Best Chafing Dishes Reviews & Buying Guide in 2021 [Expert’s Selection]

Eileen Martin
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There are many benefits of taking food outside … fresh air and sunshine. On some occasions, you’ll find yourself in a situation where it might be practical to take a hot dish outside to a garden, or somewhere else in the open air. If you do have these occasions quite often, then you’ll want to consider investing in the best chafing dishes.

What Are Chafing Dishes?

Before searching for the best chafing dishes, you need first to understand what a chafing dish is. A chafing dish is a metal container that is designed for keeping food warm in a setting where you don’t have access to an electric oven. These dishes usually have a fuel source that boils water, causing a hot plate that is able to keep the food warm for hours.

NameCategoryProduct
Rectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer Dish Set 8 Pack of 8 Quart Stainless Steel FrameBest OverallRectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer Dish Set 8 Pack of 8 Quart Stainless Steel Frame
Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet ChaferBudget PickArtisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet Chafer
SUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 6 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water PanUpgrade PickSUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 6 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water Pan

1. Rectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer Dish Set 8 Pack of 8 Quart Stainless Steel Frame

Our rating: 9 / 10

Rectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer Dish Set 8 Pack of 8 Quart Stainless Steel Frame

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Pros:

  • Available at an affordable price
  • Professionally designed
  • Sturdy and reliable
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • FDA approved
  • Available at different capacities- 8 quart (4 chafing dishes), 10 quart (4 chafing dishes), and 24 quart (8 chafing dishes)
  • Multiple configurations available
  • Customizable finish- black (as in the picture) or white
  • Quick and easy assembly

Cons:

  • The box is quite bulky
  • The instructions are not very clear and a little confusing

The Good Cook Rectangular Chafing Dish is one of the best chafing dish available in the market. Designed to meet the needs of versatile business and functional requirements of all food outlets, these chafing dishes are durable and reliable.

Coming in three different capacities, 8 quart, 24 quart, and 10 quart, these chafing dishes are ideal for many diverse occasions. No matter what occasion, you can be sure that you have the perfect size for the amount of food to serve. In addition, these chafing dishes are designed to accommodate a wide range of cooking needs on-premise establishments.

2. Oster Buffet Server Warming Tray

Our rating: 9 / 10

Oster Buffet Server Warming Tray

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Pros:

  • Works on two standard candles
  • Large enough to carry multiple dishes
  • Heated, which can prevent the food from getting cold
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Sturdy and comes with rubber feet for added protection

Cons:

  • Does not come with a cover
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • The center compartment is not really good for anything
  • Some people say the temperature lags a bit

If you are looking for a buffet server that fits three dishes and is both appealing to the eye as well as functional, the Oster Buffet server is one of the better options you have.

Constructed out of stainless steel, this buffet server will not rust or corrode even with constant exposure to moisture. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe, so cleaning up will not be a problem either. The stainless steel will also not stain food easily, so it will retain its sheen for long.

While the main compartment, its base, and bottom are stainless steel, the cover is made of polycarbonate which will resist scratches and retain its shine for years. Plus, the material is transparent, giving you an easy view into the contents without having to lift the lid and release the heat.

3. Tiger Chef 8 Quart Full Size Stainless Steel Chafer and 3 1/3rd Size Chafing Dishes Food Pans and Cool-Touch Plastic on Top

Our rating: 9 / 10

Tiger Chef 8 Quart Full Size Stainless Steel Chafer and 3 1/3rd Size Chafing Dishes Food Pans and Cool-Touch Plastic on Top

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Pros:

  • Comes with sturdy chrome handles
  • Has the option of buying without the stand, so it can fit under your counter
  • Has two sizes, which makes it convenient to handle big and small parties
  • Comes with a separate compartment for keeping the chafing dish tools that comes with it
  • The material is very durable

Cons:

  • The product description states that it comes with another tray to place under the chafing dish pans but this isn’t true
  • The cooktop is almost made only for this one brand and will not fit chafing dishes from other brands
  • Is one of the most expensive option
  • Is more expensive than similar dishpans, even from other brands

The Tiger Chef 8 Quart Stainless Steel Chafing Dish is a spacious and attractive looking chafing dish. It is made with high-quality stainless steel, and has a very durable build. However, although the product is made from high-quality stainless steel, the handles are made from chrome. This is a bit surprising as most people would expect the handles to be made from the same material as the rest of the product, but it would seem that chrome has been used because it looks better than stainless steel.

4. Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet Chafer

Our rating: 8 / 10

Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet Chafer

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Pros:

  • The deep dish keeps food warm longer
  • The large lid accommodates tall serving utensils
  • The attractive design enhances the visual appeal of your dishes
  • The removable enamel bottom provides a gracefully curved shape
  • The stainless steel construction ensures durability
  • Comes with an insulated carry bag for transportation
  • The enclosed heat system retains heat for longer than traditional heating systems

Cons:

  • The lid can be fragile
  • The insulated carrying case is a bit flimsy

5. Giantex 2 Packs Chafing Dish 9 Quart Chafter Dishes Stainless Steel Chafing Dishes Rectangular Chafer Dish Set

Our rating: 8 / 10

Giantex 2 Packs Chafing Dish 9 Quart Chafter Dishes Stainless Steel Chafing Dishes Rectangular Chafer Dish Set

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Pros:

  • A completely non-stick interior and base
  • Heat insulation that ensures food stays warm for hours

Cons:

  • Some reviews claim that there’s a bad odor
  • The product is not dishwasher-safe

The Giantex 2 packs chafing dish are a excellent choice for those looking to serve warm food. Well-made and simple to use and clean, this chafing dish set comes with an insulated dish, so your food will be kept warm for hours.

The first thing that’s worth mentioning about the product is the construction of the chafing dish. It’s made of durable stainless steel and has no problems with heat. The surrounding lid fits the base perfectly, and will keep your food warm for hours.

6. SUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 6 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water Pan

Our rating: 8 / 10

SUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 6 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water Pan

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Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Clearly divided sections
  • Multiple handle positions
  • Very quick and easy water refills
  • High heat resistance
  • Won’t rust, chip or peel
  • Can be disassembled, which makes cleanup much easier
  • Compliant with airline standards for carry-ons
  • Perfectly designed lid
  • Lightweight and easy to carry

Cons:

  • The price of this chafing dish set is high
  • Its not completely non-stick
  • Materials tend to warp after frequent use

Although it’s true that this chafing dish set is expensive, it will last forever. The high quality of the chafing dish set justifies the price.

7. SUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 4 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water Pan

Our rating: 8 / 10

SUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 4 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water Pan

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Pros:

  • Exceptional price
  • Overall build quality
  • Easy to assemble
  • Standard size for real catering chafers
  • Professional looking
  • Doesn’t rust. Doesn’t crack
  • Easy to clean
  • Good replacement if you already have a set
  • Lithium and gas compatible
  • Perfect for weddings

Cons:

  • The plastic tag is annoying for some users
  • Do not last very long
  • The lid doesn’t fit tightly

The Katadyn Base Camp Chafer is a product that’s designed for real professional catering, taking care of all your chafer needs. The four separate chafing dishes are made of high-quality stainless steel and high-grade powder coating, fully following professional standards.

This set is shipped with the stoppers and clamps that are required for assembling the fuel holder. The four items are made to fit together with each other, so you can turn one full size chafer into a four-piece set. What comes in the package is the fuel holder, two food pans, and a water pan, so you have all possible chafing needs covered.

8. Super Deal Pack of 4 Full Size Round Chafing Dish 5 Quart Stainless Steel Dinner Serving Buffer Warmer Set Tray Buffet Catering

Our rating: 8 / 10

Super Deal Pack of 4 Full Size Round Chafing Dish 5 Quart Stainless Steel Dinner Serving Buffer Warmer Set Tray Buffet Catering

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Pros:

  • offer a lot of use
  • meant for a busy wedding and event planner
  • look professional
  • work really well
  • easy to clean and fill

Cons:

  • handle and lid not connected
  • hard to balance

The Choice products 5-quart chafing dishes have been used by me and by many other users in the full course of cocktail parties. This is a good product for a number of reasons. One, the price is reasonable. This is an attractive chafing dish. And the set does heat and keep food the right temperature. This is exactly what you want when hosting a party!

This design makes stacking a cinch. It comes with five individual serving dishes which are removable. Everything is made of stainless steel. The handles on the dishes are rubberized and operate smoothly. That’s important in any serving dish and these are perhaps easier to handle than some.

Each lid and dish are in five pounds each. That’s less than any chafing dish I’ve seen; they’re incredibly lightweight. That’s even a welcome trait for large events where people might need to lift heavy food from the table and move it to the buffet table.

9. TigerChef Chafing Dish Buffet Set

Our rating: 8 / 10

TigerChef Chafing Dish Buffet Set

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Pros:

  • Worth every penny
  • designed to handle hot and cold foods
  • are light weight and portable
  • it has adjustable racks
  • very easy to clean

Cons:

  • You have to buy liners separately
  • The water containers are smaller than advertised
  • The wheels are heavy and do not roll freely

TigerChef is the best chafing dish buffet set you can get in terms of value and quality. Being made of stainless steel, this set will ensure that your food remains fresh and the chafing containers do not rust. The food container is made of food grade, recyclable plastic and is FDA approved for food preparation use.

To prevent leakage and spilling when carrying, the lid has a sturdy stainless steel handle. The interior of the food container is of high quality Aluminum foil, which can withstand the temperature fluctuating between -22oF to 265oF. This means that both cold or hot foods can be served in it. The cooking tray is made of stainless steel.

This set also includes a pair of hot holding containers and half-size steam pans. All the items come attached with a sturdy folding frame with casters including 4 wheels, making it very easy to assemble and transport. The steam wand can be attached to the food container with a 5-inch metal tube.

10. ZenChef Upgraded 8 Qt Stainless Steel Chafer

Our rating: 7 / 10

ZenChef Upgraded 8 Qt Stainless Steel Chafer

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Pros:

  • Comfortable handles
  • Great for catering and business
  • Customers love the free flask
  • Keeps food warm for hours

11. Excelsteel 4-Quart Heavy Duty Professional Stainless Chafing Dish

Our rating: 6 / 10

Excelsteel 4-Quart Heavy Duty Professional Stainless Chafing Dish

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Pros:

  • 4-quart capacity, heavy-duty stainless steel, built to last
  • Can be used every day
  • Energy efficient, no need for electricity or gas
  • Large enough to serve large groups
  • Versatile, can be used in the oven or on the counter, and stackable
  • Non-toxic and lead free

Cons:

  • It is heavy
  • The top handle is not durable, the finish will peel off after some usage
  • The knob on the lid sometimes gets stuck
  • The white coating inside starts peeling after a few more uses than other similar products
  • The steel is thin and can crack if you’re not careful with the chafing dish.

The Excelsteel stainless steel chafing dish is the only non-electric, non-gas chafing dish of its kind. You can easily wash it using soap and water or put it in the dishwasher.

The 8 model works well for a buffet of 4-6 people.

This chafing dish is built to last. The unit will last for years if it’s taken care of properly and used only when necessary. The pan is easy to clean and won’t retain a lot of food smells if you decide to deep clean it.

12. ZENY Pack of 2 Full Size Stainless Steel 8 Quart Chafing Dish

Our rating: 5 / 10

ZENY Pack of 2 Full Size Stainless Steel 8 Quart Chafing Dish

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Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Looks stylish
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Hard to transport
  • Not very space-efficient

Being one of the prime sources to find the best quality items at affordable prices, Amazon is a one-stop shop for every buyer. The online shopping store is known for offering the customers products at affordable prices, coupled with guaranteed free delivery services to users within the United States.

Whether you’re ordering for yourself or buying a gift for loved ones, Amazon ensures that it meets your needs.

Amazon is your one-stop shopping website for all your needs and wants. There are thousands of sellers and sellers offer millions of products to buyers worldwide. Shopping on this online shopping store wouldn’t be a worrisome experience because you can check out what other buyers are saying about the product before purchasing it.

13. ZenChef New Version 8 Qt Stainless Steel Chafing Dish

Our rating: 2 / 10

ZenChef New Version 8 Qt Stainless Steel Chafing Dish

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Pros:

  • New and improved design
  • Industrial grade stainless steel
  • Fits 2 x 1.25 liter pans
  • Standard size fuel holder (will hold a can of fuel)

Cons:

  • May be a bit deep for some tables, be aware
  • Alumel bowl – cannot be used outdoors. Requires handwash.

If you’re looking for a simple yet functional chafing dish idea for your next party, the ZenChef New Version 8 Qt Stainless Steel Chafing Dish, Full Size Chafer, Food Warmer with Water Pan, Food Pan, Fuel Holder and Lid is a very good choice. This whole set includes a water pan (already attached to the chafing dish) that will provide you with the best results.

It’s also important to note that this is a full-size chafing dish that will provide you with the right size food pan. A full-size fuel holder is included too. This product comes in at a 4-star rating and is also reasonably priced.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best chafing dish?

A chafing dish is a small insulated hot plate commonly used to keep food hot for long periods of time. The design consists of a wide metal bottom which houses a heat source (most commonly alcohol), a metal stand, and lids that cover the food.

The standoffs act as legs of the stand and keep the heat near the food. The chafing dish is usually used for cooking breakfast food such as eggs or bacon, or for desserts.

There are sturdy and smaller versions of chafing dishes with single or multiple tiers. However, the larger the stand the heavier it is and the more expensive it is likely to be.

Chafing Dishes are very common on events such as barbecues, birthdays, or outdoor weddings. It is the ideal way to heat food for many people at once in a small space, the process is simple and requires no power source.

How do you dress up a disposable chafing dish?

Chafing dishes are a great way to keep food hot and to transport it if needed. But, for that, you need the help of a chafing dish cover.

A chafing dish cover is a cover, usually made of aluminum, that goes on top of a chafing dish. It is usually round with multiple holes in it, creating a type of lattice. This lets heat and moisture escape and oxygen flow through. This helps to keep the food on the inside of the chafing dish hot and moist.

How long do chafing dishes last?

Chafing dishes are made to last you a long time. Even if they’re left out in the elements at a picnic or something, you can go back to using them later on. It all comes down to the quality of the dish you buy. If you only use your chafing dish sparingly then you can realistically get decades out of it.

Do chafing dishes dry out food?

So many people love chafing dishes because they keep food warm and moist for long periods of time. However, this feature can become a problem if you’re serving a lot of food or the meal you’re hosting is very practical and not visually appealing. Most people want their food to be at its peak when they consume it. You might be thinking that it was the cook’s job to supply food that looks great. So you may ask, why do I need a chafing dish at all?

In order to make an ugly dish look good, you still need to keep it hot. Luckily, all chafing dishes are designed to never allow food to dry out. This is crucial to ensure the dish is appetizing. When food is dry or cold, people won’t want to eat it. Even if the food tastes amazing, presentation is crucial.

Conclusion

No matter where you are, you need to keep your food warm and safe from contamination. This will ensure that you and your family are able to take advantage of that tasty hot meal wherever you are.

So we’ve gathered together the best chafing dishes on the market to make a list that you can use to decide which one is best for you. We have narrowed the list down to the top 5 products on the market based on several factors, including price, company reputation, product reliability, among others.

When choosing from this list, you need to keep in mind what your needs are, and then evaluate the above criteria to determine which product is the right one for you.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Rectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer Dish Set 8 Pack of 8 Quart Stainless Steel FrameBest OverallRectangular Chafing Dish Full Size Chafer Dish Set 8 Pack of 8 Quart Stainless Steel Frame
Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet ChaferBudget PickArtisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet Chafer
SUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 6 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water PanUpgrade PickSUPER DEAL 8 Qt Stainless Steel 6 Pack Full Size Chafer Dish w/Water Pan