What Is the Most Energy-Efficient Cooking Method?

Hand on cooker controls with electricity pylons in reflection

Many people want to have the most energy-efficient kitchens possible.

For one, using less gas and electricity to cook means you’ll be saving on your household bills.

But more importantly, inefficient cooking leads to a huge amount of carbon emissions and environmental damage to our planet.

In fact, a quarter of all carbon emissions come from our homes! And a large portion of this comes from our kitchens.

Therefore, you might be wondering, “What is the most energy-efficient cooking method?” Here we answer that question and give your other energy-saving tips to you implement at home.

Cut down on your energy bills today and start helping our planet.

 

Oven vs Hob: Energy Efficient Cooking Methods

When talking about cooking, there are two main appliances that we use in our home: ovens and hobs (usually called ‘stoves’ in the United States). But which is the most efficient?

Undeniably, cooking using an oven uses far more energy than cooking on a hob. This is because you’re not just heating the food and the oven dish that you’re using, you’re also heating up the entire oven itself. This takes up extra energy and electricity.

To put this into quantifiable numbers, it helps to look at the energy consumption of ovens vs stoves. This is a good indication of appliance efficiency.

Energy consumption is measured in kWh, with a higher number meaning more energy is used and thus decreased efficiency.

Although it varies by brand, most electric ovens have a power consumption of 2.0kWh to 2.2kWh per hour of use. In comparison, the average electric hob usage is 1.5kWh per hour of use.

As you can see, cooking using a cooktop if a far more energy efficient method. Therefore, cooking on the hob is better for both your bank account and the planet.

With that said, some things can only be cooked on the stove or only be cooked in the oven. As such, it’s best to use the most energy-efficient of both types of appliance to make a real difference to your home energy consumption.

 

Most Energy-Efficient Hob Types

When talking about kitchen cooktops, there are three main types available:

  1. Gas hobs
  2. Electric (ceramic) hobs
  3. Induction hobs

The average energy consumption for these different types of hobs per hour are 1.95kWh for gas, 1.50kWh for electric, and 1.95kWh  for induction.

Looking at these figures alone, you might think an electric hob is the most efficient option.

However, induction hobs are far superior to both gas and electric stoves. This is because the cooking rings of induction don’t heat up themselves!

Instead, they use an electromagnetic field to heat the pans directly. Therefore, 84% of the heat generated is used for cooking, compared to just 74% efficiency for gas and ceramic hobs.

Hob Types - Gas, Induction and Electric

Most Energy-Efficient Oven Types

Like cooktops, there are several different types of oven you can choose for your home.

The main three are gas ovens, electric ovens, and convection ovens. The energy consumption for these three types of oven running at their maximum for an hour is 2.5kWh for gas, 2.0kWh for electric, and 2.0kWh for convection.

As you can see, convection ovens use less energy per hour than gas ovens. What’s more, unlike electric ovens, these appliances have an additional fan and exhaust system. This helps to circulate the hot air and distribute the heat around the oven while cooking.

By doing so, you can cook at lower temperatures and reduce cooking times when compared to electric ovens. Therefore, a convection oven is the most energy-efficient option for your home.

 

Other Energy-Saving Cooking Appliances

Ovens and hobs are the main two cooking appliances found in all UK homes. However, there are other smaller cooking units you might want to include in your energy efficient kitchen. For example, microwaves, slow cookers, and air fryers.

A microwave is the most energy-efficient cooking appliance found in the kitchen, topping both an oven and a hob in terms of energy usage.

They cook food extremely quicky and so don’t use as much energy. In fact, they are up to 80% more efficient than a conventional oven!

However, while microwaves are an energy-efficient alternative for reheating food or cooking vegetables, they’re not suitable for cooking everything.

Thankfully, slow cookers and air fryers are a great oven-alternative to cook the foods that microwaves can’t.

The average slow cooker can use used on the highest energy setting for six hours and only use 1.26kW of energy. This is because these appliances use a low current and trap heat inside the pot to facilitate cooking.

Air fryers don’t need any preheating and cook most things within 5 minutes. Therefore, they are also an efficient way of cooking!

Woman adjusting microwave

How to Cook Using Less Energy & Electricity

Fitting your kitchen out with an induction hob and convection oven is a great step to a more eco-friendly home.

Cooking using your cooktop instead of the oven is also beneficial. And using a microwave, slow cooker, and air fryer in place of your oven further helps to cut energy usage, reduce your household bills, and better our planet.

However, appliances are only half of the equation! Here are some other considerations for energy-efficient cooking you can use to keep costs down.

1. Cook food in bulk

A great way to reduce your energy usage is to cook food in bulk. For example, cooking a lot of food at once in your oven means you can use more of the energy to cook food and less to heat empty oven space.

You can then freeze or refrigerate leftovers and reheat them using your microwave – the most energy-efficient appliance of them all.

2. Choose the right cookware

Choosing the right cookware can also impact your energy usage. A big consideration is the size of the pots and pans you use.

You should always use cookware that is the right size for the food you’re cooking.

Otherwise, additional energy has to be used to heat up a larger than necessary pan and the excess water within in.

Material is important as well. When choosing oven dishes, glass and ceramic cookware is best. Both of these materials are slower to heat than metal but hold heat for a long time, helping food to cook more quickly.

On the other hand, copper is a great option for pots and pans. It heats up more quickly than metals such as stainless steel, reducing cooking time and improving efficiency.

Whenever you cook on the stove, always ensure you put a lid on the pot as well. By covering your pots and pans, you’re helping to trap the heat inside the pan.

This is similar to how a slow cooker works and ensures more of the heat generated goes into cooking.

3. Use appliances the right way

Using the right appliances for cooking is important, but using your appliances the right way is also crucial. For example:

  • Always use a burner ring that is the same size of the pan you’re using
  • Turn down the heat of the hob to a simmer once the liquid has reached boiling point
  • Never open the oven door during cooking as this lets heat escape
  • Always use flat-bottomed pans with an electric hob to help heat the pan more quickly
  • Keep your appliances clean so no heat is absorbed by debris and old food
  • Turn an electric oven off 10 minutes before the timer to complete cooking without using additional energy