Keeping Foods Warm While Other Foods Get "Done"

Using an oven to keep foods warm while others get done

Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, UNL Extension in Lancaster County

If you're preparing several foods that get "done" at different times, you often can successfully hold most hot foods for about 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated oven set to 200 to 250 degrees F. For longer than this, check frequently with a food thermometer, to assure the food is remaining at a temperatures of 140 degrees F or above. If necessary, adjust the oven's temperature to a higher setting. 

Keeping foods hot for extended periods (more than a couple of hours) may reduce the quality of the food.

Examples of keeping foods warm include:

  • Place pancakes or waffles in a single layer on a baking sheet as they're made if you want to serve them all at the same time.
  • Keep hot takeout food — such as barbecued meat or Chinese food — warm by transferring it to an oven-safe baking dish while you prepare another dish serve with it.
  • If you mash potatoes in an oven-safe saucepan, place them in the oven to stay warm while you finish preparing the other foods.
  • When stir-frying foods in several batches, transfer heated foods to the oven until all foods have been stir-fried.