Energy-Saving Tips for Thanksgiving

Make your meal energy efficient.

Did you know Thanksgiving is one of the most unusual days of the year in terms of energy usage? On a typical day, there’s a small peak in energy use in the morning as people wake up and get ready for the day. Then there’s a higher peak in the evening when everyone comes home from work. On Thanksgiving, however, all the cooking and baking leads to a morning-to-midday spike in energy use. But there are several simple ways to manage your usage. Follow these tips year-round to save energy!

A closeup of a Thanksgiving feast, complete with a golden turkey and all the sides.
Before cooking

  • When choosing a turkey, don’t buy one that’s larger than what you will need. A smaller turkey takes less time to cook. Also, cooking your stuffing separately reduces the turkey’s cooking time in the oven.
  • For meal prep, gather all the ingredients from your refrigerator and freezer in one or two trips. The more you open and close those appliances, the more cold air will escape, forcing them to work harder and use more energy. 

​When cooking

  • When using an electric oven, cook as much of the meal at one time as possible. For sides, foods with different temperatures can often be cooked at the same time at one temperature. Variations of 25 degrees still produce good results and save energy.
  • When cooking on a stovetop, make sure lids on pots and pans are snug to help keep in heat. This will help to shorten cooking time.
  • When roasting or baking, avoid opening the oven door to make frequent progress checks. Each time the door is opened, heat escapes.
  • For smaller dishes, use your microwave instead of your oven whenever possible. Microwaves draw less than half the power of a regular oven and they cook for a much shorter period of time. 

When cleaning up

  • Allow hot foods and liquids to cool off before placing them in your refrigerator. Hot foods in a fridge force it to work harder and use more energy to maintain temperature.
  • When finished cooking, don’t use your oven’s self-cleaning cycle unless a major cleaning job is needed. If you decide you need to use the oven’s self-cleaning feature, start the cycle right after cooking while the oven is still hot.
  • When it comes to the dishes, it’s better to use a little energy. Handwashing uses more energy and water than running your dishwasher—run it when it’s full.
And if your stove or oven uses natural gas, make sure to ventilate. When you’re operating a gas stove or oven for hours, it’s important to use a vent hood. If you don’t have a vent hood that vents to the outside, crack a window.

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published: Nov-16-2023