Holding Cabinet vs Proofer

We are serving an upcoming fair and need a holding cabinet to use as a buffer to handle sudden surges in business. The cabinets I have looked at cost around $3700. I can pick up a proofer for about $1000 or less for a used one. Any reason why a proofer would not work?


What volume do you anticipate? If you normally have 100 balls in the ready, and anticipate perhaps 400 over a few hours, do you have the cooler space for 400? If so, I’d do more balls and not use a proofer. I do not use a proofer.

I think he’s talking about a cabinet to hold cooked pizzas in, not dough balls.

And if I’m correct about that, I can’t wait to hear the answer because I’ve been wondering the same thing.

We use proofers to hold and have had no problem. It is what we will use to hold our slices over lunch and dinner rushes as soon as we are up and running with pizza.

We’ve used a non-heated metal cabinet w/a sterno-type flame in the bottom (liquid parafin) & had no problems…


I have a cabinet for sale, and it might be what your looking for! It has been awhile since I used it, but I just checked and it has separate proof, hold/heat and humidity controls, 115v. I bought it new in 95’ for over $2000 and it was used for about 6 months to do sub rolls at one of our stores, $300.

I should have been more clear. We need it to store cooked pies in boxes to handle big surges.

I’m interested but I would need to have it by the last week of August. Pictures, specs, manufacturer, etc. . . .

I guess what I don’t understand is what makes the big pizza holding cabinets so much more expensive than a proofer if a proofer will work?

Absolutely no problem. Keep an eye on your pies if there in the box. You may have to leave the top open so they don’t get soggy. When I asked a rep of ours what’s the difference between the holding cabinets and proofer for our chicken was he said they are made differently and these cabinets were made especially for chicken. . .it didn’t work for me, I don’t if that explanation works for you, but we bought the proofers and saved a ton of money.

I have used both and they are for 2 diff applications…however if we think outside the pizza box, the warmer would be more insulated for longer periods. The amt of heat output is diff. also.
You should be able to use the proofer as long as it was not for long periods of time.
As stated earlier, the proofer requires moisture, so be mindful of the amt of water in the holding pan. It would not hurt anything to run out of water for 30 min or more so you don’t have too much humidity. The heat from the proofer needs to be for the pizzas as much as possible, not to heat the water for lots of humidity.
Let’s wait for the Doctor to dial in for his thoughts.


Hi Pizzapirate:

We have several chain accounts who use proffers as pizza holding cabinets.
Non insulated is ok as you are opening the door often.
Best procedure is to sell out of the cabinet and keep refilling in order to rotate the pizzas. Pizza does not keep well for an extended period.

George Mills

The main difference between a proofer and a holding cabinet is the operating temperature range. Holding cabinets are designed to maintain temperature of 140F and above, while proofers are designed to hold at 90 to about 110F with humidity. This is important. The proofer typically employs a simple “cal” rod to provide the heat. The heater is in the water tank so it provides both temperature and humidity. While you can operate these without wate, the life of the cal rod is significantly reduced. The heated holding cabinet, on the other hand, does quite well when operated without water. Do keep in mind that you local health department might want to check the temperature in your holding cabinet as part of their routing inspection, if it isn’t as hot as they would like it to be, you may have a problem on your hands it you’re using a proofer (anybody wanna buy a good, slightly used proofer?). I’m here in Manhattan, Kansas, and I can say that one of the top priority things our health department checks for is the holding temperature of anf food item. Coolers, freezers, holding cabinets, self serve food bars (buffets). The reason I know is because we can read about them in the local news paper along with all of their other food safety violations, that’ll get your attention as an owner/operator.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hi Tom :

The proffers we sell heat to 150 degrees and have separate heating elements for the water pan (for humidity) and separate heating elements for the cabinet. These units can be operated with or without humidity as elements are independently controlled.

George Mills

It looks like those units can go either way, as a proofer, or as a heated holsing cabinet. If a guy wanted to spice up his otherwise slow Monday night, he could use that unit to proof his deep-dish pizzas (available only on Monday night) and then have it pull double duty on large and party orders during the week as a holding cabinet.
I like the idea.
Tom Lehmann/TDD

Hi Tom :

That sounds like a great idea I will pass it on.
George Mills