If cooking provision is neglected in humanitarian operations, the default option is often unsustainably sourced solid fuels burned in inefficient and unhealthy ways on outdated appliances or open fires, with negative impacts on the health, security, finances and overall well-being of displaced populations. To avoid such detrimental outcomes, access to clean, efficient cooking systems should be seen as a basic humanitarian necessity that helps humanitarian agencies deliver more effectively against their duty of care. Clean, modern cooking solutions are available internationally, and global cookstove standards are being developed based on efficiency and emissions, alongside more sophisticated standards for ‘modern energy access’ that also take convenience, cost and fuel availability into account. These allow diverse cooking options to be benchmarked and compared. Any successful improved cooking programme also considers cultural and operational aspects of stove design alongside operating costs, financing options and promotional approaches.