Is It Possible To Store Hot Food In A Cooler?

You're hosting a gathering for a group of family and friends. You've done everything possible to make the menu items warm and tasty by the time everyone arrives to ensure the best possible experience. But then the phone rings, and you learn several attendees will be late, and you know your mother-in-law will surely criticize the dishes you're planning to put on the table if you overcook them by putting them back in the oven. So, what to do?

There are many ways to keep food warm when you plan to serve it over the course of a couple of hours. Aleka's Get-Together shares options like electric food warmers and chafing dishes as some of the most common methods used in catering. You could also keep food in your slow cooker or crockpot or even consider using a heat lamp. You may have a crockpot on hand, but the others will require not only a special purchase but some pre-planning. One way to obviate both is to drag out one of the extra coolers in your garage you typically use for tailgating and soccer games. Could they help you avoid having cooked food sitting out while you wait?

You can store hot food in a cooler

A cooler is typically used to keep food and drinks cold thanks to its insulative design, but don't be fooled by its name. It can help to keep food warm for a period of time, too, like when you're waiting for those late guests or on the drive to the family potluck. The cooler's insulation prevents direct contact heat loss, and also locks in the heat that the air surrounding the food warmed. My Backyard Life shares how to get the most out of using a cooler for hot food by further insulating your food inside it. This is done by lining the cooler with a towel, adding the hot dish double-wrapped in foil, and then covering the with a few more towels. This can work for as long as several hours.

If you need as much time as you can get, such as when tailgating for the big game on a cold day, consider the brick method. For this, you place a couple of bricks you've wrapped in heavy-duty tin foil in the oven for about 20 minutes at 275 to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place them in the cooler on top of a towel or two, and then place another towel on top before adding the dishes. Just keep the cooler closed as much as possible to retain the heat, and make sure you lift with your legs!