How To Save Money When Cooking

Did you know that on average 13.8% of the electricity we use in our homes goes on cooking our food and a further 16.8% goes on keeping our food fresh.

We have compiled some tips to help save energy costs when cooking. 

Cooking Tips

• Take ingredients out of the fridge 20 mins before cooking.

• Slice your food thinner so that it cooks faster.

• Instead of cooking pasta for 10 minutes on the hob, first soak in cold water, this will soften the pasta and then it will only take a few minutes to cook the pasta.

• Use a steamer for vegetables, this will use the heat from a pan that is already on the hob instead of using an additional one.

• Try some one pot recipes, this will save on energy.

• Batch cook, you will save both time and energy by doing this.

Spaghetti in a pot of boiling water

Appliances

• Ensure appliances such as the microwave, toaster and washing machine are turned off at the wall when not in use and not left on standby

• Switch to a slow cooker or microwave were possible. The average electricity use of an electric oven is between 2-2.2kWh, while a microwave uses between 0.6-1.5kWh. But it’s also worth noting that a slow cooker only uses around 0.7kWh for eight hours of usage. 

• There are some really good microwave cake recipes that you could try.

• Check door seals in your fridge, freezer and oven as loose seals can lead to energy wastage.

• When using the kettle only boil what you need or alternatively you could boil the kettle once and fill up a hot drinks flask for hot drinks throughout the day.

• Heat water on the kettle rather than on the stove and transfer into the pan once it's already boiled.

• Use a hand whisk instead of an electric one.

A person in a black t-shirt using a hand whisk to beat egg

Oven

• Parboil potatoes for 5-10 mins before putting them in the oven, this will help to soften them meaning they will take less time to cook therefore saving energy

• Use the fan setting in your oven, this will use less energy.

• Make the most of your oven when it is on by cooking several things at once.

• Switch off the oven early. In general ovens retain temperature for 10 mins after they are switched off.

• Don’t preheat the grill as the heat it will generate coming up to temperature contributes nicely to the cooking process.

• Grill the top of precooked dishes such as lasagne and shepherds pie as grilling uses less energy than having the entire oven on.

• Don’t preheat the oven for too long, a few minutes is enough.

• Don't open the oven door if you don't need to as this lets out hot air and wastes energy.

• Ensure you are using the right cookware. Glass and ceramic dishes are best for oven use while pots with a copper bottom heat up much quicker than stainless steel ones. Cast iron pots are great for retaining heat so you don't need to have the hob turned up as high.

A person with an oven glove on putting a tray of cookies into the oven

Hob

• When you use your hob, use a saucepan lid, by doing this you are trapping in the heat so the food will cook quicker.

• Use the right size pot for the amount of food you are cooking, when you use a larger pan it will take more energy to heat it.

• Use the right ring when cooking on the hob, ensuring the pan completely covers this will prevent heat escaping therefore saving energy

• Keep your cooker clean. Hobs that are not clean are less efficient, keeping the oven door clean means that you can check your food without having to open the door.

• Don’t forget to turn the hob off immediately after use.

Several pans on a gas hob

Fridge/Freezer

• Defrost food in the fridge overnight rather than defrosting it in the microwave.

• Ensure your fridge is always set to 1-5 degrees this will ensure chilled food lasts longer.

• Keep 20% of your fridge space free as overloading your fridge uses more energy.

• Clean the back of your fridge and freezer, if the coils get dirty they become less efficient.

• Ensure there’s at least a 10cm gap behind your fridge to let heat flow away more easily

• Defrost your freezer regularly, this will help energy consumption.

• If you need to replace any appliances like your fridge or cooker, always check their energy labels and try and choose appliances with high energy efficiency ratings.

• Avoid having your cooker beside your fridge as it would use more energy trying to maintain cool temperatures inside.

• Avoid opening the fridge door unnecessarily.

• Never put hot food directly into the fridge or freezer, allow it to cool on the side first.

A fridge with the door open showing only a few items inside