When cooking and serving many people, a chafing dish is a must-have, they hold sufficient amounts of food for large groups and keep it warm as long as the event lasts. This makes them edge other food serving and storage accessories like hotpots. Chafing dishes won’t just hold or warm your food, these devices also come in different striking styles perfect to cap any occasion on board.
There are many types on the market for personal and professional use, and we have done our in-depth research to provide you with the best chafing dishes on the market.
10 Best Chafing Dishes Reviews
Do not have enough time to read? Check this quick buying decision list and pick your best one:
- Our Top Pick: Oster Buffet Server Warming Tray
- Most Stylist: Super Deal Round Chafing Dish
- Most Durable: Giantex Chafing Dish 9 Quart Chafer Dishes
- Most Efficient Heating: ZenChef New Version 8-Quart Stainless Steel Chafing Dish
- Best Value for Money: Nova Rectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer
- Best for Home use: Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet Chafer
- Best for Travel or Trips: Tiger Chef Stainless Steel Chafer
- Best for Parties, Wedding, and Buffets: SUPER DEAL 8-Quart Stainless Steel 4 Pack
- Most Affordable: ZENY Stainless Steel
1. Oster Buffet Server Warming Tray
- Stainless steel housing.
- 5-quart buffet trays.
- Heating surface measures 20×13 inches.
- Power indicating light.
- Temperature knobs.
- Cool-touch handles.
Oster Buffet Server is a three-compartment chaffer that allows you to warm and serve three different items of food in the same server in tandem. You don’t need to wait to finish heating up your vegetables or meat or spices in turns – just place each item in separate compartments and press the button.
Given that the stainless steel housing is obviously durable, you’ve got a dedicated food warmer to serve you for years in the right condition. This electric device has a large heating surface to ensure that it works fast and efficiently while the 2.5-quart buffet trays can warm a lot of food for many hours.
Talking about warming, this kitchenware has a tight dome lid that is designed to entrap heat inside of the vessel efficiently and keep your food really warm for long. Other key features to figure out on this vessel are the temperature control knob and the power indicator light for temperature control and switch on functions respectively.
Oster has done a great job by bringing this appliance to the market. It is clearly a versatile and efficient appliance, and if you have a huge family, this will definitely get the job done.
2. Super Deal Round Chafing Dish
- Stainless steel construction, mirror finish.
- Full-size 5-quart capacity.
- Durable frame.
- Dripless water pan.
- 54 D x 9.8 H (inches) furnace size.
- Fuel chaffer.
Super Deal Round Chafing Dish is indeed a super dish. With a stainless steel construction and mirror finish, these dishes have real secret admirers and would grace your party with their stylish appearance without compromising on the fact that they are great at warming food for as long as your event will go.
They come is a set of four to cater to a huge gathering. That’s perhaps the reason why they are common in commercial events. When you couple this with the massive 5-quart capacity they come with, you can handle your event without second thoughts.
The design of these dishes is structured such that they are elevated reasonably from the water pan to ensure precise heating of the food. You don’t want your food pans to overheat to cause a scare to the visitors while they are using the servers. To prevent such from happening, the elevation of the food pans also reduces your exposure to the flame.
The furnace size of 3.54 D by 9.8 H inches is good enough for sufficient heating and quick/efficient warming of food.
There is no doubt that Super Deal Round Dishes are some of the best warming appliances that use fuel around. They are adored for their stylish mirror finish and modern appearance.
3. Giantex Chafing Dish 9 Quart Chafer Dishes
- Measures 19.8 x 12 inches.
- Stainless steel construction.
- Two support racks.
- 2 alcohol fuel furnaces.
Another commercial-grade food warmer is here with a 9-quart capacity, which means you will be able to store, warm, and serve bulky amounts of food items and feed over 25 plus people at the same time. This product has two food pans measuring 19.8 x 12 inches each.
It is one of the fuel chafing dishes you want to have on the counter of your kitchen for many reasons. Its stable and sturdy construction won’t deform even at extremely high temperatures, making it durable and able to serve for long. The food pans are laid on two strong support racks that enhance safety while serving.
When it comes to safety, the fuel burners of this model come tucked under a burner tray and are covered with lids. You can comfortably hold the appliance and carry it to different places using the safe handles. The surface of this food warmer is smoothly polished to add to its modern style.
Giantex Stainless Steel Chafing Dish cannot be left unmentioned when talking about commercial-style food warmers with large volumes. This is a sturdy appliance made of stainless steel. It doesn’t just look stylish, it will serve you effectively for a long time.
4. ZenChef New Version 8-Quart Stainless Steel Chafing Dish
- 8-quart universal capacity.
- Stainless steel construction.
- 2 alcohol furnaces.
This chafing dish by ZenChef is designed basically to accommodate a large gathering at a busy event. The 8 quarts of food served with this warmer will enable you to reduce the number of refills. This essentially saves time and affords you quality time with visitors.
You will love the stainless steel construction, stainless steel is elegant in appearance and rust-resistant. The design is also sturdy and stable to hold the food pan securely so that there are no shakes or stirs when serving food. If you love mirror finishes, here is one of the products that will enhance the glamour of your party by picking on and reflecting your venue’s ambient lighting.
The chafing dish has become a favorite for many due to the efficient and consistent heating which comes from two alcohol furnaces, and since it’s a portable and space-saving design, the storage of this kitchenware is hassle-free.
This model has put three key features at the forefront – durability, strength, and efficient heating while using fuel.
5. Nova Rectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer
- Stainless steel.
- Two fuel burners at the bottom tray.
- Mirror finish.
- Compact design, portable for transport.
- Plastic handle.
If you are in buffets, this stainless steel 8-quart rectangular dish will definitely fit the bill, just ensure that you assemble the dish well and you will love the sturdy construction of this device due to a solid frame. Efficiency and consistency are the true marks of this food warmer. With two fuel burners that come covered with safety lids, you cannot get it wrong when warming your food.
Plastic handles will be key when carrying this appliance, they are cool to hold. This chafing dish is designed to be compact and lightweight, making it very portable and ideal for travel trips. The collapsible legs featured on this product also make storying and carrying easy.
Great value for money and quality comes with awesome performance, and this kitchenware is made exactly for that. Although you are going to literally drain your pocket, this food warmer is worth it.
6. Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet Chafer with Glass Lid
- 4-quart buffet.
- Style and size variety.
- Stainless steel make.
- Lid with steam release vent.
Get the party moving with this Artisan Buffet Chafer. As we all know, stainless steel products can be very durable, while pulling off an excellent performance, and this product is not an exception. Whether you are having a formal or informal event, Artisan Buffet Chafer will serve your guests the warmest food they desire.
It comes with a single fuel burner that effectively heats up the water pan for warming food. Food is warmed evenly because the food pan is large, providing a large surface area perfect for even warming. To ensure that your food doesn’t go cold anytime, the pan has a lid with a steam release vent, this keeps food constantly warm and fresh.
Now, at 4 quarts, this is not a large capacity, you can bring this for everyday use in your kitchen – it would blend perfectly with kitchen settings. In summary, this chafer comes with full accessories to help you have the best of times while having your buffet.
For home use, you don’t need a huge chafing dish, this model comes with a modest capacity perfect for use in homes with few members. A transparent lid on the food pan is a solid statement for those who want to monitor what’s happening inside the dish.
7. Tiger Chef Stainless Steel Chafer, Full Size Chafer
- Foldable frame.
- 8-quart capacity.
- 3 1/3 size pans.
- 2 fuel holders.
- Plastic cool-touch handle.
- Stainless steel mirror finish.
- Built-in hooks.
Tiger Chef Stainless Steel Chafer can stand out in the crowd with its stainless steel mirror finish, besides warming your food and keeping it at the right temperature, its dedicated appearance will also attract visitors if you’re using this in a public setting. Tiger Chef Chafer comes with an 8-quart capacity for use in large gatherings. The three food compartments allow for serving of three different food items at the same time.
When warming food, heat is evenly and efficiently distributed: this is a two-fuel burner that ensures the water pan is maximally heated for sufficient heat supply into the food pan. You will certainly not think twice about the foldable design of this chafer, it makes the food warmer easy to store as it would require very small space.
No worries about cleaning the dome-shaped lid, food pan, and water pan, they are all dishwater safe. Stay-cool plastic handles make transporting the pans safe. While serving food, you want the chafing dish cover to stay open, this is made possible by the built-in hook feature which holds the cover open.
Tiger Chef Chafer comes with a foldable frame, a very unique feature that is ideal for guys who plan to use these dishes when on travel trips or far away from home, because this feature makes carrying this appliance is a breeze.
8. Excelsteel 4-Quart Heavy Duty Professional Stainless Chafing Dish
- 4-quart capacity.
- Transparent glass lid.
- Heavy duty stand.
- Stainless steel construction.
- Stay cool handles.
The heavy-duty design of this dish distinguishes it from many competitors, so you can be sure it is sturdy and stable for high performance. The 4-quart capacity isn’t much for feeding a crowd, but this apparatus is just the ideal fit for smaller families.
The tempered lid on the food pan fits well and helps to keep food hot throughout. It’s also a great component that allows you to watch the contents of your dish. With the stay-cool handles, you won’t be scared of burns – and also you’ll be able to carry the dish safely.
This appliance also features a heavy duty stand for supporting a lot of weight coming from the food. This stand also maintains high levels of stability when the chafer is in use. Hence, you won’t have to be extremely cautious while serving food. This chafing dish set has an elegant design that makes it offer a timeless look.
This is the perfect choice for the group of people that want something sturdy and strong.
9. SUPER DEAL 8-Quart Stainless Steel 4 Pack Full-Size Chafer Dish
- 8-quart capacity.
- Stainless steel construction and mirror finish.
- Compact, stackable design.
- Food pan size measures 19.8 x 12 inches.
- 2 fuel furnaces.
SUPER DEAL chafer dish comes with the exact components you need; a water pan, food pan, lid, frame, and two fuel burners, these are key to keeping your food warm. You will definitely agree that 8 quarts is the ideal capacity to satiate the crowds at weddings, buffets, parties, banquets, etc.
It is common knowledge that stainless steel makes durable products, this appliance is not an exception. Besides, the stainless steel also helps the chafer to retain as much heat as possible which adds to the warmth of your food, and the elegance of a mirror finish cannot escape the eye of any visitor, the reflections through this beautiful footprint will definitely attract your guests.
As it is with other equipment in the same category, SUPER DEAL chafing dish consistently and evenly warms your food. The apparatus uses tow fuel furnaces that come with lids. These furnaces maintain stable heat distribution across the water pan for precise food warming. After using this chafer, stack the pans and stands and transport them elsewhere easily.
From the customer reviews, this chafing dish is clearly getting a foothold in the hearts of many. It comes with some of the best features, it is stackable, sturdy, and easy to clean.
10. ZENY Stainless Steel 8 Quart Chafing Dish
- 8-quart capacity.
- Durable stainless steel construction.
- Mirror finish.
Zeny Chafing Dish will make you appreciate the great value hidden in cheap products. While this unit is arguably one of the cheapest on this list, you will be baffled with the solid performance it puts in. Now, the chafing dish comes in a pack of two, each being able to hold 8 quarts of food items, pretty amazing right?
This can feed a considerably high number of people in a party or banquet. Don’t write off the elegance of this device, as you will see, it’s made of stainless steel, this is a product that will serve through years without corrosion.
Almost all chafing dish models for major functions are now being designed to attract the event attendees and curtain-raise their appetite, which is also the reason that this chafer has been applied with a brilliant smooth mirror finish to shine through the eyes of your guests and bring the mood of the party even closer to them.
The lid, water pan, food pan, alcohol furnace among other key features will take your catering services to the next level.
If you want excellent value traded at an affordable price, then get this food warmer. It is simply unbelievable how Zeny Chafing Dish is racking up positive reviews despite being priced under $100.
Buying Guide: Things to Look for Before Buying the Best Chafing Dish
All will agree with us that there is a whole junk of chafing dishes in the market, but the truth of the matter is, they aren’t going to have the same quality you want for your functions, some have superior features than others.
You don’t want to mess up by picking the wrong one? Well, here is a quick guide to help you secure an instrument of value.
Type of Event
Get a full-sized chafing dish for large events where many people are in attendance. Usually, these will come in 8-quart capacities, similarly, don’t go overboard if you just want to have an in-house get-together party at home. Get something smaller, unless you invited many other buffs to warranty a bigger instrument.
Main shapes are rectangular, oval, round, and square, and perhaps the most common are rectangular ones as they are known to be highly versatile. However, if your particular about style, you can surely fancy the oval dishes which are not only used to serve the main entrees but also come with a characteristic contemporary look.
This factor has got to join this list because definitely the audience will be affected directly. To that end, probably anticipate what your guests would need, which can lead you to pick either roll top lid or lift cover.
A roll top lid is basically the most convenient for self-service at buffets, it’s also easy to access, but sometimes buffets are more than just that, which is why you may consider having a lift cover that creates a sense of beauty and polished presentation.
Fuel vs. Electric Heat
Broadly, there are fuel chafers and electric chafers, fuel chafers are equipped with fuel cans or furnaces to burn to produce heat. On the other hand, electric chafers will need electric outlet access.
For hotels and restaurants, electric chafers are the go-to equipment, if you want to go outdoors, go with the fuel types.
An important factor you should consider is the quality of materials used to build the device. Mostly, you should go for products made of stainless steel. Needless to say they are the most durable and would serve you for long without breaking down, but it’s still fine to go for disposable types too.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Chafing Dishes
How do chafing dishes work?
Chafing dishes work as a kind of indirect heat stove, they utilize chafing fuel that burns to provide heat which keeps the food warm and fresh for as long as the event lasts. The components of the chafing dishes include two pans – water and food pans – and a stand in which the pans are inserted.
A heat source, usually a fuel furnace, is placed below. When the heating element burns, heat is supplied to the water pan which warms your food without drying it out.
Why these appliances are called chafing dishes?
Chafing dish is a derivative of a French word “chauffeur” meaning to make something warm, therefore, since warming food is the primary aspect of a chafing dish, it assumes that name.
How much water am I supposed to put in a chafing dish?
First, as a rule of thumb, remember to ALWAYS use water in the chafer. With that said, ensure to fill the water pan up to 2 inches deep, place your food pan and remove it to see if it’s dry. If it isn’t, pour out some little water to make sure that it doesn’t touch the bottom of your food pan.
Can I use a chafing dish to keep my food cold?
Yes, just fill the water pan with ice-cold water and your food will be kept cold as long as you want. Make sure not to light the fuel furnace because that would mean warming the food.
What is chafing fuel?
This is the fuel used to burn a chafing dish to produce heat for warming food. It is kept in a small can under the dish for that purpose.
My chafing dishes turn black. What’s going on? What am I doing right?
Well, the problem could be somewhere with the heating element and not the dish itself. If you have an electric or induction heater under you chafing, then chances are that it’s getting too hot. Or, if you have a flame heating the dishes, then it could be producing red flames. What you want are blue flames. Red blames tend to blacken post and metal. Try looking into the heating element.
Is there any limitation to the type of food I can and cannot plate inside chafing dishes?
Nope! None at all. And that’s one of the best parts about it. You could plate soups, stews, Chinese, Indian, and even bread. If you take away the heating element, then they are also great for cold foods like soba noodles, cold salad, gazpacho, etc.
How would you recommend cleaning the heating element of chafing dishes?
Great question. If you use an automatic heater like an induction or electric, then simply take it out of the power and out of the dishes. Let it cool and then, simply away wipe the surface with a damp cloth. There isn’t much to clean with heating element that uses direct flames. Direct heating elements usually use a candle or gel pot that you can remove easily, and that’s pretty much it for the cleaning.
Now that you have learned and discovered some of the stand-out models of chafing dishes, your journey to getting the one can be a walkover. Pay very close attention to this guide. The market has loads of these appliances but securing the right unit comes down to being keen on things like size, event type, quality, cover type, etc. Features differ among models, you need to acknowledge this fact and get a device very soon, your next party must not be spotted by cold food.
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