If you are planning to have an important dinner party, and you know you will be leaning over a hot stove for hours making dishes for this meal, the last thing you want to do is serve your special guests room-temperature food.
Plus, this would practically ruin the whole meal you made, or at least result in it being far less delicious than it could be.
Luckily, there are more ways to keep your guests’ plates warm than you could even imagine.
This article aims to provide you with each and every method that exists for keeping dinner plates toasty warm, in turn, keeping your food delicious as well as safe from the growth of any harmful bacteria.
Some Initial Tips
There are a couple of tips to keep in mind before delving into all the details regarding how to keep your plates warm.
First, it’s good to know that of all the varieties of plates you can buy, ceramic plates are one of the best types of dish for retaining heat. This makes them a good candidate for keeping your food warm for a longer period of time.
Just make sure the plates you warm up are oven-safe if you plan to place them in a conventional or toaster oven. Otherwise, you might end up with some cracked dishes.
There are also plates available that are made specifically for retaining heat. They stay warm for 45 minutes or even longer, so these are also a great option. You can simply do a quick search online and find several brands to choose from. Based on your budget, you can figure out which kind is ideal for you.
Second, it is smart to check the temperature of your meal with a food thermometer before serving it, especially if a variety of meat is involved. Make sure that the temperature is 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above for any meat.
If meat gets below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it can begin growing dangerous bacteria that could make you extremely sick or even result in death, in some cases. You definitely don’t want your guests or family members remembering your dinner party in this horrible light.
This is why it is absolutely vital for you to check your food’s temperature. This is even more important if the meal you made has been sitting cooling off for a while.
One more piece of information to keep in mind is that the more food you have, the warmer it will stay as it will have less of an opportunity to lose its heat.
Keeping Your Plates Warm
Now that you know some important information, you can decide which method of keeping your plates warm is best for your unique situation. Read on to learn about the different ways to heat those dishes.
1 – Oven Chargers
One very effective method you can use involves oven chargers. These are neat (and very helpful) little gadgets that turn heat energy into electrical energy. You simply place them in your hot oven, take them out, and use them for warming your plates. Here are some more details.
Set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put your chargers into the oven after it has reached 350 degrees. You can also put your plates into the oven.
If you do place your dishes in there as well, put your chargers on the bottom rack and the plates on the top; you may need to stack your dishes. Make sure to spread out your chargers on the rack. Leave these items in your oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Remember to use oven mitts to remove the plates and chargers. Put the plates on the chargers. Place the food on your plates as quickly as possible and right after it has been cooked so that it’s still piping hot.
Also, don’t forget to let your guests know the plates are hot, and set your chargers on a heat-resistant surface.
2 – Cooler
Using a cooler to keep something warm might seem counterintuitive, but it is a very effective way to keep your plates hot. The reason coolers work so well to keep food cold is the insulation inside of them.
This insulation can work to keep things hot in the same way it keeps things cold. You can simply wrap your plates of food in foil and place them in a cooler, or you can use hot bricks or warm water.
If you happen to have a couple bricks laying around, you can heat them up in the oven. Set your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the bricks inside for around 20 minutes. This will make the bricks nice and hot.
Add paper to the bottom of your cooler, and then carefully remove the bricks, wrap them in aluminum foil, and place them in the cooler on the paper. Next, set your plates, which you can also cover in foil, atop the bricks, and shut the cooler.
You can warm up the cooler first by adding warm water to it for a half hour to two hours, and then dump it out and dry the cooler. This will make the insulation inside your cooler warm before you add your plates of food.
3 – Aluminum Foil
Quite possibly the easiest method you can use to keep plates warm is by simply wrapping them.
in aluminum foil. Like all metals, aluminum foil is a material that conducts heat well.
However, it is much more effective at keeping food warm if you do not let the foil actually touch the food. Thus, you should wrap the foil around the plates in such a way that you leave a little space between the foil and food.
4 – Dishwasher
Think about your dishes when you remove them from a dishwasher that just finished. They are so hot you can barely touch them to put them away. Therefore, using your dishwasher to warm your plates before placing food on them is a great method.
Set your dishwasher to its dry cycle, and start it after you have put your plates into it. You can keep it on for as long as you need to. This will ensure your plates are warm and also dry, which makes them ideal for putting food onto.
5 – Oven
This is another method that involves using your oven, but you can do this without any chargers. Simply set your oven temperature to between 140 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit, and stack your plates on the racks.
You can leave them in the oven for around 15 minutes. Use oven mitts when you remove them.
Some ovens actually have a warming drawer. In this case, you can utilize this feature and place the plates in there to heat them up.
6 – Microwave
If you want to heat up your plates fast, a microwave might be the best option for you. Stack your plates in the microwave, and zap them on high for one or two minutes. This will make them perfectly hot and ideal for placing food onto.
7 – Toaster Oven
If all you own is a toaster oven, you can easily use this to warm up your dishes. Just utilize it in the same way you would a conventional oven, setting it to a temperature between 140 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit and letting the plates sit in there for about 15 minutes.
8 – Heating Pads
Heating pads might not spring to mind when you think about food, but they are perfect for warming up dinner plates. Set a stack of plates on a heating pad, and leave them there for as long as it takes to get them sufficiently warm.
9 – Insulated Bag
Another option for keeping plates warm that seems a bit random is an insulated bag. Similarly to how it keeps food frozen, an insulated bag can also keep it warm.
Wrap your plates of food in aluminum foil, once again not touching the foil to the food, and put them inside an insulated bag. This will keep the food warm for quite some time.
Be certain to check the temperature of any meats in the meal before serving the food to your guests.
10 – Hot Water
If you have access to hot water, either by boiling water or by running water straight out of the faucet, you can heat up your plates quite well. All you need to do is submerge them in the steaming hot water for a couple minutes.
Use oven mitts, ideally water-resistant ones, to remove the plates from the water.
11 – Electrical Warmer Oven
This particular option calls for making an investment, but if you host dinner parties all the time, it might be worth the buy. It involves using an electrical warmer oven.
These handy items are big metal boxes that keep your food warm using electricity. They can be rolled to their destination, making them perfectly portable. You can roll it into your dining room after filling it with plates of food.
This is a fool-proof way of keeping plates of food warm.