Without energy, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be much to look forward to

A lengthy list of ingredients goes into every traditional holiday meal, and energy’s just about the least expensive.


We’re thankful we’re able to power holiday celebrations for more than one million customers. Without electricity and gas, cooking on Thanksgiving would be impractical at best and nearly impossible at worst.

The cost of a turkey feast changes every year. The same is true for the cost of energy needed to cook the meal. This year, the American Farm Bureau Federation figures the average Thanksgiving meal for 10 people will cost $49.87.

Depending on your appliances and where you live, the average electricity cost to make Thanksgiving this year is $1.69. If you are using gas appliances, the average cost is $0.43.

Thanksgiving meal Electricity cost Natural gas cost
16 lb. stuffed turkey roasted for 3.5 hours $0.96 $0.25
Pan of mashed potatoes cooked on the stove for 20 minutes $0.11 $0.02
Giblet gravy cooked on the stove for 10 minutes $0.06 $0.01
Dinner rolls baked for 30 minutes $0.14 $0.04
Green bean casserole baked for 30 minutes $0.14 $0.04
Two pumpkin pies baked for one hour $0.28 $0.07
Total energy cost $1.69 $0.43

Here are nine energy tips to make your Thanksgiving dinner prep and cleanup easier and faster.

  • Let the furnace rest. If your holiday cooking doesn’t heat up your house, your guests will. Turn your thermostat down three to five degrees to save energy while staying comfortable.
  • Skip the preheating. The turkey is traditionally stuffed early in the morning and roasted for hours. When cooking meats or dishes for several hours, there is no need to preheat your oven.
  • Use glass or ceramic pans. They heat faster than metal pans, and you can lower the temperature by 25 degrees, reducing energy use.
  • Cooking together saves energy. Cook as much of your meal at one time as possible. Foods with different cooking temperatures can be cooked together, if the temperature difference is less than 25 degrees.
  • Shut the oven door. This Thanksgiving, resist the urge to open the oven door and check the meal. Each opening of the door will decrease the temperature inside by 25 degrees. This means your oven has to use more energy to stay on temperature.
  • Coast to the finish. Food keeps cooking even after you turn off the burner. When food is almost ready, turn off the oven or burners and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.
  • Don’t overlook the microwave. Efficient microwaves use about half the energy of conventional ovens.
  • Clean while it’s hot. If your oven needs a self-cleaning cycle, do it while the oven is still hot.
  • Run a full load. Fill your dishwasher and you will use less hot water than doing them by hand.

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