That Drawer at the Bottom of Your Oven Has a Real Function, and It’s Not for Storage

July 23, 2019 Updated: July 24, 2019

There are plenty of appliances in the home that have the capacity to confuse us. Security alarm systems, thermostats, voice-controlled light switches, and countless kitchen gadgets (what on earth is a “chork?”).

But ovens? Ovens we can trust. Ovens we understand, right? Or so we thought.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Serghei Starus

If your oven is of the conventional variety, then it probably has a single drawer underneath the main cooking compartment that you use for storage. Maybe this is where your saucepans, crock pots, and baking sheets live. They can sometimes be a source of consternation (when they get stuck, which is always), but we know where we stand with the oven drawer.

Well, hold on to your oven mitts, because we are about to change your life; that drawer isn’t for storage at all.

Illustration – Pixabay | Ernest_Roy

If you have an electric oven, it’s a warming drawer! What does that mean, exactly? Picture the scene; you’re cooking dinner for your family, but you are feeling a little adventurous and so you’ve decided to tackle a meal with several component parts.

You’ve got your recipe. You have even pre-chopped all of the ingredients you’ll need (we’re impressed!), but you haven’t quite figured out how to cook everything at once. Surely you’ll have to cook in shifts, but what will happen to side dish number one while side dish number five is cooking?

Illustration – Shutterstock | Africa Studio

Enter, warming drawer! You can store the food you’ve already prepared in the warming drawer while you wait for the rest of the meal to cook; it’s ingenious!

Thanks to Shared, we know that some drawers even have humidity controls, so your expertly prepared dishes won’t dry out. If you’re not lucky enough to have humidity controls, however, then simply keep the food wrapped in foil or under an oven-safe lid.

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But wait, we’re forgetting an entire demographic. Hands up, gas oven owners! We know there are a lot of you out there, and we don’t want you to feel left out.

If you own a gas oven, then you can also make the most of this nifty oven function, only yours is called a “grill drawer.” According to Popsugar, you can use the grill drawer to give pre-cooked meals a delicious, crispy finish. Just be sure to open the drawer every few minutes; we’re going for crispy here, not burnt.

• Most stoves have a drawer underneath them.• If you think that drawer is meant for the storage of kitchen utensils, you're wrong.• The drawer is actually a warming drawer, meant to keep cooked food warm.

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Appliance manufacturers Bosch inform us that there’s an additional and rather luxurious function to these clever compartments. “Integrated oven warming drawers allow you to preheat cups and plates,” they say. Home cooking just turned into a deluxe dining experience!

Illustration – Shutterstock | Monkey Business Images

But before you get too excited about this radical new oven function, let’s dispel a myth. The “warming / grill drawer” is not a slow cooker, so unfortunately you can’t bake bread, roast a turkey, or slow-cook a winter stew in there.

In fact, bacteria can rapidly multiply in low temperatures, so reserve this drawer for pre-serving food storage and nothing else.

Illustration – Shutterstock | View Apart

Of course, if you’re not a culinary multitasker, then you might still want to use your oven’s warming drawer for storing pots and pans, and that’s fine; no judgment here. Just be careful not to store anything delicate or flammable as it can get pretty toasty right beneath the oven.

Go forth and enjoy this extraordinary new function of the humble oven! If you’re feeling charitable, then you might also want to share this fun fact with your friends and family.

Cooking will never be the same.

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