10 Best Fuel Sources in Minecraft (Ranked)

Smelting and cooking have a significant purpose in Minecraft and must be performed throughout the entire playthrough, right until you embark on the mission to kill the Ender Dragon. This is why knowing which fuel source to use is important as you’ll need plenty of them, especially if you have big projects in mind. So, let’s check out the best fuel sources in Minecraft.

10. Mangrove Roots

Mangrove roots are one of the best fuel sources in Minecraft
  • One mangrove root block smelts/cooks 1.5 items

The first fuel source on our list is mangrove roots, and it’s not the best. These blocks are not all that common as they generate only as part of mangrove trees in the mangrove swamp biome. However, if you happen to have mangrove propagules and are growing these trees in your base, then you know why these roots are on our list.

If you clear a few mangrove trees, you already have a bunch of mangrove roots and probably don’t know what to do with them. Since you have to chop down lots and lots of mangrove trees to get a decent number of mangrove logs, you will get a ton of mangrove roots. So, besides using them to build with, using them as fuel is a perfect way to get rid of them.

9. Bamboo

Bamboo in a jungle in Minecraft
  • Four bamboo smelts/cooks 1 item

Bamboo is a pretty weak fuel source, but it becomes much better in large quantities. Luckily, making a bamboo farm in Minecraft is easy and can yield lots of bamboo. Though, you’ll first need to obtain bamboo, which means traveling to the nearest jungle Minecraft biome is a must.

Due to the fact you need four bamboos to smelt or cook a single item, you can be very precise and not waste any resources in the process, which is very useful.

On the flip side, you’ll need lots of bamboo for a big smelting session and also have to refill it so the furnace doesn’t run out, which is easily enough achievable with hoppers. However, bamboo is also used to make bamboo wood so burning it may not be the best use of it.

8. Wooden Planks

Planks in a forest
  • One plank block smelts/cooks 1.5 items

Similarly to mangrove roots, wooden planks are a pretty mediocre fuel source. The reason why we have listed planks and not logs is because these two fuel sources smelt or cook the same number of items. You’d think that logs smelt more items, but that’s not the case.

So, using planks is far more efficient than logs or wood. Also, you have access to planks pretty much immediately as trees are fairly common. So, this is definitely one of the Minecraft fuel sources you’ll use in the first phases of your world.

7. Sticks

Stick fuel source in an item frame in a forest in Minecraft
  • Two sticks smelt/cook 1 item

Another fuel source you’ll use when getting started with Minecraft is sticks. These are very easy-to-obtain, and that too in a couple of different ways. Not only that, but they smelt half an item each so there is no way to waste sticks.

Wooden planks smelt more items, but planks are used to craft wooden stairs, slabs, and a bunch of other blocks, which makes them a bit more valuable than sticks.

6. Blaze Rod

Blaze next to a blaze rod
  • One blaze rod smelts/cooks 12 items

Blaze rods are one of the more advanced fuel sources in Minecraft as they become available only when you enter the Nether, find the Nether fortress, and kill the Blaze — one of the Minecraft mobs.

The reason why they’re not higher on this list is because they’re far more useful in other situations. You can use them for brewing potions and crafting eyes of ender, copper bulbs, and more.

Furthermore, since one blaze rod can smelt 12 items, it’s fairly easy to waste their potential if you want to smelt fewer than 12 items. However, if you have a blaze rod farm running, then there is no need to worry about efficiency as these items become completely free. But for those who don’t have a blaze rod farm, using blaze rods as fuel may not be the best choice.

5. Block of Coal

Coal block fuel source in a cave in Minecraft
  • One coal block smelts/cooks 80 items

Block of coal is the second best Minecraft fuel source in terms of the number of items it can smelt. It’s made out of nine coal items and can smelt a total of 80 items, which is a better deal than nine coal that would smelt 72 items.

However, it’s not among the top three fuel sources as it’s fairly expensive and can be wasted easily. If you’re smelting a lot of items at once, then this is a pretty good choice. But if you want to smelt just a few items, this is not at all a good option.

However, in case you have a wither skeleton farm, then this fuel source is the number one best fuel option in the game by far as a full stack of coal blocks can smelt an astonishing 5,120 items in one go. Considering it’s not easy to make a wither skeleton farm, you probably can’t afford to use all your coal like this.

4. Coal

Coal in an item frame next to coal ores
  • One coal smelts/cooks 8 items

Now you’re probably wondering why a single piece of coal is better than a coal block when the block can smelt 10 times more items. Well, it’s because of the commitment.

Coal blocks are good if you want to smelt items in bulk, but that’s not all that frequent. I find myself smelting just a few items for various purposes most of the time. So, the most efficient fuel source is a block of coal as a full stack of them can smelt the most items out of all fuel sources, even when they are in full stacks.

Not only that, but it’s much better to split a couple of stacks of items in a few furnaces so they smelt as quickly as possible. If you were to use coal blocks, you would be wasting them, which is not their proper utilization. So, all in all, using coal items instead of coal blocks is a far better option.

In case you don’t know, coal is obtained from a coal ore that generates naturally inside terrain. Our Minecraft ore distribution guide will help you find coal quite easily.

3. Dried Kelp Block

Dried kelp blocks underwater next to kelp
  • One dried kelp block smelts/cooks 20 items

Coincidentally, dried kelp blocks are both third on our list and third on the list based on the number of items it can smelt. This block is a good fuel source in Minecraft as stacking up to 64 kelp, a whole stack, can smelt or cook 1,280 items. It is far less efficient than a stack of coal blocks, but dried kelp is much easier to get than coal.

All you need to do is find an ocean biome and start breaking kelp blocks. You then need to cook all the kelp and craft blocks from the dried kelp. It’s also possible to make a kelp farm so you can easily multiply this item.

As you can see, however, the only disadvantage is the number of steps needed to make this block in the first place. The new crafter in Minecraft can help automate the crafting process though, allowing you to make these blocks faster. But it does take some time for the kelp to be produced. Despite that, it’s one of the best fuel sources available in the game.

2. Lava Bucket

Lava bucket, which is one of the best fuel sources in Minecraft is in an item frame next to a large lava pool
  • One lava bucket smelts/cooks 100 items

The second best Minecraft fuel source is a lava bucket, an item that can smelt or cook 100 items at once. Lava is completely renewable due to the dripstone and cauldron combination (learn all about this in our lava farm in Minecraft guide). This is such a simple setup that you can make it in a couple of minutes and multiply your lava supply without lifting a finger.

But there are some disadvantages to the lava bucket. It doesn’t stack and you can waste it easily, as it smelts more than 64 items. You can easily hook up some hoppers to the furnace, so the items get refilled automatically, which takes care of the waste. This is only the case if you need to smelt lots of items. However, since lava is so easily renewable, it’s not that big of a deal if you do end up wasting it. This makes it a nearly perfect fuel source.

1. Charcoal

Charcoal, the best fuel source in Minecraft, in an item frame with all log types around it
  • One charcoal smelts/cooks 8 items

The number one fuel source in Minecraft is charcoal and is also my personal favorite on today’s list. Charcoal behaves the same as coal as it can smelt or cook only eight items. So, why is charcoal first and coal fourth? It’s because of their renewability. Charcoal is so easily renewable and doesn’t even include a bunch of steps.

All you should do is gather some logs and smelt them. That’s all. This means you can use a single coal to smelt eight logs, and you’re left with eight charcoal. Those eight pieces of charcoal can smelt a whole stack of items so you just multiplied one coal’s potential drastically. If you want renewable coal, you’ll have to make a wither skeleton farm, which isn’t everyone’s forte.

It’s also not that bad if you waste charcoal compared to a block of coal. The only downside to using charcoal is the fact you need to do some grinding. You need plenty of logs to maintain your charcoal bank.

However, logs and planks are useful for both crafting and building, so you’re likely to have a couple stacks of logs laying around most of the time anyway. But, if you want to use charcoal full-time then a tree farm will provide you with plenty of resources, so there is no more grinding needed.

This list is made according to my opinion on the fuel sources in Minecraft. You might have come up with a different order and that all depends on how you play the game. Not only that, but you should use multiple fuel sources, not just one all the time.

My favorite trio are sticks for a few items, charcoal for a couple stacks of items, and lava buckets for a whole a shulker box full of items or more. With that said, what is your favorite fuel source? Share with us in the comments below!

What gives the most XP for smelting?

You get the most XP for smelting ores, like diamond, emerald, and gold ores. Since fortune enchantment works on all these ores, it would be a waste to smelt them. However, in the case of ancient debris, you can only get netherite scraps this way, so it’s not a waste. Not only that, but you’ll get the most XP for smelting this rare Nether ore.

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