As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, saving money has never been more important.

Inflation has reached 10.1% according to the figures, with food and fuel among the rising costs.

Is it cheaper to use an oven or a microwave to cook a meal?


Is it cheaper to use an oven or a microwave to cook a meal?Credit: Getty

But you may not know how much everyday foods add up to your energy bills – and that using the right method can help you save.

Will Owen, energy expert at price comparison website, has found out how much it can cost to cook everything from casseroles to mashed potatoes when heated in different ways.

But it may depend on the meal you are cooking which one is the most efficient to use.

He said: “Cooking in the oven is one of the most common ways to prepare dinner, but it is often more expensive to use than other kitchen appliances.”

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For example, Uswitch research found that preparing a baked or boiled potato is cheaper in the microwave, costing just 3p. This compares to 27p on an electric oven and 14p on an electric hob.

And it only takes 12 minutes to cook them in the microwave, so if you’re looking for a meal on the go, this is your best bet.

If you’re looking to cook a hearty casserole but don’t know whether to use an electric oven or a slow cooker, it’s the slow cooker that works out the cheapest, at 22p.

It also uses 0.80 kilowatts of power, compared to 1.94 kilowatts.

The downside of the slow cooker is that it will take four times as long to make the casserole.

But you can always set it to cook in the morning, go out, and then it’ll be ready when you get home.

Will said: “Slow cookers tend to be the most efficient – they cook food on low power for a few hours and come with the added benefit of providing a fully cooked meal when you’re done.”

If you are cooking chicken in breadcrumbs, it will be cheaper to do it in an air fryer than in an electric oven.

It will only set you back 11p to cook and it only needs to be in there for 39 minutes as opposed to 49 minutes in the oven.

Will said: “Air fryers, like microwaves, can be cheaper to operate than an oven because they take less time to heat up and have a shorter cooking time.”

In general, microwaves use the least amount of energy compared to electric ovens, electric hobs, slow cookers and air fryers.

Will said that while microwaves tend to “come out on top” when looking at cooking for less, they don’t always deliver the best results.

He said: “So either choose carefully which foods you can microwave without sacrificing enjoyment or, if you really want to cut your energy bill, create a menu that means you can make your microwave a cooking staple your

“There are even cookbooks dedicated to microwave cooking to help you do this.”

Using a smart meter can help you cut costs, too, Will said.

“Smart meters are the easiest way to see how your energy use is fluctuating in real time.”

You can use a smart meter to compare the cost of cooking your favorite meals using different appliances to find out which one is the cheapest.

An energy monitoring smart plug can also help you monitor how much it costs to use your fridge or slow cooker each time.

More ways to save energy costs around the home

It’s not just kitchen appliances that can see your bills pile up.

In the rest of the home, you should be careful using certain appliances that can see costs rise.

Running air conditioning can cost homeowners upwards of £130 a month, while electric heaters and dryers can be expensive to run too.

Here’s how you can save on your dryer and washer running costs.

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Games consoles, smart TVs and lamps aren’t cheap to use either – especially if you leave them on standby.

We previously revealed the eight cheapest household items, including vacuum cleaners, microwaves and lawn mowers.

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