Using these racks for more than just cooling is a go-to kitchen trick, but is it actually a good idea?

By Lauren Wellbank
April 30, 2021
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Chocolate cookies on a baking tray with wire cooling rack
Credit: Mint Images / Getty Images

When it comes to kitchen essentials, we're of the firm belief that the best items are the ones that can pull double-duty: Single-use tools and appliances tend to take up space most of just don't have. But which items can be used for a variety of different culinary applications? If you've ever wondered if your cooling racks—which you reach for every time you pull baked goods from the oven—can be used inside the oven itself, we're here to set the record straight. Ahead, experts weigh in on how to determine if your cooling racks were designed to withstand high temperatures and what you can use them for.

What is a cooling rack?

Cooling racks are wire racks that are used on tables and countertops to cool your fresh-from-the-oven baked goods. "They help to cool things by allowing the heat to dissipate from the entire surface area of the product," says chef Rich Hudson, executive chef of Datz Restaurant Group. When the racks are placed in an area with good air circulation, they can prevent condensation from forming on baked goods.

Can cooling racks go in the oven?

Benat Facquet, senior product manager at OXO, says that not only are cooling racks like the ones OXO ($14.99, amazon.com) makes ideal for cooling baked goods, but they're also safe to use in the oven. "Our cooling rack is oven safe up to 450 degrees and features a non-stick surface for easy food release," she says. According to Brandon Iacometta, the marketing manager of Silpat North America, a quick internet search is likely all you'll need to determine if your cooling rack is safe to use in the oven. "Best to always check with the manufacturer to see if there are any dos and don'ts or specific product features, or caution related to the racks."

Why you should use your cooling rack for more than cooling.

If you've never considered using your cooling rack in the oven before, Allison Thomas, culinary standards manager for Whole Foods Market, says it's time to start. "Using an oven-safe cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet is an amazing way to elevate your food off the pan just enough to let the hot air circulate around your food," she says, adding that doing so also has the added bonus of keeping your baking sheet cleaner during the process. "In my experience, this open-air circulation can help food cook quicker, more evenly, and produce better browning (and crunchier) results." Thomas says cooling racks are great for roasting root vegetables, evenly cooking bacon, and making crispy chicken wings.

Don't take unnecessary risks.

If you're unsure whether your cooling rack is oven safe, Ron Shimek president of Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly company says it's better to err on the side of caution and keep it on the counter where it belongs. "It's possible for them to melt, and what drips could ruin the bottom of your oven cavity," he says. "Furthermore, the coated ones can give off toxic gas."

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