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TIP OF THE DAY: Food Chillers To Keep Party Food Cold

A Tilt “chilling sphere” plopped into a bowl of
guacamole. Photo courtesy Soiree Home.


We recently received a pitch for “an iceless and flavorless stainless steel chilling sphere,” which “helps maintain a lasting chill for a variety of drinks and party dips without compromise.”

The “compromise” is that perishable foods (those that are stored in the fridge) get warm as they sit out. If you’re concerned with food safety or simply want a dish to be chilled, you need to do something to fight the natural chemistry of things.

The USDA advises that perishable foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Internal [food] temperatures higher than 40°F provide enable bacteria to multiply.

The gel-filled stainless “chilling sphere” in the photo, called Tilt, “preserves the full flavor and texture of cold dips while preventing uneven chilling with ice and watery messes.” It is also “an enticing option for those who want to chill their drinks without diluting it [sic] with ice.”


Sorry, but who wants a foreign object in the middle of the guacamole? And what’s wrong with the chilling solutions that already exist?

Whether it’s for an extensive buffet or simply a bowl of dip next to the chips on the coffee table, here are some tried and true options to keep party food chilled.

1. KEEP THE FOOD IN THE FRIDGE UNTIL YOU’RE READY TO SERVE IT. Resist setting out perishables in advance of the first guests.

2. USE SMALLER BOWLS OR TRAYS. Instead of one large bowl of dip, for example, use a smaller bowl and refill from the fridge container as necessary (or keep a backup bowl in the fridge, ready to switch out). Do the same with platters/trays. Ideally, use stainless steel bowls which retain the cold longer, and keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to fill them and set them out.

3. USE ICE-NESTED BOWLS OR TRAYS. An easy chilling solution is to nest the bowl or tray with the food in a larger bowl or tray, filled with an inch or two of ice. When the ice melts, replace it. Crushed ice melts more quickly but makes nesting easier than ice cubes. To contain the melted water on a try, you can put the ice in Ziploc-type bags. Or, instead of loose ice or a bag of ice, you can use ice cube trays (filled with ice cubes, of course), and replace them when melted with backup ice cube trays from the freezer.


If you entertain frequently, invest in acrylic chilling containers, like the one in the photo. It is also available in a two-compartment chiller, a four-compartment chiller and a five-compartment chiller that’s especially good for condiments.

A stylish option we like has a stainless steel bowl that sits atop an ice-filled container. You may be able to create someting similar from dishes you already have. Here’s the platter chiller version.

For outdoor events, there’s an inflatable buffet that we’ve written about previously. Like a hollowed-out pool float, you blow it up, fill the hollow with ice and nest the food on it.

Try any of these solutions and party on!


A lovely gift for your favorite party hosts. Photo courtesy Prodyne.


If you really want a Tilt chilling sphere, head to


Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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