A kitchen warming drawer is quickly becoming a must-have appliance for modern kitchens. This versatile product provides an extra oven-like space for keeping food warm and even doing some light cooking. As more home chefs embrace entertaining and multitasking in the kitchen, a warming drawer is the perfect solution. Here’s an in-depth look at how this appliance is changing kitchens everywhere.
What is a Kitchen Warming Drawer?
A kitchen warming drawer is a built-in appliance that sits below the oven. It looks like an extra drawer but functions as a warming oven when pulled out. Warming drawers provide gentle heat ranging from 85°F to 250°F to keep cooked food at optimal serving temperatures without overcooking.
Modern warming drawers offer features like:
- Digital temperature controls with presets for different foods
- Capacity for multiple dishes or platters
- Moisture settings to keep food crisp or soft
- Safely warming food for up to 4 hours
Many models can also be used for proofing dough, melting chocolate or butter, drying herbs, and more. Warming drawers are controlled independently, so you can use them at the same time as your main ovens.
Benefits of Adding a Warming Drawer
Here are some of the biggest benefits you’ll enjoy with a warming drawer:
1. Keeps Food at the Perfect Temperature
A warming drawer lets you time your cooking so that all the elements of your meal finish at once. Place cooked dishes inside while waiting for the rest to finish, then everything will be at the ideal serving temperature.
2. Frees Up Oven Space
Warming drawers can hold an entire meal’s worth of dishes. This clears up oven racks for other items and takes advantage of excess heat that would normally dissipate into the kitchen.
3. Allows Flexible Cooking
You can cook components of a dish separately at different temperatures or times. For example, cook meat then sides at varying temps instead of cramming everything into one crowded oven.
4. Reduces Wasted Food
Keeping cooked food warm for longer periods reduces the need to toss food that overcooks or gets cold too quickly. Your food stays fresher for second helpings later on.
5. Provides Extra Oven Space
In addition to keeping food warm, many warming drawers can be used to gently bake bread, simmer entrees, and more. It’s like having a second tiny oven!
6. Improves Entertaining Abilities
You’ll serve piping hot hors d’oeuvres and keep dinner dishes ready as guests arrive. A warming drawer makes you a more flexible, stress-free host.
Types of Kitchen Warming Drawers
Today’s warming drawers offer more features and settings than ever before. Here are some of the key options available:
Basic Warming Drawers
Provide one temperature for gently keeping food warm. Lowest cost option.
Multi-Setting Warming Drawers
Offer different temperature presets for various foods like meats, casseroles, vegetables, breads, pastries, and plates. Better at retaining moisture and crispness.
Can be used to bake and cook foods in addition to warming. Cook an entire meal in the drawer.
Commercial Style Warming Drawers
Extra durable for frequent use. Provide very precise humidity and temperature control. Great for passionate home cooks.
Smart Warming Drawers
Offer app control, timers, alerts, and automatic shutoff. Ideal if you’ll be away from home while it’s operating.
Consider which features suit your cooking style and budget. High-end models provide more versatility.
How Much Does a Warming Drawer Cost?
Like most appliances, you can spend anywhere from $400 to $3,000+ on a warming drawer. Prices depend on:
- Size: Smaller single drawer units start around $400. Larger double drawer units run $800 and up.
- Features: Basic warm-only models are less expensive than multi-cooking functions and smart tech.
- Build Quality: Commercial-grade stainless steel will cost more than plastic units.
- Fuel Type: Electric warming drawers are often less expensive than gas.
- Brand: Premium brands like Wolf, Jenn-Air, and Miele will cost more.
Consider less expensive options if you plan to just hold food warm occasionally. Opt for more cooking abilities and durability if you’ll use it daily.
FAQs About Kitchen Warming Drawers
What can you cook in a warming drawer?
Most warming drawers reach up to 250°F, allowing you to gently bake bread, casseroles, desserts and more. Cook-and-hold models allow truly cooking full dishes inside.
Do warming drawers dry out food?
It depends on the model. Basic units can dry food left too long. Look for a warming drawer with a moisture setting to keep food crispy or soft as needed.
Are warming drawers worth it?
For those wanting a second oven and more flexibility when cooking large meals, a warming drawer is extremely useful. It also reduces waste and improves food safety.
Can I install a warming drawer myself?
Some homeowners install their own, but you need cabinetry skills and electrical/gas knowledge. Hiring a pro ensures proper cutouts, hookups, permits, and functionality.
Where should the warming drawer go?
Traditionally under the main oven(s). Some install them higher up for easier access if limited on lower space. Near your cooking area is ideal.
Enjoy Endless Benefits from a Warming Drawer
A kitchen warming drawer delivers major convenience when cooking elaborate meals for your family or guests. With the ability to keep cooked foods at the perfect temperature for hours, you can relax and be more flexible in the kitchen. Warming drawers reduce waste, open up oven space, and allow you to confidently serve crowds without a hitch.
Considering this appliance for your next kitchen remodel or new home build? Now is the time to embrace this hot trend and simplify your cooking routine for good with the help of a warming drawer. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without one!