Whenever we have dinner parties, 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 our own built-in warming drawers, which can also be used to keep food warm, as well as 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 can likely 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 has enough capacity to hold 12 place settings; $1,889 on special order at AJ Madison.
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 to warm plates and food; $1,079 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; $1,295 at AJ Madison.
Do you have a warming drawer—and do you put it to use? Share your finds in the comments section below.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on November 23, 2011 as part of our Thanksgiving Entertaining issue.