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If you enjoy entertaining at home but find that keeping food warm can be stressful, you may want to consider investing in a chafing dish. It’s a portable grate raised by a tripod or supportive base, traditionally held over charcoal. Using this sort of equipment is particularly useful if you regularly serve buffet style food. Alternatively, it can be used to cook dishes that require a more gentle heat.

How to choose the right chafing dish for you
There are many chafing dishes available on the market, though the model you choose will largely be dependent on what you wish to use it for. You will often see chafing dishes being used in buffet style restaurants, but of course these industrial sized pieces are not practical for use at home. Larger items may look grand and impressive, but try to imagine them on your dining room table. As a general rule, you should pick a dish that you will be large enough to accommodate a typical sized meal that your family would eat. If you’re catering for a special occasion, there are several retailers which offer a rental service.

The model that you choose may depend on the look of your home. If you have a traditionally styled living space, you might decide to go for a cast iron design. On the other hand, if you like to add a modern feel to your décor, there are numerous options available that are more contemporary.

You should also consider how much heat you will require. Some modern units are now heated solely by tea light candles. Whilst these make an attractive centrepiece for a dining table, they will not be powerful enough to keep your meals warm. If you’re looking for a more functional piece of equipment, look for something with a powerful heat source. Do bear in mind though that you’ll often have to purchase gas to fuel the dish.

Putting your chafing dish to use

If you decide to buy a chafing dish, you’ll find that it can be used almost daily. From relaxed family meals to special dinner parties, it will make a great addition to your table that not only looks stylish, but also serves a purpose.

In terms of preparing food, traditional uses of the chafing dish include making Welsh rarebit and cheese fondue. Despite this, you can use your dish to gently heat just about any meal that you can think of. Many people cook dainty dishes of cream, eggs and cheese right at the table. Though chafing dishes have not been as popular in recent years, there are numerous books available that explore possible recipes and uses. Try to pick one up from your local library for inspiration.


Chafing dishes can be a great purchase decision if you’re looking to make life in the kitchen a little easier and add an interesting talking point to your table.

Image Credit: TheLivingRoominKenmore.