Talking Turkey

A delicious Thanksgiving dinner on a family dinner table

Here’s something Walton EMC members can be thankful for this holiday season: Those priceless memories created around the Thanksgiving table with our family and friends come at a low price. The electricity it takes to cook a holiday meal for eight guests costs less than $1.50, according to estimates provided by the National Energy Education Development Project. 

First, let’s talk turkey. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says you should cook a thawed turkey of regular size for at least 4 hours. That takes roughly 8 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity – an electric oven set at 350 degrees draws 2 kilowatts per hour. The cost of electricity for a Walton EMC member to operate the oven for one hour is about 20 cents. So a turkey roasted for four hours costs just 80 cents in electricity.


A turkey roasted for four hours costs just 80 cents in electricity.


The cooking cost breakdown for your entire Thanksgiving meal:

  • Roast turkey cooked 4 hours: 80 cents.
  • Large pot of mashed potatoes cooked on stovetop for 30 minutes: 15 cents.
  • Giblet gravy cooked on stovetop for 15 minutes: 8 cents.
  • Homemade dinner rolls baked for 30 minutes: 10 cents.
  • Green bean casserole cooked for 30 minutes: 10 cents.
  • Pumpkin pie baked for one hour: 20 cents.

Simple Thanksgiving math shows the electricity needed to cook and bake this feast totals only $1.43.


Cooking smart

Walton EMC offers these tips to get even more energy value while cooking your holiday meal:


  • Prepare before preheating. Do food washing, slicing and final prep before turning on burners or preheating the oven. An empty hot burner or oven wastes energy.
  • Keep the oven door closed. Opening the door to check on the turkey can set the temperature back 25 degrees, causing the oven to go into overdrive and cost you more money.
  • Use the right burners. According to, if you put a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner, more than 40 percent of your heat is wasted.
  • Bake several things at once to cut down on the amount of time your oven is on. Stagger dishes on upper and lower foil-free racks to allow the oven to run more efficiently. 
  • Use ceramic or glass pans. You can turn down the oven’s temperature by up to 25 degrees and get the same results.
  • Choose cooking alternatives. Cook smaller dishes in a microwave or toaster oven and save up to two-thirds the electricity needed to operate a full-size oven.
  • Run the dishwasher. According to, a dishwasher consumes less than half the energy compared to hand washing, which uses much more hot water.
  • Let leftovers cool before refrigerating them so the appliance won’t have to work harder.


Did you know?

  • Americans eat 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Another 22 million are eaten at Christmas.
  • 63 percent of Thanksgiving meals are prepared with electric appliances, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  • Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line experts answer more than 100,000 questions each November and December. You can talk turkey with a Butterball expert by calling 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372). The company’s experts also answer questions via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, live chat, text and email.

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