Image above: Ninja Foodi AF400UK 9.5L Dual-Zone Air Fryer, £219 @ John Lewis
Article by Janice Morley
With winter energy bills looming, it is time to consider household costs. We begin our energy saving series with the cost of cooking, we investigate appliances to discover which save the most energy and money.
Air Fryer: Best for one to two people
Typical cost of a 600g chicken breast: £0.16
An air fryer works like a small conventional fan oven but because it is a smaller space than a conventional oven it is cheaper to run. To save maximum energy do not open while cooking. If you like your food crispy it gives chicken a nice crisp skin, and chips a tasty crunch. Of course you have to buy an air fryer. There are a wide range of prices and sizes from £30 – £260 so do your homework before you buy – the bigger the air fryer the more space you get. Consider the outlay, it is an extra piece of equipment in the kitchen that you have to pay for.
Microwave: best for reheating and quick cooking
Typical cost of a 400g lasagne: £0.04
Instead of heating the air around it, your microwave directly heats the food. This makes it very quick, reducing cooking time and cost. Ideal to reheat small portions from a batch cook done in the oven. Microwaves are a healthy way of cooking as opposed to hobs which lose nutrition into the boiling water. They do not crisp food, they do melt dishes that are not microwave safe and not big enough for cooking family meals.
Slow cooker: best for busy schedules and cheapest for larger amounts of food, and family meals.
Typical cost per use £0:32
Slow cookers are designed to cook food gradually over a long period of time. If you want to come home to a ready and nutritious meal, and be welcomed by the smell of a delicious casserole supper, this is the ideal cooking method. Just follow the recipe of your choice, chuck it all in before you go to work, set the dial on low and when you return in the evening it’s all done.
Twice the cost of air fryers but more versatile for batch cooking. The oven costs 32p to roast a chicken. The air fryer cost 15p.
Ovens are generally bigger than other cooking appliances so they will need more energy to heat up. This means a typical electric oven can be the most expensive cooking appliance. However an oven‘s cost is reduced if you use the space efficiently by cooking more food at the same time. Ovens are best for families, large groups of people and batch cooking for the freezer. Avoid opening the door during cooking as this just wastes energy and pushes the cost up.
Hobs – an electric hob on for 15 minutes will cost about 18p.
Using multiple plates costs more. Electric induction hobs concentrate the heat and are cheaper to use. Hobs are energy hungry. They are best for quick cooking and heating up liquids like soup. Lengthy cooking is cheaper in the oven but much cheaper in the slow cooker. Hobs are less versatile, frying food is not a healthy option, air fryers use very little oil and still get crispy, and if you do not like the smell of fried food, even with ventilation, then again turn to your cheaper air fryer.