Here's What the Bottom Drawer of Your Oven Is Really For

To store or not to store? That is the hotly debated question.

Tucked underneath many ovens is a spacious drawer, though it is sometimes easy to forget about. While plenty of oven models have this extra space, the exact purpose remains a source of contention in the cooking community. Its use has been widely debated with many surprising results and revelations.

So what is the point of your bottom oven drawer anyway? Well, the answer actually depends on which model of oven you own. By checking out your user manual, you'll be able to see how the manufacturer labeled the drawer and what the intended use is. For some, it's simply extra space, but for others, it's a helpful kitchen tool. Read on to learn the three common uses for your oven's bottom drawer.

The Oven Drawer Could Be for Storage

Most people utilize their oven drawer for storage, whether or not it's meant to be used that way. Cookie sheets, cupcake pans, and more are often stuffed in there for the next time a baking urge strikes. Be warned though, this space can get fairly warm from the oven above, so only put tools and equipment that can stand some higher temperatures, like your griddle pan, pizza stone, or other pots and pans if they fit. Your bamboo placemats and plastic containers will need to find another place to crash as they will warp in the heat over time and may be flammable.

Or It Could Be for Warming

The other common purpose for the bottom drawer is as a warmer. This is a spot to stick dishes to stay toasty while you finish cooking the rest of the meal. It's helpful when you're hosting a party, the holidays are hopping, or you just finished making dinner a bit too early. If you notice controls that indicate a warming setting, either up with your other dials and buttons, or below within the drawer itself, you might have yourself an added oven bonus.

It Might Even Be a Broiler

Gas ovens that contain the heating unit in the bottom may offer the space as a broiling drawer. This is often a very narrow space that functions as a broiler and fits shallow baking sheets, dishes, or pans. It's ideal for browning the tops of casseroles, caramelizing chicken skin, or even roasting vegetables. If you try to stuff items in this space for storage, they could be scorched the next time you light the broiler.

Bottom Line

The only way to learn the purpose of your oven's bottom drawer is to check out how it's labeled in your user manual. If you don't have this handy, often Googling the brand and type of oven can bring up a PDF version of the manual.

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