We’ve all been there. You’ve made a hot, delicious meal, but then something comes up and you can’t eat it right then. You know if you stick it in the fridge, it won’t be nearly as good later. Your only option is to leave it out and take a risk of it going bad and being potentially dangerous. Of course, that’s only your only option if you don’t have a warming tray. Warming trays are the best way to keep your food toasty and delicious for those nights when you get called away from your dinner unexpectedly. They also work great when you’re bringing food to a potluck or other function.
However, there are a ton of different warming tray options currently on the market, and they are not all created equally. For that reason, we encourage you to take our advice on the best warming tray options that money can buy.
How We Chose Our Ratings
Before we dive into our warming tray options, we want to give you some background on how we arrived at them.
Unlike some sites, we want you to know that we don’t have any ulterior motives behind our ratings. We are not trying to get you to buy something or trying to force you to think a certain way.
Instead, our main goal is to give you all of the factual information that you need to make an informed purchasing decision for yourself.
We get our information by spending countless hours scouring the internet looking at reviews from real customers like you. We compile data from these reviews, and we also look at individual brands and their products, as well as brand reputation and history.
All of this information allows us to give you trustworthy reviews and recommendations. It’s up to you whether you follow them or not, but we do want you to know that you can trust what we have to say. We truly do have your best interest at heart.
So, with that out of the way and without further ado, we present our picks for the best warming tray options of 2018.
10. The Cuisinart CWT 100 Warming Tray
This warming tray from Cuisinart is a large and in charge electric warming tray. It’s large enough to make food for a crowd but not so big and bulky that it will seem out of place in your kitchen.
This tray can heat up to 200 degrees, perfect for safely heating any and all types of foods. It’s also really good with evenly heating food.
All in all, it is a pretty great warming tray even though there isn’t anything particularly fancy or special about it. However, it’s a very good basic model.
9. The Oster CKSTBSTW00 Buffet Server
- Food warmer with 3 2.5 quart trays keeps hot dishes at the ideal temperature; perfect for parties and holidays; Each pan...
- Electric chafing dish features large heating surface measuring 20 by 13 inches
- Durable stainless steel housing, and domed transparent lids with handles trap warmth and moisture
This warming tray is really awesome and incredibly versatile. It comes complete with three different pans that allow you to cook different dishes all at once. However, you can remove pan holders if you like to customize the tray to your needs.
This warming tray is also super larger and can hold up to fifty servings of food. That is more than enough to feed everyone at the average house party.
8. The Elite Platinum EWM 6171 Buffet Server
- Three 2.5 quart stainless steel buffet trays with non-stick enamel coating, power indicator light, and cool touch...
- Dimensions: 26 x 15 x 6 inch
- 3 clear dome lids with spoon cutouts and brushed stainless steel finish
This great warming tray is one of the more affordable options on our list. However, there are a lot of reasons, aside from the price tag, to love it.
It is very easy to use, even if you don’t tend to be super savvy with appliances. It’s also nice in that, like the above option, it can hold several servings at once.
This unit really excels at reaching and then maintaining the desired temperature, which can really help with food safety. It is also very safe in that it’s BPA free and is made from high quality materials that should last for many years.
For the price, you really can’t beat this simple but nice warming tray option.
7. The Chefman Electric Warming Tray and Trivet
- FAMILY SIZE WARMING TRAY: The 21" x 16" surface hot plate can fit several dishes at once and looks great on any counter...
- KEEPS FOOD WARM ALL DAY: The adjustable temperature settings make it easy to quickly heat up your food, while the fuse...
- HIGH QUALITY: Can be used with all heat safe cookware and bake-ware; aluminum or glass baking pans, casserole dishes,...
Not a lot of people have heard of the Chefman brand. That’s really a shame because this company makes very high-quality products, and this one is no exception.
The Chefman has a very large warming surface. At 21” x 16”, it can hold plenty of food. It can also heat all the way up to 284 degrees, which is a lot higher than many other warming trays.
The only real downside we could find with this heating tray is the fact that it doesn’t have a temperature control switch. So, basically, your food is going to stay super hot no matter what it is. That’s nice, but super high temperatures don’t work for every dish, so having a little more control would definitely be nice.
6. The Broil King NWT 1S Professional Warming Tray
Speaking of control over the warming process, you will definitely have it with the Broil King. This great model, also from a lesser-known brand, offers three different temperature settings so that you can serve your food up exactly the way you want it.
This tray is also nicely sized and can hold several servings of food at one time. Its stainless-steel construction also ensures that it is strong and durable and that it will keep food as warm as possible at all times.
We also like that the handles stay nice and cool, which will keep you or your kids from burning themselves. Plus, it comes with a two-year warranty when purchased from most sellers.
We did think it could be a little easier to clean, but, aside from that, it’s not a bad option at all.
5. The Nutrichef 3 Tray Buffet Server
- Fit for any Occasion: This 3 tray food warmer is perfect for all occasions like weddings, birthday parties or even a big...
- Best Food Gift Sets: This product provides durability; Its quiet operation makes food prepping & serving hassle free;...
- Temperature Control: This product features a rotary control temperature setting & can reach maximum temperature of 175...
Yet another brand that isn’t nearly as well-known as it should be, Nutrichef offers up a great option with this roomy warming tray.
While we know looks aren’t the most important thing when it comes to appliances, we have to admit that this warming tray looks pretty great. It is sleek, attractive, and modern, and you will feel good letting guests serve themselves from it.
We also love the versatility of this model. It comes complete with a hot plate that can be used as a pan and a tray that acts as a buffet server when desired. Plus, it is extremely good at maintaining your chosen temperature.
4. The Betty Crocker BC 1586 CY Buffet Server and Warming Tray
- Unique design allows the unit to be used as a warming tray or with 3 serving vessels to act as a buffet server
- 3 serving vessels are 2. 5Qts each
- Stainless steel frame holds the 3 buffet trays in place
Unlike some of the other brands we have mentioned on our list, Betty Crocker is a well-known brand, and it is easy to see why with this great warming tray.
You can actually buy this model in a two tray or three tray version. Each is the same aside from that choice though, with every tray holding up to 2.5 quarts of food.
The warming tray is crafted from durable stainless steel, which will last for many years if well cared for. Plus, it is great at keeping food super-hot. We do wish that it could hold a little bit more food than it currently does, but if you are not cooking huge amounts, it should work just fine.
3. The HotMat Electric Blue Food Warming Tray
- Innovative Food Warming Tray Features 4 Folding Plates With 2 Warm [230F] & 2 Hot [338F] Hobs
- Patented Mica Design Enables Heat to Distribute Quickly & Evenly So Food Stays Warm Every Time
- Lightweight, Portable Unit Folds Compactly for Convenient Storage; Ideal for Small Kitchens & Travel
This warming tray is one of the most compact on our list. It also happens to be, in our opinion, the most attractive and modern. We love its fun pop of color and its sleek design.
What really matters, of course, is performance, and this warming tray delivers in that area as well. It has two temperature settings to give you complete control over your food warming experience.
It also does a great job at keeping food at a consistent temperature for long periods of time, making it a great option for family gatherings or parties. We do wish the warranty was a little bit longer. You only get a month’s warranty from most retailers.
However, this tray is so well made that you probably won’t have to worry much about the warranty. Oh, and you can also fold this tray up for easy storage when you are done using it.
2. The Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven
- Rotating tray turns continuously to assure even baking.
- Top and bottom heating elements bake foods from both sides. Heating elements are separately controlled, allowing you to...
- Timer signals end of cooking time and automatically turns off heating elements.
This warming tray is a little bit different from the others on our list in that it is more than just a warming tray. It is also round instead of the traditional rectangular shape. And, it does something else the other models don’t do: it rotates as it warms food. This helps to ensure even warming and a consistent temperature.
You also have the option of warming your food from above the food, below the food, or both if you want it super warm everywhere. This feature is also nice if you want to keep the top of a dish crisp and brown.
This unique model comes with a thermostat you can control and a programmable timer. Plus, it is very easy to clean. Some people might not want or need all of the extra features, but we think that they are pretty awesome.
1. The Nutrichef PKWTR30 Electric Warming Tray
- IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING: The NutriChef electric warming tray is a great addition to any cooking collection. The food...
- TABLETOP SAFE: The hot food warmer features stainless steel construction and non-stick, heat-resistant tempered glass....
- ENERGY EFFICIENT: The electric hot plate uses low power consumption for an efficient and high powered heating element...
For our number one pick, we had to offer up a different model from Nutrichef.
This warming tray is our favorite because it will work for just about anybody and for just about any dish. It can be used with baking sheets, pans, casserole dishes, and pretty much any other type of cookware.
It also happens to be very lightweight and easy to carry, making it easy to take to parties or potlucks. Don’t let the lightweight construction fool you though. This model is very strong and durable.
Topping it all off, this warmer comes in four different sizes, so you can get the perfect one to match your needs. Plus, it also happens to be one of the more affordable option on our list.
From reading through our selections, you can probably tell that you have to put a lot of thought into choosing a warming tray. It isn’t as simple as walking into a store, grabbing a tray, and plopping your money down on the counter.
Well, it can be that simple but not if you want to get the best possible tray that money can buy. To do that, you have to put some real thought into your purchase.
So, what should you think about? Well, to start with, consider what prospective warming trays are made from. Your best bet is typically going to be to buy one made from stainless steel since it is so strong and durable. However, other quality materials, such as aluminum, can also do the trick well. Just make sure you know what your warmer is made from and that the quality of the material matches the price.
Also pay attention to whether or not your unit has temperature controls. While there are some exceptions, it is usually better to have a warming tray that allows you to pick the exact temperature or that at least has heating levels.
If you can think about these things and take our recommendations into consideration carefully, there is no reason you can’t end up with the perfect warming tray to meet your needs.