How to Keep Vegetables Warm After Cooking

A plate of vegetables

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If you cooked some vegetables a bit too early or your guests are coming up a bit later than what you planned, then keeping them warm is essential to maintain their taste. It is scenarios like these that make you feel knowing how to keep vegetables warm after cooking would be a handy skill. So, how do you do that?

There are many different ways to keep your vegetables warm. For example, using hotpots, warm plates, covering the dish with aluminum foil, storing it in a warm oven, or even using slow cooking methods. 

In this article, I will extensively explain all the different ways you can keep your vegetable dishes warm and tasty for as long as possible. I will also shed some light on what you can do if your vegetables get cold. So, I advise that you keep on reading till the end. 

How to Keep Vegetables Warm After Cooking?

Most food tastes the best when it’s piping hot, and that is especially true for vegetables. This is why people have been using several techniques to keep their vegetables warm after cooking. If you are having trouble figuring out what to do, here are a few options you can try out.

1. Keep it in the Oven

Vegetables in the oven

A lot of ovens nowadays have a built-in warm setting. This setting usually keeps the oven temperature at about 200F to keep your dishes warm before serving. Whether or not you have cooked your vegetable dish in the oven, try to transfer your veggies to an oven-safe container, and cover with aluminum foil before storing it in the oven.

If your oven does not have this setting, you can always just turn the temperature to 200F or 250F and use it the same way. A food thermometer might be handy in this case as you need to check that the food hasn’t gotten too hot. A higher temperature might do more harm than good, and change the taste and texture of your dish.

2. Try Slow Cooking Your Veggies

You could just cook your vegetable dish in a way that it can keep cooking even after you have served it. This is called slow cooking, and the dish is kept at a warm temperature for a long time so that it cooks much slower than it normally does. 

A slow cooker or a chafing dish might be useful in this method. Chafing dishes are perfect for sauces, vegetable stews, or steamed veggies, or even a vegetable soup. Not all vegetable recipes are meant for slow cooking, so you could try to find recipes that are suitable or tweak your own recipe so that it adapts to slow cooking.

3. Steam-Cooker or Rice Cooker

Vegetables in a steam-cooker

If you are steaming your vegetables and you have a steam-cooker, chances are there is a removable heating element. If you remove it after you’re done cooking, and leave the vegetables inside, they will stay warm for about an hour or so. You might want to remove the lid once to let the steam escape so that it stops cooking.

When using a rice-cooker for your recipe, remember that the same thing works for rice-cookers as well. Using this method will usually keep your vegetables for more than an hour or so. After that things might get a little soggy.

4. Use A Hotpot

You might already have hotpots. These are usually containers with multiple insulated layers that keep the heat inside. You’ll be able to find these for cheap at any supermarket. 

These will keep your vegetables warm for a while. But sometimes trapped heat can ruin the taste. So be careful.

5. Use Warm Plates for Serving

Another concern for some people is keeping the food warm while people are eating them. Whether it be colder weather or just slow eaters, your veggies might go cold on the plate, even after serving. So, a good practice is to microwave your dishes, before serving them. This keeps the food warmer for longer, even while you are eating. 

Even with all these methods, your vegetables will not stay warm enough to enjoy for long periods of time. If you can’t eat it as soon as you’re done making them, another option is to prepare everything beforehand and leave the heating or cooking part for the last minute. 

You can prepare everything else beforehand, and get things ready, as the cooking itself usually does not take too long. So just before your guests arrive, or you begin to eat, that is when you just put your almost ready dish on the oven or stove, cook, and serve hot. This method might take a little practice before you become good at it, but it’s worth it.

How Long Can You Keep Vegetables Warm?

Most vegetable dishes or most other food for that matter will stay warm or at the perfect temperature for about 2 or so hours. This is even after you’ve taken measures to keep them warm. The exact time might vary, of course, depending on the overall temperature of where you are. 

So, the best practice is to just try and eat your food within this time frame and try not to keep things out in the open for too long. Trying to stop heat from escaping can also make the food go bad, and then it starts to smell funny. The vegetables might even start tasting slightly tangy, as acidic juices are released. 

What to Do to Save Your Vegetables if They’re Cold

If all else has failed, and your vegetables are already cold and soggy, don’t be too sad. You can still salvage them. You can always pop them in the microwave for a few minutes, and it’ll be good as new. This depends on what dish you are cooking, and how your vegetables were cooked.

If your dish involves steamed vegetables, it might not be a great idea to put in the microwave oven, as this might release the moisture and the food might lose its taste. Try to get your steaming equipment out again, and steam the veggies for just a little bit before serving. This should bring them back to life. 

For curry recipes, however, or one with a little bit of gravy, you could try heating it on the stove. This method works even better if the liquids have dried up a little. You could add in a little splash of water or if your recipe uses a cornflour slurry, you could add that in while reheating to thicken up the sauce to the right consistency.

There’s no reason to be disheartened if your vegetables have gone cold. It happens to the best of cooks. With just the right techniques, no one will even know the difference.  

A bit of warning. Beware of eating cold-cooked vegetables. Room temperature foods are prone to microbial infestations and can cause serious harm to you. So, make sure that they are properly warm before digging in. 


Next time you have a bunch of guests coming over, you can impress them with your yummy recipes because now you know how to keep vegetables warm after cooking. With just a little extra effort and planning, you can easily serve food at the optimum temperature and get compliments from everyone. 

I sincerely hope that this article was of help to you and answered all of your queries and curiosities regarding keeping cooked vegetables warm. Thanks for reading and happy cooking. 

Chef Rooney

I like to cook. It makes me happy, and I know it does the same for others. If you ever want to learn how to make a great dish, just ask!

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