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I realize that serving on warmed dishes is preferable to serving on cold/room temp dishes, so as not to leach the heat out of your freshly-cooked food.

How can I warm my plates?

I have two kinds of dishes: ceramic (cheapo from a department store) and Noritake china (circa 1955-60).

Neither says "oven safe" on the bottom, but would a warm oven do the trick? Or microwaving? Or a hot water bath?

I'm not sure how to achieve warmed plates, but I'm tired of eating cold fish.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 10 down vote accepted

We do this regularly with regular dishes and fine china. Neither say "oven safe". My mother has also done it for years. The process is fairly simple:

  • Put our oven on it's coolest setting (about 175°F or 80°C, I think)
  • Wait for it to reach temperature
  • Turn it off
  • Put dishes in and close the oven. We just stack the dishes. As Joe points out, they'll warm faster if you don't stack them. However, I usually do this when I've got 6-8 dishes, so stack is easier.

Be careful when taking the dishes out. They'll be hot. We've never had a problem with dishes using this method. However, if you don't think your dishes will stand getting hot, use your own judgement as there's a wide variety of quality and materials used in place settings.

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Stacking dishes will take longer for the middle ones to warm (but should hold their temperature longer) ... of course, unstacked dishes will take longer to get into the oven, thereby releasing more heat in the process, so it's a bit of a tradeoff. You might want to experiment and see what works best for your plates. –  Joe Sep 12 '10 at 21:48
    
@Joe, you are completely right. However, I usually only warm dishes for a dinner party when it will take me a while to get everything plated and out. At that point, there are too many dishes to spread through the oven. –  yossarian Sep 12 '10 at 22:40
    
I think one could put dishes on the drying rack and then in the oven. This way more dishes are in and they're not stacked. –  z-boss Feb 28 '11 at 17:09

Another few ways I do this, depending on what else is going on:

  1. If I have just a couple plates, I may do it in the toaster oven, or even just set them on top of an already hot toaster oven
  2. Pour a little boiling water in each bowl, then drain and wipe just before serving.
  3. Pour a little cold water in each bowl and microwave for a couple of minutes
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1  
+1 for your technique (3). That's what I always do. –  Erik P. Sep 13 '10 at 1:45

"Oven safe" refers to using them to cook rather than to whether they can be warmed. Be careful putting cold dishes in a warm oven though. I'd put them in a cold oven and turn the oven on its lowest setting. Watch the temperature using an oven thermometer. When it reaches the desired temperature (125-175F) turn the oven off. Don't trust the oven's thermostat. Don't use a preheat or quick preheat cycle if your oven has that.

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You can buy microwave plate warmers - you stack the plates with them layered between and nuke them for a couple of minutes.

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nice idea. instead of heating the plates in the microwave by themselves (as I have been), this product says it helps keep the rim cooler and the plate easier to handle. –  zanlok Feb 2 '11 at 18:23

My new Samsung stove has a warming drawer. Keeps food warm on the plate and preheats plates as well. 3 settings of temperature: low, med, high.

Update: the model is FE710DRS 5.9 cu. ft. Electric Flex Duo Range bought from Sears in Canada last year.

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Care to elaborate on what model, what country it is available, and how it works? –  TFD Sep 24 '12 at 2:39

In my part of the world, dishes are often kept in cabinets that may be hung on an exterior wall. That can make your plates pretty cold during the winter, and putting hot food on them results in a cold meal very quickly. If you're just cooking for a couple people, running plates under hot tap water for a few seconds takes the chill off them. They won't get really hot this way, but at least they won't make your food instantly cold.

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I do this the way my parents have always done it, by putting some water onto each plate, stacking them and then putting them into the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Even with 4-6 plates this technique seems to work fine.

I've not used this technique for fragile plates, but our normal plates (both thin and thick) work fine this way.

I presume this would work in a similar way to oven technique, except if you're cooking for a party you're more than likely going to be using the oven for cooking some of the meal, which would leave little/no room for plates, and may be too hot. Not to mention that using an oven for this kind of thing would be quite a waste of energy (IMO)

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Put them in the bottom of the oven on the lowest setting for a few minutes. If it's a fan oven preheat to the lowest setting, then turn it off and let the plates heat for a few minutes.

If you're currently using the oven and you have a grill or another oven above the one you are using you can use that as long as they don't touch the base of the unit. ()you can proof bread this way too).

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