top of page

How much energy does it really waste leaving the lid off a pan?

To see lots of other Savvy Stuff Blog articles click here


When boiling water in a pan on a hob (such as vegetables) or other very watery contents leaving the lid off uses around 50% more energy.

This is unlikely to be true for all hob saucepan cooking. Simmering pans and pans with contents that are less watery will probably waste less with the lid off though is still likely to be worthwhile.

Keeping lids on greatly reduces the amount of water boiled off into the air in the kitchen, and so reduces condensation and damp issues, another strong reason to kip lids on.


The recommendation that we put lids on saucepans as a way of saving energy is widely communicated. But how much energy does leaving a lid off actually waste?

Until now I've not seen any hard figures on this.

Very helpfully, a properly thought through test has been done by someone in this case testing boiling a pan of potatoes both with and without a lid.

The experiment showed that cooking with the lid off used 60% more energy.


Comparing to other types of pan cooking

Boiling anything such as water (or a pan contents that are very watery) it will always be more energy efficient to leave the pan lid on.

When cooking pan contents that are less watery (such as soups, porridge, gravy, custard, stews etc) I would expect there to be less energy wasted with the lid off, though still significant.

The reason is these sorts of foods don't conduct heat so well and so won't transfer the heat from the intense hob heat at the bottom of the pan to the top so easily and so won't encourage water to evaporate off the top so quickly.



So perhaps, until other tests or data emerge, a 50% is a good rule of thumb to assume for most pans that are boiling, cooking quite vigorously, or are simmering at a high temperature.

Certainly if you hover your hand over an open pan cooking you can feel the heat coming off, that is basically wasted heat and not going into your food!


Do subscribe for updates if you like what you've read here.

I run this website as a hobby, because I care about this stuff, and do it for no commercial purpose. If you have valued what you've seen, please tell other people about it.

If you have any other suggestions for additions or changes to site content do please let me know. While I have made every effort to ensure that the information contained on this website is correct, I cannot take responsibility for errors or omissions.

All content on the site should be treated as information and not advice. You should take professional advice where appropriate to different site articles.


Mark Thompson

Get Energy Savvy - simple practical home energy efficiency information

620 views1 comment

Related Posts

See All

1 Comment

Oct 16, 2022

Good stuff, thank you.

bottom of page