The Cooking Method Variability
- minimize energy when cooking

Did you know that how you cook makes a big difference to your electric bill ?

By making a few changes, you can easily cut your cooking electricity in half. And it's not rocket science, either. You simply minimize use of energy drainers, while maximizing use of energy savers.

The biggest energy drainer is the oven. Depending on the temperature, the oven can use as much as 6 kWh per hour. So the delicious pot roast that takes 3 hours to cook can add $2.40 to your electric bill.

And suppose you just cook a couple of baked potatoes ? If you use the oven for 90 minutes, add another $1.00.

While the stove top uses slightly less energy than the oven, it's still a big drainer. Also, the higher the temperature, the greater the cost.

On the other end of the scale is the best energy saver, the slow cooker.

The slow cooker, or crock pot, uses just a fraction of the electricity as compared to the oven or stove top. In fact, the slow cooker costs only 2 cents per hour. So an 8 hour pot roast costs about 16 cents to cook.

There are lots of tips and tricks that involve the slow cooker. But that is another article.
[see The Slow Cooker Equality]

The microwave is more efficient than the oven or stove because the cooking time is typically less. For example, oven cooking for 35 minutes is equivalent to around 15 minutes for the microwave. On a straight per-minute basis, though, the microwave is only marginally better than the oven.

Small stand-alone appliances, like the toaster oven, offer some savings over the stove or conventional oven. Similarly, you'll save money with food specific cookers, such as the bread maker.

If you're thinking of switching to the non-electric backyard grill to lower costs, forget it. Nothing wrong with grilling, but once you factor in charcoal, lighter fluid, or other fuel costs, you won't save any money.

The general strategy is to use the oven only for preparing foods that take 20 minutes or less. As for the stove, the goal is no more than 15 minutes.

You can stretch your oven electricity by cooking the last several minutes with the oven turned off. If the recipe calls for 20 minutes of oven time, turn it off at 15 minutes and use the existing heat. Just make sure not to open the oven door, or you'll let the heat out.

Stretching doesn't work as well on the stove top because there's no door, but you can still coast for a minute or so.

And finally, the list below sums it all up.

Energy Usage By Cooking Method
Method Energy Usage Recommendations
conventional oven very high minimize use, 20 minute limit, turn off last 5 minutes
stove top very high minimize use, 15 minute limit, turn off last 1 minute
microwave medium more cost effective than conventional oven or stove
toaster oven medium more cost effective than conventional oven or stove
food specific medium more cost effective than conventional oven or stove
slow cooker very low maximize use, absolutely most cost effective option