What the Drawer Under Your Oven Is Really For?

Hint: It’s not just for storing pots and pans

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Out of sight, out of mind is fine for a set of backup sheets, but think twice before you take that principle to the kitchen. Even if your kitchen is smaller than you’d like it to be and everything is haphazardly crammed into every drawer space possible, there’s one you might want to keep free. The drawer below your oven can do more than hide sheet pans from view: It comes in clutch for warming or broiling food.

If you have an electric oven, the drawer is likely for warming food. Warming drawers are key for hosting parties during holiday season when you want to cook ahead of time but keep food warm until guests gather around the table. If you’re worried about your silky mashed potatoes drying out under there, just cover them with aluminum foil. And don’t use it for uncooked or raw dishes (especially meat)—that’s why you have a refrigerator.

If you have a gas stove, with the heating unit underneath the oven, then you probably have a broiling drawer. This function works best for browning the tops of dips, bakes or anything with cheese on top. Use it to get crispy vegetables, melty chicken Parms and, of course, the perfect mac and cheese.

Unfortunately, some ovens don’t have the warming function (check your oven’s model online), in which case, continue shoving your pots, pans, extra bowls and everything else in there.

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