How Does a Warming Tray Work?

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Warming trays are used to keep already prepared food warm and ready to eat. Most catering companies use warming trays while serving food at functions in order to keep the food hot. Many families and party hosts use this handy cookware at holiday parties or gatherings to ensure that the food is ready to eat at all times.


How it Works

One type of warming tray is a large, rectangular-shaped aluminum pan. The aluminum pan is made of heavy duty aluminum foil and is filled with a small amount of water. Two smaller-sized pans of food fit inside the larger pan. The pan is placed upon a wire rack that holds it approximately 4 inches in the air. At the bottom of the wire rack, a small alcohol gel candle is lit, which heats the water and keeps the tray warm for approximately 6 hours.


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There are many types of warming trays. Buffet servers get heat from electricity and are made of stainless steel. Divided into sections, the stainless steel container sits on top of a flat, heated plate and usually has plastic lids to keep food protected and hot. Electric warming trays are versatile and easy to use. Consisting of flat trays with handles that stay cool, these warming trays have an adjustable temperature control and can be used for keeping large containers of food warm, and can also be used right on the dinner table underneath plates.


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