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Warming Drawers - This appliance provides a level of luxury and convenience few American kitchens have been equipped with. A warming drawer provides a temperature controlled storage place to hold food, plated or otherwise, until it is ready to be served. This allows you to prepare an entire meal, then serve course by course without having to keep running back to the stove or oven to keep everything going. It also provides the very practical benefit of allowing you to hold a meal hot until the entire family arrives at the dinner table. Also, some models offer a "proof" mode; a low temperature setting to assist with the raising of yeast-based dough.

Instead of plating food and holding it, some warming drawers can accommodate standard sized food service pans used throughout the professional food industry. This enables you to prepare dishes and keep them in convenient steam table type pans until they are needed. This is convenient for large meals, parties and a benefit if you hire caterers to serve in your home.

Installation is straightforward; the drawer is designed to fit in standard under-counter cabinetry. A warming drawer can also be installed like a wall oven, either in a deep, oven cabinet or in a wall with adequate depth behind it. Since warming drawers are electric, they require no special venting. Their electrical requirements are simple, most are equipped with a standard 3-prong plug. Most models use a 400-500 watt heating element, so a standard 15 amp, 115V outlet can be wired into the cabinetry much in the way it would be for a dishwasher. Besides the kitchen, a warming drawer could be installed in a butler's pantry or even the dining room. Models for outdoor use are also available.

Warming drawers are available in several widths, 24", 27", 30" and 36" inches. Depths and heights of drawers vary by model. When selecting a warming drawer, be sure to consider the exact interior dimensions of the model you plan to buy. Average dinner plate sizes are 10" to 11" inches in diameter. In order to place two plates front to back you will need 20" to 22" inches of interior depth and the same applies to the interior width. A drawer with interior dimensions of 22" x 22" should be able to hold four dinner plates. With a second level rack another four plates can stack for a total of 8 plates. If the drawer you select isn't deep enough for two plates front to back, round plates can be offset by a few inches to fit, but then will require additional drawer width. In to order to plan your needs, arrange several of your plates on a table and then measure the dimensions of the rectangle that would be needed to surround them.

The temperature range of warming drawers are 80° to 90°(F) for a "proof" mode and 140° to 250°(F) for general warming. The lower range is suitable for plated foods while the higher temperatures are ideal for keeping sauces and soups piping hot.

Other features which vary by model include the ability to stack items in the drawer, an automatic shut-off timer and most models have a "moist" or "dry" setting to provide the proper conditions for the food being held. As mentioned before, some models accommodate standard sized pans used in the food service industry. Most models feature hidden controls, while a very few have exposed controls.

Tip: If you are considering two ovens, with the second being mostly used to keep things warm, a warming drawer would be both a money saving and space saving alternative.

Warming Drawers by Manufacturer
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*All prices are estimated MSRP

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