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Types of Cook and Hold Ovens

Capable of cooking, rethermalizing, and holding, a good cook and hold oven will immediately become one of the most dynamic and cost-saving pieces of equipment in your kitchen. With its low-maintenance, set-it-and-forget-it design, you'll uncover much more free time to tend to the other demands of a busy kitchen.

Shop All Cook and Hold Ovens

Use the following links to learn more about cook and hold ovens:

  1. What is a Cook and Hold Oven?
  2. Cook and Hold Oven Styles
  3. Cook and Hold Oven Cabinet Styles
  4. Why is Humidity Good for Meat?
  5. What is Low and Slow?
  6. Pan and Tray Holders
  7. Food Holding Safety Considerations
  8. What Size Cook and Hold Oven Do I Need?
Restaurant Equipment

What is a Cook and Hold Oven?

Cook and hold ovens remove much of the work of preparing large food quantities. They cook food at low temperatures until it reaches the proper internal temperature, measured through a penetrating probe, or until the timer tells it to switch into holding mode. When the oven enters holding mode, it reduces temperature and maintains it at the ideal safe serving temperature.

This cooking method eliminates constant checks on meats and other foods for overcooking, thus saving time and labor while improving quality and consistency. Because of their versatility and usefulness, cook and hold ovens are one of the most essential pieces of kitchen equipment for restaurants.

Cook and Hold Oven Styles

Cook and hold ovens are capable of utilizing multiple cooking styles. While some are able to tackle numerous methods, others specialize in just one. Before purchasing, it is helpful to know what each brings to the table and how each could benefit your specific business.,

Restaurant Equipment

Cook and Hold Ovens

Cook and hold ovens utilize low-temperature cooking, allowing maximum moisture retention and overnight cooking.

  • Method accounts for 15-20% less meat shrinkage
  • High humidity cabinet provides a moister end product
  • No venting required in most locations
Restaurant Equipment

Rethermalization Ovens

Unlike other cook and hold ovens, rethermalization ovens specialize in quickly bringing foods to food-safe temperatures and eliminating the possibility of bacteria.

  • Heat pre-cooked foods or use for slow roasting
  • Slow convected air seals in natural juices
  • Rethermalization feature is great for batch cooking
Restaurant Equipment

Smoker Ovens

Operating like a standard cook and hold oven, smoker ovens utilize wood pellets or other fuels to add a delicious smoky flavor to the final product without needing a seperate meat smoker.

  • Wood chip container adds real wood flavor to meats
  • Built-in smoke timer adjusts "smokiness" level
  • Can cold smoke fish and cheese

Cook and Hold Oven Cabinet Styles

Cook and hold ovens come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Regardless of your kitchen's space and cooking volume needs, there is a cabinet style for you.

Restaurant Equipment
  • Holds up to 100 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 31-34" tall to slide under counters
  • Casters simplify moving the cabinet for maintenance
Restaurant Equipment
  • Holds up to 150 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 40-48" tall with compact design
  • Can be stacked with a second holding cabinet
Restaurant Equipment
  • Holds up to 36 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 12-14" tall and uses minimal counterspace
  • Great for small batch cooking
Restaurant Equipment


  • Holds up to 240 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 73-75" with timers and thermostats for each section
  • Doors on both sides make loading and unloading easier
Restaurant Equipment
  • Holds up to 300 lb. of food
  • Heights range from 73-82" with timers and thermostats for each section
  • Two section design allows for simultaneous cooking of different foods
Restaurant Equipment
Restaurant Equipment

Why is Humidity Good for Meat?

Along with low-and-slow cooking, another factor of cook and hold ovens that creates a delicious end product is the added humidity. Everyone can agree that moist meats taste better than dried-out meat. The meat's juices contain many delicious flavors, and losing those juices is a detriment to the quality of the finished product.

Some cook and hold ovens include hot water heaters that create steam and add moisture to the cooking cabinet. Total control over humidity allows foods to be ready to serve at the ideal internal temperature and perfect moisture content.

Restaurant Equipment

What is Low and Slow?

Cook and hold ovens utilize a "low and slow" cooking style. This method enhances foods by cooking them at low temperatures for long intervals rather than cooking food at a high temperature for a short time. When meats and other foods are cooked slowly, they lose fewer juices and experience minimal shrinkage.

Foods cooked in a standard convection oven may shrink as much as 30%. However, when cooked in a low and slow cook and hold, you may experience as little as 5% shrinkage. Not only does this give you a better and juicier end product, but you also increase your yield and save on overall food costs.

Pan and Tray Holders

Each cook and hold oven will include either shelves, slides, or both to support your pans and trays of food.

Restaurant Equipment


Utilizing shelves in your cook and hold oven allows you to easily add and remove pans, making them a versatile choice for your kitchen.

  • Wire style provides better heat circulation to food
  • Can slide all the way out for easy loading and unloading
  • Able to hold smaller pans that will not work with slides
  • Grid design is more difficult to clean 
Restaurant Equipment


If you always use full-size pans in your cook and hold oven, slides provide convenience and symmetry within the cabinet.

  • Capable of holding full-size pans of food
  • Open style allows all drips to fall into drip tray
  • Reduced hot air circulation
  • Not ideal for smaller pans
Restaurant Equipment

Food Holding Safety Considerations

When it comes to food safety, there is no room for error. It is vital to know what holding temperatures to maintain for food after it finishes cooking and to stay out of the "danger zone." Fortunately, cook and hold ovens remove the guesswork and automatically drop to the proper holding temperature after the cooking period finishes, as established by the penetrating thermometer probe. 

Setting your cook and hold oven to the proper temperature for different meats allows you to prevent potential food poisoning and remain within health code guidelines, reducing the risks of fines, suits, or closures. Check out some of the common holding temperatures below.

What are Recommended Holding Temperatures?


Beef Roast (Rare)
130°F / 54°C
Beef Roast (Med/Well Done)
155°F / 68°C
Beef Brisket
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Prime Rib (Rare)
130°F / 54°C
Steaks (Broiled/Fried)
140°F-160°F / 60°C-71°C
Ribs (Beef Or Pork)
160°F / 71°C
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C


Chicken (Fried/Baked)
160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C

Fish / Seafood

Fish (Baked/Fried)
160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C
160°F–175°F / 71°C–79°C


160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Dough (Proofing)
80°F-100°F / 27°C-38°C
Eggs (Fried)
150°F-160°F / 66°C-71°C
Frozen Entrees
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
Hors d'oeuvres
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C
180°F / 82°C
140°F-200°F / 60°C–93°C
140°F-200°F / 60°C–93°C
160°F-175°F / 71°C-79°C

What Size Cook and Hold Oven Do I Need?

To determine which size cabinet is best for your operation, consider the below table on how common meats translate to actual poundage.

Food Capacity
Beef Brisket 3 Roasts
Prime Rib 2 Roasts
Beef Tenderloin 6 Tenderloins
Pork Chops 4 Half-Sized Sheet Pans
Ham (Cured and Smoked) 4 Hams
Pork Loin 4 Roasts
Chicken (Whole) 4 Chickens
Turkey (Whole) 2 Large Turkeys
Salmon Steaks 28-32 Steaks

To determine which size cabinet is best for your operation, consider the below table on how common meats translate to actual poundage.

Food Capacity
Beef Brisket 6-8 Roasts
Prime Rib 6 Roasts
Beef Tenderloin 15 Tenderloins
Pork Chops 4 Full-Size Sheet Pans
Ham (Cured and Smoked) 8 Hams
Pork Loin 9 Roasts
Chicken (Whole) 18 Chickens
Turkey (Whole) 5 Large Turkeys
Salmon Steaks 60 Steaks

To determine which size cabinet is best for your operation, consider the below table on how common meats translate to actual poundage.

Food Capacity
Beef Brisket 12-16 Roasts
Prime Rib 12 Roasts
Beef Tenderloin 30 Tenderloins
Pork Chops 10 Full-Size Sheet Pans
Ham (Cured and Smoked) 18 Hams
Pork Loin 18 Roasts
Chicken (Whole) 54 Chickens
Turkey (Whole) 12 Large Turkeys
Salmon Steaks 150 Steaks
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

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