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Plate warmers

I'm tired of cold plates at Thanksgiving. By the time we get everything on the buffet, some of the food isn't terribly warm (we use warming plates for some, but not all, of the food -- for example, we don't keep the turkey warm because it dries out) and to put the food on cold plates compounds the problem. What do you use to warm up plates? In the past we've run hot water on them -- that works, but they cool off quickly. I've seen the plate warmers at http://www.platewarmer.com/, but I don't know if they are any good. I didn't see anything on Amazon.

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  1. Have you tried putting them in the oven?

    2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I'd like to find something that will keep them warm at the buffet table, so that the last person to eat (usually me!) doesn't face a cold plate. Plus usally the oven is already doing double duty.

    1. The Breville smart oven top can be used as a plate warmer.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rasputina

        That's interesting. I've been considering buying one because our old toaster-oven is about dead. My only reluctance is that it is so deep that it will really gobble up some needed counter space.

        But I guess I could move the toaster-oven (Breville or whatever) to the buffet and plug it in and use it?

        I'm still curious if anyone has tried the plate warmers that look like heating pads but with pockets for the plates....

        1. re: happy_macomb

          I have and they work, it's just one more thing to store that doesn't get used very often. But you didn't ask me that ;) you asked me if they work and they do. Or at least the one I used years back did.

          1. re: GretchenS

            Yup, on both counts: Works well, but you have to make the space for it and may not pull it out of the cupboard much. I was given one as a gift years ago.

          2. re: happy_macomb

            I love love love my smart oven, ours gets repeated use daily. I've cooked pies and quick breads in it along with the usual toasting and pizzas. It get a lot more use than my full sized oven, and is great in summer because it doesn't heat up the kitchen.

            If I was going to get a dedicated plate warmer for a buffet I'd probably buy one of those flat ones like


            1. re: rasputina

              Maybe I'll give in and buy it -- I just hate sacrificing the counter space.... Our counters aren't very deep. Or maybe I can find another place to park it. Hmm.

        2. Oven. Just stack them all in there, take out as necessary.

          1. Our dishwasher has a plate warming feature. Never used it, but that might be an option if yours has it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: THoey1963

              All these suggestions (oven, mike, dishwasher) would work -- except that I'd like to have the plates sitting on the buffet table, and there is way too much to think about at dinner time to have to worry about replenishing hot plates (I can't remember a Thanksgiving when we didn't forget a side dish of one sort or another). Plus all those things (oven, mike, dishwasher) will be madly in use anyway. So I'd like somehting I can use on the buffet table to keep plates warm. We're not talking about more than 15 people -- that vicinity.

            2. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I bet it would work: The disposable Thermacare wraps for easing aches and pains. They're about $8 each, but they stay hot for hours once opened. They're soft and so won't scratch the plates, and two of them would do the job if moved around between the plates while the dinner is prepped. No eletricity required, no storage, and no need to shell out $ for something you wouldn't use more than one a year.

              If you do plan to entertain more, then I'd invest in the "hotpad" kind, which work well, and can be stored with the kinds of serving and table items that you don't use except when entertaining.

              N.B.: I'm not talking about the IcyHot wraps, which would ruin the dining room ambience with their ben-gay aroma. The Thermacare is just heat, and odorless.

              1. For some reason I've been obsessed with heating my plate before dinner and I always do it using a free burner on my electric cooktop. Well last night I left it on the burner too long without realizing it. It must have got really hot as the second I put some just made and therefore hot rice on the plate, the plate shattered! Just be careful out there!

                1. I ended up buying some inexpensive plate warmers on ebay -- just like the ones at www.platewarmer.com, but older and worked just fine!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: snowboy

                    Agree. We have something very similar for here in the UK. Works perfectly except it takes longer than the 20 minutes the packaging suggested. Also remembering to turn it on can be a problem!

                  2. Hi, Happy:

                    Feel free to file this response away in the back of the "C" file under curmudgeon, but i make it only as an example of how we of modernity have: (a) outsmarted our collective selves; and (b) re-created a need that was once... not even a need.

                    My plate-warmer is shown in the photos. It works perfectly, every time, and draws no electricity. It requires no storage, takes nothing from my oven or MW, and is infinitely renewable. It raises bread, dries/dehydrates all manners of things, scents the air with citrus peels, and stores my plates and platters. I don't have to unfold an electric blanket or spend thousands for an undercounter unit. I don't need to get it out, remember to turn it on, or put it away. It's 18th Century technology, although my "modern" unit was made in 1910. Oh, and it's a double unit.

                    For that matter, consider than a 10-20F uptick above ambient in the temp of your plates is often enough. All that detested, lamented "wasted" heat put out in a warm kitchen or with "inefficient" stoves... Terrible, I concede, until it works in your favor.

                    A 40W lightbulb in an enclosed cabinet works, too.