Christmas is a time filled with cheer and good food, with many families across the UK going all-out with a festive feast on the big day itself.

Now, new analysis from British Gas has revealed just how much energy households will use cooking a traditional Christmas dinner on Tuesday, including data on yuletide favourites such as turkey, pigs in blankets and Brussels sprouts.

The traditional turkey dinner and trimmings, including roast vegetables, stuffing, pigs in blankets and sprouts uses 56kWh of energy to cook – the same amount that an average household would normally use in a whole week!

A Christmas pudding uses the most energy to prepare, taking 15kWh to steam on the hob. In close second is glazed ham, which needs 14kWh to be cooked to perfection, followed by the star of the show – the turkey – which uses 10kWh to be roasted into a delicious golden treat.

For the energy conscious festive feaster, a fruit trifle is one of the least energy intensive dishes to make, using just under 1kwh of energy to prepare the entire dessert.

The energy profile of a Christmas dinner

Festive fayre Energy needed to prepare (kWh) The energy equivalent to
Christmas pudding 15.25 Powering an LCD TV for 21 days
Glazed ham 14.13 Powering a games console for 6.5 days
Roast turkey 10.80 Powering a desktop computer for 4.5 days
Roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips 5.11 Washing clothes in a machine for 10.5 hours
Stuffing 2.44 Using a coffee machine for three hours
Red cabbage 1.88 Ironing for an hour and a half
Yorkshire pudding 1.80 Using a toaster for an hour
Carrot and parsnip soup 1.13 Using a hairdryer for an hour
Pigs in blankets 1.2 Microwaving for an hour
Brussels sprouts 0.75 Powering an alarm clock radio for 15 days
Trifle 0.85 Lighting a room with a LED Bulb for 6 days
Turkey gravy 0.50 Charging a phone for 4 days
Total amount of energy 55.84


British Gas Smart Energy Expert Tony Sansom, who installs smart meters in homes across Gateshead, said: “We spend weeks planning for our Christmas dinner, researching new recipes and buying food in advance, and with a terrific turkey and wine-derful trimmings we pretty much can guarantee a happy family come dinner time.

“What we never think of, though, is just how much energy all of that food takes to cook. Of course, Christmas happens just once a year, but it’s important that we consider how much energy we use in our homes every day.

“Smart meters are a great way of monitoring your energy consumption. They come with a smart energy monitor that shows how much energy is being used in pounds and pence, in near real time, helping to put you in control of your energy use and spend. 

“They also mean an end to estimated bills and manual meter readings as they automatically send readings to your supplier, so you don’t have to.”

“Here are my top five cooking tips for being energy smart in the kitchen this Christmas:

  1. “While the turkey and potatoes need to be oven cooked to perfection, there may be some dishes, such as vegetables, that are just as nice heated in the microwave which generally uses much less energy
  2. “Turn the oven off ten minutes before your timer buzzes – the heat from the oven will continue to cook your food
  3. “Make sure you only use the water you need when boiling vegetables on the hob and use the right pan size for your stove
  4. “Try not to leave the fridge door open for too long while you’re rushing around the kitchen this Christmas – it lets warm air in and means your fridge has to work harder to keep the temperature cool
  5. “When loading the dishwasher at the end of the meal, make sure it’s completely full before turning it on in order to save energy.”

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