What's the word for what looks like a fridge but actually keeps things warm/hot instead of cold?

hot fridge?

  • there's also "bain-marie" which means this in france, fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bain-marie but means this commercial "thing with lights on it to keep fast food warm..." ggmgastro.com/warmhalten/bain-marie-heisstheke.html in english. also, conceivably, "plate-warmer". – Fattie Jul 28 '14 at 14:50
  • @JoeBlow, a bain-marie is where you put a dish into hot water to heat it up, instead of putting it directly over the fire. The French Wikipedia image is of a double boiler, in fact. The other link has an image of a steam table. In no way shape or form can any such device be described as "looks like a fridge". – Marthaª Jul 28 '14 at 15:21
  • Bonjour Martha, what up? "does not look like a fridge", notice my comment opened with "there's also...". That's code for "not what you were asking specifically, but might help you or someone else." – Fattie Jul 28 '14 at 15:30
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    Regarding bain-maries IN ENGLAND OR THE UK OR AUS, as I already explained, in those countries it means this commercial "thing with lights on it to keep fast food warm..." It is completely commonplace that loan words are "used incorrectly" in the loaning language - much to the annoyance of in this case french cooks, etc :) I believe ("so-called", if you will) bainmaries can be either dry or wet, simply search goog UK for "commercial catering equipment bain marie" and you'll see caterkwik.co.uk/shop/commercial-catering-equipment/bainmaries/… – Fattie Jul 28 '14 at 15:33
  • Just BTW user, I was looking around UK catering gear sites, and what you describes seems to be usually referred to as just a "hot cupboard!" caterkwik.co.uk/shop/commercial-catering-equipment/hotcupboards – Fattie Jul 28 '14 at 15:35

You are probably referring to a food warmer:

Heat lamps, hot boxes, steam tables, soup kettles and display warmers are just some types of food warmers that currently exist. Heat lamps, steam tables and soup kettles often leave food exposed in some way while they keep it warm. Hot boxes and display warmers fully enclose foods.


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    "Hot box" is the term that came immediately to my mind. Admittedly, what little food-service experience I have is now over 20 years old, so terminology might have changed. – Marthaª Jul 28 '14 at 13:20

Since "fridge" is short for refrigerator, it's doubtful you can use "hot fridge" because that would kinda mean "hot cold". An enclosed container that heats or keeps food warm is an oven or a warming oven - as shown below:

enter image description here

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  • These are also known as a warming drawer. – dwjohnston Jul 28 '14 at 22:54

It depends on whether you just want to keep warm food that is ready for eating, or whether a warm environment is required as part of the food preparation.

For most of us at home, the oven on a low setting suffices for doing this.

For those involved in the food industry, there are of course more specialised equipment. Josh61 has mentioned a food warmer. If you need to have a warm environment for yeasted dough to rise, you can also get a proofing cabinet.

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  • The question isn't what to use to keep food warm, but what to call an appliance that keeps food warm. – Marthaª Jul 28 '14 at 14:16
  • @Marthaª: You're splitting hairs, and in this case I don't think the two questions are very different. The question concerns "something that looks like a fridge but makes things hot", but to what is being referred? Maybe it's a convection oven, heat lamps, or a commercial "food warmer", but unless we're talking about an existing appliance it makes little difference whether we call it a "hot fridge", "warmbox", or perhaps even "defridgerator". – meustrus Jul 28 '14 at 19:32
  • @meustrus: I don't think it's splitting hairs to point out that the question Peter is answering is actually off-topic for this site. And dunno about you, but I'm not sure I ever want to meet a heat lamp that resembles a refrigerator. (We are talking about an existing appliance, btw, or at least an existing class of appliances.) – Marthaª Jul 28 '14 at 21:18
  • You know, the part after proofing cabinet actually seems a little marketing-speak, so perhaps if that were removed this would stand alone as an example of a type of appliance that keeps food warm. – meustrus Jul 29 '14 at 3:35
  • I will remove the bit after 'proofing cabinet' then. – Peter Jul 29 '14 at 13:50

Do you mean like a Hot Cupboard? this is a mainly for keeping plates warm, but can be used on food also. enter image description here

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  • Have you got a link that directs to the expression hot cupboard? Is it a term with which you more familiar? A lot of the answers posted are very similar in content, so yours need to "stand out" more. – Mari-Lou A Sep 22 '14 at 9:59

You may be thinking about food, but your question is sufficiently vague that it could also refer to an incubator — a warming appliance usually used in a biomedical facility. (Examples)

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