The 12 Best Chafing Dishes in 2023

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If you’re in the catering business, then you must realize the importance of serving food at their right temperature. And that can be quite challenging when you’re hosting a large event. That’s when chafing dishes come to your rescue.

With three major parts - frame, pan and lid, the chafing dish is designed to maintain the desired temperature in food for as long as six hours. So gone are the days of cold and stale dishes as we now have the best chafing dishes at our disposal.

Best Pick

Oster Buffet Server

The Oster Buffet Server is a versatile chafer that features three warming food pans for parties and holiday family gatherings. Another unique feature of this chafer is its temperature knob with which the level of heat can be adjusted.

Budget Pick

Party Essentials Chafing Kits

With 33 disposable pieces and other essential utensils, the Party Essentials Chafing Kits provides tremendous value for an affordable price. It is equal parts quality, rigidity, and durability, bringing you the best deal within budget.

Quick Comparison: The 12 Best Chafing Dishes

Product NameMaterialCapacity Grade
Oster Buffet ServerStainless SteelTriple tray, each of 2.5 quartsA+
Party Essentials Chafing KitsAluminum33 disposable piecesA+
Tiger Chef 8 Quart Chafing DishStainless steel8-quart full-size panA+
Tramontina 80205/520DS Chafing DishStainless steel9-quart pan A
Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet ChaferStainless steel4-quart panA
Tiger Chef Stainless Steel ChaferStainless steel8-quart full-size panA-
Excelsteel Stainless Chafing DishStainless steel4-quart panA
Winware Madison ChaferStainless steel8-quart full-size panA
Cuisinart 7BSR-28 Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet ServersStainless steel, aluminum, glass11 inches roundA-
Tiger Chef Round Chafing Dish SetStainless steelThree 4-quart pansB+
Giantex 2 Packs Chafing DishStainless steel9-quart chafer with two layers of pansB
Tiger Chef TC-20415 Half Size Chafing DishStainless steel4-quart half-size panB

1. Oster Buffet Server  

Highlighted Features

  • Features three 2.5 quart trays with dome-shaped lids, allowing you to store large quantities of food
  • Each food tray measures 5.11 inches in width and 8.58 inches in length
  • Comes with a temperature knob allowing you to adjust heat
  • Features cool-touch handles to ensure user safety

If you are looking for a chafer that can warm more than one food item at the same time then you can the Oster Buffet Server. It is a versatile chafer that features three compartments of trays that can heat three different types of food items at the same time. With this you will be able to separate meat and vegetarian food items in the same chafer.

Quality is never an issue with Oster products. The same goes for Oster Buffet server. It has a stainless steel housing which is highly durable. Its base and heating surface is large and measures to 20 by 13 inch. The base can also act as a stand-alone warming tray for side dishes and appetizers.

The 2-1/2- buffet trays included with the server is capable of warming seven quarts of food for hours. It is capable of heating dips, appetizers, vegetable and meat dishes, desserts, and more. The tight fitting dome shaped lid along with its leak-proof design entraps the heat inside the vessel and keeps food warm.

Oster Buffet Server is perfect for people with large families. Not only can it be used on special occasions and family functions but it can also be used regularly. Its durable construction makes sure that it does not damage easily even when it is used regularly. It is also user friendly due to it having cool-touch handles. These handles not only provide a firm grip but also help to prevent burns.

What makes the Oster Buffet server unique is its versatility and efficiency. Although it uses the traditional water bath it also features a knob that helps to control temperature. It also features a power indicating light that illuminates when the heating element is switched on. This chafer is also super easy to clean as all its parts- pans and lids are dish washer safe.


  • Featuring three compartments, the dish is quite versatile
  • With temperature control and a warming tray, the product is designed to be highly efficient and convenient for users
  • You don’t need any disposable fuel in order to keep the food warm


  • The capacity of each pan is limited and may not be appropriate for large events

2. Party Essentials Chafing Kits

Highlighted Features

  • It is a complete package consisting of 33 pieces, including three water pans, six food pans, six fuel cans, three wire-chafing rack, three tongs, six forks, and six spoons
  • The pans are made of aluminum
  • Spoons, forks and tongs are made of polystyrene
  • All the products in the kit are disposable, making them ideal for outdoor events

If you suddenly have the urge to throw an outdoors party but you don’t have the required equipment to serve food for a large number of people and keep the food warm at the same then you can purchase Party Essentials Chaffing kit. It comes with 33 disposable pieces including serving forks, spoons, tongs, water pan, food pan, gel fuel and chafing racks.

The chaffing kit of Party Essentials consists of three water pans, six food pans, three wire racks, six gel fuels, six serving forks, six serving forks and three serving tongs. The Aluminum buffet style pans are flimsy but along with the forks and spoons they are perfect for one time use. The forks, spoons and tongs are made rigid and durable with polystyrene.

The gel fuel cans that come with the set contain 190g methanol fuel. They can burn and warm food for around two hours. The included wire chafing racks hold the water and food pans over the fuel cans.


  • The food pans can keep food warm for around two hours
  • Includes disposable utensils for serving large number of guests in outdoor parties, picnic or other events
  • The package is completed with a fuel holder


  • The aluminum pans may not be the most sturdy choice and might result in spilling when packed to their maximum capacity

3. Tiger Chef 8 Quart Chafing Dish

Highlighted Features

  • The chafing dish has a capacity of 8 quarts with three 1/3rd size food pan and dome covers
  • The collapsible stand makes it easy for users to assemble and disassemble
  • It is made of NSF certified stainless steel
  • Features two built-in hooks to hold the covers

Tiger Chef 8 Quart Chafing Dish is a very practical and convenient chafing dish that will keep the buffets warm for several hours, making catering events and large parties feel like a breeze. The pans are rectangular in shape and can hold up to 8 quarts of food. 

Moreover, the chafing dish includes heat-resistant dome covers, ensuring heat retention for a significant amount of time. The covers will also keep your food safe from any contaminants, keeping the food warm until your guests are ready to eat. 

It also comes with a foldable chafer frame that is easy to assemble and collapse at your convenience. This will allow quick set up and portability, taking up very little space itself. 

The package also includes a full-size dripless water pan with a depth of 4”. The full-size food pan is 2.5” deep, which is excellent for holding large quantities of food.


  • Every item that comes along is dishwasher safe
  • The pans ensure that moisture is retained
  • Features lid hooks for easy maneuvering


  • The edges may seem sharp due to the lack of proper finish

4. Tramontina 80205/520DS Chafing Dish

Highlighted Features

  • Includes lid, food pan, and water pan along with burner tray and chafing frame
  • Ideal for storing both hot and chilled food
  • The food pan is NSF certified, ensuring a healthy output
  • It is oven safe up to 390 F

The Tramontina 80205/520DS Chafing Dish is made from excellent 18/10 stainless steel. All food contact parts are made of this superior quality metal, ensuring safe storage of food. Also, considering the durability of the metal, rest assured that you will not be disappointed in the center of the party, 

It is oven friendly and can be put into a dishwasher after serving a meal. The dish comes with a generous food pan that can hold an ample amount of food. So if you’re catering a large party, then this will make an ideal pick for you. 

The chafing framework also deserves some praise. It’s side grips offer excellent maneuvering and allow smooth altering of pans when needed. The chafing dish has a traditional appearance with a subtle contemporary twist.


  • The product is good for serving either hot or chilled food
  • The food pan is healthy, and NSF certified
  • It is dishwasher safe offering convenience


  • Some users have reported the metal is fragile

5. Artisan Stainless Steel Round Buffet Chafer

Highlighted Features

  • Features a lower water pan that can be filled with water to ensure even heat distribution
  • The chafer is made of stainless steel for excellent strength
  • The transparent lid allows easy visibility, which proves beneficial both for the guest and host

Serve any meal with style by using the Artisan Buffet Chafer. Constructed with stainless steel this round shaped chafer has an elegant look to it. Its design, versatility and efficiency in keeping food warm make it suitable to be used in both formal and informal occasions.

At buffets, potlucks and other events this chafer can serve warm food perfectly. The fuel holder accommodates the source which heats the lower pan. The water in the lower pan evenly distributes heat amongst the food in the upper pan. The chafer includes a food pan, water pan, welded rack, transparent cover, fuel holders that measure up to 13 inches diameter and 10.25 inches height. Constructed with stainless steel the pan is durable enough for everyday use. The quality stainless steel helps to maintain the temperature of food and also prevent corrosion.

You can use this buffet chafer in both formal and informal events as it comes in different sizes and designs. The 4 quarts sized chafer in round in shape and the 8 quarts sized chafer which is rectangular in shape. It is also easily portable and blends in with any setting.

Food remains fresh inside this chafer due to it having a steam release vent in the lid. This vent prevents condensation in the food tray. The welded rack conveniently holds the lid when it is opened. You can also monitor the food condition because of the transparent lid.

You can easily clean this chafer using hand wash with warm soapy water; no strong or harsh cleanser is needed. Instead they should be avoided unless you want to ruin the polished stainless steel finish of the chafer.


  • Available in various sizes and shapes, the product is suitable for both formal and informal events
  • Owing to its durable construction, the chafing dishes can be used regularly
  • It prevents corrosion and rust. There will be no condensation in the food pan either


  • Sometimes water boils over the water pan
  • Lids are not always perfect fitting

6. Tiger Chef Stainless Steel Chafer 

Highlighted Features

  • Includes a full size pan (8 quarts), a water pan, a foldable frame, a lid, 2 fuel holders, 6 fuel gels and 3 stainless steel spoons
  • Dome shaped lid comes with stay-cool handles
  • Features collapsible legs
  • Constructed with stainless steel with mirror satin finish
  • Accommodates one whole pan to two 1/2 sized pans or three 1/3 sized pans
  • Dishwasher safe

To enhance your catering events or any other large event you should go for the Tigerchef Chafer. With its functionality and versatility serving warm food at your gathering will be a breeze. Its complete chafer set is suitable for professional use, but you can also use this for large events at home to get a professional experience.

The complete chafer set will not only help you keep your food warm but also help you serve food elegantly. It includes a full size pan (8 quarts), a water pan, a foldable frame, a lid with stay cool handle, two fuel holders with lids, six fuel gels and three stainless steel spoons for serving. The versatility of this chafer is that its full size pan can serve one whole item and at the same time it is spacious enough to accommodate two half sized pans or three one-third sized pans. It also works well with disposable aluminum pans. Although it is foldable the chafer is made of high quality stainless steel sporting a mirror sating finish, which is also NSF certified.

The foldable frame of this chafer is its unique feature. Because of its collapsible legs it saves storage space and is easy to set up. It is also easy to clean. The dome shaped lead, food pan, water pan all are dishwasher safe, the other parts of it can easily be cleaned using water and soap.

Easy to store, easy to clean this versatile server Tigerchef Chafer with its functionality is one of a kind. If you choose to purchase this chafer it will be a useful addition to your kitchen tools.


  • The pans are spacious enough, but the foldable structure doesn’t take up much storage space itself
  • The stay-cool handles prevent burns and injuries
  • The product is NSF certified and easy to clean
  • The chafing dish comes with an elegant design


  • Some customers have raised concerns about unfinished sharp edges

7. Excelsteel Stainless Chafing Dish 

Highlighted Features

  • The product is made of steel with a mirror satin finish, offering heavy-duty construction
  • The package comes with a four-quart food tray, exterior water tray, chafing dish stand, and a convertible burner with lid
  • It is dishwasher safe

When it comes to purchasing a product, most of us prefer one that is sturdy and will last us a long time. Amongst chafing dishes, Excelsteel Chafing Dishes is one of those heavy duty products that can attract the interest of both professionals and individuals.

Excelsteel Chafing dish includes a 4 or 8 quarts sized food tray, tempered glass lid, water pan. If you plan on using the server for special occasions at home then you can opt for the 4 quarts sized one. And the 8 quarts sized one is more suitable for professional use. But whichever size you choose this dish will provide you efficient functionality.

You will not have to worry about your warm food cooling down using this chafing dish because of its stainless steel construction. Also the tempered glass lid seals the dish tightly and keeps the warmth from escaping. It also helps you monitor the food condition. The stainless steel makes the dish durable. So you will not have to worry about the dish rusting or corroding any time soon.

The stay cool handles of the dish prevents burns and makes it easily portable. It also features a heavy duty stand that can support a lot of weight and provide stability. The stand is connected with a glass lid holder, handle and convertible burner with lid. This chafing dish can become a nice addition to your kitchen utensils with all its features.


  • The chafing dish stand is connected with the lid for user convenience
  • Dome-shaped lids allow additional storage space on the food trays
  • The lid is made of tempered glass, featuring stay-cool handles for safe use


  • The product quite heavy and bulky

8. Winware Madison Chafer 

Highlighted Features

  • The chafing dish has a capacity of 8 quarts and includes a full-size pan that is 2.5 inches deep
  • The lid has a stainless steel mirror finished cover, adding an elegant touch to the buffet
  • The cover features a roll-top for quick service

Winware Madison Chafer is a full sized steel roll top chafer. If you are looking for a chafer that has high capacity then you can opt for this one. Sized 8 quarts it can easily accommodate a large batch of food and keep it warm.  Constructed with quality stainless steel it is durable and scratch resistant. The roll top cover of this chafer has a stainless steel mirror finish, giving it an elegant look. Its elegant design makes it suitable for both parties and professional use.

This full sized chafer includes everything needed to keep your food warm, water pan, food pan which is 2-1/2 inches deep, two fuel holders with lead and a roller top dome shaped cover. The cover opens in a 90 degree angle instead of a 180 degree angle and a cool-touch handle is attached to it.

The dripless water pan makes sure that heat is distributed evenly amongst the food without drying it out. The cover is also tight fitting to the pan and makes sure heat does not escape from inside the chafer. As this chafer is quite bulky it is not easily portable. But with its efficiency, capacity and elegant look the Winware Madison Chafer will be a pleasant addition to your collection if you choose to purchase it.


  • The chafing dish is scratch-resistant, allowing it to maintain a fresh look for a long time
  • Being a full-size pan, the product can accommodate large batches of food
  • The water pan is leak-proof and distributes heat evenly


  • The lid can open only up to a 90-degree angle, while most competitors offer 180-degree angles. This may prove to be inconvenient for some users

9. Cuisinart 7BSR-28 Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet Servers 

Highlighted Features

  • The chafing dish is made of 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum encapsulated bottom for quick heat transmission
  • The food pan sits on top of a burner allowing users to serve directly from oven or stovetop
  • The pan and glass lid are dishwasher safe

A chaffing dish that will not only blend in easily with other utensils but also add an elegant charm to your buffet is Cuisinart Buffet Server. This 11inches round shaped server has many admirable features that may interest you and suit your needs. The beautiful stainless steel exterior of the server will prevent it from rusting. The interior of the server is also made of stainless steel which lacks chemicals like BPA and phthalates and thus allows better cooking results.

One of the main purposes of a chafing dish is to keep the food warm and Cuisinart does just that efficiently. Because of its aluminum encapsulated base this chaffing dish is able to quickly and evenly distribute heat.  Although the glass lid of the server is slightly heavy it is still light enough to be easily portable. Especially the wide stainless handles help to easily transport it from oven or stove to table.

Not only is this dish easily portable but also easy to clean. The stainless steel pan, even the glass lid is completely dishwasher safe.


  • The stainless steel construction prevents rusting
  • Aluminum encapsulated base allows efficient and even heat distribution
  • The set is quite lightweight and easily portable


  • The round food pan is 11 inches in diameter, which will not be ideal for a large quantity of food

10. Tiger Chef Round Chafing Dish Set 

  • The set includes three food pans along with water pans, dome covers, stands, and fuel holders. Besides, there are fuel gels and plastic tongs
  • The pans are made of stainless steel with golden knobs
  • The round-shaped chafer has a 4-quart capacity

If you want to purchase a set of chafing dishes you can consider the Tiger Chef Round Chafing Dish Set that includes three 4 quart sized round chafing dishes. The whole set also includes three dome covers, three chafer stands, three fuel holders with cover, three free fuel gels and three plastic serving tong. It is also available as a single unit.

Durability is a feature of this chafing dish. It is made of high quality stainless steel that is NSF certified. The legs are quite sturdy and the handle on the lid provides a secured grip for safety and stability. The stainless steel mirror finish along with the gold accents on handles and legs gives the round chafer an elegant look. Because of its sophisticated design it is suitable for using in large events like graduations, weddings and such.

This chafer proves its versatility by serving both warm and cold food. If you put ice in the fuel holder you can serve cold food and by using fuel gel you can serve warm food. Along with durability and versatility what makes this dish convenient is how easy it is to clean. The food pan, water pan and lid are dishwasher safe and the other parts can easily be washed with soap and water.


  • Features wonderful design for contemporary kitchens
  • They are dishwasher safe, making cleaning very easy
  • With three pans, the product offers great versatility


  • There is no lid holder on this product which makes it difficult to lift when hot
  • The chafing dish consists of two racks to provide powerful support and storage space
  • The pan is characterized by a smooth and white finish stainless steel surface
  • It comes with complete accessories set including water pan, food pan, lid, stand, and more

The Giantax 2 Packs Chafing Dish, with double storage space, makes an ideal pick for large parties. It is used in various occasions such as hotel brunches, wedding banquets, and self-service restaurants. Efficient fuel burners support it on sturdy stands to help you maintain the ideal temperature for hours on end. 

This rectangular dish is made of high-quality stainless steel, which is so durable that it can withstand high temperature for several hours at a stretch without deforming. The shape of the pan allows users to hand wash every corner, both internal and parts, with maximum convenience. There will be no spot that your liquid dishwasher cannot reach. 

To ensure your safety, the fuel burners feature full lids and are placed under a burner tray. This design makes sure that your hand is safe from being burnt or scalded.


  • The product offers excellent service at a reasonable price point
  • Spacious pan has an inner size of 19.29 inches in length and 11 inches in width
  • The fuel burners feature a full lid to ensure proper safety


  • Being large and bulky, the product is not very portable

12. Tiger Chef TC-20415 Half Size Chafing Dish 

  • The stainless steel container has a capacity of 4-quart
  • Set also includes water pan, lid, chafer rack, fuel plate, fuel holder, and gels
  • The mirror finish chafing dish, with golden handles and stand, has a sophisticated design

If you are looking for a half sized chafer with a sophisticated design you can consider purchasing the Tigerchef TC-20415. Its polished stainless steel exterior along with its gold accents on the handles and stand gives the chafer an elegant design. Its design makes it easy to clean and suitable for use in special occasions.

Unlike the full sized Tigerchef chafer, the TigerChef TC-20415 is a half sized chafer more suitable to be used at small gatherings. This 4 quart chafer set is more suitable for serving small portions of food or appetizers at family events than larger events.

Similar to the full sized TigerChef chafer the half sized one includes all the materials needed to keep the food warm like the a 4 quart food pan, dripless water pan, chafer rack, fuel plate, fuel holder , lid with cool with handle and fuel gels. You will not have to worry about accidently burning your hand as the handles are cool to touch.

The half-sized chafer is also good at keeping the food warm without changing the flavor of the food. The dripless water pan evenly distributes heat. Moreover, the included fuel holder placed in the center distributes heat properly. The lid has a hook that attaches it to the chafer so that it can stay out of the way during serving.


  • The lid features cool-touch handles for easy maneuvering
  • The water pan is leak-proof


  • The stainless steel construction makes the product quite heavy

Things to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Chafing Dish


Depending on the type of even and the number of guests coming to the even you should choose your chaffing dish. Usually for larger events you will need more than one chafing dish and it is better to get a full sized chafing dish (8 quart).
For smaller parties or informal events at home you can opt for a half sized chafing dish or a dish that has more than one warming tray. For formal events you should also choose a chaffing dish that has an elegant design.


Before purchasing a chafing dish you must check out the material used to construct it. If you want a chafing dish that you want to use regularly or for a long time then it is better to get one that is constructed with high quality stainless steel.
If you want to get a chafing dish or buffet servers for one time use then it is better to get a disposable dish like the Pasty Essentials Chafing Kit. But regular use or one time use either way safety is an important issue. So, make sure that the product you are getting uses no harmful chemical, is properly constructed with no sharp edges and features a stay-cool handle.

Shape and Size 

Among the most common sizes for chafing dishes are full-size, half-size, and round dishes. They offer different designs and capacities to fit different occasions. A typical full-size chafing dish has a capacity of 8 to 9 quarts. Half-sized dishes offer a capacity between 4 to 5 quarts. And a round or oval chafer is likely to have a capacity between 4 to 7 quarts.

Full sized chafers are usually used in event with a large number of guests and to serve the main dish. Half sized chafing dishes are usually used together with other half sized chafers serving side dishes or used at informal parties.

Rectangular and oval chafers are usually used to serve main entrees. But oval chafers have a more stylish look than the standard rectangular chafing dish. The round shaped chafing is usually used to serve side dishes or desserts. Square shaped chafers are slightly less common but still used by caterers for serving appetizers and side dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long can a chafing dish keep food warm?

Depending on the style and material, a chafing dish can keep food warm from two to six hours. Chafers generally use water as a medium to transfer heat from the source to the food pan. To enjoy the best results, heat or reheat the food in an oven, and later use the chafing dish to keep the food warm. 

However, as with an oven, if you plan to store the food for too long on a chafer, you will notice changes in taste or texture.

Do chafing dishes dry out food?

No. That’s the whole point of using a chafing dish. 

Chafing dishes come in several layers. There’s a water pan underneath the food tray, which helps distribute heat evenly. Chafing fuel is used to heat up the water pan and begin the process. This in turn heats up the food pan and the food on it. 

Since the heat is transmitted indirectly, through water, chafing dishes keep food from drying out from scorching heat.  

Can we put ice in a chafing dish?

If you’re trying to keep the food cold in a chafing dish, then yes. Put ice or cold water in the water pan to serve cold dishes or desserts. And of course, make sure that the fuel burner is not lit. Many fuel burners on our list come with their own lids, which will keep the burner shut while you serve cold dishes.


There is nothing that ruins a party more than food that is served cold. Chafing dishes are brilliant apparatus which keeps food warm for hours without keeping it on the stove. With this dish we are able to serve warm, large batches of mouth-watering food items at parties.

So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself the best chaffing dish available in the market today to throw successful parties and conveniently serve warm food there. We hope that with our review on different chaffing dishes you will be able to make an informed decision and purchase a chaffing dish that meets all your requirements.

5/5 - (16 votes)

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Aisha Hussein

Born in Illinois, Aisha was taught to cook traditional middle Eastern dishes from an early age by he...

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