Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
If you are like most cooks, as you prepare food, you are also thinking about the best method of serving it. Ideally, you want food to be piping hot when it reaches the table. If you typically use a griddle in your kitchen, you might wonder if you can use one as a warming tray. We’ve researched the many uses of a griddle to get the answer for you.
Griddles are not designed to be used as warming trays. Rather, a griddle is intended to be be used as a direct cooking surface.
Keep reading, and we’ll explain the difference between a griddle and a warming tray. You’ll learn how you can use each appliance in your kitchen for cooking and serving.
What is a Warming Tray?
Warming trays, or hot plates, are designed to keep pre-cooked foods hot. Typically heated by an electric element, trays are equipped with heat-proof handles for easy maneuvering.
The sleek, flat top surface, made of either tempered glass or steel, can accommodate hot pots straight from the stove, bakeware out of the oven, and heat safe serving dishes containing fully cooked food.
Temperature adjustment settings on a warming tray let you keep cooked food warm for several hours. The USDA recommends that the internal temperature of cooked food be kept at 140°F for “hot holding,” or warming. This temperature prevents the growth of bacteria.
Warming trays typically have a maximum temperature range between 185°F and 230°F, depending on the manufacturer. This temperature range prevents food from cooking, yet maintains a safe internal temperature.
Cordless VS Corded
A cordless warming tray is a good solution for serving food in a location that does not have an outlet nearby. If you prefer a cordless warming tray, consider how long you intend to keep food warm. Cordless trays heat quickly, within 10-minutes, and will provide heat for approximately 60-minutes afterward.
Warming trays with a cord can stay on for several hours. Some trays are equipped with a safety fuse to prevent overheating. Check your owner’s manual for specifics about how long you can leave your warming tray turned on.
Keep in mind while you prepare and remove food from the warming tray, that perishable food should not be kept at room temperature for longer than 2-hours.
Using a warming tray lets you safely and stylishly serve your food.
Learn about other food serving methods, for either hot or cold foods, by reading our blog, “Should the Water in a Bain Marie be Hot?”
Do Griddles Have Warming Trays?
If you are hoping to keep food warm as you cook, versus while serving, an electric griddle with a built-in warming tray, or draw feature might be the right answer for your kitchen.
Some electric griddles are designed with this special feature. A warming tray, or draw, is nestled beneath the cooking surface. Not to be used as a standalone tray, the built-in warming tray feature lets you keep the first round of food warm while you cook, so you can serve everything at once if making larger portion sizes.
A top flip-up rack on Presto’s griddle is a versatile feature to let you either keep food warm or act as a splatter guard. When finished cooking, remove the rack to use as a serving platter.
What Can a Griddle be Used For?
Griddles have higher maximum temperature settings than warming trays. You can use a griddle for grilling, and for reheating cooked foods like leftovers. An electric griddle is an excellent tool for preparing an entire meal on one cooking surface. Use the griddle to make:
- Grilled Cheese
Check out our blog, “What Can You Cook on a Griddle?” for some excellent griddle recipes.
How Long Does it Take for a Griddle to Heat Up?
How long it takes an electric griddle to heat will vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes for the surface of the griddle to preheat.
Many electric griddles are equipped with a preheat/ready indicator light. The indicator light will turn off, as does the Presto griddle’s light when the cooking surface reaches temperature. Your owner’s manual will explain how the indicator light monitors temperature for your electric griddle.
Other electric griddles, such as Oster’s griddle, are equipped with a display on the temperature control panel, to indicate the temperature of the griddle’s surface.
What is the Difference Between a Griddle and a Skillet?
An electric griddle is a flat cooking surface, with a short outer edge. The heating element can be set to a specific temperature, to heat the surface evenly throughout. Typically, electric griddles are equipped with heat-proof side handles. A sliding drip tray captures excess grease/fat while you cook.
An electric skillet also provides a flat cooking surface; however, the outer edges are taller than the sides of a griddle. A lid is provided to cover the entire skillet. Similar to an electric griddle, you can set the temperature of the electric skillet’s heating element to heat the cooking surface evenly. Heat-proof handles, along the sides, let you easily maneuver the skillet as you cook.
Although it is a versatile cooking surface, the griddle should not be used as a warming tray. For warming foods, while serving, consider adding a warming tray to your kitchen.