You might think you need electricity in order to keep your food warm, but this isn’t always necessary.

There are many ways in which you can ensure your food stays warm without needing to use appliances such as your oven or microwave.

Is it bad to warm foods in the microwave?

It’s not bad as long as you follow some important tips, such as warming the food slowly so that it can heat up evenly.

If you’ve made food but you’re not ready to serve it just yet, you’re going to want to keep it warm. Here are 11 effective ways to do so.

Keep Food Warm Without Any Electricity

If you don’t have power or you just don’t want to have to use electricity to keep your food warm, here are some effective ways to achieve your goal without any power source. 

1. Use Aluminum Foil

Keep Food Warm With Aluminium Foil

When you’ve finished cooking or baking food, you should put it into a container and then wrap the container in thick aluminum foil.

You can also go one step further and wrap the foil and container in a thick towel.


Since aluminum foil helps to trap steam released by the food, this will ensure the food stays hotter for longer. The towels, on the other hand, are great at insulating and prevent heat from escaping.

This easy DIY method to keep your food warm will achieve your goal for up to 30 minutes, if not longer, so it’s perfect for when dinner’s delayed and you don’t want your delicious food to become cold.

Pro tip:

Make sure you cover the dish with the reflective side of the foil facing the food to ensure that the heat reflects onto the food.

2. Try A Thermos

You can find thermos products online that can keep liquids and foods warmer for longer.

Insulated thermoses will be able to keep your food warm for hours at a time, so they’re great for when you need to ensure your leftovers stay warm when you’re on the move or at work and you don’t have the chance to pop them into a microwave.

How thermoses work to keep your food warm is that they are made with double-walled stainless steel. This produces a vacuum between the inner and outer wall of the thermos to insulate heat.

One of the best insulated thermoses is the Thermos Ultimate Series Flask 500ml that costs £29.99.

When tested, it was found to keep contents warm for up to eight hours. It has a two-part stopper that closes well and pours easily, too, making this especially great for soups and gravies. If you need greater capacity, you can opt for the company’s 900ml flask.

3. Buy Chafing Dishes

Chafing Dish Set Prima

If you regularly need to keep food warm, such as if you host dinner parties weekly, you’ll want to invest in chafing dishes.

These are catering pans that are positioned over the top of a tripod or frame.

How they work to keep your food warm is with water. When water is poured underneath them, the water becomes heated with the use of small flames. You can find chafing dishes on Amazon.

4. Reach For A Cooler Box

While cooler boxes are usually used to keep your food cold when you don’t have a fridge handy, you can also use your cooler box to keep food warm for a few hours.

What you need to do is boil hot water in a pot on the stove, then add this water to an empty cooler box. Let it sit in the cooler box for about 30 minutes, then remove the water.

This has given the cooler box enough time to warm up inside. Then, place your food containers inside the cooler box.

To further increase the insulation of the cooler box, you should line it with heavy-duty aluminum foil. You can also wrap your food containers in foil before placing them in the box.

5. Buy A Thermal Bag

Thermal Food Bag

If you need to keep food warm on the go, buy a thermal bag. This preserves heat and is easy to carry around with you.

Just make sure that you cover the hot dish with foil before putting it in the bag to increase its warmth.

A thermal bag will be able to keep your food warm for about three hours. Even if you’re not travelling, this kind of bag can be useful for when you need to keep food warmer for longer at home.

You can buy insulated thermal bags from Amazon. These are also great to have handy if you like going on picnics!

6. Avoid Leaving Your Ladle Or Spoon In Bowls

When serving food at the table, you might leave a ladle or spoon in its bowls to make it easy for your guests to help themselves, but this is a bad idea because it allows heat to escape from the bowls.

Instead of doing this, rather leave a plate beside the bowl on which you can rest your ladle or spoon so it’s handy should your guests need to use it. Cover your bowls with lids or plastic wrap!

7. Get The Right Dishes

Some container and bowl materials will be better at preserving the heat of food than others. Your best bet? Use a cast iron casserole dish. This will maintain heat for a long time.

How To Keep Food Warm With Electricity

If you don’t mind using a bit of electricity to keep your food warm, here are some of the best methods.

1. Use Your Oven Drawer

Oven Drawer

You know that drawer in your oven?

While you might use it for storing your pans or other kitchen items, you can actually use it to keep food warm. What makes it great is that it remains warm when the oven’s hot.

So, when you’ve finished cooking a dish in the oven, put it in the drawer while your other food cooks. In this way, you’ll be able to serve all your food hot at the same time.

Another easy way to keep food warm when you’ve just baked it in the oven is to put the oven off or put the temperature to a low setting so that you can leave the food inside it. It will stay nice and warm.

However, if the oven is really hot, leave the oven door ajar so that you don’t burn the top of your lasagna or baked potatoes while trying to keep them warm.

2. Make Your Own Double Boiler

While a double boiler is great to keep your food warm, you might not have one handy. No worries – you can make your own. Bring water to a simmer in a saucepan and then put a bowl over it.

The steam that’s created by the heat will help to keep the food warmer for longer. This is especially useful when you want to keep side dishes, like potatoes, warmer for longer.

3. Warm Up Your Plates

If you want to keep your food warm, a good tip is to warm up the plates on which you’ll be serving it. Put your plates in the oven for 15 minutes at around 150 degrees Fahrenheit – don’t forget to make sure the plates are oven-safe beforehand!

If you don’t want to use your oven, you can put plates in the microwave for about a minute or two.

4. Run Your Dishwasher

Yes, your dishwasher can help you to keep your food warmer for longer! While this might sound like a strange tip, it really works.

Here’s what you need to do.

Set your dishwashing machine to its dry cycle and then put your food in containers on the machine’s top rack. Turn on the dishwasher and let it keep your food warm.

Of course, the downside to using your dishwasher is that you’ll need to have it plugged into a power source in order to make use of it.

Extra Tips And Tricks For Keeping Certain Foods Warmer For Longer

Extra Tips and Tricks to Warm Your Food

While the above tips will help you to maintain the warmth of your food for longer periods of time, sometimes you might battle when trying to warm up certain foods.

Let’s look at some clever hacks to help you.

How to Keep Rice Warm

Use a rice cooker or pop the rice in a microwave to keep it warmer for longer. You can also reheat rice if dinner’s seriously delayed.

But, when heating it up, don’t forget to add a tablespoon or two of water to it and keep it covered so that the rice won’t only be warm but also moist. No one likes dry rice!

How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm

Mashed potatoes are delicate, so they’re best kept warm with the use of a double boiler. To ensure that they’re delicious when you finally serve them, a clever tip is to put some extra cream or milk on top and then fluff up the potatoes so that they’re light and soft.

How to Keep Meat Roasts Warm

You should avoid reheating cold meat in the microwave as this will make the meat become rubbery. Placing a pan with hot water underneath your roasting pan is a good way to keep meat warm and delicious.

Another clever hack is to pour hot gravy over the meat when you’re ready to serve it as that will warm it up nicely.

How to Keep Soup Warm

The easiest and most effective way to keep your soup warm is to put it in a thermos after you’ve cooked it on the stove. But, a trick is to put hot water in the thermos and then pour it out before you put the hot soup inside.

Seal the thermos to prevent heat from escaping. This will ensure the soup remains hot for several hours.

How to Keep Bread Rolls Warm

If you’ve baked bread rolls, you don’t want them to become cold and hard. Reheating them in that state can make them less delicious. So, a clever hack to keep bread rolls warm is to put a few cups of uncooked rice into a cloth sack, pillow case, or kitchen towel.

Then microwave it so that it’s warm to the touch. This will usually be about two or so minutes. Before you serve your bread rolls, put the sack underneath clean napkins in a bowl or serving basket, then put the rolls on top of them. This DIY heat pack will stay warm for up to 20 minutes.

Related Questions

Questions About Keeping Food Warm

For how long is it safe to leave food out?

Your food should be refrigerated when it hits below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

It helps to have a thermometer handy so that you can be sure your food remains safe and healthy.

How should you warm up food that’s already become cold?

A toaster oven or toaster is the best way to reheat foods, provided they can fit inside them, because of how these appliances gently yet evenly warm food.


There’s nothing worse than cooking a delicious meal only for it to become cold. This is especially a problem if you have guests coming over for dinner.

But, after reading the tips in this article, you now know the best ways to ensure your food remains warm when served so it will taste better and preserve its texture.

For many of the tips, you don’t even need to use electricity, which can be an extra bonus, especially if you’re taking your food on the go with you.


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