In this commercial food warmer buying guide, we’ll take a look at Bain Maries vs hot cupboards. In doing so, we’ll help you discover which is right for your kitchen. We’ll cover what each appliance does, the scenarios where it’s useful and the benefits it provides.
What is a Bain Marie?
A Bain Marie is a water bath appliance that’s used to keep food warm. Designed to gently keep pre-cooked food ready to eat for extended periods, it’s usually used as part of a self-service buffet or assisted service area. Electric and gas versions are available, as well as wet heat and dry heat options.
Wet heat Bain Maries are the traditional option. They use water or steam to heat the basin and form a bath or a sauna for the food you need to display or keep heated. By maintaining a consistent and reliable heat, you can keep dishes on display at the optimum temperature after cooking.
Alternatively, dry heat Bain Marie models use heating elements to keep gastronorm pans and batch-cooked dishes at service temperature.
What is a hot cupboard?
Hot cupboards (sometimes referred to as hot holding cupboards or warming cupboards) are perfect for storing plated precooked meals or crockery. The internal temperature of the hot cupboard is usually regulated by external controls.
Which is right for me?
Whether a Bain Marie or a hot cupboard is right for your business will depend on why you need the appliance. For example, if you’re looking to keep food warm in a buffet environment, then a Bain Marie is the right choice. However, if you’re storing a huge number of plated precooked meals for a service, then a hot cupboard is a much better choice.
To help you decide whether a Bain Marie or a hot cupboard is right, let’s conclude our commercial food warmer guide by looking at the benefits of both.
Benefits of a Bain Marie
- Keeps food warm for instant serving when needed.
- Holds pre-cooked ‘batch’ foods like curry or chilli.
- Reduces food waste by keeping food heated for long periods.
- Increases efficiency by cooking batches instead of to order dishes.
- Ideal for front-of house display – in buffets or canteens.
- Wet and dry heat options with various capacities.
Benefits of a hot cupboard
- Keeps finished dishes fresh and ready to be served.
- Can hold either plated precooked meals for future serving, or hundreds of plates for a large pool of customers.
- Even heat diffusion for consistent temperatures
- Bain Marie tops available
Still unsure whether you’re better off with a Bain Marie or a hot cupboard? Get in touch today. Our experts would love to help you find the perfect solution.