The best energy-efficient cooking tips to save money
With gas and electricity bills reaching boiling point, and the kitchen being one of the most energy-thirsty places in the home - we’ve dished up some top tips for faster, smarter and more energy-efficient cooking.
Swap your appliances
An electric cooker costs approx €1.36 each time you use it, making it one of the most expensive appliances to run. Here’s some tips for using smaller, speedier cooking appliances to help reduce your energy bills.
Use a slow cooker
This no-fuss appliance has made a resurgence in recent years. You can leave food, like a beef shin, to slowly braise all day while you’re at work. Here’s some reasons to switch to a slow cooker:
Invest in a fan oven
Fan ovens use about 20% less energy than conventional ovens because they circulate the heat around the food as it cooks, so you can cook at a lower temperature.
A microwave typically uses the same amount of energy as a conventional oven to heat food (approx 1,500 watts per hour) but because it’s up to 75% faster, it uses 80% less energy.
The most efficient appliance by far, it can save you the most on bills. Here’s some reasons to switch to a microwave:
- focus heat solely on the food, not the air around it
- need no time or energy to warm up
- cost approx 0.14c per use
Consider a steam cooker
A steam cooker’s pressure and sealed design means you can cook carrots, beans and stews in less than half the time it would take in a standard pot.
Add an air fryer
An air fryer is essentially a compact version of a fan oven, and can sit neatly atop your kitchen counter. Air fryers:
Cut your cooking time
Switching appliances isn’t the only thing that can slice your cooking time - and bills - in half. Here’s some other tricks to help you save.
Avoid microwaving frozen food: take it out of the freezer in good time so it defrosts naturally while you’re in bed or at work.
Frozen food also takes longer to cook, so defrosting it thoroughly will mean faster cooking times and less energy consumption. Here’s some more do’s and dont’s of defrosting:
Batch cook dinners and lunches to spend less time and money cooking individual meals, and to get more value out of your oven.
You can freeze whatever you don’t want right away, then zap it in the microwave when you need to. Remember:
- works best with soups, casseroles, stews and curries
- if you don’t freeze the extra food, make sure to eat it in 3 days
- staples like mince meat can be used across a range of meals
Skewer and chop meat
Splicing cuts of meat and potatoes with metal skewers can help distribute heat more evenly, and allow them cook faster. Chopping up a joint of meat into smaller parts helps speed up the cooking time too.
Boil the kettle
At approx €0.20c for 15 minutes use, a kettle is best for boiling water for things like pasta, vegetables and rice, as it heats water much faster than the hob.
It’s also easy to overfill a pan and heat more water than you need, so a kettle with a measurement line can be more accurate.
Choose a rapid-boil kettle that’s designed to boil small amounts of water quickly, so you can save even more on your bills.
Use conductive dishes
Use glass and ceramic dishes in the oven over metal, as they retain the heat better. This can lead to faster cooking times, but allows you lower the temperature, too.
On the hob, use copper-bottom pans for faster frying time.
Avoid energy waste
When you’re cooking a big meal it’s easy to use more heat than you need, but all that wasted energy adds up over time. With just a few culinary tweaks you can cut down on waste, cooking hours and most importantly, cost.
Set the size
When you’re cooking on the hob, match the pan or pot to the ring size. Using a hob that’s unnecessarily large could waste heat and money.
Similarly, if your food takes up just half the pan then you’ll use much more heat than needed. When you can, downsize your kitchen utensils.
Boil enough water
You only need enough water to cover food as you boil it, so overfilling the kettle or a saucepan means longer heating times and wasted energy. To save money, only use the exact amount of water you need.
Shut the door
Keeping the door shut means less heat can escape. Each time you open the oven door:
- it can lose up to 25 degrees
- it needs more energy to regain its temperature
- slows down cooking time significantly
Similarly, try to keep the oven door clean so you don’t have to open it to see how the food is doing. Replacing the seal on the oven door regularly means better insulation so it retains optimal heat.
Turn it off
An electric oven will continue to cook the food after it’s turned off. Switching off ten minutes before the cooking time is over still means perfectly cooked food for less cost.
Keep a lid on it
For suitable dishes, try to keep the lid on your pot while cooking, to trap more steam and heat so food cooks faster and more efficiently.
Switch your gas and electricity supplier
The best way to reduce your energy costs is to switch to a new provider. If you haven’t changed your supplier in over a year, you could save by comparing electricity suppliers and finding a new deal.
Switch and save up to €383 on your energy bills
It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving