One of the essential tools you need to acquire as a home chef or a skilled baker is a cooling rack. This accessory was invented to prevent your food from getting soaked from steam or getting soggy from grease. Simply put: It is a utensil that is used in cooling freshly baked or cooked foods.
With its thick crisscross-like wires featuring short feet and bars across the base, this product maximizes airflow for even cooking on all sides of the food compared to placing it directly on the table. While America’s test kitchen embarked on searching for the best cooling racks from the tons of options on the market, they selected and tested several options.
After rigorous testing, the following racks reviewed below were chosen as the five best cooling racks by America’s test kitchen.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the meaning of a cooling rack.
Cooling Rack Definition
A cooling rack is an essential baking tool that every baker needs. It is designed to do more than what the name implies.
Cooling racks are excellent tools for cooling cooked or baked items ranging from cookies to bread to chicken to cakes and more. It can also be used for decorating cookies or glazing sweets.
Reviews Of The 6 Best Cooling Rack America’s Test Kitchen
Here are top rated Cooling Rack on the market today
Top 1- Libertyware Professional Cross Wire Cooling Rack
Libertyware Professional Cross Wire Cooling Rack is selected as one of the best cooling racks due to its versatility, durability, and simplicity. It doubles as a baking rack and a decorating rack. This product is oven-safe and can withstand high temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The wires are sturdily built, strong, and thick.
These two-piece cooling racks are made of sturdy chrome-plated steel that is rust-resistant. Moreover, since the grates are non coated, it doesn’t peel off or flake into the food. The center of the grates features a set of feet that elevate the rack and offers extra support. The spacing in between the wires prevents small foods from dropping. Plus, it ensures even cooling and baking when used.
Due to its non-coated surface, we recommend that you lightly spray the top to ensure the free release of food. This product measures 12 by 16.5-inch, a perfect size that can fit any standard half baking sheet. Hence, these two-piece racks can fit a typical cookie sheet. For ease of cleaning, these cooling racks can be put in a dishwasher.
- Dishwasher friendly
- No coating
- Oven safe
- Doubles as a baking rack
- Most users complained of rough edges
Top 2- Checkered Chef Cooling Racks For Baking
You can do so much with this product from the checkered chef. This versatile rack set is suitable for grilling, drying, broiling, baking, cooling, and cooking. Each rack measuring 8 by 11.8-inch is ideal for small kitchens, RVs, and countertop ovens and toasters. The design allows grease to drip freely through the holes and ensures uniform heating when utilized as a baking rack. It also enables even air circulation around the food.
This set of racks are constructed with premium quality stainless steel and is fairly priced. It is free from a harmful artificial coating that flakes into food. The racks are well built to offer optimum strength and stability. They are 100% safe for the dishwasher and also for the oven.
This product fits into any standard quarter-size cookie sheet perfectly or even small toaster ovens. Thanks to its versatility, you can use one to warm food in the oven and the other to cool them at the same time. The build quality can resist high heat and won’t warp up after long use.
- Safe for oven use
- Sturdy construction
- An ideal option for baking or cooking
- Durable stainless steel
- Easy to maintain
- Sharp edges
- Not suitable for cooling food in large quantity
Top 3- Ultra Cuisine Oven-Safe, Dishwasher-Safe 100% Stainless Steel Cooling and Baking Rack
This cooling rack from Ultra Cuisine is a great addition to any kitchenware collection. Unlike other options with rough edges, this product has smooth edges that won’t tear your hands or sponge when washing. It is constructed to suit any pan measuring 10 by 13-inch or quarter size sheets. Included with the rack is a free e-recipe book that provides you with a bunch of food ideas.
Ultra Cuisine is a prominent brand that sells quality baking tools at a reasonable price point. This heavy-duty cooling rack is fabricated from 100% food-grade quality stainless steel that is rust and corrosion-resistant. You have no worries about the steel corroding or degrading. Thanks to the 1-inch feet height that prevents your food from getting soggy and increases the airflow for even cooling.
This product is oven-proof and can withstand heat up to 575 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooling rack can be used for grilling steaks or roasting chickens, or smoking ribs without the steel warping up due to its high-temperature tolerance. The support bars are of full length, providing maximum stability.
- Versatile use
- Easy to clean
- Includes a free recipe ebook
- Premium quality steel
- 100% food-safe material
- The size is too small
Top 4- Ultra Cuisine Baking Pan with Cooling Rack Set
Every kitchen needs at least a cooling rack and a baking pan. If you are looking for an option that comes with both, this product is the best option for you on this review. The baking pan is made of high-quality commercial-grade aluminum, and the rack is made of durable 304 stainless steel. Both bakewares can be used individually or collectively.
Only the stainless steel rack is compatible with the dishwasher. For a long life span of the bakeware, we recommend manual washing of the baking pan. This commercial-grade rack is equipped with a free recipe ebook with over a hundred recipes. The rack grid is spaced tightly to prevent foods from dropping on the counter. And thanks to the baking pan that collects all the drips, making cleanup a breeze.
This product is better suited for holding breaded foods. Although the pan has a rimmed edge that prevents it from deforming, the rims store water, which causes it to rust easily. Besides, you will have to buy two of these racks if you intend to use a full sheet pan.
- Warp resistant
- Includes a baking pan and e-recipe book
- Superior heat conductivity
- Free of toxic coating
- Highly durable
- The pan is not suitable with dishwasher
Top 5- Baker’s Secret 1061483 10-by-16-Inch Nonstick Cooling Rack, Set of 2
Unlike the other products on this list, the baker’s secret cooling rack is not oven-proof or dishwasher friendly. It is only perfect for cooling items and draining grease from food. The cooling rack is made of chrome with a nonstick coating. The gaps in between the grids are narrow and well-spaced for uniform air distribution and optimum cooling experience.
The high heat from the oven can cause the coating to flake. Moreover, using a dishwasher can affect the quality of the steel. It either begins to rust or warp up. Each rack features four feet that lift it above the countertop. The feet ensure the rack stays balanced on the kitchen counter without slipping off and prevent them from sitting flush with the baking sheet. The wires are dense, providing you with a long-lasting product.
The racks are 10 by 16-inches each, which means that they are large to hold enough cookies for the family. However, both racks cannot be stacked atop each other. They are used individually, which makes it easier to move around the kitchen.
- Nonstick surface
- Easy to maintain
- Well-spaced grids
- Large cooling surface
- Not safe for the dishwasher
- Not an ideal choice for ovens
How To Choose The Best Cooling Rack
Size And Number Of Racks
When it comes to buying any baking tool or kitchenware, size is always one of the key factors buyers look at: the size of the kitchen, the size of the family, and the size of the tool itself.
Cooling racks come in a wide range of size options, from a quarter sheet size to standard sheet size. Although most cooling racks are sold in pairs and can be used together, some brands offer single layers.
Some are even stackable, which makes them a space-saving tool. Nevertheless, for those with limited countertop space, a pair of stackable racks are the best option to choose from.
There are two main designs of cooling racks which are parallel bars and small grids. Those racks with parallel bar patterns are better suited for big cuts of meat and other large-sized food. Because when smaller cuts of meat are placed on it, they easily fall through the bars.
Cooling racks with smaller grids are well suited for small finger foods. The grids prevent the foods from dropping or sliding off the rack.
Coming racks come in different shapes, but the most commonly used is square or rectangle. The other shapes include oval and round. Ensure to buy a model that has support bars and feet. The support bars offer superior stability, and the feet help the rack stay put on the work table.
A typical cooling rack is built with stainless steel wires joined together to form a mesh-like design. Some steels are plaited with chrome or nonstick coating for quick release of the food. The ideal material to choose is food-grade stainless steel resistant to rust, warping, and corrosion.
Ease of cleaning
One of the key factors to consider when choosing is the ease of maintenance. Not all cooling racks are dishwasher safe. If you are lazy about washing the rack after use, it is best to buy a safe product for the dishwasher to save you enough time and strength.
Q. Can I use a cooling rack as a roasting rack?
A: Not all cooling racks are designed to handle the heat. Some cooling racks are suitable for roasting beef, chicken, and other foods. While others are not safe for use in the oven or grill.
The material used in constructing the rack will determine its versatility. Stainless steel cooling racks are built to withstand heat, making them suitable for roasting.
Q. Is a wire rack necessary?
A: A wire rack is a necessity when baking. It saves you from tons of issues associated with baking. A wire rack ensures your baked items retain the ideal texture even after removing them from the oven.
Q. What can I use if I don’t have a cooling rack for cookies?
A: There are several things you could use to substitute a cooling rack. They include a DIY foil rack, a toaster oven rack, an egg tray, or a roasting rack.
Every professional baker or chef would want to have a high-quality cooling rack in their kitchen due to its functionality. A quality cooling rack is super easy to clean and can hold heavy food items without losing its shape.
The cooling racks on this review were tested by experts in America’s test kitchen before they were handpicked as the best. They are easier to maintain and can be useful for a wide variety of purposes. We hope you were able to choose a product from our top 5 best cooling racks America’s test kitchen.