7 Alternative Ways to Keep Thanksgiving Dishes Warm

updated Oct 7, 2022
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Making sure Thanksgiving food stays warm can be quite a hard thing to pull off once the turkey’s in the oven and every ounce of stove space is being used to do last-minute cooking. And maybe Aunt Martha showed up with an unexpected dish, throwing a wrench in your carefully thought out planning and timing for heating and warming all the food.

Well, fear not! Here are seven things you might already have than can do great jobs of keeping things warm when your stove and oven are busy tackling other tasks!

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

1. Toaster Oven

While a toaster oven isn’t that big, it’s still an oven. You can keep the gravy or other small items warm inside, and since most toaster ovens aren’t well-insulated so the surface gets hot, you can take advantage of that fact and plop a covered side dish on top to stay warm. It’s also a great place to warm pies or rolls up since they don’t need to be served piping hot.

2. Grill

Even if you don’t have the advantage of balmy California Thanksgiving weather like I do, the grill is your friend on Thanksgiving. Load it up with dishes inside and even on the top if the lid is nice and flat.

3. Slow Cooker

A handy slow cooker can help keep mashed potatoes warm until you’re ready to serve. If you’re worried that your slow cooker runs hot even on the low setting, leave the lid off and cover the surface of the food with foil.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

4. Thermos or Insulated Cup

With the help of an insulated coffee cup, keeping gravy and sauces piping hot is easy, and it’s especially great at holding delicate sauces like hollandaise warm and at the right consistency.

5. Electric Griddle

The flat surface of an electric griddle is perfect for holding big casserole and serving dishes. Since it’s portable, you can plug it in anywhere and free up kitchen counterspace for other things instead. Some electric griddles have some open space underneath for warming, and you can even warm plates on the surface on a low setting.

6. Insulated Cooler

Coolers are usually hauled out for tailgates and barbecues to chill drinks, but they are also very effective at keeping food warm. In fact, they’re very similar to the insulated boxes (called hot boxes) that restaurants and caterers use. Place the hot foods in there, shut the lid, and walk away!

7. Electric Blanket!

What?!? An electric blanket? Why not? Just fold the blanket over a few times and nestle your covered dishes right in there, and plug it in. These blankets can do a good job keeping you and your food toasty.