Did you know that simply changing the way you cook your food could save you as much as £600 a year?

Although it’s fairly well known that certain methods of cooking are cheaper than others, most of us don’t know how much turning on our oven or boiling a kettle really costs.

So with steep living costs continuing to pile on the financial pressure, research carried out by frozen foods company Iceland and energy supplier Utilita reveals the top five ways you can cut your energy costs when you cook.

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1. Choose the most energy-efficient appliance for the job

Choose the most energy-efficient appliance for the job

Nearly half (42%) of Brits admit that their go-to cooking method is their oven, which unfortunately for your pocket is the least energy efficient and most expensive cooking appliance to run. If these households switched to an airfryer or slow cooker, they could reduce their normal cooking costs by between 60% and 90%.

Below is a breakdown of how much each appliance costs to run for the average daily amount of time we typically cook for.

ApplianceAverage daily usage timeCost per day to runCost per week to runCost per month to runCost per year to run
Electric cooker15 mins28p£1.95£8.46£101.48
Dual cooker (part electric, part gas)15 mins24p£1.67£7.23£86.80
Gas cooker15 mins10p£0.71£3.06£36.67
Slow cooker90 mins9p£0.63£2.74£32.89
Air fryer10 mins8p£0.56£2.42£29.03
Microwave20 mins5p£0.32£1.38£16.53

Source: Utilita

Of course, if you don’t have an air fryer, slow cooker or microwave, then you’ll need to factor in the cost of buying one of these, but with the amount of money you could save in energy costs, hopefully, you should make this back in a relatively short period of time.

A note on air fryers

Air fryers have become incredibly popular over the last few years, which means there are now a huge number of options available. They usually range in cost from around £35 to over £200, and come in a variety of sizes, but they can also take some getting used to.

As their name suggests, air fryers work by circulating hot air around your food, effectively frying your food with air, which means they are better suited to cooking some foods than others. For example, making roast potatoes, cooking pre-cooked frozen food like onion rings or chicken pieces, or roasting vegetables are all great options, but an air fryer might not work so well on raw leafy greens or a piece of fish as these can dry out quickly. 

When you’re looking at air fryers, it’s important to get one that will be the right size for the amount of food you’re cooking. Air fryer cooking baskets are a lot smaller than a conventional oven, so if you’re cooking for more than two people, you’ll need to get a larger model, or you’ll have to cook in batches, which will push up your cooking costs. You can find some of the best air fryers available in our guide 13 best air fryers 2024.

2. Batch cook multiple meals

Batch cook multiple meals

Batch cooking multiple meals at once can not only save you time but could also cut your energy costs by nearly £158 a year.

You can batch cook and freeze a wide array of food, whether that’s whole dishes like soups, bolognese or curries, or just components like mashed potatoes or roasted veg.

Batch cooking is a great way to not only save money on energy costs, but can be a really useful way of reducing your food waste and keeping your shopping costs down. You can easily bulk out most batch-cooked meals by adding any spare diced vegetables you’ve got to the mix, or chucking in tins of pulses and chickpeas. For some more ideas, have a look at our article 8 big-batch meals that will last all week, and for other ways to reduce your food bills, check out our guide 21 ways to save money on your food bills.

3. Use the right size pan with a lid

It might sound obvious, but cooking with the right size pan and lid could save you as much as £72 a year. 

Using the right size pan means you won’t waste time and energy heating up water or space unnecessarily. 

Don’t worry if you’ve got pans that don’t have lids, you don’t need to buy anything new. You can use anything heatproof as a lid for a pan, whether that’s a frying pan, baking tray or even some foil. You might be surprised to know that in many professional kitchens, their lid of choice is a baking tray.

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4. Simmer water rather than boiling it

When you’re cooking, how many of us really pay attention to whether our food is gently boiling or simmering? You might feel more inclined to keep a closer eye on it once you learn that keeping your water at a simmer could save you £68 a year.

Of course, you can get into the nitty gritty of the science of cooking, but generally, unless you are trying to reduce a sauce, there’s really no need to maintain a rapid boil. Once water reaches boiling point, it won’t cook your food any faster if it’s boiling simmering, and all you end up doing is make the water evaporate faster.

5. Don’t overfill the kettle

Don’t overfill the kettle

This is an age-old money saving technique, but only boiling the amount of water you actually need could save you £19 over the course of the year.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Brits admit to overfilling the kettle at least occasionally, according to the Office of National Statistics so if you are a habitual over-filler you aren’t alone. 

If you do find yourself overfilling the kettle, don’t let this hot water go to waste. As we start heading towards autumn, you can use any leftover hot water to fill a hot water bottle to keep you warm, or one of our thrifty Rest Less members suggest pouring the water into a thermos to keep warm for later.

You can find more ways to reduce your outgoings by making a few simple changes in our guide 32 frugal living tips. You can read about other ways to save on energy costs in our article Energy saving tips: how to reduce your bills.

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