How to save money on energy when cooking your festive dinners

Dreading the cost of Christmas? We share quick tips to help reduce your energy costs when cooking for friends and family.

The cost of living crisis continues to impact many households in the UK, leading to increased scrutiny on energy consumption, especially in the kitchen.

During the holiday season, when large and elaborate meals are the norm, it’s important to find creative ways to cook without using excessive energy. 

To help consumers, we contacted Michelle Stanley, finance expert and founder of The William Stanley Group, who shares tips and tricks to help save on energy costs while still enjoying festive and delicious meals.

Four energy-efficient cooking appliances

The first way you can save money when cooking festive meals is by using more energy-efficient appliances. Here are four to consider.

1) Pressure cookers

A pressure cooker can cook food much faster than other methods, using less energy. It’s great for cooking meats, stews, and soups.

2) Slow cookers

Although it cooks over a long period, a slow cooker uses very little energy. It’s perfect for casseroles, soups, and stews.

3) Microwaves

The microwave is much more energy-efficient for smaller portions or reheating than the oven.

4) Steamers

A steamer requires less energy and water than boiling, and it’s a great way to cook vegetables while retaining their nutrients.

Three energy efficient cooking tips

As well as opting for more energy efficient cooking appliances, there are other ways you can save power when whipping up a feast.

1) Batch cook and cut food into smaller pieces

Cook larger quantities at once and freeze portions for later. This way, you’re using the oven or stove less frequently. And don’t forget to cut into smaller pieces as they cook faster, saving energy.

2) Cook one-pot meals and use lids

Recipes that require only one pot or pan can significantly reduce cooking time and energy use. Always use lids on pots and pans to retain heat and cook food faster.

3) Avoid pre-rinsing dishes

If you’re using a dishwasher, there’s no need to pre-rinse dishes. Modern dishwashers are capable of handling dirty dishes.

Energy-efficient recipe ideas

So what dishes are you planning for your family gatherings over the festive season? Here are four energy-efficient recipe ideas:

  1. Vegetarian options: Vegetarian recipes often require less cooking time, making them more energy-efficient. Consider a hearty vegetable stew or a bean-based chili.
  2. Cold dishes: Salads and cold platters require no cooking at all. Get creative with fresh vegetables, grains, and proteins like canned beans or boiled eggs.
  3. Grill or BBQ: If weather permits, grilling outside can be a fun way to prepare food without using indoor appliances.
  4. Opt for desserts that don’t need baking: Choose desserts that don’t require baking, like trifle, fruit salad, or no-bake cheesecake.

Maximise your holiday energy savings with these quick tips

And finally, here are three quick tips that will help maximise your energy savings over the holidays:

  1. Cook during off-peak hours: If energy costs vary by time of day, plan to cook during off-peak hours.
  2. Use energy-efficient lighting: Make sure the kitchen is equipped with LED or other energy-efficient lighting.
  3. Use a thermos for hot drinks: Instead of boiling water multiple times, boil it once and keep the water hot in a thermos.

Having a great festive season doesn’t have to break the bank during the holidays. Instead, get creative and save money while still treating yourself to nice family meals.

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