Best 6 Hot Plates To Keep Food Warm: Fresh & Warm Meals During Entire Party

Desperately searching for hot plates to keep food warm?

If yes, continue reading this article to check out a wide offer vailable on the market. Moreover, you can also learn about their technical specifications and check out models that differ in size and design, as well as in price.

The Rundown

Oster Buffet Hot Plate To Keep Food Warm RundownOster Buffet Hot Plate To Keep Food Warm
OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★
With 3 removable trays with lids, it features a knob for adjusting the temperatures from low to high to keep food warm and moist.
Jump To Review

Salton Hot Plate RundownSalton Cordless Warming Tray
OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆
This electric hot plate can be unplugged after 8 minutes and provide warm food for up to 1 hour for use away from the power source.
Jump To Review

NutriChef Hot Plate RundownNutriChef PKWTR40
OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆
This model has non-slippery feet and thin design for countertop surfaces with tempered glass that can heat up to 203 Fahrenheit.
Jump To Review

Hot Plate That Keeps Food Warm – Does It Exist?

Yes, it sure does. Some hot plates are designed only to make your meal warm for a long time. That means they have a low-temperature scale needed for that one simple action.

Can I Use A Standard Hot Plate Too?

Yes. A classic hot plate without this function can still be used for keeping food ready to eat. The only thing such a model needs is an adjustable temperature with low levels of heat – up to 250 Fahrenheit degrees.

Hot Plate That Keeps Food Warm

Why Would I Need Such A Specific Hot Plate?

When you have a specially designed model suitable for only one operation, you don’t need to worry about burning up the meal or finding the best temperature level for this operation.

Private & Professional Possibilities

They are an excellent choice for both home and commercial use. You can get smaller models for your home so you can easily keep your food warm or bigger ones great for restaurants and hotels so you can offer your guests a warm buffet.

Before You Get This Warming Model, Here Is What You Should Know About It

Every type of hot plate comes with specific features and specifications. So before you go for any model you can find, check out all the functions it has to offer. Here is what you should bear in mind before buying.

Electric Hot Plates

They are classic electric models. They come with a flat surface and modern design. Have in mind that these models require a power outlet to work.

hot warming plate

Can I Use An Induction Model Too?

Yes, you can. There are specific induction models called warmers. They do this special task at a safe temperature. If you use a classic induction hot plate, make sure to set it up to the lowest temperature possible. That is between 130 and 185 Fahrenheit degrees.

Is There A Non-Electric Option?

Yes one of the most popular non-electric options is a stone hot plate. Such a model needs to be warmed up in the oven or microwave, and then you simply place the food on top of it. The stone eventually loses its heat, however, it will remain hot for up to 20 minutes.

Metal Construction For Strength & Durability

Most models are designed for this are constructed of sturdy and durable metal materials such as stainless steel and aluminum.

Low Wattage Power Ideal For Warming

Unlike classic hot plates that come with up to 1800 watts of power, the heating element inside this model comes with different wattage power. Mostly, the power ranges between 100 and 800 watts which is ideal power for obtaining an optimal temperature.

Power Source Off Option

We mentioned that these models work with electricity. However, some models can be unplugged after a short heating period and then can provide the food with enough heat for a certain amount of time.

power light on when warming up

Suitable Cookware: What To Use?

Classic units are suitable for almost any type of heat-resistant cookware. That includes glass, ceramic, iron, and stainless steel. The cookware for induction hot plates needs to have magnetic properties so it can conduct electricity and warm-up food properly. That means that pots and pans need to be made of stainless steel or cast iron.

Does The Shape Of Cookware Impact The Warming Process?

Yes. With a solid hotplate hob, the pans should have a flat base. This allows maximum contact with the solid plate and better distribution of heat. Using a pan with a curved base is unsafe because it is unstable.

Size Determines Portability

Most of these models come in a great size so the they are easy to move and carry. Of course, you can still choose between different sizes, but they are meant to provide easy portability. The size varies from 15 to 25 inches.

How Long Does It Take To Warm The Food?

This depends on the model but you can count on at least 15 to 20 minutes at the low temperature. Even though there isn’t an exact time limit, you need to have in mind that if you overdo it, the food may be dry in the end.

Best 6 Hot Plates To Keep Food Warm

Oster Buffet Hot Plate

SPECIFICATION:

Material: SS & Aluminum
Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 10 inches
Weight: 10.55 Pounds
Heating Element: 1
Controls Type: Adjustable
Power: 300W

3-Tray Buffet Design 
This hot plate has a 3-tray buffet design. Each 2.5-quart tray can keep hot food dishes at a warm temperature, which makes it ideal for hosting parties or keeping food warm on Thanksgiving and other holidays. Every container measures 5.11 inches in width, 8.58 inches in length, and 2.44 inches in depth. The whole hot plate’s surface measures 20 inches by 13 inches.

Oster Buffet Hot Plate To Keep Food Warm Review

Removable Trays 
This commercial hot plate can be used with the trays or without them, as they are easily removable. The front side features a knob. This knob allows you to adjust the heat from low to high, to keep your food at optimal warmth for serving. The indicator light warns you when the power is on. The handles on the sides are safe to touch as they do not get hot.

Locks Warmth & Moisture In Food
The stainless steel housing is durable and easy to keep clean. The included trays and lids are dishwasher safe. Each of the three food trays comes with a transparent lid and helps to keep the food both warm and moist. The lids have a dome shape and feature handles for easy opening and closing. It allows your guests to view the food and serve themselves if wanted.

Oster Buffet Hot Plate To Keep Food Warm

For Heat-Proof Dishes
It can be used for a variety of vegetable dishes, meat, appetizers, as well as deserts. The serving food temperatures can be set between 140 and 185° Fahrenheit. This appliance can be used with heat-proof dishes only. It can be transported from the kitchen to the table safely by using the grip handles on the sides.

OUR RATINGS

Overall: ★★★★★
Safety: ★★★★★
Power: ★★★★☆
Quality: ★★★★★
Capacity: ★★★★★
Funcionality: ★★★★★

PRICE RANGE

from $45 to $75
depending on eCommerce offer (Amazon, Walmart, Target) and discounts

Short Description:

  • comes with three removable food trays
  • features a stainless steel housing
  • adjustable between 140-185 Fahrenheit
  • keeps food warm and moist with lids
  • ideal for parties and holiday meals

Salton Cordless Warming Tray

SPECIFICATION:

Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 28.4 x 11.6 x 4.4 inches
Weight: 10.2 Pounds
Heating Element: 1
Controls Type: Adjustable
Power: 800W

Cordless For Neat Look
You can use this electric model by plugging it in for 8 minutes and then it can keep your food on the right temperature for 60 minutes after unplugging. This way you don’t have to deal with cords and can set the it onto the table for serving warm food at your dinner parties or other get-togethers.

Salton Hot Plate Review

Non-Stick Stainless Steel Plate
The hot plate is 23.75 inches long and 7.75 inches wide so that you can keep more dishes warm at once. It is made of stainless steel and has a non-stick finish for easy cleaning. This hot plate has a sleek design that fits into a variety of house decors. The front side features a red and green indicator light so that you know when it is heated up.

Can Go Cordless Or Stay Plugged In
In case you decide to keep tit plugged in, it will automatically turn on and off to prevent overheating but to always food just right. If you decide to unplug it, you can move it to any other space away from the power outlet and it will retain the heat for about an hour to keep all the different dishes warm.

Salton Hot Plate

Keeps Food Warm & Fresh
Using this electric single burner hot plate is a great way of making sure your guests are served warm, fresh looking food at all times. As cooks and chefs usually have to eat cold leftovers, this is also changed as the food stays warm for a long time. It can be used for parties, as well as holiday meals to keep any food that is best consumed warm at an optimal temperature.

OUR RATINGS

Overall: ★★★★☆
Safety: ★★★★★
Power: ★★★★☆
Quality: ★★★★☆
Capacity: ★★★★★
Funcionality: ★★★★★

PRICE RANGE

from $80 to $120
depending on eCommerce offer (Amazon, Walmart, Wayfair) and discounts

Short Description:

  • 23.75 inches long and 7.75 inches wide
  • stainless steel hot plate construction
  • non-sticking design for easy cleaning
  • can be unplugged after 8 minutes
  • 8 minutes can give 60 minutes of warmth
  • red and green indicator lights

NutriChef PKWTR40

SPECIFICATION:

Material: SS & Tempered glass
Dimensions: 27.1 x 8 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 5.78 Pounds
Heating Element: 1
Controls Type: Adjustable
Power: 150W

Non-Slip Feet For Countertops
This hot plate measures 22.4 inches in length and 6.7 inches in width. The housing is constructed from stainless steel with a heat-resistant tempered glass tray. It is easy to clean and safe for use on any countertop or table surface thanks to the non-slip feet on the bottom. It is designed to save space while providing enough surface for keeping several dishes warm, depending on the size.

NutriChef Hot Plate

Thin Design For Portability
Its thin design with handles that can’t get hot allows you to move it around and transport it with you. It is only 1.6 inches thick and can be used with any kind of heat-resistant cookware in your house, or even aluminum foil. It 150 Watts of power to keep the food warm and ready to serve. On the backside of the unit, there is a power cord attachment and a power switch with light for safety.

Maximum 203 Fahrenheit
After plugging it into a power outlet and switching the power on, you should let it preheat for about 5 minutes. After that, you should place your cookware with food to make it ready for serving. The glass hot plate can heat up to 203 Fahrenheit so you need to be careful not to burn yourself.

NutriChef Hot Plate Review

Suitable For Pots & Pans
As this countertop hot plate can be used with many different cooking pans and pots, and even aluminum foil and baking sheets, you can use it for a variety of dishes. It allows you to keep any dish fresh while hosting different events and parties in your home.

OUR RATINGS

Overall: ★★★★☆
Safety: ★★★★☆
Power: ★★★★☆
Quality: ★★★★★
Capacity: ★★★★★
Funcionality: ★★★★★

PRICE RANGE

from $40 to $85
depending on eCommerce offer (Amazon, Walmart, eBay) and discounts

Short Description:

  • measures 22.4 inches in length and 6.7 inches in width
  • stainless steel with heat-resistant tempered glass
  • non-slip feet for countertop surfaces
  • suitable for cookware, aluminum foil, and baking sheets
  • cool-to-touch handles and thin design for portability
  • glass can reach up to 203 Fahrenheit temperature
  • perfect for hosting and party events

Chefman Hot Plate

SPECIFICATION:

Material: SS & Tempered glass
Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 2.5 inches
Weight: 7.7 pounds
Heating Element: 1
Controls Type: 3 settings
Power: 400W

Fits Several Cooking Containers
This Chefman unit has a 21-inch long and 16-inches wide hot plate that can fit several dishes on at once. The plate is designed from black glass that is easy to clean with stainless steel detailing. It is suitable for any heat-proof cooking and baking containers, such as pots and pans, casserole dishes, as well as glass and aluminum baking trays.

Chefman Tray Low Wattage

Low, Medium & High Settings
The front side features a power indicator light, with a turning knob situated on the side of the hot plate. The control knob has three settings so that you can choose between keeping your food warm at low, medium, or high temperatures. The temperature can be adjusted up to 265 Fahrenheit. The carry handles are also located on the sides and are cool to touch for convenient portability from one room to the other, etc.

Fuse Safety Feature
As it has different temperature settings, it can be used for warming up different food. The rather large size makes it ideal for family gatherings, holiday meals, and parties. It can keep the food warm all day, but should not be turned on for longer than 72 hours at once. That way, you are keeping it from overheating as it has a fuse safety feature which allows you to keep it on low temperature throughout the day or even put it on high to warm up some food quickly.

Chefman Tray Low Wattage Review

Space Saving Portable Design
This 400-Watt portable hot plate to keep food warm has all the features to work with larger amounts of food and can also be easily transported thanks to the handles that are cool to the touch. The sleek design fits into any kitchen and on any counter, while also saving space.

OUR RATINGS

Overall: ★★★★☆
Safety: ★★★★★
Power: ★★★★☆
Quality: ★★★★★
Capacity: ★★★★★
Funcionality: ★★★★☆

PRICE RANGE

from $55 to $80
depending on eCommerce offer (Amazon, Walmart, Lowe’s) and discounts

Short Description:

  • measures 21 inches in length and 16 inches in width
  • black glass hot plate design
  • suitable for any cook and bakeware
  • temperature adjustable up to 265 Fahrenheit
  • cool-to-touch handles for carrying and portability

Ovente FW170S Food Buffet Tray

SPECIFICATION:

Material: Stainless Steel
Dimensions: 21.5 x 9.6 x 1.8 inches
Weight: 3.94 pounds
Heating Element: 1
Controls Type: Adjustable
Power: 200W

Adjustable Temperature
The Ovente FW170S features a 200-Watt heating element that warms the dishes without burning it or the plate surface. The front side of the unit features an indicator light that turns on when the element is working. The control knob lets you adjust the temperature for keeping food warm to your liking.

Ovente Hot Plate Review

Heat-Resistant Cookware
It is designed with stainless steel housing and can endure even heavy everyday use. It is suitable for heat-resistant ceramic, glass, and metal cookware. The handles on the side are designed to stay at a comfortable temperature so that you can move it around.

Heat Spreads Evenly
The size of this unit is enough for keeping more than one dish warm at once. The heat is evenly spread throughout the tray at an optimum temperature by choosing the temperature setting. The food will stay fresh and warm without going dry, so that you and your guests can enjoy it at family parties and other gatherings.

Ovente Hot Plate

Affordable Price
This electric cheap hot plate is listed for a rather reasonable price. At this affordable price, you can have an appliance for any of your future dinner parties and holiday meals. Its compact and thin design will save you space on the dining table while also keeping food at an optimal temperature.

OUR RATINGS

Overall: ★★★★☆
Safety: ★★★★★
Power: ★★★★☆
Quality: ★★★★★
Capacity: ★★★★★
Funcionality: ★★★★☆

PRICE RANGE

from $25 to $35
depending on eCommerce offer (Amazon, Walmart, eBay) and discounts

Short Description:

  • a 200-Watt heating element
  • control knob for adjustable temperature
  • heat-resistant metal, ceramic, and glass cookware
  • non-hot handles for portability
  • heat spreads evenly throughout the plate
  • listed for an affordable price

Classic Kitchen Glass Warming Tray

SPECIFICATION:

Material: Aluminum & glass
Dimensions: 25.5 x 21.6 x 3 inches
Weight: 15.02 pounds
Heating Element: 1
Controls Type: Adjustable
Power: 300W

Brushed Aluminum Housing
This big hot plate to keep food warm is 24 inches long and 20 inches wide. The housing of the plate is finished in brushed aluminum, while the plate is constructed from tempered glass. The high-technology glass is made to spread heat evenly throughout so that all the dishes are kept equally warm.

On & Off Switch
This large hot plate comes in the combination of black and stainless steel colors. It features aluminum handles on the sides that are sturdy for easy transportation and carrying of this large unit. It also features an on and off switch for safety, as well as a turning knob for adjusting the temperature. The red indicator light shows when the unit is on to prevent burning accidents and keep users safe.

Classic Kitchen Large Plate

Removable Control Knob
The control knob allows you to choose the temperature anywhere between 110 and 230 Fahrenheit. That way you can choose the optimal temperature for food so that it can always be served nicely warm to keep its taste. However, this unit is not intended for cooking food, but only to keep it warm. The control temperature knob can be removed if needed to save some space.

Comes With Storing Bag
The 300-Watt heating element works to maintain the same heat throughout the glass so you can use this appliance for holiday meals or any other occasion where you might plan. In case you need to store it, that will be an easy job. The glass surface is easy to clean and it comes with a storage bag for conveniently storing the unit away when it is not in use.

OUR RATINGS

Overall: ★★★★☆
Safety: ★★★★★
Power: ★★★★☆
Quality: ★★★★★
Capacity: ★★★★★
Funcionality: ★★★★☆

PRICE RANGE

from $155 to $170
depending on eCommerce offer (Amazon) and discounts

Short Description:

  • measures 24 inches in length and 20 inches in width
  • housing finish is done in brushed aluminum
  • high-technology tempered glass construction
  • carry bag for easy transport and storage
  • adjustable temperature knob from 110 to 230 Fahrenheit
  • heat spreads evenly throughout the hot plate
  • suitable for keeping several dishes warm at once

Simple Design For One Action Only

Hot plates designed only with warming up in mind are really simple to use, as they do offer just that one function.

How Do I Keep The Temprerature Just Right?

Such hot plates come with a control knob for adjusting the temperature so you can adjust the heat and keep food at optimal warmth for serving. And that’s it! However, have in mind that most models don’t display the exact temperature. Instead, the adjusting knob is labeled with low, medium, and high levels of temperatures so be sure to set the right heat level.

Can Food Be Placed Directly Onto The Heating Tray?

Food should never be placed directly on the surface of the warmer, so a dish or aluminum foil is a must. This factor is also a caution so you don’t touch the tray surface when it is hot!

food can't be placed directly on the hot plate

Safe Warming Operation

Any type of hot plate, not only the ones that are designed for keeping the food warm, needs to meet the highest demands of safety.

Cool To The Touch Handles

Since these models are meant to be portable, side handles are great for easier handling with it when it is ready for storing and while it is warming the food. The handles are designed to be cool to the touch and they save you from burning your hands while carrying the unit.

Light Indicators

This feature alarms you when the hot plate is on and in action. It also warns you when the appliance is heated up.

Non-Slip Feet For Stability

To use this model safely, it features non-slip feet on its bottom. That way it is safe and secured at the top of your countertop or table.

How Long Can You Warm Up Food For It To Be Safe To Eat?

The food is safe if it is held on a warmer surface for a maximum of 2 hours. Even this is a bit extreme because food that is placed 2 or more hours on a warmer loses its freshness and starts to dry out. In order to be safe for eating, the food has to consistently remain at a temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

keep food warm on a hot plate

Should I Worry About The Timing?

You don’t need to worry about the warming-up and timing. In most models, warmth is locked or there is an automatic turn on/turn off option to prevent overheating. However, keep an eye on food while it is warming up – just in case.

Designed For Easy Cleaning

Most appliances come with a flat surface. Thanks to that, you can easily wipe their top and keep it clean. Just use a cloth and some mild soap. Make sure to clean it regularly, not just occasionally.

Dishwasher Safe Parts

Some hot plates, especially those that are designed for commercial use, come with dishwasher safe trays and lids. That is an excellent feature that eases up the cleaning in hotels and restaurants.

Additional Ideas For Keeping The Food Warm

If you still need time to think if you really need a warming appliance or not, here are a few additional tips on how you can keep your food warm until your guests arrive.

Microwave

Many microwaves actually come with an option that keeps the food warm so why not use it!

Oven

You can use your oven if you set it up to 200 Fahrenheit degrees. This is the perfect temperature for keeping food warm.

alternatives to keep a food warm

Use Aluminum Foil

This is a rather simple way to keep your food warm. Just wrap the pot, pan, or bowl where the food is and the heat will be retained at least for a short time.

Heating Lunchbox

If you want to keep your food warm while you’re in the park, on a picnic, or on a walk, you can use a heating lunchbox. Some of them are battery operated and their batteries last for about 2.5 hours.

Heat Up The Plates

This is an easy one too. You can heat up the plate in the oven for 10 minutes at no more than 150 Fahrenheit degrees or in the microwave for 2 minutes at maximum power. Once you put food on such a warm plate, it will keep it warm for some time. Common oven-safe plates are made of ceramic, metal, cast iron, and glass. But make sure to check out the manual to confirm. Also, handle such plates with safe kitchen gloves.

To Wrap It Up

In conclusion to this article where I reviewed and gave more information this appliances I would like to suggest one model. The Oster Buffet hot plate comes with buffet trays and lids that retain moisture and temperature. With the adjustable temperature from low to high and removable trays, it can be used for many different dishes. In case you are interested in cooking on a hot plate, check out hot plates to boil water to find out more. For other warmers, read my post where I have reviewed some of the best hot plate warmers available on the market.

Meghan
Meghan began her career as a journalist in 2016 after graduating with a Master’s degree. Through her work as a journalist, she has built relationships with many industry leaders, including experts in cooking which prompted her interest in cuisine. In 2018, she joined a cooking course where she explored many tips and tricks she presents in her articles and reviews. Meghan joined the Kitchentoast team in 2020 and since then, she has been focusing on writing about cooking, baking, design, kitchen appliances, and more.