Best cooling rack

Bakeware & Baking Tools

You can use an oven-safe cooling rack as a substitute for an air fryer. When placed on a baking sheet, a cooling rack provides air circulation to brown and crisp all edges.

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Which cooling racks are best?

Without a doubt, one of the most underrated kitchen tools is the cooling rack. It’s affordable and can be used for numerous tasks beyond the basic cooling of baked goods. However, not all cooling racks are created equally, and some are more functional than others. 

Depending on what you need a cooling rack for, there are a plethora of options. If you’re searching for a durable and versatile cooling rack, the Kitchenatics Roasting and Cooling Rack is an ideal choice. It has an extra-large size and can even be used in the oven or on the grill.

What to know before you buy a cooling rack

Why do I need a cooling rack?

The most apparent purpose of a cooling rack is to cool baked goods. But why can’t you just leave your baked goods in the pan to cool? 

Most cupcake pans, cake pans and baking sheets are made from material meant to capture and evenly distribute heat. So while they do a great job of cooking your cookies or muffins in the oven, those pans will continue to hold heat and cook your baked goods long after they’re taken out of the oven. This can lead to a dry, crumbly, overcooked cake if you don’t remove it from the pan and allow it to cool. 

How to use a cooling rack

While the original and most common use for a cooling rack is to cool baked goods, they have evolved over the years and now offer a variety of uses. 

Cooling food: In addition to cooling baked goods, you can also use cooling racks to cool pizza, vegetables, seafood and even meat. Depending on the cooling rack, you can even place hot pans directly on your cooling rack.

Baking: The second most common use of a cooling rack is baking, with one caveat — the cooling rack must be labeled as oven-safe. Putting your food on a cooling rack in the oven allows the fat to drip off and all sides of your food to be heated evenly. However, not all cooling racks are oven-safe, so it’s essential to check before putting it in the oven.

What to look for in a quality cooling rack

Dishwasher-safe

Because of the coating on some cooling racks, not all can withstand a dishwasher cycle. However, being able to put your cooling rack in the dishwasher is convenient and makes cleanup much quicker. 

Rust-proof

Depending on the material, some cooling racks are susceptible to rust. Look for cooling racks that are rust-proof for lasting durability.

Extra uses

A few cooling racks are even more versatile and can be used on the grill, in the air fryer, in a smoker and in a broiler. Again, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure where you can use your cooling rack. 

Weight

Pies can weigh up to 5 pounds, and layered cakes can weigh up to 10 pounds. If you’re using a cooling rack to hold a pan with a turkey or ham in it, you’ll want to make sure your cooling rack is durable enough to carry extra weight. 

How much you can expect to spend on a cooling rack

You can expect cooling racks to cost between $10-$25, depending on size, material and features.

Cooling rack FAQ

Should I cover it with tin foil to protect my cooling rack?

A. It’s not recommended. The purpose of cooling racks is to allow air to circulate around all sides of the food. Covering the cooling rack with tin foil or wax paper would hinder airflow and circulation and cause uneven cooling.

Do I need to spray my cooling rack to prevent sticking?

A. It depends if the cooling rack is non-stick. Non-stick cooling racks shouldn’t need a non-stick spray. However, if you notice sticking or the rack is not non-stick, you could spray or grease your cooling rack.

What’s the best cooling rack to buy?

Top cooling rack

Kitchenatics Roasting and Cooling Rack

Kitchenatics Roasting and Cooling Rack

What you need to know: This chemical-free stainless steel cooling rack is versatile enough for cooling or baking and durable enough to hold up to 45 pounds.

What you’ll love: The extra-tall square grid size allows air to circulate evenly and cool food even faster. It’s dishwasher-safe, rust-proof, grill-safe and oven-safe up to 575 degrees. 

What you should consider: The tight grid size can trap small food particles, making it hard to clean. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cooling rack for the money

Nordic Ware Round Cooling Grid

Nordic Ware Round Cooling Grid

What you need to know: Not only can it be used for cooling, but the copper-plated circular steel wire grid makes it a gorgeous serving platter.

What you’ll love: The round shape and large 13-inch diameter make the perfect size to cool cookies, bundt cakes and other baked goods. It’s sturdy enough to hold heavy foods and has legs to allow even circulation.

What you should consider: It’s not dishwasher-safe and cannot be used in the oven.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Ultra Cuisine Oven-Safe Cooling Rack

Ultra Cuisine Oven-Safe Cooling Rack

What you need to know: With an extra set of 1-inch tall, sturdy feet supporting the middle, this oven-safe wire cooling rack can hold heavy foods without sagging.

What you’ll love: It’s made of 304-grade heavy-duty stainless steel that will not rust. It’s dishwasher-safe, oven-safe up to 575 degrees and non-toxic. It’s the perfect size to fit in a baking sheet.

What you should consider: The tight grid can easily catch food and make it difficult to clean.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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