Creative Ways to Keep Sides Warm During Thanksgiving Dinner

Entertain, Holidays, Learn, Thanksgiving, Tips & Techniques

You’ve spent days preparing a delicious Thanksgiving  meal, and now it’s time to serve. The challenge? Making sure everything is warm when it hits the buffet — and stays that way as guests enjoy the feast. Consider these resourceful ideas for keeping your dishes toasty up to the last minute.


Chafing Dish

It’s an obvious solution, but chafing dishes are perfect for keeping food warm on a buffet. Fancier versions will also look lovely in your food display. Consider a chafing dish for your mashed potatoes, casseroles or stuffing.




Like microwaves, coolers are also insulated spaces that will keep food warm. Carefully stack your hot casseroles in the cooler, close it, and they can hold for about 20 minutes or so without losing too much heat.

I wouldn’t recommend cooking your Thanksgiving meal in a microwave oven, but it can be helpful for reheating dishes. Alternatively, use the space without the heat; the microwave is insulated, so it will keep hot dishes warm even when turned off. Simply transfer a dish from the oven to the microwave to hold it for a little while.



Put your coffee thermos to good use on Thanksgiving Day by using it to keep your gravy warm while you put the finishing touches on the meal.


Slow Cooker

The low setting on slow cookers can keep sides like mashed potatoes, creamed vegetables and gravy warm for an extended period of time. If you’ve made the dishes ahead, you can also use the slow cooker to reheat them with great results.


Double Boilers

If you have stove top space to spare, double boilers can be used to keep gravy, mashed potatoes and the rest of your side dishes steamy. No double boiler? Bring water to simmer in a heat-safe baking dish or large fry pan and place your prepared side dishes over the water.


Oven Drawer

That drawer under your oven is more than just storage space. When the oven is hot, the drawer is warm — meaning it’s a perfect place to hold casseroles or roasting pans just before the feast is served.



Safety Tip

To keep germs from growing, hold hot food above 140 degrees. When reheating the food, bring it up to 165 degrees, and don’t leave any food at room temperature for longer than two hours.

It may be too cold for a cookout, but you can still get value from your grill. Fire it up on the lowest indirect heat possible, and place covered, cooked dishes inside to keep them hot. Just be sure to place the food in heatproof dishes first.


Bread Warmer

Traditional bread warmers are making a comeback, with many attractive vintage varieties available now. Simply preheat the bread warmer in the oven, then serve the bread — or dinner rolls or biscuits — in the basket.


How do you keep your Thanksgiving dishes warm?

One comment about “Creative Ways to Keep Sides Warm During Thanksgiving Dinner

  1. Tips for Using Your Microwave for Holiday Cooking

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