Best warming drawer

Bakeware & Baking Tools

Just because a warming drawer can’t get as hot as a regular oven doesn’t mean it can’t ruin cookware that isn’t oven-safe. Make sure never to place anything made of paper or plastic in your warming drawer.

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Which warming drawer is best?

The warming drawer, otherwise known as a proving or baking drawer thanks to its frequent use in baking, is an appliance that can be added to indoor and outdoor kitchens to help keep foods and tableware at appropriate serving temperatures. It’s particularly useful for cooks who need to make multiple dishes but who don’t have the space to cook them all at once.

The best warming drawer is the KitchenAid Architect Series II 30-Inch Slow Cook Warming Drawer. This warming drawer has 1.5 cubic feet of internal cooking space, all the standard warming features, the ability to slow cook and it comes in a beautiful stainless steel design.

What to know before you buy a warming drawer

Size

External: The external size is the size that a warming drawer will take up in your kitchen. They’re typically listed in terms of their width, with most warming drawers being marketed as 24-, 27- or 30-inch sizes. Also consider the depth of the warming drawer when shopping; if your cabinetry and/or walls aren’t deep enough for your prospective warming drawer, it will jut out from your installation point.

Internal: The internal size is measured in cubic inches and covers the available space you have for placing your foods inside. They don’t always align with the external size of the warming drawer, as different brands and the availability of certain features can affect the total size. For example, some may be 30 inches with 2.2 cubic feet, while others are 30 inches and have 1.5 cubic feet. Few warming drawer listings include the cubic inch measurement upfront, only the external width, so make sure to double-check the product details.

Installation

Just like any other major kitchen appliance, a warming drawer requires expert installation in order to avoid potentially dangerous mistakes as a consequence of their electrical power requirements. Luckily, most warming drawers include installation as part of their cost when purchased from reputable retailers.

What to look for in a quality warming drawer

Style

Stainless steel: Most warming drawers are made with stainless steel exteriors. They’re sleek and tend to match most kitchens but are prone to smudges and fingerprints. Some of the pricier stainless steel warming drawers include anti-smudge measurements. If you don’t want your warming drawer to look smudged after use, you’ll need to purchase one such model.

Panel-ready: “Panel ready” warming drawers are designed with the goal of attaching paneling and handles that match the cabinets of your kitchen. They don’t cost any more or less than other styles of warming drawer, but you do have to purchase the panels and handles you wish to attach separately from the warming drawer. They can be used before/without any paneling attached as well.

How much you can expect to spend on a warming drawer

Warming drawers are an expensive addition to your kitchen no matter what brand or size you select. The least expensive options typically start around $1,000 and go to roughly $1,250. For $1,250-$1,750, you should be able to find a warming drawer from most brands and in any size and style you prefer, though they may not have every feature you want. Anything above $1,750 is top-dollar brands or warming drawers with special features or designs.

Warming drawer FAQ

What’s the difference between a warming drawer and a microwave drawer?

A. Microwave drawers might sound similar to warming drawers, but in reality, they have nothing in common. Warming drawers are essentially just low-powered ovens that can’t be set to temperatures hot enough to cook food normally, though some have the ability to slow cook. Microwave drawers are large microwaves installed into a cabinet to save counter space and are especially popular picks for those who dislike over-the-range microwaves.

What are the ranges of temperature a warming drawer can reach?

A. Warming drawers are designed to reach and maintain low temperatures, exactly the opposite of a standard oven. Most warming drawers have proof settings of roughly 80 degrees Fahrenheit intended to proof breads and other baked goods. They also usually have low and high settings of roughly 120 and 200 degrees, respectively. Some warming drawers might have a medium temperature range of roughly 160 degrees, while others could have adjustable temperatures for a more customized warming. For perspective, standard ovens usually have lows around 300 and highs of 500 degrees.

What’s the best warming drawer to buy?

Top warming drawer

KitchenAid Architect Series II 30-Inch Slow Cook Warming Drawer

KitchenAid Architect Series II 30-Inch Slow Cook Warming Drawer

What you need to know: This beautiful stainless steel KitchenAid warming drawer does it all: slow cooks, warms and proofs.

What you’ll love: A temperature control sensor keeps foods from drying out by ensuring a steady temperature.

What you should consider: The capacity of this warming drawer is only 1.5 cubic feet, smaller than some other 30-inch warming drawers.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Top warming drawer for the money

Bosch 500 Series 30-Inch 2.2 Cubic Foot Electric Warming Drawer

Bosch 500 Series 30-Inch 2.2 Cubic Foot Electric Warming Drawer

What you need to know: This Bosch warming drawer uses lower walls to allow for easier placement and removal of foods.

What you’ll love: Telescoping rails with ball bearings ensure this warming drawer has the smoothest possible opening and closing.

What you should consider: This warming drawer does not have a slow cooking feature.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Worth checking out

KitchenAid 30 inch Warming Drawer in Overlay Panel Ready

KitchenAid 30-Inch Warming Drawer in Overlay Panel-Ready

What you need to know: This KitchenAid warming drawer is built to allow custom panels and handles to be attached to match your cabinetry. 

What you’ll love: A humidity slide control allows you to customize the level of moisture inside the warming drawer.

What you should consider: You’ll need to purchase the paneling and handles separately.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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