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What's a warming drawer???

Some of the new ovens come with something called a warming drawer. What is it and what it is used for?

Is it just a built-in toaster oven, meant to be an oven that uses less energy? (That would be nice to not have a toaster oven on the counter.) Or do you keep food warm in it when the regular oven is full, sort of like the little shelf on my BBQ grill?

What is the difference between a warming drawer and an oven turned down low? I mean besides the size?

It can't possibly be permissible to put food from the fridge into a warming drawer on Shabbat, can it?

Anyone own one?

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  1. It's all the rage in Teaneck....I think you might be able to use it on Shabbat. Ask you LOR

    1 Reply
    1. re: vallevin

      We have one. My LOR allows us to put food in and out of the warming drawer. Not all Rabbis allow this hoever, and we follow Sefardi tradition in my house which makes a difference.

    2. The hottest temperature of the warming drawer is probably the equivalent of 180 or so - I use the warming drawer to keep dinner warm at night, sometimes as a defroster - it takes longer than a microwave, but it doesn't cook the food. The best use of the warming drawer is when the food is already hot and you're using it to keep food warm - it keeps my dinners warm without drying them out or overcooking them. My LOR doesn't allow me to put things in on Shabbat, but I am allowed to take things out on Shabbat - I put steaming hot potato kugel in before shabbat, take it out for shabbat lunch, and it's perfectly browned, moist, and really really good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: brooklynkoshereater

        This. It's literally for keeping food at serving temperature, it can't cook anything. The ones that are part of a range aren't very effective. The ones that are stand-alone can keep food warm for an extended period without drying it out - but they're expensive.

      2. Thanks Chowhounds! Sounds like something I don't need. I don't get why some rabbeim will permit them on Shabbat but will not permit an oven set on 180. (My oven even goes down to 170 but I still don't think I can put food in on shabbat.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: SoCal Mother

          Your oven turns on and off to maintain the temperature. If you open the oven door to put something in or take it out, the thermostat will kick on to make up for the heat loss.

          Warming drawers are not typically thermostatically controlled. They are either on or off. Thus there are differeing rabbinic opinions on their use.

          My mother had warming drawers (Thermador restaurant quality) as far back as the early 1960s. My father was often late coming home to supper and she didn't want his supper cold. This was before microwaves were common.

          I have two warming drawers built in in my dining room buffet also the commercial variety. We use one to hold food or keep rolls/challah warm. The other is used to warm plates for serving. Neither would reach a temperature to cook food, but they don't dry food out either. I do not uise them overnight for Shabbos Lunch, as I question food safety for 16 hours at such a low temperature.

        2. I've never had a warming drawer - would it have to be designated meat or dairy? Is it re-kasherable for pesach?

          1 Reply
          1. re: PotatoPuff

            "yad soledet bo" is usually 120 F I think. So yes, would have to be either meat or dairy and would need to be kashered. BUT I am absolutely not a Rabbi! So ask someone else if you are planning on re doing your kitchen.

            1. I have a warming drawer. I love it. Food goes in before Shabbat. A lot safer than an open blech when we have little kids roaming around the house. I packed away my blech, and I don't miss it one bit. Between the warming drawer and crockpot, I'm set for Shabbat.

              1. To the posters who use a warming drawer for Shabbat dinner, does yours have a timer? We just moved into a house with a warming drawer on the bottom of the oven. What's the best/safest way to use it?

                1 Reply
                1. re: craigcep

                  I have a Thermador. There is no timer. I leave the dial set between low and medium and I turn it off manually after Shabbat. I usually use it for Friday night, although Jachnoon seem to bake very nicely in it overnight. It uses much less energy than than my oven in Shabbat mode even left on for the duration of Shabbat, and does not dry out or overcook the food. I put soup and saucier items in ceramic pots that sit directly on the warming drawer floor, and more delicate items like rice or veggies on a rack that sits above it. For Shabbat lunch, I use the crockpot.

                2. It really doesn't get hot enough to safely reheat cold food. Is meant to keep already hot food hot for relatively short periods of time.

                  1. Bagelman, I am envious of your set-up. You seem to get food. I have always coveted the warming drawer. Aah. Well.