Impress your guests—and keep them well-fed—with a stylish chafing dish. These large heated pans are a convenient way to keep food hot for several hours, making them ideal for parties, large family gatherings, or other group functions.
How Chafers Work
Also known as chafing pans, chafing trays or buffet servers, these heating dishes keep large portions of food warm using indirect heat. A small container of fuel heats a pan of water beneath the dish to evenly warm your food. Short-term sources of fuel include tea light candles, chafing dish fuel or Sterno canisters. For longer events or to ensure you never run out of power, consider an electric chafing dish, which doesn’t need fuel.
Choosing a Chafing Dish Style
Most chafing dishes are rectangular and serve five to eight quarts of food. There are also bowl-shaped chafing dishes, ideal for serving soups and sauces.
For a classic buffet setting, look for stainless steel chafing sets. Those with an antique copper finish also add instant charm. Here are some other accents to consider for your set:
• Polished, shiny or hammered finishes in stainless steel, nickel or copper add visual interest.
• Chrome, brass or gold handles provide a more refined look.
• Decorative legs or stands bring added elegance to fancy occasions.
Whether they’re for a formal sit-down dinner or a casual barbecue, chafers can complement your table settings and other serving trays.
Chafing dish accessories include a water or steam pan, a fuel holder and an internal rack. A roll top chafing dish with an attached lid saves space and makes it easier for guests to serve themselves – no need to find a place to set the lid. Some chafer dish sets also come with foldable stands or foldaway frames and are stackable for easy storage.
Look for stain-resistant chafing dishes made of dishwasher-safe materials to make cleanup a breeze. For the ultimate quick cleanup, though, try disposable chafing dishes.