If you are planning to host a festive feast for your family and friends this Christmas, you might want to consider investing in a plate warmer.
A plate warmer is a device that heats plates to a desired temperature, usually between 60°C and 74°C, so that your food stays hot and delicious when served.
Plate warmers come in different shapes and sizes, from electric blankets that can fit up to 12 plates, to microwaveable pouches that can warm up one plate at a time.
Here, the Christmas.co.uk team look at the reasons why you need a plate warmer this Christmas.
What are the benefits of a plate warmer?
Here are some advantages of using a plate warmer:
You can enjoy your food without having to reheat it
You can keep your food warm on the table during cold weather, as the plate warmer maintains the temperature for a long time
You can host dinner parties without worrying about your food getting cold, as the plate warmer preserves the heat and freshness of your food.
You can choose from different kinds of plate warmers, such as electric ones and candle-heated dish warmers. Each kind has its own special features and benefits.
Other benefits of investing in a plate warmer include:
- You can keep your plates warm without using the oven or the hob, which frees up space for cooking other dishes
- You can avoid the risk of cracking or breaking your plates by exposing them to sudden temperature changes, such as putting them in a hot oven or under hot water – and reduce the chances of being burned when taking hot plates from an oven!
- You can enhance the flavour and texture of your food by serving it on warm plates, especially dishes like roast turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and pudding
- You can impress your guests with your attention to detail and hospitality by providing them with warm plates for their meal.
How to use a plate warmer
Using a plate warmer is very simple and convenient. Here are some tips on how to use one:
- Choose a plate warmer that suits your needs and budget. There are many options available online and in stores.
- Read the instructions carefully before using your plate warmer. Some plate warmers may require preheating, plugging in or adjusting the temperature settings.
- Make sure your plates are dry and clean before placing them in the plate warmer. Avoid using plates that are chipped, cracked, or have metallic decorations, as they may not be suitable for heating.
- Arrange your plates in the plate warmer according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Do not overload or stack your plates too high, as this may affect the heating performance and safety of the device.
- Set a timer or check the indicator light to know when your plates are ready. Depending on the type and size of your plate warmer, it may take between 10 to 30 minutes to heat up your plates.
- Carefully remove your plates from the plate warmer using oven gloves or tongs. Be aware that the plates may be very hot, so handle them with caution and avoid touching them with bare hands.
Serve your food on the warm plates and enjoy your meal!
The types of plate warmer that are available
There are several types of plate warmers available in the UK for home use. Here are some of the most common ones:
Electric plate warmer: This is a great idea if you regularly entertain guests. For example, the Navaris electric plate warmer can heat up 10 ceramic dinner plates up to 74 degrees Celsius in just 10 minutes. It has pockets that fit plates up to 32 centimetres in diameter, making it perfect for large gatherings and festive occasions. Electric plate warmers are plugged in to heat up and are easy to store since they fold into a compact size. The fabric cover is removable and can be hand washed to keep it clean and protect your plates from scratches. You can find a wide range of these electric plate warmers on Amazon. We also like the electric plate warmer from Lakeland that will warm 12 plates up.
However, we would warn everyone to be wary when removing plates from a warmer and while the temperature at which someone could get burned when picking up a hot plate varies depending on age and skin sensitivity, the science points to 80 degree Celsius as a temperature that might cause someone to be burned.
Lakeland Extra Large Electric Plate Warmer
If you like to dish up your festive feast for guests on larger plates, then these are available too.
This YouTube video from Lakeland offers a great explanation on how they are used.
Here is a simple way to keep your dishes toasty warm as the extra-large electric plate warmer heats up to 10 full sized plates.
Not only is this a task taken away from a busy host, but the technology will warm the plates to a toasty 60’c – which means your treasured or expensive plates won’t get damaged.
This particular model has a five-hour shut off function.
- Hot plates: Hot plates are small cooking appliances that can be used to heat up food or keep it warm. They come in various sizes and shapes, and some models can be used to warm up plates as well. You can find a wide range of hot plates on the B&Q website – just to be clear these are cooking hobs but some people do use them to warm plates too.
- Candle dish warmers: Again, most of these models are for keeping a dish of food warm but you can use some of them to warm plates beforehand.
Microwave plate warmers: A much simpler idea to consider when warming dinner plates is a microwave plate warmer. These are small devices that can be used to warm up plates quickly in a microwave oven. They are easy to use and can be stored away when not in use. We found that the plates can be very hot when using these silicone plate warmers so be careful when handling them. These pads can also be used for heating casseroles and the like – you simply place one of these underneath the dish and it will help reheat the contents. You can find a wide range of microwave plate warmers on the Lakeland website and Amazon.
- Buffet Servers: Buffet servers are large appliances that can be used to keep food warm during parties or events. They come with multiple compartments and can be used to keep different types of food warm at the same time. Some models also come with warming trays that can be used to warm up plates. You can find a wide range of buffet servers on Amazon.
- Don’t forget too that some modern ovens come with a plate warming drawer or they might have a special function that will warm plates for you.
Why do I need a plate warmer at Christmas?
A plate warmer can be a great addition to your kitchen, especially during the festive season. If you have a lot of guests, it makes warming a plate much easier – and you should serve up your dinner on a warm plate to keep the food hotter for longer.
Using a plate warmer also tends to be more efficient than using a microwave or running hot water to warm your plates. That’s because a plate warmer can heat up several plates at once in just a few minutes, and it is more efficient than using a full oven.
The end result is to create a cosy and festive atmosphere, as warm plates can make your table look more inviting and elegant.
Also, warm plates can also show your care and attention to detail, as you want to provide the best dining experience for your family and friends.