Just when you think you know your kitchen like the back of your hand, you realize you don’t actually know what the drawer beneath your oven is for. Many people use it to store baking sheets, but that’s not necessarily its purpose. Depending on what kind of oven you have, it could be either a broiling drawer or a warming drawer. Here’s how to tell.
If you have an electric oven, you most likely have a warming drawer on your hands. These are best used for hosting parties or for when you have a dish that’s finished but you’re not ready to eat it yet. For parties, a warming drawer is used to keep already-prepared food warm until everyone has arrived and is ready to dig in. Set it to low for things like pies, medium for casseroles, and high for meats. Be sure to cover the dish with foil or an oven-safe lid to keep it from drying out. And of course, do not put uncooked or raw dishes in the warming drawer, especially meat because it will spoil.
If you have a gas stove, then the drawer beneath the oven is probably a broiling drawer. To be sure, if it functions more like a retractable pan than a drawer, then it’s a broiler. Broiler drawers are like bonus cooking spaces used to brown the tops of dishes to add a little extra crisp. Use it to bake anything with a cheesy top (hello baked mac and cheese!) or to make the perfect crispy vegetables. But beware, food in broilers can burn quickly so make sure you check on it frequently.
Some oven drawers don’t have warming capabilities, in which case it’s been a storage drawer all along! So knock yourself out in using it as a hiding spot for pots, pans, and baking sheets.
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