Oven, stove or microwave?: This is how energy-efficient cooking works

Cooking, warming up, baking - many things can be prepared in one way or another.

Oven, stove or microwave?: This is how energy-efficient cooking works

Cooking, warming up, baking - many things can be prepared in one way or another. But what uses more energy? When is the stovetop, oven, toaster or microwave more worthwhile?

Actually, it is a question of taste or convenience whether you let vegetables sizzle as oven vegetables or as pan-fried vegetables. But now it can also be a question of saving energy, which form of preparation you choose.

Consumer advocates explain how energy can be used more efficiently in the kitchen.

If you want to use up leftover vegetables, you can put them in the oven, but you can also throw them in the pan. But what uses more energy?

"The oven needs about twice as much energy as the stovetop," calculates Gerhild Loer, who works in the energy department at the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia. The reason: "Heating up the large baking chamber takes much longer and is not as efficient as a pot on a stovetop," says Loer.

"The oven heats food via air and therefore needs more energy," explains Norbert Endres, energy consultant for the Bavarian consumer advice center. In contrast, the contact with the heat is more direct in the pan. "But it's also crucial whether there's a lid on the pan or not. Because without a lid, a lot of the heat is lost because it simply escapes upwards," says Endres.

When it comes to the power requirements for ovens, Endres again sees a huge difference between newer and older ovens: "Older ovens consume four times more than younger ones." The energy consultant gives an example. If you bake a pizza in a very old tube, you have to reckon with a consumption of up to 1.6 kilowatt hours. A medium-old device in energy class A, around 10 years old, consumes around 0.8 kilowatt hours, modern devices with energy efficiency label A only 0.4 kilowatt hours.

These are average values, with the lion's share of consumption occurring in the first few minutes, especially when baking pizza - until the target (baking) temperature is reached.

If I want to bake rolls, is it better to use an oven or a toaster?

The toaster works with radiant heat and is closer to the food. It takes about a minute and is therefore quite economical to use. The oven, on the other hand, needs many minutes for the same result and requires more electrical power.

Is it better to reheat food from the day before in the microwave or on the stovetop?

"The microwave heats directly via water molecules. It was originally developed for classic heating, so that it works more efficiently," says energy consultant Endres. His colleague from NRW adds: "However, the pot can be just as efficient for large quantities of more than 500 grams if you otherwise have to start the microwave several times for the individual portions."

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