Though it’s as familiar as the knobs and racks, the purpose of the oven’s bottom drawer can be a mystery, even to experienced owners. What is the bottom oven drawer used for? Depending on your model oven, it can be used for warming, broiling, or simply for storage. Determine how to use the bottom oven drawer so you can maximize all the features of this essential appliance. 

Kitchen Appliance FAQs: What Is the Bottom Oven Drawer Used For?

What is the bottom oven drawer used for on your model oven? Your user manual will specify if your particular drawer is for warming, broiling, or storage. No manual? No problem! If your manual isn’t handy or available online, here’s how to quickly determine your drawer’s function and use it properly.

Oven Warming Drawer

How do I know if my oven has a warming drawer? Most ovens have a dedicated knob or control panel button labeled “Warming Drawer.” If neither of those is visible, check the inside of the drawer for controls that may govern its temperature. This convenient feature is helpful in keeping cooked foods warm before serving or warming serving dishes before plating them with food. Some warming drawers even have a rack that enables you to stack two or more dishes inside.

However, it’s important to remember that a warming drawer is not to be used for cooking food. The heat it supplies isn’t high enough for raw food to reach a safe internal temperature, as most don’t go above 240℉.

Keep these additional tips in mind when using a warming drawer:

  • Leave the drawer unlined: Lining the drawer with foil results in uneven heating. Reserve foil solely for covering the tops of dishes, if desired.
  • Check your cookware: Even though the drawer doesn’t get as hot as the oven, it can still melt plastic or burn paper. Be sure to only use the warming drawer with oven-safe cookware. Is it safe to store pans in the oven drawer when it’s not warming? As long as you remove plastic or paper items before use, they can still be used for storage.
  • Clean regularly: Use our oven cleaning safety tips to clean the warming drawer with vinegar steam or a baking soda paste when debris accumulates.
Under oven storage

Image from Cnet

Oven Broiler Drawer

Do all ovens have a warming drawer? Gas ovens may utilize this space as a broiler instead, since the lower heating unit may be positioned right above the drawer. If the bottom drawer on your gas oven has a rack that includes a broiler pan, it’s likely meant for broiling.

What is the bottom oven drawer used for if it’s capable of broiling? It can quickly brown the tops of foods, giving casseroles and pies a crusty golden exterior. It’s also ideal as a reverse indoor grill for burgers and steaks. Unfortunately, the broiler drawer can’t function unless the larger oven is set to bake or roast. If common oven malfunctions like a broken igniter prevent the lower heating element from lighting, the broiler drawer won’t work as well.

Oven Storage Drawer

If it’s not used for warming or broiling, what is the bottom oven drawer used for? It likely is simply for storage. If there are no knobs or controls labeling the drawer with a specific function and it doesn’t include a rack, it’s meant for under oven storage. 

This wide space is ideal for cookie sheets, pans, and bakeware that won’t fit in your cabinets. Since the oven’s heat can still increase the drawer’s internal temperature, however, it’s still best to reserve this space for oven-safe items only.
Your local oven repair service can resolve any oven issue, including bottom drawer concerns. Schedule your service with Oak Valley Appliance today!