Cooking Green: 15 Eco Tips for the Kitchen

green-cookingCooking green isn’t about recreating Dr. Suess’ famous eggs. Being a green cook means making earth-friendly choices in how we prepare our food. Luckily, it’s a recipe that we can follow for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

As eco-minded consumers, it’s easy to focus on the big money items — buying green appliances or building a green kitchen. But it’s the little things we do every day — like eating – that have the most impact on the environment. That’s why cooking green is such an important decision.

If you’ve got the money, there are some appliances that can make your cooking a darker shade of green. Using the right tool for the job, or in this case the right pot, is a really efficient way to start saving energy in the kitchen.

  • Induction stoves and ovens get hot faster and are more than twice as efficient at transferring heat than gas burners, and about 20% better than the electric options.
  • In addition to the convenience, slow cookers and crock pots are both “low-energy” ways to cook.
  • At the other extreme, pressure cookers are much faster ways to cook. Even better than saving time is saving energy. The only appliance more efficient at heating food is a microwave.

Start with a clean workspace. Have you ever heard someone say that they can’t cook in a dirty kitchen? Turns out it’s true. If cooking green is really your goal, then start by green cleaning.

  • A charred and black stovetop will absorb heat rather than pass it along to your pan.
  • Make that grease catcher shine. It’s the shiny surface that reflects heat and reduces cooking time.
  • Build-up on the coils of an electric stove can keep it from conducting heat efficiently.
  • Though not technically for cooking, this is also true for refrigerators. Be sure to clean the vents regularly.

Ready for the harsh truth? Behavior is probably the biggest energy waster in any kitchen. That means the thing stopping you from cooking green is you! Green cooking is more than energy-star appliances, it begins with how you cook.

Top Tips to start Cooking Green

  • Cover a boiling pot, it will boil in half the time.
  • Use flat-bottomed pans to maximize heat transmission.
  • Don’t use large pots for small meals.
  • Cooking for one? Try the toaster oven.
  • Turn the heat just before you’re done cooking. The residual heat will finish the job.

Our green habits can also be improved by what we cook, not just how we cook. Try these green ideas for eco-friendly cooking.

  • Leftovers take less energy to reheat. So, make enough for another meal.
  • One pot recipes, such as stews or casseroles, use less energy to cook and less energy to clean up. For extra points, store leftovers in the same pot whenever possible.
  • Add more raw foods. Veggies, salads and fruits require no cooking at all. Muy verde!

Armed with these cooking green tips, you’re sure to be the top chef at the next potluck. And if someone says that you’re pasta salad looks a little green, just say “thank you.”

About Barbara Holbrook

Barbara lives in Southern California where she writes about technology, design and smart ways to go green.


  1. THese are great eco living tips and we should all use some if not all of them. my favourit etips is to cover you pans while cooking. You will cook you food quicker and use less energy.

  2. Who knew?!! I’ve been a green cooker for years! I’ll have to show my hubby the one about putting lids on pots- I don’t think he believed me when I said it’s better LOL

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