Wondering how efficient different cooking methods are (for the sake of example, assume a dish in a cast iron pot heated by stovetop vs. oven).

Stove seems to use less energy than an oven (as the heating elements are smaller), but both of the former seem to leak a lot of heat into the kitchen. The oven presumably uses a lot more energy because it's bigger, but since it's much better insulated (assuming you don't open the oven door a ton) I am guessing a lot more heat actually goes towards cooking the food vs. heating the kitchen area.

I've cooked the same dish in oven and stovetop, and it seems like the stovetop actually heats my kitchen more (it's a hot summer, so I notice additional heat), but not sure if that's a figment of my imagination or not. I'm trying to barely run my air conditioning to save energy, unsure how to balance that against also trying to cook my own food.

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    Electric resistance, electric induction, gas, or other? – Jean-Paul Calderone Jul 25 '18 at 14:03
  • good question. regular electric stove and oven (not induction). – Jamie PW Jul 25 '18 at 19:41
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    A tricky thing making the comparison here will be determining the duty cycle of each appliance. It's likely that all three of these will cycle on and off as they perform the cooking task. A 100W appliance with a 50% duty cycle will may get the job done more efficiently than a 75W appliance with a 100% duty cycle. I suspect it will be hard for anyone to know how your particular appliances compare. Perhaps an answer describing a method for measuring this yourself could be constructed, though ... – Jean-Paul Calderone Jul 26 '18 at 0:20

If the toaster oven is an option, it would generally be more efficient than a full-sized oven (unless the toaster oven is on it's last legs and the oven is a brand-new version, or something to that effect). Because the toaster oven is much smaller, it would require much less energy in order to create enough heat to cook your food, whereas the full-sized oven needs to heat the entire inside in order to fully cook your food. Plus, it takes much less time to heat up a toaster oven, and releases much less heat as it cools back down.

  • Most of the inside of an oven is just air. Air has a very low specific heat compared to any food you might want to prepare. Therefore the volume of the oven can likely be disregarded. Apart from air, there is the structure of the oven itself. This is more likely to be significant but there are confounding factors such as cook time and insulation. – Jean-Paul Calderone Aug 15 '18 at 18:37
  • A regular oven has much more mass to heat. And in a warm area , you put the toaster out side and and do not need the energy used by the AC to cool the heavy mass of the oven . In any case the toaster oven is more efficient. – blacksmith37 Aug 22 '18 at 20:29

If you can, using a covered container in a microwave generally has the highest efficiency.


Toaster oven: small counter top appliance running off < 15A at 110v supply.

Oven: larger appliance with multiple cubic foot capacity.

Stove: appliance with one or more hot plates on top.

In North America most of the time the stove and the oven are a single appliance, usually on a 30A, 220v (6 kVA) breaker.

Stove/Ovens also come in gas versions. These are almost always much more efficient than anything electic.

For electric oven vs toaster oven, it mostly depends on how long the cook cycle is. Our oven takes half a forever to get to temp, but, once there stays hot for hours after turning it off. It's great for cooking turkeys, baked beans....Short cooking items (fish fillets, spring rolls) are more efficient in the toaster oven.

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