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What Temp To Keep Food Warm In The Oven

You’ve invited guests over for dinner but they’re late! Perhaps the family isn’t quite ready to sit down for an evening meal. Or maybe you’ve cooked some food but have a few other things to do before you can chow down. In these, and many other cases, you will need to know what temperature to keep food warm in the oven.

It’s super important to find just the right temperature so that the food stays hot and delicious without it cooking anymore as this can totally ruin your efforts up until now.

But don’t worry, we have all the information you need as well as some handy tips for keeping food warm until you’re ready to eat it.

What Temperature to Keep Food Warm in Oven
Don’t set your oven temp too high or your food will over cook

What Temperature to Keep Food Warm in Oven?

Safe Temperature Guidelines For Meat

If the dish that you are keeping warm includes meat, please make sure to maintain the minimum recommended internal temperatures as recommended by the FDA.

In addition to safe temperatures, other safe food handling techniques can be found here at the FDA Safe Food Handling webpage.

Select Oven Temperature

What’s the best temperature to keep food warm In the oven? It could be easy to think that you could keep your food warm in the oven by blasting it with hot temperatures. Sure, that’s going to work for a little while but the issue you have is that the food will continue to cook. Keep going like this and you’ll just end up with overcooked or even burned food; and nobody wants that!

The best way to keep the food hot and at its best is to set the oven warming temp as low as you possibly can. It might seem too cool but remember that with the door closed, the oven is going to stay nice and toasty so there’ll be no worry of the food going cold.

It’s also worth checking whether your oven has a warm mode which is designed to maintain the perfect temperature to keep food just right and ready for serving. So, take a look in your oven’s user manual to work out whether yours has this feature.

If not then you will want to set your oven to somewhere between 175 degrees Fahrenheit and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. When you place the food inside, we would advise covering it with aluminum foil. Just be sure to keep an eye on the food and check it regularly.

It may also be possible to keep your food warm by monitoring the oven temp. Once this exceeds 225 degrees Fahrenheit, you can turn the oven off and leave the food inside which will be kept warm with the residual heat.

Aluminum Foil can help keep food warm for longer
Aluminum Foil is an excellent way to help keep food warm

Keeping Food Warmer For Longer

The methods we have discussed above are ideal for short bursts of time. However, if you need to keep your food warm for longer than around 15 minutes, those methods might not be suitable. Instead, you will need to use an oven thermometer to make sure that the food temp doesn’t dip below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you notice that the temperature of the food drops a little then it’s OK to boost the oven warming temp as long as you keep an eye on the food inside.

With all that said, food that is left warming in the oven for longer than an hour can alter in terms of both flavor and texture. In this instance, it’s usually much better to allow the food to cool out of the oven and warm it back up before you are ready to eat it.

What About Keeping Pizza Warm In The Oven?

If you are trying to keep pizza warm in the oven then this can be very tricky. Unfortunately, pizza has a tendency to quickly burn if the temperature is even just a few degrees too high which is why it’s mega important to get the balance just right.

The good news is that you don’t need to deviate too much away from the temperatures we have already talked about in this article so far. Keeping warm pizza warm in the oven means that you’ll need to set that oven to the lowest possible temp. How low this is will vary among appliances with some having a lowest setting of around 170 degrees whereas others have a minimum of 200 degrees.

This is the perfect temperature for keeping your pizza warm as it will hold all that delicious heat in without running the risk of burning the crust or the toppings. What’s more, the cheese will have already melted and this low temperature will ensure that it stays that way and remains warm until you’re ready to serve the meal.

However, if you have ordered a pizza from the local takeaway and haven’t quite gotten around to eating it, then you might be wondering if it’s OK to put the box in the oven. The good news is that you can!

It’s not always a good idea to put cardboard in the oven. In fact, if the temperature is more than around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a serious risk of it burning or even catching fire. But at these very low temperatures, there isn’t any danger associated with putting a pizza box into the oven.

Food that is kept warm is delicious
Aluminum Foil plus the right temperature can keep food delicious and warm

Other Ways To Keep Your Food Warm Before Serving

If you don’t want to, or can’t use your oven to keep food warm then there are other ways you can seal the heat in while you wait. Here are some quick tips on keeping food nice and toasty.

  • Use the drawer underneath your oven. Heat resides in here so it’s the perfect place to keep things warm, especially if you’re still using the oven to cook other things.
  • If you have a slow cooker, you can put it onto the lowest setting and use this as a place to keep food that’s not quite ready to be served warm.
  • If the oven is out of use or filled with other food then you might put your grill to good use. As with the oven, you’ll want to use it on the lowest setting and it’ll be just enough to keep your meal hot and tasty.
  • For times when you don’t need to keep the food hot for a long time, an insulated box, like the coolers you take to the beach, is perfect. This method does only keep the food warm for around 30 minutes.

eHow Video On How To Keep Food Warm In The Oven

This eHow Food CookingGuide video provides quick, excellent tips for keeping your food warm in the oven:


Keeping food warm before serving can make the world of difference when it comes to eating your meal. While we all try to time things to perfection, that isn’t always possible and using the oven to retain that lovely heat is one of the most effective and easiest way to do this.

However, you must make sure that you set the oven to the correct temperature otherwise there is a serious risk of the food overcooking or even burning. Generally speaking, anywhere between 175 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit will be more than enough to keep your food warm. This is typically the lowest setting on most ovens but yours may be different as this can vary between appliances.