Many of our favorite dishes require temperature control to prevent spoiling and taste like they should. Sure, a batch of cupcakes or a plate of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can sit at room temperature for a few hours without any worries. But what about a shrimp cocktail? Deviled eggs? A pasta salad? Or chili?  

Fortunately, the holiday season of 2021 and thereafter doesn’t have to be remembered by lukewarm offerings on the family buffet. Why’s that? Because the 6-Hour Bowl has arrived!  Designed by BulbHead.com and endorsed by celebrity chef Nancy Fuller, the 6-Hour Bowl is a generously sized pot with an insulated interior that promises to maintain food temperature for several hours at a time without using electricity or gas. So how does it hold up to that promise? Let’s look at its features and then try it out.

Overall Design 

With a bright-red outer shell and a white lid that locks in place, the Bowl has a shiny, modern appearance that would look great in a white kitchen. The Bowl is lightweight with a smooth outer surface, easy-to-grip handles on both sides, and a larger handle on top that locks the lid in place. The interior of the bowl is where the brilliance of the invention is evident — a durable stainless steel double-walled lining (not removable) allows for up to 9 cups of food. Once the lid is locked into place, the contents of the bowl are protected for up to six hours. The manufacturers recommend filling the Bowl to the top for optimal results. And no peeking! Removing the lid anytime after filling it will affect the temperature. 

Hot Food Test

My test involved potatoes and rice, both steaming hot and fresh from the pot I’d cooked them in. Inspired by the Bulbhead.com promotional video posted on their Facebook page, I decided to try “cooking” with the Bowl by adding in some hard cheese and a little milk and shaking it all up. I placed the Bowl on my kitchen island and waited six hours. Opening the Bowl six hours later, I found the food was still warm and the cheese was fully melted! I suspect that if I’d filled the Bowl more fully, the food would have been even hotter. Even so, the fact that the food was at all warm after six hours is pretty impressive. 

Some ideas for hot dishes: Grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, fried chicken, fries, and chili. If you like pancakes, pop each one in as the next one sizzles, collecting a stack inside for serving. 

Hot Food Test Score: A-

Cold Food Test 

Many times, popular potluck foods like deviled eggs and pasta salad don’t receive refrigeration during the event even though they should. The 6-Hour Bowl promises to keep these dishes nice and cold and also provides a great serving vessel. All you have to do is unlock the lid, add tongs or a spoon, and guests can dig in. Put the lid back on during down times to keep the temperature control active. 

My cold food test was a simple salad of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cheese mixed inside the Bowl. I let the salad sit inside the refrigerator for a while then pulled it out for a six-hour rest on the counter. Opening it, I found the salad to be fresh and — yes — pretty cold! I was also impressed that the lettuce was still crispy and not wilted from being in a confined space. 

Some ideas for cold dishes: Shrimp cocktail, cheesecake, mayonnaise-based dips, sushi, pasta salad, pudding. 

Cold Food Test Score: A-

Plusses of the 6-Hour Bowl 

  • The Bowl’s nine-cup capacity makes it the perfect size for picnics and potlucks. 
  • The Bowl is easy to use right out of the box. All you have to do is wipe it down with a damp towel. 
  • The Bowl is effective in keeping food temperature-stable for a long period of time (but it works better for shorter time spans and if the Bowl is completely full when locked). 

Minuses of the 6-Hour Bowl 

  • When locked, the Bowl is very secure but not as drip-free or leak-free as the manufacturers claim. After properly locking the lid, I found the Bowl dripped easily when turned upside down or turned on its side. 
  • The bright-red plastic exterior with white accents isn’t attractive in all kitchens and might stand out negatively at a more elegant potluck or buffet. 
  • The Bowl isn’t dishwasher-safe and cannot be put into a microwave. 

Considering that, for most events, you won’t need a full six hours between cooking and serving, the Bowl could be a worthwhile addition to your household. It’s also a great idea for holiday gifts — get one for your mom, sister, brother, or anyone who has a need to carry food from one place to another. Hopefully, we will be doing that a lot more in the years to come! Here’s the link if you’re ready to buy.