The Best Ways to Keep Food Warm for Hours Before Serving

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How do you keep food warm for hours to blend the taste of delicious meals? This is a common concern when thinking about keeping food warm.

Serving hungry customers, party-goers, guests, and family members cold food that’s meant to be served hot, is like offering them melted ice cream. It won’t be very enjoyable. Food warmers are used to keep cooked meals hot and ready to serve upon order.

When purchasing a food warmer for your household, restaurant, or catering business, you may naturally think of a countertop option. However, there are many types available to keep your food hot until serving time.

Take a look at these ten ways how you can keep food hot for hours, while you tend to other important details inside and outside of the kitchen.

1. Chafing Dishes

Chafing dishes also called chafers are popular food warmers used to keep pre-cooked meals hot for approximately six hours. Chafers have from one to three stainless steel pans that will hold and keep food warm until it’s time to serve and eat.

They are reasonably priced and great for use at hotels, buffets, and in the household for your family barbeques, parties, and big events.

8 Quart Chafer

Tiger Chef

The Tiger Chef 8 Quart Chafer is complete with three stainless-steel food pans to hold three different meals. The dome covers, a foldable stand, and two fuel holders make for a great purchase.

2. Oven

After food has been fully cooked, leaving it in the oven until you’re ready to make plates for guests is an effective method. The heat trapped inside from cooking radiates throughout the food as there’s no opening for cool air to make its way inside.

Making space for different foods in the oven also creates more space on your counter or island. As guests file in and out to get meals at different intervals, the oven keeps all foods warm and it’s easy to access.

3. Slow Cooker

Slow cookers also called crockpots both cook and reheat food for events or little gatherings. The food you have already prepared is placed into the slow cooker and will remain heated for 2 hours or more before serving.

Ensure that you set the slow cooker on a warm setting to prevent overcooking. They are excellent for warming poultry, sides, and dips so you won’t have to worry about serving chilly meals.

Stainless Steel 6 Quart


This is a stainless-steel 6-quart crock-pot and one of Amazon’s Choices with a 4.7-star rating. It’s perfect for warming food for up to 7 persons and has a digital control system. It switches automatically to warm settings after the timer set to cook meals has ended.

4. Heat Pad

Heat pads also called electric blankets are capable of reheating and keeping meals hot for several hours. Simply put your food in a metal container and place it on the heating pad to keep the food warm. They are powered by electricity or batteries and produce enough warmth until you are ready to eat.

5. Warming Drawer

Are you a lover of family BBQs? Then this food warmer may interest you. Warming drawers are often used to warm plates but they’re perfect for warming food. Cooked food is placed into the drawers which maintain a consistent temperature and prevent the transfer of flavor for hours.

Need an easy and convenient way to heat your favorite foods? A warming drawer will get the job done for your BBQ meals, bread, rolls, chicken alfredo pasta, and more.

Stainless-steel Kitchen Drawer


Mophorn has one of the most elegant kitchen drawers used in outdoor kitchens. It’s complete with three stainless-steel drawers with sliding rails to easily add and remove food. There’s plenty of storage space for dishes, pans, and plates of food to get warm as you tend to other recipes. Interested to make this purchase? If yes Amazon has a variety of sizes to match your budget.

6. Plate Warmers

Plate warmers are very useful to keep food and dishes warm. Serving hot food on a cold plate is a no. Hot food on cold plates will absorb the heat from meals making them chilly and less palatable. You do not want that to happen.

Electric Plate Warmer


The thermostat electric pad warms plates to 160˚ F. It’s an ideal purchase to warm plates and keep hot food at consistent temperatures while eating.

7. Steam Tables

Steam tables are used at both large and small gatherings to keep food warm for an extended period. As your guests and customers arrive on different occasions, they won’t all be eating at the same time.

Steam tables will supply constant heat to all the nutritious meals presented. There is no specific time limit as to how long food should remain on steam tables but ensure heat stays above 140˚ F.

Commercial Steam Table


Whether you’re operating a restaurant or catering business this three-section stainless-steel food warmer would be an ideal purchase. Want a much bigger steam table to keep more food heated?

The SYBO commercial steam table can be bought with either one, two, or three compartments. It’s safe with an automatic shut-off and indicator light.

8. Thermal Cooker

A thermal cooker is like a large thermos. It is but used to cook, stew, and boil your favorite meals and suited to keep food heated for hours. Cook your meals and while they’re piping hot place them in the thermal cooker. It’s an easy take for brunch with friends and camping with your kids. Have fun, and easily pull out mouth-watering soups and other meals remaining warm and tasty.

9. Warming Trays

Have a ton of guests over? A warming tray is just what you need to keep food hot until it’s time to serve. No need to worry about being asked to reheat a meal ever so often. The warming tray will keep all sustenance warm so you can enjoy your time at housewarming parties, dances, showers, and dinners.

Electric Warming Tray


This family-size warming tray has a 21”x 16” glass surface that heats many plates of food in one go. It can easily fit on your countertop or buffet table. There are temperature controls so you can regulate how fast you heat and distribute food. It’s the perfect choice to keep meals warm for hours at parties, buffets, and Thanksgiving dinners.

10. Insulated Thermos

An insulated thermos will keep small quantities of food warm for hours whether you’re going on a picnic or brunch. The double-walled container is built with a vacuum which prevents heat from escaping and cold air from entering the thermos.

Stainless Jar


Thermos is the original brand and constructed this outstanding product to keep food hot for up to 9 hours and cold food cold form way longer. In a hurry with limited time to eat breakfast? The stainless-steel bowl and foldable spoon are convenient while you head to your destination in a hurry.

After reading all this information, we hope it was quite useful. Which method do you think would work best for you to keep food warm for hours?

I am one of the contributors of this site, completed my bachelor of arts from NYU. I love my passion for anything art, culinary, and of course traveling and the different cuisines.

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