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Warming Trays

Warming trays can be a godsend for serving and entertaining—but do they really keep food at a safe temperature?

What We Learned

Warming trays are portable flat surfaces that are designed to keep food piping hot as it sits out. They plug into the wall like electric griddles and, after preheating for about 10 minutes, can be topped with fully cooked food, either directly on the tray or in a serving vessel.

We loaded four models (from about $40 to about $125) with a saucepan of tomato soup, a ceramic dish o...