There are many pieces to the baking puzzle – fresh ingredients, the proper mixing tools, bowls and bakeware – and for when your delicious goodies come out of the oven, a good cooling rack. A cooling rack? Yes, a cooling rack is the final phase in the baking process to ensure your baked goods turn out as best as they can be.
A cooling rack allows air to circulate completely around whatever is on it, so your cakes, cookies and bread will cool faster without the bottoms becoming soggy as they would cooling on a plate.
Some cooling racks are made specifically for baked goods, while others do double duty in the oven on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Placing cuts of meat and chicken on a cooling rack prevents them from sitting in the fat and grease for a healthier and crispier result.
We feature five different cooling racks you can buy online. Read on to see which one best suits your needs.
Top Pick Best Capacity: Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick Cooling Rack
You consider yourself to be the original Cookie Monster; you bake a batch of cookies a few times a week and often package them up to bring to friends and family. But you’re really in your element come Christmas. You spend weeks baking holiday-themed sugar cookies and put them in gift boxes for your neighbors and co-workers. Now you realize that you don’t have enough space to accommodate another cooling rack, which you will need to be able to bake cookies for everyone on your list. If you are looking for a good cooling rack that won’t take up too much space, you may want to consider this product.
Multi-leveled high-rises are the vertical real estate solutions in crowded cities, and the same principle can be applied in small kitchens or on crowded kitchen counters. A three-tiered cooling rack such as this one from Wilton is the perfect way to accommodate all your baking needs. The conveniently stacked grids expand to three levels, allowing you to cool dozens of cookies and other baked goods at the same time without taking up too much space. And when you’re done, unlike a bricks and mortar building, this cooling rack collapses right back down for easy storage.
Each rack measures 15.9 inches x 9.9 inches x 2 inches and is made of steel with a reinforced non-stick coating. Baked goods will release easily and cleanup will be a breeze. So what are you waiting for? Let the baking begin!
- Space-saving three-tiered design
- Reinforced non-stick coated surface
- Dishwasher safe
- The spacing between the wires may be too wide and smaller-sized cookies may fall
- Tiers do not come apart to be used separately
- Not oven safe
Top Pick Best Overall: Spring Chef Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Cooling Rack
You like purchasing kitchen items that have more than one function. And now that you’ve started baking cookies, you need a cooling rack but prefer one that can also be used in the oven. For a sturdy cooling rack that is as great in the oven as it out of the oven, this might be what you’re looking for.
With a 100 percent solid 304-stainless steel construction with no plating or coatings that can chip or scratch, this rack is strong and durable. Use it to cool cookies, cake and bread, or place it into a roasting pan or other ovenware to broil, bake or roast your favorite joint of meat, chicken, fish, turkey and even baked potatoes.
Rust and warp-resistant, the grid size and four raised feet of this cooling rack were specifically designed to allow for optimum air circulation. Measuring 10 inches x 15 inches, it will fit into a 10.25-inch x 15.25-inch jellyroll pan or cookie sheet. Built to last and retain its shape even after heavy foods have been placed on it, this cooling rack will meet all of your cooking and baking needs.
- Oven safe for roasting and broiling
- Made from 304-stainless steel
- Rust and warp-resistant
- Dishwasher safe
- Will not fit into a smaller pan
- May move around in a larger pan
Top Pick Best Set: YIHONG Baking Sheet with Rack Set
You’re always busy in the kitchen so you need a finely tuned arsenal of equipment to get the job done. Lately you’ve noticed your cooling racks need upgrading, but as a practical person, you’d rather invest in a set that you can use for a variety of functions rather than purchase just one. If you are looking for a set of different sized cooling racks that come with pans, you may want to consider this product.
This attractive and functional set will fulfill all of your cooking and baking needs, from baking, roasting and broiling to cooling cookies, cakes and bread. The cooling racks fit perfectly into their respective baking sheets and the three different sizes are designed to fit into a regular home oven, with the smallest size fitting into a toaster oven. You can use the cookie sheets and racks to bake bread, crusted chicken wings, baked salmon, bacon, thin pizza, baked veggies, brownies and more. Talk about convenience.
Made from high quality 430-stainless steel material, these pans and cooling racks are sturdy and rust free. You can use them in the oven separately or together, and use the racks to cool baked goods. The baking pans have a beautiful polished mirror finish and the wire cooling racks have dense wires that are spaced to prevent food from falling through.
The three baking sheets measure 16 inches x 12 inches x 1 inch, 12.5 inches x 9.8 inches x 1 inch, and 10.5 inches x 8 inches x 1 inch, while the cooling racks fit nicely into their respective pans and measure 15.3 inches x 11.1 inches x 0.6 inches, 11.7 inches x 9 inches x 0.6 inches, and 9.8 inches x 7.4 inches x 0.6 inches. Dishwasher safe and easy to clean, with this set, you’ll have everything you need for all of your baking needs.
- Set includes three pans and three cooling racks of different sizes
- Made from high quality 430 stainless steel
- Sturdy and safe for oven use
- Baking pans and racks are dishwasher safe
- Polished mirrored finish
- More expensive than a single cooling rack
Top Pick Best Versatile: P&P CHEF 5-Tier Stainless Steel Stackable Cooking Racks
You’ve just renovated your kitchen and with the expanded space and new appliances, you plan on doing a lot of cooking and baking. That being said, you’re a practical person and prefer to purchase products that have multiple uses. If you are looking for a cooling rack that can expand or contract to fit the size you need for what you’re cooking or baking at a specific time, you may want to consider this product.
This multi-tiered cooling rack has five separate levels that can be used individually, or attached to make a two, three, four or five-level cooling rack to accommodate as much, or as little, you need. Made from 100 percent stainless steel, the cooling rack has no harmful coatings or chrome plating, and the heavy-gauge wires can hold heavier food. And since they can be separated, each one can fit inside a 16-inch x 12-inch or larger baking sheet pan and slipped into a regular-sized oven, so you can also use them for baking and roasting.
Other features include flexible 3.5-inch high feet that raise food higher to allow for better airflow and then collapse easily to a 1.3-inch height for easy storage; easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher; a smooth roll edge with no snag or burrs to cut your hands when washing or handling; rust-resistant and durable. Each rack measures 15 inches x 10.2 inches.
- Made of 100 percent pure heavy gauge stainless steel
- Five cooling racks that can be stacked together or used separately
- Oven safe
- Individual racks fit inside a 16 inch x 12-inch or larger baking sheet
- Raised feet and thicker wires
- Collapsible for easy storage
- Dishwasher safe
- Needs to be greased so food won’t stick
- Small cookies may fall through grid
Top Pick Best Durable: OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Cooling Rack
Some people like to have a wide assortment of kitchen items to help them with their baking needs while others prefer a few good pieces to get the job done. If you are looking for a quality cooling rack that will become a treasured staple in your kitchen, we recommend this model from OXO.
Constructed from durable steel with a PFOA-free, non-stick finish, this cooling rack has generous side handles for easy removal from a pan or for carrying from counter to tabletop. The wires are designed for optimal airflow and the non-stick coating makes for easy food release and cleaning.
This rack is ideal for cooling baked goods and for letting meats rest, and is oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Designed to fit a standard half-sheet pan, you can use it to roast or cook meats and other foods.
- Constructed from durable steel
- PFOA-free non-stick finish
- Has generous side handles
- Oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Fits into standard side half-sheet pan
- Difficult to clean by hand
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for a cooling rack so you will choose one that best suits your needs:
Cooling racks come in all sizes from the very small 8-inch x 8-inch to the large 10-inch x 16-inch. The right size for you will depend on the type of cooking you do. For cooling, if you do large batches of cookies or cook several loaves of bread at one time, a larger cooling rack would make the most sense. If you don’t have a lot of storage space, consider a collapsible multi-level cooling rack that can be easily tucked away when you’re done
If you want a rack to cook meat, you will need a size that can fit in a pan or baking sheet and that is oven-safe. Some cooling racks come with a baking pan, but if you are buying individual racks, measure your pans to make sure they will fit. If you do a lot of cooking, you may want more than one cooling rack in several sizes to fit different pans and baking sheets.
Grid versus ladder design
Some cooling racks are made with a ladder design with the wire bars running horizontally. This design does not work well for cooling smaller sized items that can fall between the wires. A grid design is more versatile and prevents food from falling through. If you prefer a grid design, look for one with nothing greater than 3/8-inch openings. There must be enough air to flow around the food for the best cooling and cooking results.
Cooling racks are available in a variety of materials. Solid stainless steel resists rust and does not need any protective coatings to be used. A rack that has thick stainless steel wires won’t bend, warp, or sag while being used.
Some cooling racks are made from iron. These may have a protective coating to prevent it from rusting. Nonstick cooling racks are usually lighter and thinner than other materials. For a healthier non-stick option, choose a high-quality rack with a PFOA-free non-stick finish that won’t flake off.
All racks come with at least four feet, which should be high enough to let a good amount of airflow around the food. When using the rack in the oven, make sure it is even with or slighter higher than the sides of the baking sheet. If you are short on cupboard space, look for a cooling rack where the feet fold under for easier storage.