in New Hampshire.

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4 comments

  1. I make better rice in my JetBoil than on my stove at home, using the technique you recommend for pasta—only I set the JetBoil on a tea candle to simmer for 15 minutes. A tea candle weighs next to nothing and lasts through several meals.

  2. I cook scrambled eggs or omelette on a good quality plastic sandwich bag.. measure the amount of water to be used with the bag and eggs.. heat the water with the bag in the water.. works great

    • I got a small MSR pocket rocket burner, with igniter, a three cup black aluminum stackable cook set (at Walmart) the burner, and a gas canister nest inside the kit, weighs very little, mo more than my sons JetBoil. It’s more easily adjusted to simmer, bigger pot bottom for cooking, and the smaller cups are fine for boiling water for the FD mountain house meals. Super cheap, probably $50 total, and very adaptable, just never touch the flip out steel handles. When cooking..made that mistake once.. OUCH!

  3. I received the French press as a gift with my jet boil. I love a good strong cup of coffee in the mornings. I quickly learned that it’s not worth it because of the difficulty in cleaning the residue that coffee leaves every time not to mention the left over grounds that I have to haul out.

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