How to Keep Food Warm in the Oven

Things You'll Need

  • Oven-safe thermometer

  • Aluminum foil

Removing dish from hot oven
Use the oven rack's center position to keep food heated evenly. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

You have to maintain a safe holding temperature and food quality when keeping a dish warm. Maintaining a safe holding temperature -- between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit -- seems easy enough, but the exact temperature that ovens hold food at varies depending on how full it is and its temperature minimum, so you have to monitor the food's -- not the oven's -- temperature. To maintain quality, only hold food for 15 to 20 minutes and rehydrate it by adding water or stock to the dish when you see it drying out.

Step 1

Take the dish out of the oven and lower the oven temperature to Warm or its lowest temperature, commonly between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Insert an oven-safe thermometer through the foil and into the food.

Step 3

Place the dish in the oven and wedge a folded towel in the oven door to keep it open about 1 to 2 inches when the oven reaches 225 to 250 F.

Step 4

Check the thermometer every five minutes to ensure the food remains at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit; if it starts to dip below, close the oven door all the way.


Always reheat food to 165 F before serving.

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