Calculating the energy efficiency of different cooking modes is complex, as it is influenced by many different factors. A study in the scientific journal Food Policy has noted that it is important to consider energy conversion when calculating efficiency. Converting coal-powered energy into electricity, for example, is stated to be less energy efficient than converting energy produced from the combustion of natural gas. Ben Morelli summarises the findings of the Food Policy study in the Yale Environment Review, suggesting that – generally – the most energy efficient means of cooking on the stove is by cooking on an electric stove (using electricity derived from natural gas).
In terms of using other appliances, generally modern devices such as rice cookers are more energy efficient than using an oven/stove. Pressure cookers save time and energy by cooking food at very high temperatures. According to the Food Policy study, microwaves tend to be more energy efficient than using an oven/stove, but only when used to heat small amounts of food for a short period.
New, increasingly energy efficient appliances are always being developed. See, for instance, how the Welsh company Clyne Energy have designed a ‘LoCooker’ heater that uses steam to minimise energy loss.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 'Energy Saving Tips', SmarterHouse (2015), accessed at: https://smarterhouse.org/cooking/energy-saving-tips
GOV.UK, 'Energy efficient cooking: LoCooker steams ahead' (16 September 2014), accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/energy-efficient-cooking-locooker-steams-ahead
Hager, T. J. and R. Morawicki, 'Energy consumption during cooking in the residential sector of developed nations: A review', Food Policy, 40, (June 2013) 54-63, accessed at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306919213000201?via%3Dihub
Morelli, B., 'How cooking method and practice affects energy consumption', Yale Environment Review (January 2014), accessed at: https://environment-review.yale.edu/how-cooking-method-and-practice-affects-energy-consumption-0