Range cooker with cooking pots on top of a gas hob

Energy efficient cooking - essential tips

You might not be surprised to hear that the kitchen is where the most energy is consumed in the home.

Thankfully, there are a number of methods you can apply in your kitchen to make it more energy efficient than ever and ensure your energy bills don’t get out of control

Options for quicker and more energy efficient food preparation

In your kitchen, you’ll most likely have three main cooking appliances These are - from most to least energy efficient- a microwave oven, a hob, and a traditional oven.

Ovens have a significant appetite for consuming energy. They are one of the most expensive appliances in the home, and the yearly costs can amount to hundreds of euro.

In contrast to this, microwaves can cook your food in a much shorter time and only require half the power needed for conventional ovens. So, if you do not have a microwave oven yet, and you’re happy to use one - when possible - in place of an oven, you could consider investing in one.

If you regularly use your grill to toast bread, switching to an energy efficient toaster instead will save you energy. And, if you use your hob whenever you boil water, it is time to change that habit.

Instead, use your kettle and make sure you only fill it up with just the right amount you need. This will definitely save you money on your energy bills in the long run.

In terms of appliances outside of the norm, slow cookers are really energy efficient, so if you have one, use it as much as you can. They only require a small amount of energy to run, almost comparable to a light bulb.

Obviously there are certain things that you will need to use the oven and hob to cook, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t still save energy. Our tips below will help you to save when you’re using the oven and the hob for cooking.

Ways to save when using the oven for cooking

If you do not have a microwave oven and you do not wish to buy one, you can still save money with your oven by following the tips below:

  • Cook more to save more. By cooking all the foods you need to serve in one go, you’ll make the most of the heat being released in the oven.
  • Do not open the oven while it is still cooking. Opening the door will cause the oven to have to reheat itself, which requires more energy.
  • Defrost food overnight where possible. Cooking from frozen takes longer so defrosting in advance will reduce the amount of time needed to cook your food.
  • Know the preheating duration. It is important that you only preheat your oven for the right length of time so you don’t waste energy.
  • If you plan to roast potatoes, boil them first. Pre-boiled potatoes take less time to roast so you’ll need to use the oven for less time.
  • Don’t wait for the oven to finish cooking. Turn it off ten minutes before it has completed its task and leave the food in to complete cooking.
  • Choose fan assist over static cooking. Saving on energy costs is achievable with this cooking option as you can set a much lower temperature for your oven.
  • Use ceramic or glass when cooking. These do not need very high temperatures for cooking and so they’ll work with your oven for maximum efficiency

Read more: Top energy saving tips

Energy efficient hob cooking tips

Whether your hob is electric or gas, here are some tips that you can apply to save as much energy as you possibly can:

  • Match your pan size to your burner. The closest you can get to a match between the hob and pan size, the less energy you’ll waste. Electric hob users should use pans with a flat bottom to make sure that the ring and the pan will come in full contact with each other.
  • Ensure the pan is the right size. The pan should be large enough to hold the food so that it cooks well and quickly.
  • Use less water. When cooking vegetables, don’t add too much water to the pan, this will slow down the cooking process.
  • Cover your pans. Don’t let the heat escape by covering your pans when you are simmering food.
  • Keep the hob clean. Spilled food can absorb the heat, and cause the electric ring to be ineffective.
  • Choose your pans wisely. Copper pans absorb heat much faster than cast-iron and stainless steel pans, so choosing copper could save you more energy.
  • If you have a pressure cooker, use it. Pressure cookers will cook the likes of lentils, beans, chickpeas, or any kind of pulse really quickly. You can also use your pressure cooker for whole meals, stews, and meats.
  • Use a steamer for cooking vegetables. Your steamer is the best energy saving appliance for this cooking job. It allows you to layer your vegetables on top of your main pan, so you don’t need to without use another ring.
  • Turn down the heat. Simmering your food is more energy efficient than boiling it, so you make sure you turn down the heat once your food has boiled.

When should you buy a new energy efficient cooking appliance?

There’s no strict rule to this, and obviously buying new appliances means a significant outlay of cash. However, new kitchen appliances tend to be really energy-efficient and will definitely be less-expensive to run in the long-term.

You should think about replacing your oven if it is 10 or more years old or the door does not properly shut itself. For other appliances, you’ll need to make a judgement call, but it can sometimes be fairly obvious if appliances are on their last legs.

If you’re shopping for any new kitchen appliance, be sure to check the energy efficiency label. A-rated ovens and other appliances are proven to save more energy than the appliances with lower grades.

When you’re buying an oven, an electric one is your best bet but, as well as checking the energy label, you should check if the oven door has triple glazing and boasts perfect insulation as this will mean it is really energy efficient.

Want to know more about using your appliances more efficiently? We’ve also got tips on how to make doing your laundry energy-efficient