Are you using cool racks to their full potential? Or do you use a cool rack to chill your chocolate-dipped confections?
You can use a cooling rack for cooking beef, vegetables, and it can serve you as an oversized roasting rack, making your food cook evenly.
Cooling racks have been associated with baking in the past, probably because they can cool down our treats before we can take the first bite.
However, there are many other ways you can leverage your cooling racks. And that’s why we quite often receive this question - can cooling racks go in the oven?
This post will answer in detail whether you can comfortably use your cooling racks in the oven. I will also answer related questions I have come across on various social platforms.
So let’s get rolling.
Can Cooling Racks Go in the Oven?
So can cooling racks go in the oven? Yes, cooling racks can go in the oven; however, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Check the labels of your cooling racks to see if they are labeled “oven-safe.” However, ensure you don’t use any cooling rack with a non-stick coating.
Sure non-stick racks are easy to clean, but the polytetrafluoroethylene will break down and warp under your oven’s heat.
That said, purchase a 100 percent stainless steel cooling rack so that you won’t fret about coatings peeling off to your food or rust catching your appliance.
A 304 stainless steel is safe to use in the oven and can accommodate up to 575F degrees. In other words, you can use these cooling racks for baking, grilling, and smoking your foods.
You also need to keep in mind that stainless steel cooling racks that come with crisscrossed patterns enhance free air circulation, thus minimizing the chances of your food slipping out.
There are tons of 304 stainless steel cooling racks on Amazon, but I recommend you try out this one that’s been proven by many happy customers.
However, you need to take note of poor-quality cooling racks in the market. They have thin layers of chrome coatings, which usually chips off, ending up in your food.
Even worse, your rack’s iron bars will be exposed to water and air if the cooling rack’s coating wears out, making it vulnerable to rust. Chrome coated racks are cheaper, but you will be replacing them every time.
What is a Cooling Rack?
If you have been thinking of purchasing a cooling rack, the chances are that you don’t know what it is and how it can improve your cooking experience. So let’s discuss briefly the cooling racks - what it is and why it’s important, shall we?
A cooling rack refers to a kitchen item that you can use to put your baked food immediately after baking them. Cooling racks are designed to allow for the free circulation of air. And it is because of cooling racks that you enjoy the crispness in cookies or bread.
This kitchen device can be made from different materials - you will find some made from wood, stainless steel, and others made from hard metals. However, there’s a new trend in the cooling rack industry - more cooling racks are now coming with coatings to prevent food sticking.
Additionally, you will get cooling racks in various sizes, depending on your needs. Besides the sizes, you can purchase in shapes; circular, rectangular, square - purchase what works best for you.
Ways You Can Use Cooling Racks in the Oven
Once you have confirmed that your cooling rack is oven-safe, you can start cooking or baking your food. There are many ways you can use your cooling racks. Below are a few ideas on how you can leverage your kitchen investment:
1. Use it to Smoke Fish or Meat
Smoking any type of food - meat or fish requires good air circulation. If you have an oven with a smoking feature, use your cooling rack to smoke your food. Additionally, using a cooling rack will ensure even cooking.
2. Dehydrating Your Produce
If you love dehydrating your farm produce, such as vegetables, fruits, and potatoes, a cooling rack will come in handy.
You can prevent scorching and prevent the skin from coming into contact with your pan’s bottom.
Additionally, you can use your cooling rack to dehydrate your produce in large batches, saving you time.
3. Use it to Soak Meat Juices with Your Veggies
You can choose to soak meat juices with your veggies using the cooling rack. To do this, place your pan and veggies under the stand. Meat juices will drop straight on your veggies, flavoring your vegetables.
4. Make Your Food More Crispy
A cooling rack shouldn’t miss in your kitchen if you love crispy cookies. Additionally, you can use a cooling rack to get your pork or any meat crispy.
The best of all is that you won’t have to use oil when cooking your pork, so you don’t have to worry about health complications resulting from excessive oil use in food.
5. Use it to Make Crispy Bacon
You probably love bacon, and so does your family, but what if you could surprise them with a piece of crispy bacon prepared at home?
You can use your cooling rack to prepare crispy bacon for your family. What’s more, your family will stay healthier because you won’t fry your bacon in fat-rendered oil.
6. For Better Basting
Are you planning to roast beef or chicken thighs? You can place your greens or beans under the cooling rack to soak the drippings as you cook for better basting. And because the cooling racks are slightly different from traditional roasting racks, they are usually less than an inch above your pan.
Other Ways You Can Use Cooling Racks in Your Kitchen
7. Dry Your Dishes and Pan
If you have more dishes and pans than your regular dish rack can accommodate, you can use your cooling rack to dry your utensils. A cooling rack is effective in drying pans and dishes because it’s slightly above the surface, and water can drip through, leaving your utensils dry.
8. Use it to Wash Veggies and Fruits
Did you know that it’s way easier and comfortable to wash your fruits and vegetables in your cooling rack? You don’t have to deal with your fruits or veggies on the bottom of your kitchen sink because the cooling rock is elevated, so you can directly wash your veggies without any hassles.
Related Questions about Cooling Racks in the Oven
1. How Do I Know if My Cooling Rack Is Oven Safe?
Check for any label stating that the cooling rack is oven-safe. This is the first step to clearing any doubts you may have on whether your appliance is safe to use in the oven.
If you don’t find any oven-safe sticker on your cooling rack, check if you can find any signs. Some manufacturers don’t include the stickers, but at least you can find the signs.
Additionally, if your cooling rack is coated with Polytetrafluoroethylene, don’t use it in the oven.
2. Where Should the Rack Be in the Oven?
On the Top Rack
If you want to brown, use the top of your cooling rack. When your oven preheats, its heating element situated at the bottom turns off, maintaining even temperature distribution.
The heat will rise and collect at the top, so there’s some heat consistency up there. And this is why top-level heat is recommended for browning.
In the Middle
If you are unsure of where to use your cooling rack, it is best to stick to using the middle. If you want to bake and cook different foods, the middle of your cooling rack will cook your food more evenly. However, note that this is only applicable when you are using one rack at a time.
On the Bottom
Do you want to brown the underside of crusty pizza, vegetables, or bread? You can position your cooling rack to the lowest position and brown your favorite. You need to keep watch of the time you take browning your food, though.
The Thirds Rule
If you intend to bake two sheets simultaneously, position your racks on the bottom and top thirds of your oven. When you are just halfway through the cooking process, be sure to rotate and swap the trays to help with even cooking. This swap and rotation will come in handy when you are baking cookies.
3. Do You Need a Cooling Rack?
Yes, you need cooling racks if you want more crispy foods. Additionally, cooling racks are essential for baking every kind of food. Cooling racks help cool your food quickly, so you don’t have to wait longer before you can have a bite.
Cooling racks also help with free circulation of air, preventing condensation, leading to a soggy bottom. Depending on your needs, tastes, and preferences, you will undoubtedly need a cooling rack in your kitchen.
Bottom Line about Cooling Racks
Hopefully, I was able to answer your question - can cooling racks go in the oven. Just keep in mind that cooling racks can go in the oven, but you need a 100 percent stainless steel cooling rack for the best results.
There are many 100 percent stainless steel cooling racks in the market, but I highly recommend that you try out this one that will clear any doubts about whether or not you can use it in the oven.
Please leave a comment with any questions or your experience using cooling racks as we wrap it up. Also, let us know the type of cooling racks that have worked perfectly for you and any hacks that might help others out there wanting to jump on the bandwagon.