Hot foods can be cooked and frozen days or weeks ahead, re-heated in the oven, then served and kept hot in these warmers - using the same pan.
Follow these recipes to see how to cook, refrigerate, freeze, re-heat and serve all in the same pan. What could be easier!?
Getting food hot is one thing – keeping it hot is another. Warmers and/or chafing dishes are the answer. They work so well that you can keep food warm and cook more, then serve it at the same time.
Food Warm = Over 141° . This temperature keeps hot foods hot, safe and tasting great.
Warmers can be electric, gas, candle, steam – you name it. Plug-in electric warmers are popular for home use. They create a heated surface, you put your pan on top. “Crock” pots and “fondue” pots do the same for liquids. BUT watch the cords! Electric warmers are great – but often we place them near our guests, and with an easily kicked electric cord… yeah, you know…
Party Recipes and Ideas uses Chafing Dishes, which is a type of food warmer. So what is it?: “chafing” means “warming.” We like the kind that use hot water, heated with Sterno fuel or a candle under the water.
Or are you chilled out? Scroll down to see how to keep cold foods cold:
All our recipes can be served with disposable aluminum “hotel” pans, which fit into the two kinds of Chafing Dishes (chafers.)
On the left are two "Half Pans," with a "Full Pan" on the right. Two half pans and one full pan fit into the chafer, halfs inside the full.
The full pan goes on first and gets a inch or so of water, kept warm by the sterno fuel underneath. The half pans sit on the edges of the full pan, above the water, which keeps them warm. TIP: Keep the half pans tightly covered with foil.
How did you use the Food Warmer or a Chafing Dish?
Share with everyone how you served your hot foods!
We use two kinds of Chafers:
1) Kitchen Chafing Dish or Disposable Chafing Dish. We call it a “kitchen” chafing dish, because it’s simple and ugly, very effective but not nice looking. It’s held together with a strong, simple wire frame.
The disposable pans all fit together, and it works very well. But it’s ugly… The wire style is available at most party supply stores and shopping clubs. WalMart has a great price on them.
Add water to the Full Pan which the Sterno fuel will keep hot. Or, forget the Sterno, add ice instead and keep your salads cold!
One we know comes as a complete kit with the frame, disposable pans, and sterno fuel and sells for $35.00 at party stores, and half that at WalMart, Costco, Sam's, etc.
You can buy the individual pans too. We always extras around.
2) Buffet Chafing Dish. We like this food warmer for the ‘buffet table,' out where your guests will see it and use it.
It’s made of polished stainless steel or aluminum, is sturdy and strong, and holds the same disposable aluminum pans. And they look great.
The stainless steel might be more expensive to buy, but can be rented too.
TIP: Before you rent, check out the price at the top of this page, and consider buying them for your party and eBaying them later.
Use both kinds of chafers. Set up Kitchen Chafers in the kitchen and Buffet Chafing dishes where your guests are. When aluminum pans of hot food come right out of the oven, put them in the Kitchen Chafer. Then you have the oven to use for another dish. When it’s time to serve, transfer the pans from the Kitchen Chafers out to the Buffet Chafers where your guests are. Get the idea?
How many chafers? If you’re serving a couple of hot appetizers and a hot entrée with a veggie…? 50+ people? Maybe two Buffet and two Kitchen, four chafers all together. Remember, menu rules. Carefully plan and think it through. Or write us – we’ll help!
Another way to keep food warm: Our Refrigeration section talks about coolers – the kind you pack with ice and take to the beach. But coolers can be used as warmers, especially good for picnics and outdoor events. Here’s how:
Use “picnic” coolers, 33 cubic feet, up to 55 or so. Wrap 4 bricks (the kind used to build walls) with aluminum foil. Heat the bricks in a 350° oven for an hour. Using potholders, carefully place them on pieces of cardboard in the bottom of a cooler. Cover with more cardboard and use cloth towels for stablity. Pans of food, straight from the oven will stay hot for hours when the lid of the “cooler” stays closed.
Cold Dishes? Use chafers to serve cold dishes too. Put ice in the water pan instead of hot water. Great for salads!
Get the proper food temperatures in our Safety section, use your thermometer and keep hot foods and cold foods cold.
Got some questions about Food Warmers and Chafing Dishes? Ask-a-Caterer is always free, and we'll get back to you with a fast, personal email.
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