Energy for cooking is considered essential in achieving modern energy access. Despite this, almost three billion people worldwide still use solid fuels to meet their cooking needs. To better support practitioners and policy-makers, this paper presents a new model for comparing cooking solutions and its key output metric: the 'levelized cost of cooking a meal' (LCCM). The model is applied to compare several cooking solutions in the case study area of Nyeri County in Kenya. The cooking access targets are connected to the International Workshop Agreement and Global Tracking Framework's tiers of cooking energy access. Results show how an increased energy access with improved firewood and charcoal cookstoves could reduce both household's LCCMs and the total costs compared to traditional firewood cooking over the modelling period. On the other hand, switching to cleaner cooking solutions, such as LPG- and electricity, would result in higher costs for the end-user highlighting that this transition is not straightforward. The paper also contextualizes the results into the wider socio-economic context. It finds that a tradeoff is present between minimizing costs for households and meeting household priorities, thus maximizing the potential benefits of clean cooking without dismissing the use of biomass altogether.