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Your Guide to Chafing Dishes

Whether you’re hosting a party or catering an event, you’ll need chafing dishes to keep foods warm and safe for consumption. Plus, they are affordable, convenient, portable, and easily found on eBay. This guide highlights types of chafing dishes and their uses to help you make a smart buying decision.

Why use chafing dishes?

Chafing dishes make it easy to serve large portions of food. You place fully prepared cuisine inside to warm food for hours. Set them on buffet tables for chafing dish hires to dole out portions, or use them to let guests serve themselves.

How does a chafing dish keep foods warm?

Chafing dishes use a form of indirect heat to warm food. A power source such as fuel, electricity, or induction heats buffet food warmers. Some of the different types of power sources you can expect new chafing dish food warmers to have include the following:

  • Fuel – There are three types of chafing dish fuel: gel, liquid, and eco-friendly. The chafing fuel comes in a can and generates heat underneath a pan of water to keep food warm between two to six hours.
  • Electricity – An electric chafing dish has a power cord. It's an ideal choice for outdoor events where outlets are easily accessible.
  • Induction – With this method, the dish sits on top of a hot plate, eliminating the need to heat a pan of water and keeping foods at desired temperatures longer.
Types of chafing dishes

Chafing dishes may have a matte, satin, or mirror-polished finish. Also, they may feature a chrome, brass, copper, or gold trim. The following are some of the most common types of chafing dishes available:

  • Lift-off: Lift-off chafing dishes have a flat or dome lid with a handle for raising and lowering the cover.
  • Hinged: Hinged lids include a handle on the front of the dish. The cover remains in place when lifted and opens to a 45- or 90-degree angle.
  • Glass-top: Glass top chafing dishes allow guests to view the contents without lifting the lid.
  • Roll-top: Roll-top units open at a 90-degree angle for one-sided service and a 180-degree angle to allow guests access from either side of the table.
What size chafing dish do you need?

You’ll find food warmer trays designed exclusively for certain foods. Still, the size and capacity depend on what’s on the menu and how many people you expect to serve. Pick from these reasonably priced chafing dish sizes:

  • Full size – Typically, you use this size to serve entrees. They have a rectangular or oval shape and hold between eight and nine litres of food.
  • 2/3rd-size – Use these round or square dishes to hold between five and six litres of sides.
  • Half size – A half-sized chafing dish usually has a square shape and offers a four- to five-litre capacity for serving appetisers and desserts.
  • Marmite – This deep dish comes in various sizes to contain soups and sauces.
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