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What's the Purpose of an Oven Drawer?

The True Purpose of the Drawer Underneath Your Oven

You know that drawer below your oven? While many people use it to store baking dishes, that's not necessarily its purpose. The truth is, it could be a broiler drawer, warming drawer, or storage drawer depending on the type of oven you own. Here's how to figure out the purpose of this often misunderstood oven feature.

Broiler Drawer: If you have a gas stove and the heating unit is on the bottom of the oven, chances are, the drawer is a pull-out broiler drawer. Be sure to keep the drawer rack set in place and put the food in an oven-safe container before placing in the drawer. Use the broiler drawer to brown the top of a casserole, roast marshmallows for a s'mores dip or sweet potato casserole, or broil peppers or other veggies (for say, a roasted salsa). Since there's usually not a window, open the drawer every few minutes to make sure you don't completely burn the items as they cook quickly! Keep in mind, you probably don't want to store anything in this drawer (at least, not when the oven is on) as the heat radiates from the bottom and over time may warp metal baking trays, etc.

Warming Drawer: If your electric oven contains a "warming drawer" button, then congrats, that's what the drawer is used for! According to a video from GE, set it to low for pies, medium for casseroles, and high for meats. A warming drawer is especially helpful when your dish has finished cooking but you're not ready to eat just yet and for holiday seasons when oven space is scarce. To prevent the food from drying out, keep it wrapped in foil or an oven-safe lid.

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Storage Drawer: Some electric ovens simply have storage drawers and in that case, you've been using it correctly all this time! Pots, pans, baking sheets, and casserole dishes can be tucked away here.

If you're still not sure of your oven drawer's purpose, do a quick search for the oven model online and read the product features. Those details will usually include whether the drawer is for broiling, warming, or storing.

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