Warming Drawers: A Guide to This Convenient Kitchen Appliance

Jenny Cazares | Discovery Team | Dean Cabinetry

By: Jenny Cazares

A warming drawer is a separate appliance, sometimes called a baking drawer, that uses subtle heat to keep food warm.

What are warming drawers used for?

Warming drawers are perfect for helping bread dough to rise, and keeping your heated foods warm. They can be especially helpful during the holidays when you’ve got lots of dishes to keep warm before serving. Warming drawers can also be used as a slow cooker, set at 200°F, to cook a prime rib or roast.   

How does a warming drawer work?

A warming drawer produces a low heat that will keep food warm. Unlike a traditional oven, it does not reach temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. A warming drawer should not dry out your food while it keeps it warm. A traditional oven is more likely to continue to cook your food, and your dish may become dry.

What is the size of a warming drawer?

Warming drawers are smaller than traditional ovens and are therefore more energy efficient. Some warming drawers come with features that ensure that your food stays moist inside, while the outside stays crisp. Overall temperatures are more consistent than in an oven or microwave, thereby producing a more consistent result. 

What are the heat settings on a warming drawer?

Most warming drawers will have settings for you to choose from, depending on what you place inside the unit. Here are a few examples:

Temperature setting:





Temp Range:

80°F – 110°F

80°F – 200°F

80°F – 200°F

80°F – 200°F






Used for:

Proofing bread

Keeping food warm

Keeping food warm

Slow cooking

For best results, do not hold foods in the warming drawer longer than 1 hour. 

Foods should be kept at 140 °F or warmer to ensure that there is no bacteria growth.

What types of warming drawers are sold?

You can purchase a stand-alone warming drawer or one installed into cabinetry.

They are available in a variety of colors, including stainless steel. Some are sold panel ready so you can seamlessly integrate it into your new kitchen cabinetry. 

What sizes do they come in?

Warming drawers come in several widths including 24″, 27″, 30″, and 36″ inches. The depth and height of the drawer will vary depending on the model you choose. This is something to keep in mind when you are shopping; the average dinner plate is 10” to 11” in diameter, so make sure the interior space is large enough for your dishes.

How much do warming drawers cost?

A single warming drawer can range from about $1,000 to more than $3,000, depending on the name brand and functions available.
Speak with your kitchen designer about incorporating a warming drawer in your new kitchen design. Your designer will help you find the perfect location.