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Keeping food warm is not much of a big deal when you have the best oven in your house. But what if your oven stops working due to technical issues or your electricity gets cut out for a whole day or more? Keeping food warm becomes a huge challenge then.
So, how do you know how to keep food warm without electricity? Let’s find out! In this article, we will provide you with some simple solutions that will help you keep your food steamy and tasting great without the need for electricity.
Whether that be in your home, office, or on a ledge, for who knows whatever reason, this article will be the end of all your heating problems.
How to Keep Food Warm without Using Electricity
We’ll discuss 9 different ways here. You can try either one to make sure your food stays warm as new.
1. Using Chafing Dish
Chafing dishes are serving dishes made of stainless steel material that help the food to remain hot for a long time after being cooked and served to the audience.
This item keeps food warm for a long time by a burning small chafing fuel container that is lit right below the hot water-filled pan, on top of which the serving dish is usually placed. The fire of the fuel container heats the water for which the food remains warm without being burnt or overcooked.
Chafing dishes can keep foods warm for up to 8 hours or more. Hence, these are great tools to serve meals on, especially during buffet parties. Moreover, chafing dishes are extremely affordable as well, yet being a classic option to take up if you want to serve your food warm and steaming to your guests.
2. Using Aluminum Foils and Towels
Wrapping your food with thick aluminum foil in multiple layers and then coupling that with a towel is one of the easiest and quickest ways to keep a portion of your food warm without requiring electricity to do the deed.
Everyone knows that aluminum foil is a great reflector of heat, therefore it’s the perfect hack to trap steam from freshly cooked items. The warmth will stay inside for as long as 2-3 hours max. But you can surely increase that timeframe by incorporating a towel into the mix.
Towels, in this case, work as insulators that prevent the heat from going outside. Hence, further wrapping your food covered in aluminum foil with a towel on top can be a great way to strengthen reinforcements here. Talk about being a culinary genius!
3. Giving a Hot Water Bath to Your Food
Sometimes just giving a hot water bath to your food is a very simple yet effective way for keeping all those delicious foods warm and that too without electricity. This hack is especially ideal when you need to reheat liquid items, such as soups and special curries.
To start a hot water bath, you will want to first boil water in a pot. When the water is hot enough, take your cooked food and transfer it to a shatter-proof box or bowl, and place it right in the middle of the pot with boiling water.
Since you will be literally keeping the food in the middle of the pot with water all around it here, you HAVE to make sure that the water doesn’t penetrate into the bowl itself, or else it completely defeats the purpose of keeping things warm.
Once that’s done and over with, just cover the pot with a lid, and leave everything in the same position till you’re ready to feast for the day.
4. Using a Cooler
Even though coolers are used for the purpose of keeping food chilled, they can also be utilized for keeping your meal warm inside.
Generally, foods are kept in a cooler with a good amount of ice so that the heat from outside cannot enter the equipment. This ice keeps everything cold for a really, really long time. However, a little hack here is that this insulating feature of a cooler can also be utilized for trapping the heat of the food on the inside of the machine.
This technique is quite helpful for keeping homemade food from getting cold or instead keeping it warm while traveling. Moreover, keeping your snacks inside the cooler after wrapping it with aluminum foil paper will help the food retain heat for up to 6 hours at a stretch.
If you want to attempt this sneaky hack, we suggest you first pre-heat your cooler properly instead of jumping right at it from the get-go. Pre-heating the cooler before you place anything inside will allow the heat to stay trapped for a much longer period.
To pre-heat this baby up, all you need to do is fill the machine up with warm water and leave it inside for a couple of hours. Drain all the water out of the cooler once you want to heat up your food, and voila! You’ll be good to go.
Also, side note- never fill a cooler with boiling water. We want you to feast on steamy, roasted chicken here; not get roasted yourself!
5. Trapping the Steam
Trapping the steam is a very common and easy technique you can use to make sure the food stays warm. This process can be helpful for storing food for a shorter amount of time.
For obvious reasons, your food will release the most amount of heat right after it is cooked. In this case, you can seize the moment and cover your pan or pot (whatever you are cooking in) with the lid or at least a cloth to trap the heat in. This is called steaming.
By trapping the hot air inside, you will be able to keep your food fresh and warm for a much longer time. However, there is one downside to this technique though.
Due to trapping steam inside the pot, the food will instead collect a lot of moisture, which it would have otherwise lost in the air. This, in turn, can turn your food soggy in some cases.
6. Using Insulated Thermal Bags
Thermal bags can be very helpful for preserving small food items warm for a shorter period of time. They are easily available and are usually the best option to carry your lunch to school or office.
On top of that, thermal bags are also very lightweight, so they can literally be carried anywhere. Most people opt for thermal bags to store their cooked food when traveling a short distance. So, if you have got an appetite while on the go, why not turn to thermal bags filled with delicious goodies to satisfy your cravings too?
7. Adding Hot Water Bottle or Hot Bricks
Another easy way to keep food warm without requiring electricity to heat up your meals is to simply include a hot water bag (or two bags, if you’re suspicious) or hot bricks. More often than not, the heat in the food is not sufficient enough to keep the meal stay fresh for a long time.
This is where hot water bags and bricks come into play. Whether you are going to your office or simply sending your child to school- throwing in a hot water bag or small brick into their tiffin carrier or box can keep the rest of the edible items warm and steamy until consumption.
8. Using Thermal Cookers, Tiffin Carriers or Hotpots
All three of the above-mentioned items are super useful kitchen utensils that can effectively contribute to keeping food warm for quite a fair amount of time without electricity.
These utensils bear vacuum insulation, which typically prevents a lot of heat from the inside from escaping out of the pot. Some thermal cookers accompany cast iron bottoms which hold significantly more warmth.
However, the majority of these utensils simply depend on the warmth of the food to keep things hot and steamy afterward as well.
But if you want to take our word for it, we suggest you go for double-bottomed thermal cookers and carriers, as these are some of the best hotpot-like items for storing fresh food.
Traditional hotpots, in this case, are quite expensive, but they are the most efficient and reliable when it comes to keeping meals hot and steamy for a super long time.
9. Cooking Food Extra Hot for Longer
Sometimes, the simplest solution is just cooking the food for a while longer, and therefore keeping it inside the pot or pan for a long time can be a better solution.
The reason for doing this is to keep your food warm and prevent it from going stale too easily. If you don’t want to keep re-heating your food every now and then by wasting too much electricity, why not just opt for eating the food right after you are done cooking it? Genius, am I right?
So that was everything on how to keep food warm without electricity. If you ask us, we’ll recommend you go for step 1 here, that is, you can use a chafing dish. On the other hand, cooking food for longer can be easy, but it can burn your food if you don’t do it in the right way.