How to Use Chafing Dishes

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Add a little water to food if it sits more than 30 minutes to prevent it from drying out in the chafing dish.
Add a little water to food if it sits more than 30 minutes to prevent it from drying out in the chafing dish. (Image: subinpumsom/iStock/Getty Images)

Buffets offer as much excitement and variety to bacteria and other microorganisms as they do to your guests. Buffets give foodborne-illness-causing bad guys a place to breed, multiply and infect numerous people at once if not kept in check with specialized serving equipment, such as chafing dishes. Chafing dishes keep food out of the "danger zone" -- the temperature gradient between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where bacteria thrive -- and foodborne illness out of your life with proper use.

Set the chafing dish holder on the serving table and set the chafing dish's water pan in it.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Pour 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches of water in the chafing dish's water pan.

Fill the food insert dish with hot food and set it in the water pan.Open a can of chafing dish fuel and light it the wick. Set the can of chafing fuel in the holder under the water pan.

Stir the food occasionally in the food pan. Keep the lid on the food when you are not serving.

Replace the fuel can every hour. Check the water level when you change fuel and add more as needed.

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