Cooking’s hidden costs: How to work out your energy usage in the kitchen

Looking for ways to cut energy costs at home? Find out how to calculate the price of cooking your favourite meals.

When rustling up your favourite dish at home, you usually think of the ingredients, essential kitchenware, and maybe the backup plan of a takeaway when things don’t pan out. Yet, an often overlooked expense subtly nibbling at your wallet is the electricity bill.

The energy experts at MakeMyHouseGreen undertook a study, diving deep into the concealed expenses of home-cooking. They analysed the energy consumption of popular kitchen appliances to pinpoint how much it genuinely costs to cook up a feast.

How much do kitchen appliance cost to run?

Here’s how much common kitchen appliance cost to run:

Cost of cookingkWh consumedCost Per Hour of UseAverage minutes of useTotal cost per average use
Oven3£0.9045£0.68
Hob1.95£0.592 x 20£0.39
Slow Cooker0.11£0.03480£0.26
Air fryer1.4£0.4225£0.18
Kettle2£0.602£0.02
Microwave0.8£0.244£0.02
(Current energy price per unit July to September 2023 – £0.30 per kWh)

While hourly cooking costs might initially seem steep, remember that appliances have varying usage times. For instance, though an hour on the hob might cost 59p, a typical meal – be it a steak or some boiled veg – rarely requires a full hour, bringing the cost closer to 20p.

Kitchen appliances to keep an eye on

The oven, demanding both high energy and long usage times, topped the list in terms of costs.

Llewellyn Kinch, CEO of MakeMyHouseGreen, advises, “Smart consumers should consider limiting oven usage. And when they do turn it on, why not maximise the heat by preparing multiple meals simultaneously?”

He adds, “Hobs might look pocket-friendly, but it’s typical to use more than one simultaneously. So, while one hob for 20 minutes might set you back by £0.20, using two doubles the cost.”

“Induction electric hobs tend to be more efficient than regular hobs and gas is cheapest, however as we transition towards electrification, the potential to power our kitchens using solar or other renewable energy sources opens up the opportunity for the greatest energy cost savings.”

Budget-friendly kitchen appliances

Some gadgets are remarkably kinder to the purse strings. The study highlighted non-traditional appliances, like microwaves, air fryers, and slow cookers, as the cost-saving champions.

Microwave meal enthusiasts will be glad to know a quick zap for 4 minutes will only cost just 2p.

Devices like air fryers and slow cookers are not only energy-efficient, but they also offer the convenience of making an entire meal in one go.

One quick hack is to boil your water in the kettle first – it’s quicker and cheaper. Doing so will only cost you 2p for 2 minutes, compared to a pricier 10p for 10 minutes on the hob.

Beware of hidden expenses when cooking at home

While cooking at home can be a delightful, cost-effective alternative to dining out, it’s vital to be aware of the hidden expenses. Consumers can make mindful choices about their cooking methods to save money. These alterations might seem minor, but savers will see them accumulate when they receive their bill at the end of the month.

Photo by Tina Dawson