Although not widely viewed as mandatory appliances in most kitchens, warming drawers can be an added bonus. But is it worth it to purchase or install a warming drawer in your home or food-service business?
Overall, warming drawers are worth the investment. They can keep food warm for longer, which makes it convenient to host meals or to keep the occasionally delayed meal warm. Some warming drawers perform cooking functions like drying foods, slow roasting, or letting bread dough rise.
While some people swear by them, not everyone has heard of warming drawers. Warming drawers do just as their name implies, heat contents or keep them warm for extended periods. These handy devices usually come with a temperature gauge to adjust the heat level electronically.
Warming drawers come in handy in many cooking areas such as home kitchens, restaurants, or outdoor patios. On most occasions, these devices are often found above or below ovens or attached to an outdoor barbecue. They can also be placed separately from other appliances if the kitchen space allows.
You might wonder what separates warming drawers from other appliances since ovens can heat and keep food warm, while a microwave can reheat food for added convenience.
However, the design and functionality of a warming drawer make it a unique and beneficial kitchen accessory.
It’s also worth noting that food warmers are more effective at keeping food warm than ovens (due to their smaller sizes). Additionally, warming drawers don’t dry out or overheat foods like microwaves or toaster ovens.
Understanding your space needs is also crucial in determining the ideal size of a warming drawer as these devices come in a variety of sizes.
If you are considering investing in a warming drawer, you should understand all the pros and cons before buying one. Read on to know how warming drawers work and whether they would be worth it for you.
What Is a Warming Drawer?
A warming drawer is a metal drawer designed to keep its contents hot. The device uses a low-heat setting and can reach roughly 93 degrees Celsius, or 200 Fahrenheit. It can be used for many things, from heating food to keeping contents hot for future use, and even as a slow cooker.
A warming drawer is often referred to as a baking drawer. This is because it can be used for baking purposes and to keep baked goods hot, much to the delight of professional chefs and baking enthusiasts alike.
Much like a microwave or oven, a warming drawer can be integrated into your kitchen for a seamless design or used as a separate, moveable entity.
The most practical place to have an integrated warming drawer is attached to an oven or stove. This makes it easy to transfer food directly from the oven or stovetop to the drawer, and keep it warm and well-protected from outside elements.
These appliances come in a variety of sizes, depending on the manufacturer. The width is usually between 24-36 inches. They can have handles or come handless, depending on the model. The inside can be a flat drawer or come with grill panels or accessory racks.
How Does a Warming Drawer Work?
To use the warming drawer, you must first power it on. Next is to adjust the thermostat or the electronic setting to the desired temperature. Allow time for the drawer to heat. Some warming drawers will notify you (through a built-in indicator), once they reach the designated temperature.
You may now place your items in the drawer. Remember to use heat-safe dishes to protect the cookware, drawer, and any food from damage or contamination.
Many warming drawers come with an adjustable ventilation system that allows you to regulate the amount of air entering the oven while warming the contents. This gives you more control over the outcome of your foods.
What Can You Use a Warming Drawer For?
A warming drawer can be used for a variety of things from keeping food, plates, and mugs warm to proofing bread or even slow cooking. And while they can be used professionally by restaurants, bakers, and catering services, they can also be just as handy for the everyday chef at home.
The little extra touches go a long way when eating a meal or drinking a hot beverage. When served in hot cookware, the food or liquid will stay hot longer, allowing you to savor every bite or sip. Warming drawers can provide this luxury.
If you are the family’s cook, you know what it is like to put hours of love into a home-cooked meal. However, if your guests or family members are running late, that hard effort can quickly go to waste as the food goes cold. A warming drawer can prevent that from happening.
As soon as you finish cooking or baking, pop the food into the warming drawer at the right setting, and it will keep it fresh and warm.
At the right setting, warming drawers are an excellent way to proof bread. The usual setting is around 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.44 degrees Celsius), allowing the bread to rise slowly in a secure location.
Slow cooking is also a possibility at slightly higher temperatures than proofing. Soups, stews, or cuts of meat taste delicious when slow-cooked. Plus, this allows you to multitask by cooking other items in your oven.
When not in use, it can also function as a storage compartment. Do you wonder where to put all those cooking trays and baking tins? They can fit in this space without worry. This way, a warming drawer will never take up unused space in your kitchen.
Are Warming Drawers Expensive?
As far as kitchen appliances go, the cost of a warming drawer is somewhere in the middle. Kitchen appliances are very useful but tend to be on the expensive side. The cost of an average warming drawer is less than a baking oven but more than a microwave. This makes sense considering its function and size.
Warming drawers come with a relatively high price tag like many household appliances. However, they do not seem exceptionally expensive when you factor in how useful they can be. The cost of a warming drawer ranges between $1,300-$3000.
This lower range but top-selling electric Bosch HWD5051UC Stainless Steel Electric Warming Drawer (available on Amazon.com) costs about $1,600 and is made of stainless steel and has three power settings and a proofing option.
There are many solid options in the lower range with good reviews, including this Hatco HDW-1 Freestanding Standard Drawer Warmer (available on Amazon.com) .This unit does not require installation since it is a separate entity, which helps reduce overall costs.
This Hatco HDW-2-120-QS Warming Drawer Unit (available on Amazon.com) comes with two drawers for double capacity. It is also free-standing, meaning you can carry it to other locations in case of festivals, catering gigs or when the need arises.
While the cost of many kitchen appliances runs high, it really comes down to how useful they can be in your life. Is this something that will improve your day-to-day life? Is this an item you would use in your business or daily life? When deciding if a warming drawer is the right purchase for you, these are questions to consider.
How To Save Money on Warming Drawers?
You can save money on warming drawers by opting for the cheaper but functional models. In addition to buying second-hand warming drawers, you can also purchase these devices from websites or retailers that offer discounts. Installing a warming drawer yourself can also help you cut costs.
For personal use, you may not need to go for the fanciest model on the market. A lower-range product might have all the functionality you need for a fraction of the cost. It is also an excellent way to find out if you genuinely will use the item without paying as much money.
Buying a second hand warming drawer might also help you lower overall costs. However, this option might not be the best for everyone, as the product won’t come with a warranty or a money-back guarantee.
Certain retailers market wholesale or discount appliances frequently. Keep an eye out to find businesses near you offering these.
There are often options to pay on a payment plan when purchasing high-cost appliances. While this does not technically save you money, it might make it more affordable. It will allow you to buy the product and use it even if you do not have the total amount of cash upfront.
Advantages of a Warming Drawer
A warming drawer comes with many advantages, such as convenience, efficiency, and comfort. Keeping food warm in a warming oven is easier than in a regular baking oven. You can cook ahead or keep food warm until people are ready to eat. It provides a certain level of comfort to your kitchen routine.
Additionally, a warming drawer can take the stress out of having everything ready on time. If you love to host or prepare food for many people, you can easily store it without worrying if it will go cold.
If you are a baker or work in a food industry that produces several items at a time, warming drawers can be handy. Bakeries, for example, could use them to keep many pastries hot and fresh without the fear that they will dry out or overcook. They are also an excellent location to let the dough rise if you make bread, pizza or other wheat products.
The compact size of warming drawers makes them more effective at keeping food warm than ovens. Some warming drawers are standalone and can be moved from one location to another, which adds to the overall convenience especially when catering or preparing foods at an event.
Warming drawers are ideal for keeping plates and other cookware warm. This makes meal prep easy. Warming plates helps keep the food warmer, which can come in handy when serving foods that are tasty when hot or warm.
Disadvantages of a Warming Drawer
Warming drawers might not be a good option for you if the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. While they can be beneficial, they might not be the right fit for your space or lifestyle. This depends on the size of your kitchen, what you plan to use one for, and how much you are willing to spend.
If you have a small kitchen, it might be challenging to find the space for a warming drawer. As although warming drawers are not as big as ovens, they can take up considerable kitchen space.
Limited countertop or floor space could make it tricky to find a home for a free-standing version. If you need to install it into the wall, you may have to go to the extra length of renovating a portion of your kitchen area to do so.
They are not particularly cheap. If you do not have a big budget or a high demand for one, this is something to consider. The cost of parts and labor to install your warming drawer could also add to the total.
It is also essential to consider how often you would use your warming drawer. Are you an avid cook who would get a lot of joy from having one? Do you like to host parties frequently or just once in a while? If you have a business that may need one, would the cost be greater than the returns?
A warming drawer should be a purchase that will add more value to your business or home cooking experience.
Are Warming Drawers Worth Having?
Whether or not a warming drawer is worth having depends on the individual. There are several things to consider such as cost, size, and usefulness. It might not be worth it for some, but it is a highly beneficial tool when in the right hands.
Warming drawers can be an excellent addition to your kitchen or cooking space. This unique appliance has many benefits, such as keeping items warm and doubling as a slow cooker and bread proofer.
They can make a chef’s job more enjoyable by providing convenience and increased flexibility when timing food. Warming drawers can also make a consumer’s life more pleasurable by having all the food and plates still hot when they sit down to eat.
Are you an individual or a business owner who frequently uses a warming drawer? Then look over the pros and cons. The reputability and profit it may bring to your food business may make the investment worth the while. The convenience it could bring to your life might outweigh the costs.
On the other hand, warming drawers are not an excellent fit for everyone. The cost alone might be a turnoff if you’re not looking to spend much on a device that’s not basic. You should also keep in mind that the appliance may need to be installed, which comes at an additional cost.
Warming drawers take up a considerable amount of space, meaning they might not easily fit into smaller kitchens. If you’re not an avid cook, then it might not make sense to purchase such an oversized item. In which case, a regular baking oven and microwave might suffice.
Overall, warming drawers are useful appliances if you’re looking to add a layer of convenience to your cooking routine. Besides keeping food warm, warming drawers also allow you to warm plates for a better dining experience.
When choosing warming drawers, remember to consider factors such as cost, size and design to ensure you get a product that best suits your unique needs.