This is our official list of the best food warming trays on the market today. Scroll further down or click “More Info” for full details on each product.
|#1||NutriChef Food Warming Tray|
|#2||Broil King NWT-1S Professional|
|#3||Deluxe Shabbat Food Warming Tray|
|#5||Toastess TWT-40 Food Warming tray|
Brief Beginner’s Guide to Food Warming Trays
A good food warming tray is a must for any professional or home kitchen. This essential piece of equipment will keep foods fresh longer, reduce waste, and make every dish taste the best it can. Many prepared foods can begin to spoil when they are left out on a table or buffet. Warming trays will keep these foods at a safe temperature for up to two hours before one will need to worry about spoilage.
Today’s modern designs make warming trays look as wonderful as they work. Warming surfaces come in a variety of attractive materials such as brushed metals and tempered glass. Housings consist of stainless steel or plastics in accentuating colors. They can be placed on any table or counter top where dishes can be set directly on their surface in order to stay warm and delicious.
There are many practical features one can look for when purchasing a quality food warming tray. Most include cool touch handles on the sides that make them easy to transport safely as well as non-slip feet. Adjustable controls allow one to keep foods at their ideal temperature, and indicator lights can warn users when the surface has reached the desired heat.
What Are Food Warming Trays
A food warming tray is a piece of equipment that one is most likely to see in a professional setting. This review will help anyone that is in search of a well-made, reliable electric food warming tray that can be used both professionally and in a home setting. These warming trays are most often used at professional buffets. One warming tray is used for each chafing dish being used. Warming trays are ideal for any serving buffet where one doesn’t have access to a fully installed, larger buffet appliance. Food warming trays are not a common household item, but they do work wonderfully for parties and gatherings in the home. Most are designed in a way that will hold chafing dishes full of food during a buffet, but one can also use them to keep plated food warm until it is time to serve.
These electric warming trays are portable due to their smaller size. They can easily be moved from place to place as well as set on different tables and countertops. This makes them a versatile item that can suit a variety of spaces unlike the fully installed versions. Although most warming trays look similar and have closely matched features, there are a few that are better than others. The following reviews will discuss exactly what makes the top five stand out and help one find the perfect warming tray for their own individual needs while staying within their budget.
Who Are They For?
The most common reason for wanting to purchase a food warming tray is to keep foods warm during a party, buffet, or dinner. They are for any home cook or professional chef who wants to preserve the hard work and time they have invested in each dish by keeping the food hot and tasty, but that is not the only reason it is smart to have one of these appliances on hand.
A food warming tray is also an excellent purchase for anyone that is concerned about health issues related to the temperature of food. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has stated that food should not be left out of refrigeration for longer than two hours. This applies to cooked food as well as cold items. If the temperature in the area surrounding the perishable items reaches 90°F, the recommendation drops to only one hour. After these allotted times the dishes may become prone to food borne bacteria which can cause illnesses like food poisoning.
A quality food warming tray allows one to have control over the temperature of their food. All perishable items can be kept at a safe temperature for an extended amount of time. This allows one to have more time to visit with friends and family that have come to dine with them. It also eliminates the need to feel rushed while eating, and it is no longer necessary to race around putting the left overs away.
What to Look for in a Food Warming Tray
Finding the best food warming trays requires a little research as well as comparison shopping among similarly priced ones. This has been covered in the list of the top five warming trays below. In addition to the information provided there, one needs to understand the importance and depth of the product along with any special features.
The material most commonly used in the construction of a food warming tray is stainless steel. Stainless steel designs are found in restaurants, homes, and catering businesses. There are other materials available, but the high end models are constructed of stainless steel. They are durable and resist staining.
One needs to know the capacity of the tray as well as their intended use for it before making a purchase. Some versions are for single plates while others are made for double plates. The size of a warming tray can go up to a four plate design which can accommodate larger serving dishes or several smaller ones effortlessly.
Stay cool, durable carrying handles make a food warming tray more practical. These allow one to effortlessly move the tray while ensuring its portability. In addition, handles will make it much easier to serve larger groups of people.
Most warming trays will come with an adjustable temperature control. Settings range from a minimum temperature to a maximum one. It also includes a thermostat that allows for more accuracy and a better ability to monitor the heat.
Are They Worth the Money?
A food warming tray is a must have item in a professional kitchen, restaurant, or buffet setting, but many home cooks wonder if they are really worth the money for home use. The answer is yes. There are many reasons why.
The number one reason why a food warming tray is a good investment in any home is the fact that it keeps foods from spoiling. Too many families throw unbelievable amounts of food away each year. A warming tray can help reduce this amount. These appliances keep food from spoiling while it sets out. This means any left overs will be safe to refrigerate and warm up later rather than throwing it all away. This saves the average family money when it comes to their grocery bill.
One can benefit further from a warming tray by avoiding illness. The risk of food borne bacteria increases as food sets out. The ability to control the dishes temperature while it is out reduces the bacteria growth allowing one to avoid food poisoning.
Regardless of the health issue, the average home cook will find a warming tray well worth the money simply because it allows them a way to keep their recipes tasting their best. Not all foods are ready at the same time when one is preparing a meal. Placing dishes on a warming tray as they are completed frees up the cooks time and space to focus on other components of the meal.
5 Highest Reviewed Food Warming Trays
Below you will find five of the best warming trays out on the market, reviewed in brief with the main pros and cons associated with each listed out.
The Nutri Chef Food Warming Tray keeps dishes warm and ready to serve. Any heat resistant cookware can be used on top of this slim line design. The ultra-thin construction of this piece saves space both when in use and while being stored. The heat resistant tempered glass provides a non-stick surface.
The high powered heating element heats quickly, and the cool touch handles offer portability. The warming surface can reach a maximum temperature of 203°F. It measures 22.4 by 6.7 inches which gives plenty of room for many types of casserole dishes, baking sheets, or pans.
- Cooking Surface is Made of a Heat Resistant, Non-stick Tempered Glass
- Ultra-Thin Design With Cool Touch Handles
- Reaches a Maximum Temperature of 203°F
- Large Warming Surface Measures 22.4 by 6.7 Inches
- On/Off Switch is Hard to See Due to Its Location on the Back of the Warming Tray
The Broil King NWT-1S Professional food warming tray has a sleek stainless steel design with black accents. This commercial quality 300 watt warming tray includes cool-touch side handles for added safety. The adjustable thermostat allows the user to select a temperature ranging from 155°F to 200°F.
The warming surface is constructed of an easy to clean stainless steel, and the entire device measures 15 ¼ by 26 inches. Non-skid feet keep it from sliding, and it includes a safety signal light along with a 43 inch, three prong cord. It is UL listed and weighs nine pounds.
- Commercial Quality 300 Watt Stainless Steel Tray\
- Adjustable Thermostat With a Temperature range of 155°F to 200°F
- UL Listed with a Three Prong Cord and Safety Signal Light
- Cool Touch Handles Allow the User to Move the Tray Safely
- Does Not Have the Ability to be Used Cordless
The Deluxe Shabbat food warming tray keeps foods warm without the worry of overheating. It features an elegant brushed aluminum finish with a tempered hi-tech glass surface measuring 24 by 20 inches. It features a 300 watt power which allows it to warm quickly.
The design includes sturdy carrying handles for safety as well as a red indicator light, a variable temperature control, and an on-off switch. The temperature ranges from 110°F to 230°F, and it comes with its own storage bag. It also includes a one year limited warranty.
- Sturdy Carrying Handles on Each Side are Constructed of Aluminum
- 300 watts of Power for Quick Warming
- Variable Temperature Control Ranging From 110°F to 230°F
- One Year Limited Warranty is Included in the Purchase Price
- Some Find it too Heavy to Handle with a Weight of 15 Pounds
The Cuisinart CWT-240 food warming tray will keep food warm at the ideal temperature. It is large enough with a 19 by 12 inch surface to hold several different dishes at the same time. The elegant style with a brushed metal housing, embossed logo, and glass surface allows it to fit in beautifully on any buffet or table.
It is easy to clean, and it has a power indicator light that lets one know when it is on. Extended handles on each side make transportation simple and safe. This food warming tray includes a three year limited warranty.
- Large Glass Surface Measures 19 by 12 Inches In Order to Hold Several Dishes at the Same Time
- Heats up to a Temperature of 200°F with an Adjustable Thermostat
- Three Year Limited Warranty
- Power Indicator Light Lets Users Know the Device is On
- The Cord is Very Short
The Toastess TWT-40 is a cordless, stainless steel food warming tray that keeps items warm with a classic design. It warms up in less than eight minutes, and once you detach the cord, it remains warm for up to one hour. This makes it ideal for buffets that don’t have immediate access to an outlet.
Overheating is avoided with the temperature control, and the red power light and the green indicator light make it easy to operate. The 23 3/4 by 11 3/4 inch surface can hold four plates, and it comes with a two year limited warranty.
- Includes Stay Cool Handles
- 1000 Watt Cordless Stainless Steel Design Keeps Food Warm
- Has Power Ready Indicator Lights and an Automatic Temperature Control
- Large Enough to Hold Up to Four Plates With a Surface Measuring 23 ¾ by 11 ¾ Inches
- Appliance Can Be Heavy at 16.2 Pounds
All in all, if you find yourself in a situation where you are missing the convenience of a dishwasher but do not have enough space or a high enough budget to afford a standard size, consider one of the options above.