Turkey Day Showdown: Which Appliances Use the Most Electricity?

man pulling turkey out of oven

There are certain Thanksgiving day debates that may never be settled: Best side dish? Favorite dessert? How many pieces of pie are allowed in one sitting?

But there is one debate we can put to bed once and for all: Which kitchen appliances use the most electricity?

Yep, whether you’re cooking for two or twenty-two, preparing an epic feast consumes energy like most people consume leftovers. But hey, that’s the way it goes during Thanksgiving, right? Not necessarily — we’re here to help you save!

Here are the kitchen appliances that use the most electricity — and how you can still save energy.

Before we begin…
While plenty of kitchen appliances use quite a bit of electricity, they all pale in comparison to a home’s biggest energy users — the HVAC (1,450 kWh/month average) and water heater (310 kWh/month average). So if you want to make the biggest difference in your home’s energy usage, switch to an ENERGY STAR®-certified HVAC or Heat Pump Water Heater. You’ll thank yourself later.

Your refrigerator comes in first.
The biggest electricity user in your kitchen, and the third-biggest home energy consumer overall, is your refrigerator. At 205 kWh/month it takes quite a bit of power to keep your food cool. However, there are some things you can do to save electricity. For example, you should always keep your fridge well-stocked. Have a second fridge in the garage? Unplug your spare when it’s not in use (just be sure to leave the doors open and clean it regularly to prevent mold). Best thing you can do? Upgrade to an Energy Star-certified model, which uses up to 15% less energy.

The oven range brings the heat.
No surprise here; the appliance that cooks the food also consumes a fair amount of electricity, about 58 kWh/month. However big your feast, you can still do some easy things to save. Make sure your pots and pans match the size of your burner, and put a lid over them so you can cook at a lower temp. In the oven, try to cook as many items as you can at once. Use glass or ceramic cookware, which hold heat better than metal. And, most importantly, keep the oven door closed.

Be diligent about your dishwasher.
Cleaning up the meal uses almost as much electricity as preparing it, about 30 kWh/month. Fortunately, there are a few ways to save energy when doing the dishes. Make sure your dishwasher is full (shouldn’t be a problem on Thanksgiving). And set your dishwasher to energy conservation mode to use half the water (and thus, half the electricity used to heat it). This last one may not be ideal during Thanksgiving, but it’ll save you a bunch throughout the year.

Stay mindful about the microwave. Be conscious about your crockpot.
Your microwave uses only about 16 kWh/month, while your crockpot uses even less, only about 1.5 kWh! Given that’s a fraction of what your oven uses, our advice might surprise you — you should use your crockpot and microwave more! Think of ways to adjust your recipes so they can cook in the crockpot and microwave instead of the oven. We’re not asking you to stick a turkey in the microwave, but certain side dishes can cook just fine in the microwave.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we also wanted to say “thank you” for doing your part to power a clean energy future.