Whenever we have a dinner party, we find ourselves resorting to last-minute plate-warming techniques (running dishes under hot water or heating them in the microwave, for instance). Lately we've been longing for a built-in warming drawer, which can also be used to keep food warm, for bread-proofing, and even slow cooking. All of which makes us think: Perhaps the warming drawer could become an indispensable appliance for the serious cook and entertainer.
N.B.: Warming drawers are available in a choice of 24-, 27-, and 30-inch widths to match the standard widths of wall ovens and kitchen cabinetry. Most large appliance makers offer warming drawers; so if you have one suite of appliances, you are likely to find a warming drawer to match.
Above: With conveniently low sides for sliding big stacks of dishes on and off, Gaggenau's WS 282 30-Inch Convection Warming Drawer has a stainless steel interior and can heat things to a temperature range of 85 to 175 degrees. It also has enough capacity to hold the equivalent of 12 place settings; $1,889 at Abt Appliance.
Above: The KitchenAid Architect II Series Warming Drawer heats from 90 to 250 degrees, allowing it to serve as a slow cooker as well as warm dishes and food; $1,019 for the 30-inch size at AJ Madison.
Above: Miele's Europa Clean-Touch Steel 30-Inch Convection Warming Drawer (ESW 4816) is engineered to hold up to 30 pounds fully extended. It also has a removable anti-slip silicone pad to keep plates from sliding around and heats from 104 to 185 degrees; $1,345 at AJ Madison.