Is It Safe to Store Pans in Your Oven Drawer?
Here's what you should (and shouldn't) keep in that storage spot underneath your oven.
It’s 6 p.m. and you’re ready to whip up a delicious sheet pan supper. It’s time to break out the baking sheets you seem to use for everything! Like most of us, you probably keep a lot of your bakeware in the oven drawer.
But is that a smart—or safe—idea?
Is an oven drawer meant for storage?
You can ask several oven-owners and you’ll probably get several different answers. Some people will insist it’s a warming drawer used to keep dishes hot while you prepare the rest of the meal. Others use that valuable space to store baking sheets. Which is correct? Both, actually. Storage and warming are the two most common purposes for the bottom drawer,
What can you store in the drawer?
Follow this rule: If something can’t go into the oven, it should not be kept in the oven drawer. That’s because the oven drawer tends to get very hot (it is, after all, right below the oven that you just cranked up to 425°). So anything that is plastic, cloth or paper will likely melt—or, worse, catch on fire. That means no keeping oven mitts or trivets under there, either. Save those for your actual drawers and cabinets.
Your pans and bakeware—like baking sheets, skillets, casserole dishes, pizza stones—are safe if kept in the oven drawer. As long as they are made of material that is oven-safe, they will not be damaged under the heating element. You can also keep extra cooling racks, oven racks or bulky kitchen utensils here if you are pressed for space.
Because it isn’t exactly the most convenient drawer to get to (it can be tough to open or maneuver when you’re busy cooking), consider using it to store the items you use less often.
What is the drawer under the oven really for?
It all depends on what type of oven you own.
This GE range for instance, is equipped with a warming drawer. It can heat up to 220°, but when it’s not being used for warming, it can also be used for storing extra muffin tins or other bakeware. The drawer on this Frigidaire electric range is only for storage. It does get hot, though, so make sure you’re not keeping any flammable materials in the drawer like cookbooks or hand towels.
In some models the bottom drawer is actually a broiler. But unlike warming drawers, broiler drawers cannot double as storage. According to the manual for this Whirlpool gas range, whenever the oven is baking, the burner in the broiler drawer will be on. So be sure to keep it empty when not in use.
How do I know if my oven drawer is designed for storage?
Look at your oven’s manual (if you still have it stashed somewhere) or contact the manufacturer to find out about your specific model. Not all ovens have the same features, so it’s worth your time to check before using it for storage.
To free up even more space in your kitchen, check out our best ideas for kitchen organization.