Slow cooker vs oven operating costs show reason for sales boom

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Households are scrambling to save money wherever they can, espeically when it comes to reducing energy consumption.

As a result, many are buying energy-saving kitchen appliances, including air fryers which have seen a huge boom in interest and sales.

The slow cooker. is not being talked abiut quite as much at the moment but it’s popularity is also on the rise.  Is it, though, cheaper to run than an oven? And does it use less energy?

The short answer is yes. 

According to Utilita, on the current price cap, slow cookers cost 16p a day to run, which is less than half the price of a gas or electric cooker, making them one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market.

Uswitch estimates the average slow cooker uses around 1.3 kWh over eight hours of cooking time.

However, the typical electric oven uses much more energy—between 2.0 and 2.2 kWh.

Ahead of the new energy price cap, it is clear why people are buying slow cookers.

If you have recently purchased one and are struggling for meal ideas, why not check out some of our budget recipes below?

Cajun pasta

This dish is versatile, warming and comforting.

You can add different vegetables, or maybe some chopped up halloumi for a veggie twist, or for a budget-friendly protein hit, try defrosting and dicing a couple of frozen chicken breasts.

The basic version is delicious on its own, but feel free to experiment with different fillings – it is a great way to use up leftover veg such as broccoli or cauliflower.

Serves: Four

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 3 hours

Cost per portion: 80p


  • 2x red onions
  • 2x bell peppers – any colour
  • 300g dried pasta
  • 3 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp soft cheese 
  • 35g of grated cheddar


  1. Slice peppers and onions into large, evenly sized chunks
  2. Fry them off in a drizzle of oil with 1 tbsp of the cajun seasoning – tip into the slow cooker bowl
  3. If adding halloumi, chicken, or extra vegetables for filling, fry this off in another tbsp of the seasoning and add to the slow cooker
  4. Cover with the stock, and mix in the final spoon of seasoning, if desired. If you prefer a milder spice level, skip this final spoon of seasoning.
  5. Pop the lid onto the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hours.
  6. Tip the pasta into the slow cooker, stir in to ensure the liquid covers the pasta, and cook for another 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg, cream cheese and grated cheddar together in a jug to combine.
  8. Switch off the slow cooker and remove the lid. Stir in the egg and cheese mixture until the sauce is smooth and thick.

This recipe can also be frozen – just defrost on the day you want to use it and reheat on the stove with a spot of boiled water to loosen the sauce again.


This dish can be prepped in advance and is brilliant to have on-hand in the freezer for a busy weeknight.

Perfect on jacket potatoes, on nachos, inside burritos, or simply with your favourite rice, this easy-prep meal has plenty of leftover potential, without getting boring.

Serves: Four

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours on high, or 4 hours on low

Cost per portion: £1.19 – though many of the ingredients such as the frozen vegetables, stock and spices can be used in other recipes once you have them.


  • 125g Frozen onions
  • 125g Frozen peppers
  • 1 tin baked beans
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1 tin lentils
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 vegetable or beef stock cube
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1tsp paprika


  1. Fry off the onions and peppers until browned – pop them into the slow cooker
  2. In a jug, mix up the stock cube with 175ml boiling water, the tomato puree and spices
  3. Drain and rinse the lentils and kidney beans in a sieve and pop them into the slow cooker
  4. Tip in the baked beans (including sauce) and chopped tomatoes into the slow cooker
  5. Add in the stock, tomato puree and spice mixture – stir all ingredients to combine
  6. Pop the lid on and cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 4 hours

Lentil curry

This mildly-spiced curry is healthy and suitable for the whole family, using just store cupboard staples – once this recipe is in your repertoire it is sure to become a firm favourite.

Like our other recipes, this one also freezes well if you are only cooking for one or two people.

Serves: Four

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 4 hours on high

Cost per portion: £1.15


  • 125g Frozen onions
  • 150g frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 tin lentils
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 80ml coconut milk


  1. Fry off the onions until browned
  2. Mince the ginger and garlic cloves and add them to the frying pan
  3. Add in the curry powder and garam masala, fry for a further 2 minutes and tip into the slow cooker
  4. Drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the slow cooker
  5. Tip in the tomatoes and stock, and stir to combine
  6. Cook on high with the lid on for 4 hours
  7. Squeeze the water out of the defrosted spinach
  8. Turn off the slow cooker and stir in the coconut milk and spinach
  9. Serve with rice, roasted vegetables, a jacket potato or flatbread

To make this curry extra fragrant, try tossing in a teaspoon of cumin seeds while frying the onions – they smell delicious.

Easy bolognese

This weeknight staple is a recipe every family should master – not only is making your own bolognese much healthier than using ready meals or jarred sauces which can contain a lot of sugar and oil – it can work out much cheaper.

Serves: Four

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Cost per portion: 84p with beef mince, £1.18 with Quorn, 56p with lentils


  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 500g of beef mince or Quorn mince – or tin of lentils to really squeeze the price per portion
  • 2 beef or vegetable stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  1. Fry off the peppers and onions until browned
  2. Mince the garlic and add to the pan
  3. Add in your mince of choice or drained and rinsed lentils at this stage
  4. Mix the stock cubes with 300ml boiling water and the tomato puree and stir into the pan
  5. Add the mixed herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally
  7. Serve with your favourite pasta

Source: Read Full Article