Warming trays are one of the ways to make sure your food stays warm if you’re having a wedding reception, a friendly get-together, party or any other celebration that requires a food buffet. Food is best kept warm and it will definitely look more impressive if your guests are served your food selection directly from snazzy food warmer trays. In this article, we will take a look at some of these trays together with the features that make them stand out. We will also reveal which product we select as our top pick best warming tray.
The Best Warming Tray
First on the list is the Elite Platinum EWM-6171 Triple Server Food Warmer, which has pretty impressive functions. It consists of three buffet trays, each made with 2.5-quart stainless steel featuring a think enamel coating. The bottom, which measures 25″ x 14.5″ x 6,” can also serve as a warming tray. There is a retaining shelf between the base and the three trays which serve as Each buffet server also comes with a dome lid with cutouts for spoons and a stainless steel finish. The temperature can be adjusted and controlled to prevent the content from burning. The utensil is powered by 200 watts, which are enough power to work efficiently. The device features cool to touch handles, as well as a power indicator light to inform you of the temperature of the machine. With this pan, your guests will not be kept waiting for too long, and they will leave happier than they came.
Three separate buffet trays
A base that doubles as a food warmer
The base measures 25″ x 14.5″ x 6,”
Buffet trays are made with stainless steel
- Brand Maxi-Matic
- Model EWM-6171
- Weight 9.2 pounds
Another excellent warming plate is the NutriChef 3 Buffet Warmer Server, which has an elegant look and functional features. It is suitable for any occasion, so far as there is food to be heated and you will always have fresh food to feed your guests. It is durable, quiet, and takes the stress that comes with food prep away. All you’ll need is a power source to plug it in using the three-foot power cord, and it will do the rest. The body features a stainless steel construction that is easy to clean and stain-resistant. It consists of three different trays set on a base that features a rotary temperature control setting, and the heat can go as high as 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The 120 V power allows it to get to that level and will slow cook your food to your satisfaction. It also serves as a fantastic hot plate and will keep your food heated for up to four hours. The utensil has a compact body that makes it lightweight and can easily be transported using the carry handles. Once you have a steady surface, whether a table or countertop, you are guaranteed to entertain your guests with this convenient tool.
Three-foot power cord
Maximum temperature of 175°F
Compatible with a 120 V socket
Rotary temperature control
- Model PKBFWM33.0
- Weight 10.14 pounds
Serving warm food should not be challenging, and the Waring Pro BFS50B Professional Buffet Server and Warming Tray will solve the problem. The design of this warming tray is buffet-style, and you can have a variety of dishes heating at the same time to satisfy your guests. This buffet warmer runs of 400 watts of power, which makes heating food a less stressful and quick experience. You can adjust the temperature to up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough to keep the meals coming smoothly. The appliance consists of three 2-1/2-quart chafing dishes, each having a twenty four-ounce capacity. The base is constructed with brushed stainless steel and also doubles as a hot tray for warming food. Each dish comes with its own clear polycarbonate lid, and hence there will be minimal spillage. The control knob is also right in front of the buffet server so that it is easily accessible. There are also handles on both sides of the trays to make handling it easy and safe.
Brushed stainless steel base
Three 2 ½ quart chafing dishes
Runs on 400 watts of power
Each tray has a clear polycarbonate lid
- Weight 11.8 pounds
If you want your buffet to loom classy, then look no further than the Elite Platinum EWMST-415 Triple Slow Cooker Buffet Server. The features include three oval pots sitting on a base. The containers are removable, with one being 4Qt., and the other two being 1.5Qt. Even though all the stoneware has the same base, they each have their own temperature control knob. This allows you to keep each of them at a different temperature when the need arises. The temperature control has the low, high, and warm settings that you can choose from. The utensils also have a see-through lid that allows you to monitor the content and also reduces spillage. The product comes with handles that are cool to touch, no matter the temperature, as well as rubber feet to keep the unit steady. The wattage on the unit is 420 with indicator lights to help you monitor its operation. The body also features silver stainless steel with accents that are black and the pots embedded in the base.
Silver stainless steel body
Three pans each with a temperature control knob
420 watts wattage
Glass see-through lids
- Model EWMST-415
- Weight 24.6 pounds
If you are a fan of the simple utensils, then you will enjoy using the Cuisinart CWT-100 Warming Tray. It has a simple design that features a flat surface with heat components to warm food. The body is made of brushed stainless steel, making it durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean. It measures 294 square inches, which allows it to hold more than one dish. The hot tray requires 400 watts of power to operate, and it will perform exceptionally to heat food as quickly as possible. The temperature can go as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough to keep food at the optimum temperature for serving. The handles are easy-grip and cool to touch so that your hands are protected during handling even if the tray itself is hot. There is a temperature regulating knob on the front of the tray with which you can change the heat between low, medium, and high. Right beside the knob is the indicator light to inform you about its operation.
Brushed stainless steel body
400 watts of power
Temperature regulating knob
294 square inch surface
- Model CWT-100
- Weight 6.75 pounds
The NutriChef Electric Warming Tray is another one of the food warmer trays with a simple design but powerful function. It has a professional build but will still be an entertaining piece to have around, making it a great addition to any kitchen collection. This food warmer has a stainless steel construction, featuring a non-stick, heat-resistant tempered glass. It is equipped with a high-powered heating component that runs on 180 watts of power. This electric food warmer features an ultra-thin design that saves space, and hence it will be perfect for any area, including countertops. Despite the low power consumption, it still works efficiently and is also safe for use with heat-resistant utensils. It can heat food to 203 degrees Fahrenheit, so your guests will have unlimited warm, but not burnt, food. It comes with side handles that you can wrap your fingers around effortlessly for easy transportation. The handles are also cool to touch, so your hands will be protected no matter how hot the tray is. The tray is wide enough to hot more than one pan, and so you can have a variety of warm meals to serve.
Stainless steel body
Cool to touch handles
- Weight 5.8 pounds
The NutriChef Portable Electric Hot Plate is another simple try that will have your guests impressed at your culinary expertise. The tray keeps food warm by evenly distributing heat across the surface with the help of a heating element. The temperature can rise to 203 degrees Fahrenheit but is still versatile so that you can even use it with baking sheets. The body features an ultra-thin stainless steel body with the surface covered with tempered glass. This design is space-saving, and you can place it in any space perfectly. The power switch can be found at the back of the appliance alongside the power cable, with the light indicator to show that the device is heating up. It comes with carrying handles that are cool to touch, to allow for secure handling and transportation. With this tray, you will spend less time and effort getting your stews and soups to heat up. The surface measures 19.8” L x 11.9” W, and the machine runs on 240 watts, which makes a powerful heating element. Even with this power, you can safely use a heat resistant utensil with this hot tray.
Stainless steel body
Tempered glass surface
Can heat up to 203 degrees Fahrenheit
- Weight 6.2 pounds
The Broil King NWT-1S Professional 300-Watt Warming Tray is another time and energy-saving hot tray with useful features. It uses 300 watts of power and has a commercial build. The built-in thermostat is adjustable with a range starting from 155 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a stainless steel body as well as elevated non-skid feet to keep the appliance table during use. The surface is easy to clean, and the device features a safety signal light and commercial three-prong cord set. It measures 15-1/4 x 26 x 2-8/9 inches, with the temperature control knob in the front for easy access. You can use more than one pan on the machine or directly heat food on it.
Stainless steel body
Uses 300 watts of power
Measures 15-1/4 x 26 x 2-8/9 inches
- BrandBroil King
- Model NWT-1S
- Weight 8.6 pounds
You can try the Betty Crocker Stainless Steel Buffet Server, and you will not be disappointed. It is a silver tray, which can be used to warm food and serve at buffets. It can keep food, both liquid and solid, warm for up to three hours. It consists of two trays embedded in a base with a heating element. The trays come with integrated spoon notches to help when it comes to dishing out food. The body is made of stainless steel, which is durable and can withstand heat and other conditions. It is also equipped with a temperature control system with the knob in front of the appliance for easy access. The tool also comes with lids and cool to touch handles for easy transportation.
Stainless steel body
Cool to touch handles
Temperature control knob
- BrandBetty Crocker
- Weight 10.95 pounds
The last warming tray on the list is the Salton 27 Quart Digital Pressure Oven, which also has functional features like the others. It is a digital device that runs on 800 watts of power and can still heat without a cord. The body is made with stainless steel, and in eight minutes, it will be warm. It features a power button as well as indicator lights to keep an eye on the temperature. The temperature is controlled automatically, with the machine surface area measuring 23-3/4 x 7-3/4 inches. It has feet that elevate it from the surface and can accommodate more than one utensil.
Stainless steel body
Runs on 800 watts of power
Automatic control temperature
- Model TWT-30
- Weight 10.5 pounds
Best Warming Tray Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look Out for When Buying a Warming Tray
- Wattage: This refers to how much power is needed to operate the device. A warming tray with low wattage might be energy-efficient but not powerful enough to warm the food. You can choose either of them depending on your needs. It will help if the device you want is approved to be electrically safe.
- Material and design: Stainless steel is one of the most common materials used for warming trays, mainly because it is a good conductor of heat. It is also the top choice because it is resistant to harsh conditions. When it comes to design, features like the non-slip feet and temperature knob in front help with stability and accessibility, respectively. Also, cool to touch handles are ideal for protecting your hands against the heat of the trays.
- Temperature control: When heat is involved, some form of control needs to be available. Any type of warming tray you pick must have a temperature control system that’s easy to manipulate so that you can monitor your food. This way you can ensure the food gets the warmth it needs to stay fresh without getting burnt.
Benefits of Using a Buffet Server
A buffet server allows you to have more than one dish on the menu at suitable temperatures. It keeps food warm all the time and so that guests are not served cold food. The buffet server also saves you the time of reheating food, which may delay in guests getting their food. The server also allows guests to choose what they want on their plates since most of them can accommodate more than one dish.
Chafing Dishes Vs. Food Warmer Trays
Chafing dishes are dishes that use indirect heat to keep warm, usually in shallow pans. Food warmer trays are a type of chafing dish because they have similar features for it. Chafing dishes are typically used for large quantities of food, while warmers are used for smaller amounts.
Best Warming Tray FAQ:
Q: What is a warming tray, and how does it work?
A: They are utensils with flat surfaces that are used to keep food warm for long periods. They are equipped with heating elements that need some form of power to operate.
Q: How do I use a warming tray?
A: If it is electric, you will have to plug it into a power source to get it to heat up. You can either place pans on it or if it already has pots, then directly put food into them for heating.
Q: How long the food will remain warm in a buffet server?
A: It depends on the type of server you get. Some can keep food warm for 3 hours while some can go beyond that.
Q: Can I use buffet trays for cooking?
A: No, you cannot because of the slow heating mechanism, hence it might take too long to cook.
Our Top Pick
We choose the Elite Platinum EWM-6171 Triple Server Food Warmer as the best warming tray because of its functional features. The separate buffet trays allow you to heat a variety of meals to keep your guests satisfied. The base, which also acts as a food warmer, contributes to making this electric warming tray multi-purpose. It has cool to touch handles so that moving it around is safe for your hands, and the lids prevent any spillage. You can adjust the temperature to your preference, and the size of the tray is suitable to cater to all your guests. Overall, your party will be twice the fun with this utensil around.