Here's what the drawer under the oven is really for - it's not just for storage

You might never have paid any attention to it, but it’s been there all along

(Image credit: Smeg)

Anyone who loves to cook knows what a lifesaver decent storage is. From Lazy Susan spice organizers to pull-out baskets, the more places to hide away our kitchen items the better. Many use the slim drawer under the oven to store extra baking trays and dishes. But, for some ovens, it actually has a completely different use.

The drawer directly below many ovens can, in fact, be used for keeping meals warm. This is because many electric ovens have a built-in warming drawer designed to keep freshly prepared plates of food or side dishes warm while you serve up. If you’re not convinced, check your oven’s manual.

What is the oven under the drawer for?


(Image credit: Smeg)

'The function of the oven drawer changes slightly from model to model, so it’s always useful to check with your manufacturer,' says Katie Georgeson, Brand Manager for British cooking appliance brands Belling and Stoves. 'On Belling range cookers, the bottom drawer is useful for both storage and plate warming, due to the residual heat it picks up from the main ovens,' she adds.

'While on Stoves range cookers, the drawer is intended as a slow cook oven – and has a dedicated function for this. It can be used as storage when not in use, and other oven cavities offer specific bread proving and plate warming functions too,' Katie says.

If you can’t bear to give up your baking sheet drawer, then fear not. Unless your manual specifically says otherwise, you can store whatever kitchen items you wish in there.

But you may want to use the handy extra space of the drawer below your gas or electric oven to cook things in batches and keep all the food warm for dinner time. Alternatively, if you’re ready for dinner but your partner or roommate isn’t home yet, you can get started and keep their dinner warm in the drawer.

oven kitchen

(Image credit: Homesense)

Who knew that just below the oven was a handy tool for when you have people over? If you don’t know whether you even have a drawer under your oven, you’re also not alone. 

One thing to be aware of is that this drawer is not designed for cooking. So don’t put any food in there that’s not already piping hot, as bacteria can grow at low temperatures, potentially leading to food poisoning.

If your oven is electric, the drawer probably designed to keep food warm, and there might even be a label on the control panel that reads ‘warming drawer’. It could be that your drawer is simply designed for storage, in which case, you can throw various kitchen implements in there for safekeeping. The drawer will get hot though, so avoid putting anything plastic or paper inside. 


(Image credit: Smeg)

So, that’s something to bear in mind next time you’re cooking a big roast dinner and doing the last-minute juggle as the various components all come together. It does, of course, totally depend on your model, and we can’t speak for everyone. But there’s a good chance that drawer has a handy use that’s been there the whole time.

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.