Ever wonder what that drawer beneath your oven is for? Yeah, us too. Here at Hunker, we're divided — some of us use the drawer for storage, while others use it for broiling or warming.
Well, we spoke to the experts to find out what the drawer's real purpose is, and, as it turns out, everyone is sort of right.
"It all depends on the model, but typically it's used for storage, warming, and, in some cases, for broiling," says Taryn Brucia, director of public relations at LG Electronics USA. "Not all ovens even have one. For example, double oven ranges have no drawer. Instead, they feature two oven cavities that can be used in tandem to cook multiple items separately at different temperatures. In higher-priced, pro-style ranges, you generally don't find drawers at all."
You might not have a drawer if you have a vintage oven, too. "The built-in wall oven did not appear until the early 1950s, so you won't see models with drawers older than that," says John Jowers, the owner of restoration company Antique Appliances. But standalone ovens, which were the style before then, did have special compartments for broiling, warming, and even storage — but not in drawers.
Chances are, however, you don't have a vintage oven from before the '50s. So if your oven does have a drawer, how are you supposed to tell which kind you have?
"Your best bet is to refer to the owner's manual to see what kind of drawer it is. If the drawer has a warming feature, then you'll likely find its controls on the oven's control panel — generally labeled 'Warming Drawer' or something similar," says Brucia. "LG ovens feature broilers in the top of the oven cavity so it's easier and much more convenient to use."
While the manual should be your go-to to learn about your own oven, there's another little trick you can use:
"If it is a gas oven, then the drawer serves as the broiler. To broil any food, you want your food tray under the burner, so logically, if the oven burner provides heat for baking, then to broil you just go underneath it," Jowers says.
Electric ovens, however, work differently. "Electric ovens have always had an 'in oven' broil element, so if there is a drawer, it would be for either utensil storage or a warming drawer," Jowers says**.**
Again, it's time to open up that manual to find out which you've got. While you technically can use any oven drawer for storage (#apartmentlife), it's probably not the best idea if it's got a heating element inside.
"If you have a drawer that can warm or broil and someone accidentally turns it on, that could be problematic," says Brucia. "And if the drawer has an exposed warming/broiling heater element, there's the possibility of damaging it with the kitchenware as you load and unload the drawer."
So as soon as you get home today, it might be a good idea to check your oven to see what kind of drawer you have. Pro tip: if you don't have the manual anymore, you can Google your model — many manufacturers have manuals posted online.
Stefanie is a New York–based writer and editor. She has served on the editorial staffs of Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, before setting out on her own as a freelancer. Her beats include architecture, design, art, travel, science, and history, and her words have appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Popular Science, Mental Floss, Galerie, Jetsetter, and History.com, among others. In another life, she'd be a real estate broker since she loves searching for apartments and homes.