Home-cooked Sunday roasts in decline due to energy costs

Sunday roast beef at the Hind’s Head (The Hind’s Head)
Sunday roast beef at the Hind’s Head (The Hind’s Head)

Home-cooked Sunday roasts are allegedly in decline, according to new data from Tesco.

More than one-third - 36 per cent - of UK adults have said they make the popular dish less often than a year ago, because of the increased energy cost of oven cooking.

Among 18- to 34-year-olds, nearly half - 47 per cent - go without the traditional Sunday staple to save money.

Here’s what you need to know about how to cook a Sunday roast on the cheap.

Is the Sunday roast in decline?

No - the nation’s appetite for a roast dinner hasn’t changed, but almost half - 46 per cent - of UK adults want to discover more cost-efficient ways of making a roast at home.

In fact, more than a quarter - 28 per cent - stated they would cook them more often if they knew how they could use an air fryer to do so.

But it’s not just high energy costs that are dissuading people from cooking roast dinners.

Two-fifths of people - 38 per cent - admit that they are feeling too overwhelmed at the prospect of cooking a roast dinner.

Executive chef at Tesco Jamie Robinson said: “The rise in energy costs is understandably leading many of us to look for the most efficient ways of cooking, from using existing store cupboard ingredients, cooking from scratch, and looking at alternative cooking methods, to an oven.

“However, whichever way you cook it, the core components of any Sunday roast- a tender cut of meat, perfectly risen Yorkshire puddings, crispy roast potatoes, and delicious vegetable sides - can be easily achieved.”

What are alternative ways to cook a roast dinner?

There are several ways to cook a roast dinner without using an oven, by accessing a slow cooker, microwave, or air fryer.

Here are some top tips.

Slow cooking

Slow cookers are a good alternative to an oven and work really well for cheaper cuts of meat, such as brisket or pork shoulder. This is because the lower temperature and lengthier cooking time tenderises the meat, allowing the flavour to emerge.

Simply prepare the meat, place into the cooker with vhopped vegetables such as carrots, alongside fresh herbs, and let the slow cooker do its magic.

Traditional crispy roast potatoes may not be best in a slow cooker, but there are many tasty alternatives.

You could try dauphinoise potatoes, by layering finely sliced potatoes, with cream, chopped garlic, seasoned with salt, pepper, and topped with grated cheese.

Cook until the potato is soft for up to six hours, and pierce with a fork to check.

Once cooked, leave to rest for 20 to 30 minutes to set, as it makes them easier to serve.

Air fryers

Air fryers have risen in popularity as people realise just how versatile they are, but it may be surprising to know that you can cook a Sunday roast within an hour.

For moist, juicy chicken coated with a crispy layer of skin, all you need is a few simple ingredients. Season your chicken with fresh herbs, salt and pepper before placing in a preheated air fryer at 180 degrees. Leave to cook, rotating every 15 minutes, for about an hour. Once cooked through (pierce to check the juices run clear), rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Alongside the chicken, roast your vegetables at the same time for added flavour. Simply chop up carrots, squash, parsnips, or your preferred vegetables and place in the air fryer with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop in a clove of garlic and roast at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Finish with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.

For your roasties, you could try tinned potatoes - it’s easy to make them taste delicious. Just drain, add 5g of oil, a light dusting of flour, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of garlic powder, and then mix together to add seasoned coating to the potatoes.

Cook at 195 degrees for between 20 and 25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.


While air fryers and slow cookers are best for meat, microwaves are a great option for cooking vegetables and can help ensure you end up with great-tasting vegetables every time.

Try slicing some carrots and putting them into a microwav- safe dish before adding enough water to cover the base of the dish, a tablespoon of honey, and a knob of butter. Cover and microwave for four minutes on high power. Carefully uncover and give the carrots a good stir before microwaving for a further three to four minutes, until cooked through.

Additionally, Yorkshire puddings that are soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and have risen as the batter cooks work just as well in an air fryer or microwave, compared to an oven.

Simply mix the three ingredients together; plain flour (100g), milk (100ml), and two eggs, preheat oil, add the batter, and cook at 200 degrees for 15 minutes in an air fryer and approximately three minutes in a microwave.