Desperately searching for a good hot plate food warmer?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
Here you can check out the reviews of both electric and non-electric models, suitable to use at buffet stations, in your office, kitchen, and other spaces. You can also learn about the features that make a good hot plate so that you know what to look for when buying one.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
What Is A Hot Plate Warmer?
That is a device or appliance designed for warming food. Such a hot plate is suitable for placing a pan, pot, or bowl on the top of its heating area for the warming process. You can’t place the food directly in the warming area unless it comes with containers.
Can I Cook On It?
Unfortunately, no. It is meant just for that – warming. It comes with a low temperature range which often isn’t enough for cooking and boiling.
Can I Use A Classic Hot Plate For Warming Food?
As long as a hot plate has low-temperature options, you can use it for warming food. The optimal temperature goes from 130 to 185 Fahrenheit degrees. Also, some types are designed with both functions – for cooking and warming food.
Besides ones for food, there are specially designed warmers for warming coffee, tea, or some other beverage. These are small electric warmers with up to 20 watts of power.
Versatile Use With Good Advantages
Besides all the functions and specifications, there are a couple of factors that make this model great kitchen addition.
What Is So Great About A Warming Appliance?
It comes in handy when you wish to eat leftovers or when your guests are running late for dinner. That way you can warm up food within minutes.
Suitable For Home Parties & Businesses
This model is great for both private and professional use. However, commercial units used in restaurants and hotels are more powerful and bigger in size than home models so they can meet the high demands of warming great amounts of food at the same time.
Perfect On-The-Road Appliances
As these hot plates come with a low wattage power or they do not need electricity at all, they are perfect for camping trips, picnics, RVs, and boats. However, have in mind that if you get an electric model, you need a power outlet if you wish to use it outdoors.
Hot Plate For Warming Food: What To Know Before You Buy
There are 2 types you can consider, so before you decide on getting this new kitchen appliance, make sure to know their difference, as well as all the functions they can offer you so you can choose the right model for your needs.
What Types Can I Get?
You can choose between electric and non-electric models. Electric models require access to a power outlet and they keep the food warm while letting you choose between different temperature levels. Non-electric models are actually stone hot plates and they need to be preheated in the microwave, oven, or over an open flame to be able to keep food warm.
Low-Wattage Hot Plates
Electric models do not need a lot of wattages to keep the food warm. They usually use under 200 watts to heat the warming surface. With such an energy-efficient unit, you can never go wrong when you want to keep food at an optimal temperature for the best taste. Commercial models, on the other hand, have more than 1,200 watts of power.
Maximum Temperature Of 250°F
Electric models come with turning knobs that usually let you adjust the temperature level between low, medium, and high settings. Although they come with different maximum temperatures, they are usually not over 250 Fahrenheit degrees. By adjusting the temperature, you can keep different food warm without burning it.
What About The Temperature Of Non-Electric Models?
Most stone warmers are designed to hold the heat up to 450 Fahrenheit degrees. That temperature is enough for warming leftovers and meals. However, have in mind that the stone remains hot for about 20 minutes. After that period, the temperature is gradually falling down.
I Need A Portable Plate Warmer. Can I Use This One?
Absolutely. Like any other hot plate, a warmer comes in many different sizes too. Electric warmers are usually 15 to 21 inches big, while non-electric models are about 10 inches.
No Need For Special Cookware
Apart from food containers that can come with it to be used as a buffet server, you can also use almost any other cookware on the surface of the warmer. As long as it is heat-resistant, you can place glass and metal pots and pans. You can even use baking sheets and aluminum foil on top of the heating surface.
Should I Use A Cookware With A Non-Electric Option?
Yes. As the stone is heated up, you can burn yourself if you place the food directly on the heating surface. Due to that, always place the food in a bowl, pan, or pot, and then on the stone.
Where Can I Place A Working Warmer?
These are specially designed models that are suitable for use on the countertop or table. Of course, you can place a warmer on an additional mat too.
Best 6 Hot Plates Food Warmers
Oster Hot Tray Food Warmer
Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.6 x 10.3 inches
Weight: 10.55 Pounds
Controls Type: Adjustable
Includes Three 2.5-Quart Pans
This electric chafing dish has a stainless steel body with three warming trays and domed lids made from a transparent material. The overall unit measures a warming area of 20 by 13 inches. Each of the three pans measures 5.11 inches in width, 8.58 inches in length, and 2.44 inches in depth. The 2.5-quart pans are also removable so it can be used without them, as well.
Temperature Adjustments Dial
When the heating element is turned on, the power indicator light will warn you about it. Next to the indicator light at the front side, there is also a control knob for temperature adjustments. That way you can set the temperature according to the food you are trying to keep warm for perfect temperatures.
Traps Moisture & Heat
As it comes with transparent lids, they help to keep heat and moisture trapped in, letting you keep up to 3 different meals warm at once. A great solution for keeping food warm at buffet stations, in restaurants, for holiday dinners, parties, etc. No matter the occasion, with this hot plate you can keep food warm for ideal serving temperature.
Cool-Touch Side Handles
With transparent lids, you can let your guests serve themselves with food as they can view what’s inside each pan without opening it. The control knob features low to high-temperature settings for a variety of dishes. The buffet server comes with cool-touch handles that prevent burn injuries and let you transport the unit when necessary.
- 20 by 13-inch stainless steel warming surface
- comes with three 2.5-quart pans with lids
- temperature knob and power indicator light
- low to high-temperature settings available
- ideal for keeping food warm at different occasions
NutriChef 3 Buffet Warmer
Dimensions: 25.6 x 15 x 6 inches
Weight: 9.48 Pounds
Controls Type: Adjustable
Three Food Containers
This NutriChef electric warming tray lets you keep food warm with a maximum temperature of 175 Fahrenheit degrees. The temperature can be adjusted by using the turning knob located on the front side of the unit. The three containers with transparent lids for food.
Safe For Countertops
The serving containers are easily removable for when you want to use it without them. The handles on the food warmer are great for transporting it if necessary. It is safe for kitchen countertops and other surfaces, allowing you to keep food warm wherever you might be.
Transforms Into A Hot Plate
You can use this buffet server for birthday and office parties, holiday dinners, as well as other gatherings. It easily transforms into a hot plate by removing the containers. You can make breakfast or sautee vegetables, cook cutlets and burgers on it.
Durable & Quiet
Its lightweight design makes it easily portable by using the side carry handles. The buffet warmer is easy to keep clean by removing the containers. It also lets you use different cookware to place on top to warm up the food. The unit is durable and doesn’t make a lot of noise.
- includes three food containers with lids
- temperature knob with a max temp of 175°F
- removable containers for easy cleaning
- can also be used as a hot plate for cooking food
- lightweight for transportation with carrying handles
- safe for counters and other surfaces
NutriChef Food Warming Tray
Dimensions: 21.2 x 12.3 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 5.8 Pounds
Controls Type: Adjustable
Stainless Steel & Glass Materials
This 180-Watt model can be used in any space with access to a power outlet. It comes with a stainless steel construction with a glass surface. Its thin design is ideal for countertops without taking up too much space. It comes with carrying handles so that you can also transport it.
For Heat-Resistant Cookware
The heat resistant tempered glass is non-sticking and easy to maintain. It is suitable to use with baking sheets and casserole dishes, as well as any other heat-resistant cookware. The turning knob for heat regulation lets you choose the temperature up to 203 Fahrenheit degrees. The LED power indicator light will warn you when the heating is on, and you can turn it on and off with a switch.
For Any Occasion
As it 16.5 inches long and 11 inches wide, it can be used to keep more dishes warm at once. You can use the electric hot tray can keep food warm at buffets, parties, family gatherings, and other occasions. It will keep the food at an optimal temperature so that it always tastes good upon serving.
Thin & Portable
With the space-saving and portable design, this model is ideal for every kitchen. With low power consumption and energy efficiency, you won’t have to worry about food going cold whilst entertaining. Including handles, it measures 21.2 inches in length, 12.3 inches in width, and 1.6 inches in height.
from $100 to $110 depending on eCommerce offer (Amazon) and discounts
- 16.5 inches long and 11 inches wide
- stainless steel and glass construction
- glass surface for heat-resistant cookware
- temperature adjustments up to 203°F
- LED indicator light and on and off switch
- space-saving thin design for any countertop
- ideal for keeping food warm when entertaining
Chefman Hot Tray Food Warmer
Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 2.5 inches
Weight: 7.7 Pounds
Controls Type: Adjustable
Easy-To-Clean Glass Surface
This food warmer features a glass surface and comes in a large 21 by 16 inches size. From low to high-temperature options, you can keep the food warm throughout the day or quickly heat it when needed. The glass surface can be easily cleaned, while the carrying handles allow convenient transport when needed.
Three Temperature Options
The power indicator light is on when the glass warming tray is heating for added safety. The knob with three temperature settings is located on the side for quick adjustments between low, medium and high options. It can keep several dishes warm at once thanks to its size.
The maximum temperature is 265 Fahrenheit degrees and the thermal fuse prevents overheating for safe use. Its modern and sleek design complements any kitchen interior and looks nice even in front of guests. Even when the unit is hot, the carrying handles stay cool to the touch for transport.
For Any Cookware Type
This model can be used to keep food warm all day long, but should not be left turned on for more than 72 hours at once. The 400-Watt unit can be used with any kind of heat-resistant cookware. No matter the event you have, you can ensure the food stays warm for deliciousness and enjoyment.
- 21 inches long and 16 inches wide
- keeps several dishes warm at once
- can also be used to quickly heat food
- glass surface is easy to keep clean
- the thermal fuse prevents overheating
Chef Buddy Plate Warmer
Dimensions: 9 x 10.25 x 1 inches
Weight: 2.16 Pounds
Controls Type: /
Granite Stone Center
This model differs from the above reviewed models as it does not have to be plugged in to be able to work. It features a granite stone center with a white polypropylene frame and is 9 inches long, 10.25 inches wide, and 1 inch high.
Microwave It For A Few Min
As the stone center becomes hot, it can keep food warm for longer, while the handles stay cool to the touch. To heat the plate, you can pop it in the microwave for a few minutes. After it gets hot, the granite core transfers warmth to the cookware placed on top and thus keeping food inside warm.
For Indoor & Outdoor Use
The stone insert can be removed from the frame so that it is easy to keep clean. As it requires no batteries or cords to run, you can use it inside your house, as well as outdoors. The granite stone measures 7.75 inches in length and width.
This non-electric warming tray can be used on your table while eating to keep the food inside warm, or outdoors in your yard and other spaces. It is also available to buy in packs of two, three, or four.
- 9 inches long and 10.25 inches wide
- plastic frame and granite stone core
- granite center is 7.75 inches long and wide
- place in the microwave for a few minutes
- can be used indoors and outdoors
- heat transfers from stone to cookware
Mr Coffee Warming Plate
Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.2 x 8.6 inches
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Controls Type: Adjustable
Warms Beverages In 2 Min
Unlike the rest of the models in this article, this unit can be used as a mug warmer plate. The 17-watt warmer comes in black color and is designed to warm up any beverage in about 2 minutes. The plate is designed to easily fit any mug on a circular surface with an outer edge.
Compact & Portable
The indicator light alerts you once your coffee, tea, or other beverage gets hot. You can even use it to heat soup. As it comes in a compact size, you can take it anywhere with you by placing it in a tote or other bag. It also has an on and off switch.
Extended Power Cord
Using it in your office, dorm room, or any other space where you might want to warm your beverage is easy. It comes with a long power cord so that you can plug it in and use almost anywhere. You don’t have to worry about keeping your favorite warm drink from going cold as long as you have access to electricity.
For Many Mug & Cup Styles
It is designed to fit many different styles of cups and mugs to keep tea, coffee, cocoa, and other drinks warm. To maintain clean, simply wipe the surface. You don’t have to worry about your warm drink going cold in your office or even at home.
- on and off switch with power indicator
- uses 17 watts to warm up beverages
- takes about two minutes to warm drinks
- can be used for coffee, tea, cocoa, or soup
- small and easily portable in totes
- designed for many styles of cups and mugs
- for use in offices and more
Warmers: How-To-Use Instructions
The usage process depends on the model you choose but nothing to worry about, warmer comes with a simple design and they are really easy to use.
Electric Warming Unit
Set up the temperature. No need to worry about the level of heat, these models come with a low-temperature scale suitable only for warming up food. Let the plate heat up a bit. Place a pan or bowl with food on it. Warm the food for 15 to 20 minutes. With a warming plate, you can lock the heat and keep the food warm for as long as you need to. Of course, make sure to not overdo it.
Non-Electric Warming Model
You can heat up the stone hot plate in the oven or in a microwave. For the oven, set the temperature between 500 and 600 Fahrenheit degrees, and then place the stone in for up to 30 minutes. If you’re using a microwave, you can place the stone in it for 4 to 5 minutes. Once the stone is warm, take it out, and place a bowl with food to warm it.
How Do I Use A Coffee Warmer?
Quite simple actually. Plug the cord, tap the switch, and place your mug on the heating surface. It will warm your coffee for as long as you need.
What Are Some Alternative Options For Warming Food?
If you think that investing in it isn’t the best idea at this moment, here are a couple of alternative options which can help you with keeping your food warm.
Classic Kitchen Appliances
You can always use your oven or microwave to warm the meal or leftovers. Just set the temperature of an oven at the lower levels and leave your food in for 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re using a microwave, set it up for just a couple of minutes.
Cover the food with aluminum foil. The foil reflects the thermal energy back to the food and maintains the inherent aroma, flavor, and moisture of the food.
Fill up some bigger pot with hot water and then place the bowl with food inside. Just make sure that the bowl is higher than the level of water.
With this option, the food will be hot for additional 2-3 hours.
Safe Warming Operation
These models come with great features which ensure safe, stable, and secure usage.
Are They Safe To Use?
Such models are safe as long as you are properly using them. Do not touch the heating surface with your bare hands and never leave the plate unattended. Also, do not let such an appliance on for too long. A couple of hours on the maximum heat is more than enough.
Key Features Of Safety
These types of warmers come with cool-to-the-touch handles, overheating protection, and well-designed bottom with rubber feet so your new kitchen appliance is always safe and stable.
Always Turn Off The Appliance
This is a must for any hot plate, not just a warmer. When it’s not in use, make sure it is turned off and safely stored.
Simple Cleaning For All Warmers
Both electric and non-electric models are easy to clean. You just need a damp cloth and a mild detergent and wipe the surface of your hot plate. Make sure to dry the cooktop before you store it. Do not use scrapers, abrasives, or cleaners that contain chlorine.
To Wrap It Up
If we had to choose one model from this list, we would go for the Oster food warmer. With removable food containers and lids that trap in heat and moisture, you can use it as a buffet server as well as with any other kind of heat-resistant cookware. It is durable and quiet, and also easy to transport with cool-touch handles. If you are interested in other such models, read my in-depth article about hot plates to keep food warm. To check out models that can do the same, but can also cook food, visit this article with my list of low wattage hot plates.