Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Feb 5, 2011 09:18 PM

How Do You Use Your Warming Drawer?

Through a stroke of good luck, I managed to buy a used GE Profile Range & Oven in perfect condition for $75. It includes a warming drawer, something I've never had (nor ever really wanted), but now that I do have it, I want to learn how to use it. What kinds of foods work well in the warming drawer? Is there a risk of things drying out? For example, if I make a cornbread, should I undercook it if I'm going to put it in the warming drawer while the rest of dinner finishes? Or do I cook it as usual? Keep in mind that my family is vegetarian (so I'm not cooking roasts or anything). The range on ours is something like 140-250 degrees, so I can't really use it for cooking (meringues maybe). Thanks for your advice!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. jessinEC: Use it once merely for empty soup bowls and you will understand...

    1. We use ours for storage.... :-(

      3 Replies
      1. re: stomsf

        When I was redoing my kitchen a designer I interviewed and a contractor too told me a warming drawer was one of the most important appliances to have for resale.

        Not being someone whose life is bring-home-the-take-out/put-it-in-the-warming-drawer-until-the-fam-gets-home-too person I immediately went looking for a contractor who understood cooking and how to listen to *my* needs and wants and did my own designing. I've never been sorry.

        But that was what was right for me. I hope jessinEC gets some great tips on maximizing the potential of the warming drawer.

          1. re: stomsf

            Storage- the cookie sheets fit very nicely in the drawer. Which is pretty much what I expected to happen when we got the stove, but it was otherwise what we wanted and the options were somewhat limited for a slide-in electric stove of that size.

          2. Congratulations on your bargain! I don't know how large your warming drawer but I hope it's a big as possible. I use mine daily - and I cook for two people. It sounds like you've put a thermometer in your WD to be able to gauge temperatures. I find it most helpful to put hot or warm food into the WD and not try to warm it in there from stone cold.

            Right now, I have two pans of rolls and a loaf of bread rising in the WD. Pretty soon our lunch soup will join them. First thing I do when prepping for supper is turn it on and put our dinnerware in. This way, our plates & bowls are warm and it's ready for any unexpected jobs that come along. When using a single oven for a meal requiring two temperatures, I put the lowest temp. food in there to stay hot while the hottest food cooks (EX: mac and cheese stays warm while the rack of lamb roasts. Yes, I read that you're not cooking roasts, but this was my last night example). When I'm baking, I will put some of the bread/rolls/scones/whatever directly in the WD for the next meal.

            My WD has a vent so that fried chicken stays crisp but, closed, it will keep cornbread moist, especially if you put a small dish of hot water in there alongside. Vegetable gratins, refried beans and mashed potatoes are some of my favorites in the WD but my husband would vote for warm chocolate chip cookies.

            If I had known how much I use this, I would have put one in our bathroom for towels!

            Edit: I should have noted that mine is mounted just below counter height. For some unknown reason, some are placed almost at floor level and I cannot fathom using one at that level.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sherri

              Sherri, could you lend your experience to my situation? I am planning the reno of a small kitchen. I was looking for a 24" microwave/convection oven combo (like Miele's or AEG's smart oven) and a warming drawer. A warming drawer, so that I could entertain and cook for large crowds easier. But then, I found a 24" Fagor convection oven. If that has a warming feature, I was thinking of getting that, instead. What do you think?

              1. re: E_M

                E_M, how deep/high is the 24" convection oven? 24" is not huge and cooking for large crowds might be challenging.
                You write that you're thinking of a convection oven "If that has a warming feature". Could you elaborate on this, please? I'm not quite clear on your thinking. My ovens start at 175 degrees, well within the "warming" range. Would you be using the 24" convection as your sole oven? If so, the warming feature would not help if you need the oven for other dishes.

                1. re: Sherri

                  The Miele speed oven is roughly 18" tall and 22" deep and holds 1.1 cubic feet. The Fagor has 1.8 cubic feet and is 24" high and 22" deep.

                  I would use the little speed oven/microwave as my regular oven, for myself. But for larger crowds I was thinking I could prepare food ahead and store it in the bigger oven while on the warm temp (I will have to get the specs on that temperature), or use the larger oven to cook more at once.

                  Or, I could get a warming drawer instead, and as food is finished in the little oven, just stick it in the warming drawer.

                  I am not a baker, and only attempt a sponge cake once a year. If the oven is too small for that once a year event, I'll bake it somewhere else.

            2. We have a Bosch dual-fuel range which we love. One terrific feature for us is the warming drawer. We use it primarily to heat up dinner plates, soup or pasta bowls, etc. However, it is also great if your cooking logistics are imperfect, and one course (vegetables, potatoes, etc.) is ready before the rest of the meal. Simply cover it with a piece of foil, and pop it into the WD. One want to be really careful putting things like steak, lamb chops, or cooked fish in the WD...they will continue to cook and dry out!

              1. We have a separate warming draw, which was a last minute addition to our kitchen renovation. We love it, and even though we have a relatively small kitchen (original 1928 footprint), it was well worth while. We use it to warm plates, rest meat, keep leftovers warm for a late dinner, and to proof bread. I find I have to be careful on the proofing. I usually warm the oven up, and then turn it off just before I put the bread dough in to be proofed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: roxlet

                  I bet a warming drawer is very convenient for warming plates.

                  I proof dough and rest roasted meat in my microwave turned off where it acts as an insulated box merely holding the temp/moisture already present in foods. Works great. Of course I'm looking for the slow sustained rise that develops the most flavor not additional warmth that speeds the rise and shortcuts the flavor.