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Here's what the bottom drawer of your oven is for

Is it a warming drawer? A broiler? Is it for storage? Here's how to know.

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This LG oven has a warming drawer. 

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Over the years, I've realized that many people don't know what that drawer under their oven is for. Some guess that it's for storage, others say broiling and others claim it's a warming drawer. Those are all fantastic guesses because -- depending on what type of oven you have -- it could be any one of those. 

Here's how to find out what type drawer you have in your kitchen.

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Warming drawer

A warming drawer is super easy to identify. Take a look at the buttons on your oven. If one of them is labeled "Warming Drawer" then that's exactly what you have. Anytime you need to warm a pie or a loaf of bread -- or you just want to keep dishes warm while the rest of the meal finishes cooking -- pop it into the warming drawer and push the warming button.

Broiler

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Broiler drawers are typically found on gas ovens and are very narrow. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

If you have an oven heated with natural gas, the drawer is typically a broiler. To be sure, pull open the door. If it looks more like a retractable pan than a drawer, then it's a broiler. 

Think of the broiler as an extra cooking area. It's best for toasting or browning foods like casseroles or breads. Any item placed in the broiler will burn quickly, though, so check on it every couple of minutes.

Storage drawer

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A storage drawer is usually much deeper than a warming drawer or broiler.

Chris Monroe/CNET

If there isn't a warming button and the area looks like a deep, empty drawer, then you probably have a storage drawer. This is a good place to store cast iron pots and pans because the warmth from your oven will help to keep them rust-free. Just be sure not to store plastic items in this drawer because they may become warped due to residual heat. 

Likewise, some older ovens have little insulation and may heat your metal cookware when the oven is on. As a precaution, always use oven mitts to remove cookware during or after your oven has been on.