If you’re on the go over lunch, it can be hard to find time for a hot meal. But day after day, a standard PB&J sandwich can get a little boring. So, what’s the solution?
Enter the Crock-Pot Lunch Warmer ($24.99). This little gadget is designed to reheat leftovers at your desk (or anywhere you have access to an outlet). I decided to put the mini appliance to the test to see if it’s worth the hype.
Right off the bat, I was impressed by the size of this little crock. It holds 20 ounces of food and breaks down into four parts: the warming base, outer lid, removable food container and food container lid.
Two of the crock’s pieces are dishwasher-safe, so I figured clean-up would be a breeze. (If you’re not a fan of dishes, try these dinner recipes that require hardly any clean-up). And I loved that the food container and lid were designed with transport in mind. On any given day, I could pack up my leftovers at home, then put them in the warming base at my desk when I’m ready for lunch.
Thumbing through the instructions, I noticed that there was no real time frame for how long it would take my leftovers to reheat—that knowledge would have to come through trial and error. The notes also mentioned that the crock couldn’t be used to actually cook food—only to reheat it.
For my initial run through, I chose to reheat last night’s Sweet-and-Sour tofu. (Here are more yummy ways to prep tofu). As a vegetarian, I often rely on grains, veggies and protein to get me through the day, so hot lunch is a necessity. I liked that the crock didn’t take up much room on my desk, and it would eliminate the need to wait for the communal microwave.
After removing the crock from the box and thoroughly washing the food container and lid, I poured in my leftovers. I plugged the gadget in, put my food in the warmer and fastened the outer lid. All that was left to do was wait.
Ready to Eat
After about 30 minutes, I checked on the leftovers. They were warm, but not steaming hot. I let them heat for another 15 minutes or so before digging in.
I was impressed with how evenly the food heated. Plus, the crock keeps the food warm as you eat, so if you need to step away from your desk or if you’re a slow eater, you won’t have to deal with a cold hot lunch.
First, the bad. My main concern with the lunch warmer is the time suck. The instruction manual explains that different foods will take different amounts of time to reheat. In my experience, leftovers took 45 minutes to an hour to warm up. Since my workplace has a microwave, I would have a hard time finding a reason to use the warmer in its place.
That being said, I can understand when this gadget would be a real savior in smaller offices or workspaces that don’t have access to a microwave. The crock would also be perfect in a dorm room or small apartment.
I also loved that the cord of the crock wrapped around the base and tucked into the bottom of the warmer. This feature makes it easy to transport the entire appliance or store it in a desk drawer.
Overall, this product is pretty smart. It makes it easy to eat on the go and features an intuitive design. It’s just up to the individual user to determine if the wait is worth it.
Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.