What is the Drawer Under the Oven For?

The drawer under your oven can act as a storage area, a warming drawer, or a broiler.

The use of your drawer is dependent on your oven brand, which is why it’s advisable to check on your user manual instruction before using it. 

For ovens that don’t feature a warming function, you can use the drawer for storing pans, pots, and extra bowls.

Using Your Oven Under Drawer for Broiling

Most electric ovens drawers are used for warming food. If you’re using a gas stove that features a heating unit underneath the oven, you likely have a broiling drawer.

When using your oven’s under drawer for broiling, change your oven setting to “broil.” Let the oven heat up, then put the food inside the drawer.

The trays inside your broiler are about five inches from the heating source. This means that cooking tender foods such as thin-cut meats can take a maximum of 10 minutes.

Don’t forget to put your food in an oven-safe container before you place it in the drawer. Avoid using plastic containers since heat and plastic aren’t a good mix.

You should also familiarize yourself with the time it takes to broil your food to avoid cases where your food overcooks or burns.

In addition, ensure that you don’t store anything in your drawer when the oven is on because the heat can warp items like metal baking trays.

How to Broil in an Oven Drawer – The Basics

If you want to use your oven drawer for broiling, here are a few basic guidelines you should follow. While every recipe is different, this guideline will still come in handy.

  1. Use the Recommended Cookware

Before preparing any food in your broiler, you should start by finding the right cookware.

Depending on your oven type, the oven drawer features a broiling pan with a drip pan below and a rack on top.

Suppose you have a broiler drawer that doesn’t have a broiling pan. In such a case, use a baking rack and a shallow metal baking to hold your meat from the grease.

It’s okay if you use a cast-iron skillet to broil your meat, but never use glass cookware, as the intense heat can make them shatter.

  1. Properly Adjust Your Oven Racks

Before preheating your broiler, ensure you arrange your racks based on the food you’re preparing.

For instance, when broiling meat, keep the distance between the top of your meat and broiler at 3 to 5 inches.  

For thinner meat cuts and foods requiring heavy caramelization and browning, keep them close to the broiling element.

Additionally, foods like thicker meat cuts that take time to cook should be placed far from the broiler element. This ensures that they cook to the center and keeps them from burning.

Remember always to check your recipe to help you select the ideal rack placement for the food you’re preparing.

  1. Heat Your Broil to the Ideal Temperature

Once you correctly set your racks, give your oven a few minutes to preheat before placing food inside.

Pre-heating times vary depending on your oven type. Therefore, you should refer to your user manual for the optimal time for broiling.

Additionally, most ovens feature an on/off function, but some models will allow you to adjust to a particular temperature or have a low/high function.

That’s why you must always check your recipe to confirm the right setting to use.

  1. Monitor Your Food Progress

Broiling takes place in high radiant heat, which is why you should stick around to monitor the progress.

It’s also essential that you follow your recipe instructions so that it doesn’t overcook or burn.

Also read: Difference Between Oven and Broiler – Detailed Comparison!

Using Your Oven Under-Drawer for Warming

If you have an oven drawer designed for warming, check its control panel for a button/label labeled “warming drawer.”

If your model doesn’t have a control panel, check for the control on the frame of the warming drawer.

Most ovens have a high, medium, and low warming setting and humidity control, preventing food from drying out.

It’s essential to set your oven high for meats (450° for thicker cuts of steak), medium for casseroles, and low for pies. 

This drawer effectively keeps food warm as you prepare other parts of the meal or don’t plan to eat it immediately.

Unless your warmer drawer has a slow cook option, don’t cook food in the drawer because bacteria can thrive in low temperatures.

Warming Drawer Temperature Range

Your warming drawer temperature level doesn’t go past 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most drawers also feature a timer and humidity control, which means that your food is not at risk of becoming overdone, getting soggy, or drying out.

Is It Safe to Put Foil or Store Pans in a Warming Drawer?

It’s safe to keep bakeware and pans in your oven as long as they’re designed from oven-safe materials.

However, you should avoid using aluminum foil in your drawer.

Aluminum foil is a perfect heat insulator and can trap heat beneath, damaging your oven’s interior finish.

Also read: Can You Put Parchment Paper in the Oven?

Important Highlights for Correct Use of Your Warming Drawer

  • Most over drawers don’t recommend heating cold food unless you’re warming dishes, crisping crackers, or proofing yeast dough
  • Ensure that you use dry potholders because damp or moist potholders may cause burns from steam. 
  • It’s also advisable not to use a towel or other bulky clothes instead of a potholder or let the potholders touch any heating element on the drawer.

Using Your Oven Under Drawer for Storing

If your drawer is meant to act as storage, it’s safe to put any kitchen cookware that doesn’t fit your kitchen cabinets.

However, remember that your drawer can still get hot when you turn on your oven. Therefore, don’t store your cleaning supplies, cookbooks, plastic utensils, or other flammable items.

Storing Your Kitchen Items in the Drawer – Valuable Tips

  • Find ways to effectively use your space: When storing your cooking supplies inside the drawer, you should invert pans on the lid. This will help you save on space and keep the handle from getting in the way of the door. If you have small items, put them in a container and store them based on their use.
  • Check on manufacturer’s instructions: Depending on your oven type, you cannot store some item types in your oven’s drawer. When unsure what to keep in your drawer, you can find a list of safe items to keep in the drawer by checking your oven’s manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Store seldom-used items for an oven that spills crumbs: If your oven design spills crumbs in your drawer, you should store items you don’t always use. 

Remember to remove your drawer regularly to vacuum crumbs, among other debris, as the storage area can cause a pest problem.

Wrapping Up

Before using an oven you have recently purchased, familiarize yourself with its use, especially sections like the drawer below the oven.

Such drawers serve different functions depending on the oven type you own. To make sure that you’re using your drawer for the intended purpose, you must read your user manual.

If you recently moved to a rental apartment, check on the model of your oven and research the use of the drawer.

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I’m Jueria and I am a regular contributor on cookeryspace.com. In my articles, I share time-saving techniques, appliance wizardry, and health-friendly recipes to bring taste and wellness to your table. So raise a glass (or a spatula) with me, to good health and good food, made easy!