Love to bake? If you want to make sure your cookies are crisp and cakes are soft, then a cooling rack will ensure they cool down evenly and faster without becoming soggy. Maybe you're even looking for one that can be used right in the oven, or for draining fried foods.
To help you find the best cooling rack, we pored through customer reviews and researched the options available. We chose the Checkered Chef's Stainless Steel Cooling Rack as our favorite due to its versatility and strength. We've also put together a 10 best for you to consider and created a handy buying guide reviewed by a professional chef to help you make your choice!
Jim Quast (JQ) is a lifelong professional restaurant and corporate R&D chef that loves everything food-related and the tools both big and small to make those great food memories. He's a super huge BBQ, grill, and kitchen gadget fanatic. JQ has spent the last 30+ years trying to figure out what works to make your kitchen life easier and fun. If you can use it to slice it, dice it, cook it, smoke it or store it, he's been there checking it out. Food = Life! https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-quast-59769011/
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Table of Contents
Before buying a cooling rack, there are a few points you should take into consideration. To assist you with this, we've put together this helpful buying guide!
A cooling rack is an important tool for baking or cooking. It allows for air circulation and prevents your baked goods from getting soggy and will keep your fried food crispy. This is why it is important to look for the right design and size depending on the kind of baking or cooking you are doing.
When it comes to design, there are two types of cooling racks you can choose from: grid and ladder. Ladder racks feature bars that run horizontally while grid racks have bars that go in both directions making a hatch-style design.
Cooling racks also come in different sizes, so be sure to consider what you will use it for. Make sure it fits your sheet pan and oven if you'll be cooking or baking with it. One that will fit inside a standard-size baking sheet is roughly about 16 and a half by 12 inches. Don't forget to make sure it's safe for oven use; not all cooling racks are!
You can go bigger or smaller depending on how you want to use your cooling rack. Some can double as roasting racks for baking chicken or other meats. If you want to cool pies and round cakes, a round one will fit just right without taking up extra space.
You can also opt for multi-tiered cooling racks if you don’t have enough kitchen space for all of the racks you need. These come with three or more stacked shelves, giving you maximum cooling space while only taking up a little counter space.
Cooling racks are made with different materials from stainless steel to aluminum to ceramic to wood. The most common material for a cooling rack is stainless steel. These are typically the best option as they are not likely to rust if cared for properly and are strong.
Racks made of metals like aluminum are good for heat dissipation but are often less durable and may bend. However, you can find some that may be coated with a non-stick material that makes them easier to use without food sticking to them.
You can also find racks with a ceramic non-stick coating. These are rust-proof and come in different colors. The coating makes your baked goods slide right off the rack with ease! They’re also durable, but aren’t as common as stainless steel racks.
It’s even possible to get wooden cooling racks. They’re tough and safe to use with all types of food, but the wood may absorb food odors or stain over time.
Many cooling racks are nonstick. After all, the last thing you want is a perfect cake or cookies to stick to the rack! However, not all coatings they are the same.
Cooling racks are usually coated with Teflon. However, Teflon has come under fire in the past for being potentially harmful. While most Teflon nowadays is safe, some may still be concerned about it eventually rubbing off. Still, Teflon works really well to prevent sticking and if you are using the rack only for cooling or low-heat cooking it is a safe choice.
They can also be coated with ceramic, a material that can withstand higher heat and will still maintain its nonstick quality. There are some made with silicone, typically in black, that allows for easier use, but they are not oven safe and they flake as they age.
Some other racks may also be coated or plated with chrome, or something similar, to give them a different color or finish. It’s possible for these coatings to eventually wear off and get transferred to your food. If you are concerned, look for racks that specify that they’re uncoated.
You can also spray a rack with cooking oil or rub it with melted butter to prevent food sticking.
Unless specifically stated, cooling racks can’t be used as oven racks. The coating often used on cooling racks can’t always cope with the high heat of an oven. You can, however, get racks suitable for the oven if you wish!
There are also cooling racks that can be used on a grill. These are useful especially if you are grilling vegetables or small pieces of food that can easily fall through the grates. The ones that you can use on the grill are usually made with stainless steel and might be a bit small so they can fit well.
Some cooling racks are dishwasher safe, but others are best washed by hand. If you’re looking for something you can put in the dishwasher, check the product description to ensure it can be. If you're concerned about rust, we recommend handwashing the rack and drying it immediately.
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Stainless Steel Cooling Rack
Best Multipurpose Rack for Baking and Cooking
5-Tier Stainless Steel Stackable Baking Racks
Best Stackable Stainless Steel Racks
Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Cooling Rack
Best Nonstick Aluminum Rack With Handles
3-Tier Collapsible Cooling Rack
Best Collapsible Space-Saving Rack
Nifty Home Products
Best Expandable Cooling Rack
Nifty Home Products
100% Stainless Steel Roasting & Cooling Rack
Best Tiered Rack With 2 Designs for Light or Heavy Foods
Round Cooking Racks
Best Round Racks for Cooling Pies and Cooking
Stainless Steel Wire Cooling Rack
Best Cooling Rack With Soft, Nonslip Feet
Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack
Best Rack for Cake Layers
Best Set of Racks for Big Batches of Cookies
This grid rack is made from uncoated stainless steel, making it safe for oven use. You can also use the rack for the grill or broiler up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The rack has a narrow grid design and a crossbar underneath to give it extra strength.
A few reviewers said the wires weren't welded strongly enough and a few sharp edges were left. Still, a lot of reviewers were happy with how useful the rack is and how it can be used for cooling, in the oven, grill, and even the air fryer. Reviewers also say that it's easy to clean.
If you bake in various batch sizes, this rack set is for you! This set of tiered cooling racks can be stacked or used individually. The feet can be extended to heights of about one or 3.5 inches, depending on your baking and cooling needs. The racks are made from uncoated stainless steel, which is very durable.
Some reviewers feel that the horizontal wires are a little far apart. Still, reviewers love the flexibility of these racks since they can use as many as they need. They say the racks are sturdy and don't warp or sag when stacked. Reviewers also praise how they slot together and the ability to adjust their height.
This rack is made from aluminum and has a nonstick coating that's PFOA-free. It fits in a half sheet pan. Plus, this rack is oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and has two handles that make it easy to remove from a baking tray!
This rack was slightly too big to fit in the baking trays of some reviewers, so make sure you check the measurements before buying. Still, they love the handles on this rack and say they make moving it around much easier. They also said that the nonstick coating is effective, and the rack cleans up well in a dishwasher.
Although it cannot be separated, this three-tired rack is fully collapsible for easy storage. The side racks fold neatly and lock in place with latches. The racks are made from cold-rolled steel and have a black nonstick finish.
Some reviewers find it tricky to open and close the cooling rack correctly. They especially have difficulties locking the racks into place. Even so, they like how it stacks and say there is plenty of room between the racks for larger items such as bread to fit and cool down.
This versatile set of three cooling racks that can be used individually or at the same time depending on the space you are working with and how much you cooked or baked. It is made from chrome-plated stainless steel that is durable, nonstick, and dishwasher-safe.
A few reviewers thought the ladder design worked better with bigger baked goods or food. Even so, a lot more of them loved that this was easy to close together and pull apart. They also liked that it was compact and saved space when stored.
This cooling rack is made from stainless steel with a nonstick coating. It features a tight grid that will work well with small baked goods. It can be set up two ways. Use just the back legs for lightweight items and to have open access from the front. Or, set up all four corners for heavy foods like pies in glass or ceramic dishes.
A few reviewers say they had a hard time following the instructions, and some others thought it wasn't sturdy enough. Others say if you don't load too much weight onto the top levels, it works perfectly. They love the access provided by having the front and sides open, and say it cleans up quickly.
With this set, you get three circular racks of different sizes ranging from around seven to 10 inches in diameter. They can be used for cooling, roasting and baking in an air fryer, and in the oven. Since they're round and can fit in pots, they also work for steaming, baking desserts in a Dutch oven, and canning.
Reviewers say that the racks are well-soldered and strong. Many reviewers use them as racks for canning heavy goods without any bending. Several reviewers use them in the oven or on the grill, and report no problems up to 500 degrees.
This cooling rack is made of stainless steel that doesn't have any coating. It has removable silicone feet which keep it from sliding and prevent scratches on delicate surfaces. The included pan is aluminum and should be hand washed, but the rack and feet can go in the dishwasher.
A few reviewers say the pan arrived dented by the feet because it was wrapped too tightly, but the company provided refunds for this. The vast majority say this set is sturdy and comes with detailed care instructions. They use the pieces together to bake things like bacon or fried foods, or use the two separately for baking and cooling.
This three-tier cooling rack can be separated into individual racks, so you can use as many as you need. They are made from stainless steel and have a nonstick coating and can be folded down for storage.
Some reviewers say that the wires on these racks were a little too far apart, so these racks are best for larger baked goods like cakes. Still, reviewers like that they collapse neatly for easier storage. They confirm that the racks slot together well and are still sturdy when stacked.
These four cooling racks are made from stainless steel and have a black nonstick coating. They have a small grid design to prevent hot baked goods from sagging. If you bake big batches of cookies, these will let you place, cool, and remove them with ease.
A few reviewers report that the black coating comes off easily, especially following a cycle in the dishwasher. If you purchase these, it may be best to wash them by hand. Even so, buyers like that the racks are sturdy enough for heavy cakes and the holes are small enough to prevent any cookies from slipping through.
Cooling racks can make your baked goods tastier as they allow hot food items to cool down evenly. Check out these other products that will also improve your baking and make your cookies and cakes look and taste even better!
If you want to make sure you pick the right cooling rack, check out the best ones on Amazon to help you make your choice.
No. 1: Checkered Chef｜Stainless Steel Cooling Rack
No. 2: P&P Chef｜5-Tier Stainless Steel Stackable Baking Racks
No. 3: OXO｜Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Cooling Rack
No. 4: Wilton｜3-Tier Collapsible Cooling Rack
No. 5: Nifty Home Products｜
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