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What is a Warming Drawer?

Warming drawers keep food at the optimal serving temperature and are great for entertaining. Discover the pros and cons of these appliances and learn whether a warming drawer is right for your home.

Getting Started

If you're remodeling your kitchen or looking to add greater functionality to your space, you might be asking yourself, "what is a warming drawer?" The first thing you need to know before making a purchase is how these appliances work and what they're used for. Warming drawers are not primarily used for cooking; they are used for keeping food or other items warm (though some have a slow cook feature). Although they look similar to microwave drawers, they're not the same. Instead, they can keep food warm for hours, whether you're getting a head start on your holiday dinner or your spouse had to unexpectedly work late. Warming drawers are also great for warming plates or coffee mugs before serving food and drinks, which helps maintain optimal serving temperatures. UL-certified warming drawers can even keep warm items like bath towels or robes.
Warming Drawer Installed in All-White Kitchen

Serve Dishes at the Same Time

Hosting a dinner party is equal parts fun and stressful. With multiple dishes to prepare and courses to serve, it can be difficult to ensure everything is presented the way it should. That's where a warming drawer comes in. If your entr&eacure;e ends up cooking faster than the starter, don't worry about serving lukewarm food: instead, set the serving platter inside the warming drawer to keep the main course at the proper temperature until it's time to serve it. Warming drawers can also be helpful if you want to prepare dishes ahead of time as they can store food inside for up to three hours and keep it at the ideal serving temperature. That way, you can prep the soup you want to serve for the first course and keep it warm while you greet your guests or enjoy cocktail hour. With all the effort you put into making dinner parties and holidays special, you deserve to step out of the kitchen and enjoy yourself, too. Those who entertain often will get a great deal of use out of these appliances.

Keep Dinnerware Warm

Nothing elevates dinner like serving tender salmon or a juicy filet on a warm plate. Not only will this have your guests feeling as if they're at their favorite restaurant, it actually helps their food stay warm while they chat and eat. Most warming drawers can fit several plates at a time so you can easily prep everyone's dinnerware at once. Similarly, you can also set coffee mugs inside before serving post-dinner lattes or cappuccino; a warm cup will also keep drinks warmer longer. That way, everyone can take their time and savor the meal while enjoying each other's company without worrying about their food getting cold.

Perfect for Busy Families

Even if dinner parties aren't your thing, you can still benefit from installing a warming drawer in your kitchen. If you and your spouse have different work schedules or your kids are involved in after-school activities, sitting down to enjoy a meal together requires some effort. These appliances are the perfect solution. If everyone is on a different schedule, each plate can be placed inside the drawer for each member of your household to grab when they get home; you can enjoy your meal hot and fresh instead of having it sit out on the counter while you wait for the kids to get back from practice. Or, if your significant other gets called into a last-minute meeting and won't be home until much later, you can keep your plates warm so you can eventually enjoy dinner together.

Warming Drawers vs. Proving Drawers

Many warming drawers have a "proof" function to help bread dough rise. However, there are other appliances that are called "proving drawers." Is there any difference between the two? The truth is, there isn't. Different manufacturers or brands may choose to name their products differently for different reasons. So whether you're purchasing a warming drawer or a proving drawer, your new appliance will be able to help you make delicious homemade bread. Once placed in the drawer, your dough won't take up precious counter space while you prepare the rest of your meal and will also be kept away from contaminants.

Alternate Uses for a Warming Drawer

Whether you want to give guests a hotel experience or want to inject some luxury into your daily routine, installing a warming drawer in your bathroom (or bathrooms) is a great idea. No, you won't be baking bread while you bathe—these appliances are great to warm hand towels, body towels, slippers and robes. It's the perfect way to make showering more enjoyable, particularly on cold days or in bathrooms whose floors tend to get cold. The most important factor to keep in mind is that only select warming drawers are suitable to be installed in a bathroom; be sure you're purchasing an appliance that won't get too hot and damage your towels (or worse).
Warming Drawer Installation

Q & A Summary

What is a warming drawer used for?

Warming drawers can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be used to keep multiple courses of the same meal warm or keep dinner warm until your entire family is home from work or school. When used at the higher temperature range, a warming drawer can reheat leftovers as well. They can also be used to warm your plates or mugs before serving food on or in them. Additionally, certain warming drawers can proof bread dough or even be used as a slow cooker. However, most are primarily used for warming, not cooking.

How does a warming drawer work?

A warming drawer functions somewhat similarly to a microwave oven. Its primary purpose is to keep food or dinnerware warm. If your side dish is finished cooking before the entree, you can place that dish inside the warming drawer to keep it warm until it's time to eat. Most warming drawers have simple touch controls or a control knob and are installed amongst your cabinets, in a kitchen island or underneath your oven.

What temperature is a warming drawer?

The temperature of a warming drawer will depend on the brand and model you purchase. Typically, there is a range of temperatures you can select for different applications, whether you're proofing bread or reheating pizza. There may be a Low, Medium and High button that corresponds to a particular temperature or temperature range. Most warming drawers have a maximum temperature of 200°F.

Do I need a warming drawer?

This comes down to your lifestyle. Do you entertain often? A warming drawer is a great way to add a restaurant-quality touch to meals, like with heated plates and mugs or even a hot towel with which your friends can wipe their hands before a meal. It will also help keep multiple components of the same course warm. Warming drawers are also great for families with busy schedules. Does your spouse work late hours? Do the kids have practice after school? Keep dinner in your warming drawer to ensure everyone can enjoy their meal the way you intended. Overall, warming drawers are a great fit for busy families and entertainers.

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