The Best Cooling Rack

Ultra Cuisine 100% Stainless Steel Cooling Rack for Baking

Our Top Pick for 2016: Ultra Cuisine 100% Stainless Steel Cooling Rack for Baking
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $21.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Cooling racks are an essential part of any kitchen. Whether you are baking cookies or cooking a chicken, you’ll need a rack to cool and cook food to get the best results. Finding a cooling rack that can withstand high temperatures will give you more versatility in the kind of cooking that you can do. You’ll be able to grill and BBQ meat as well as cook roasts to perfection. With the right cooling rack, food won’t fall through creating more mess for you to clean. It will allow air to freely flow around the food to either cool it quickly or let heat surround it for the best cooking possible.

Table of contents

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Oven Safe
Commercial Grade
Easy Use
Fits Perfectly
Heavy Duty
No-snag Clean Up
Multifuncional
Strong Wire Grid
Use With Almost Anything
Spatula Included
Safe For Oven Use
Oven Friendly
Sturdy Thick Wire
Optimal Size
Bake With Confidence

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Ultra Cuisine 100% Stainless Steel Cooling Rack for Baking

Ultra Cuisine 100% Stainless Steel Cooling Rack for Baking Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $21.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Ultra Cuisine 100% Stainless Steel Cooling Rack for Baking (Ultra) is well-made and comes in three different sizes, each can be purchased separately.

There is no coating on the Ultra and it doesn’t have any chemical smell. Because there is no coating, when cooking meats, you may need to apply a non-stick spray before use. Rest assured, that without coatings and chemicals that no harmful substances will enter your food through the cooking rack.

Made of 304, 18/8 100% stainless steel, the Ultra is designed to prevent rust. Rust buildup on cookware and cooking utensils comes from exposure to moisture and high heat. While cleaning the mess promptly is the best way to prevent this, it can still happen. Stainless steel, however, when properly cared for, can resist rust, which means the Ultra will last a long time. With 18% chromium that primarily creates the rust resistance and 8% nickel, the stainless steel used in the Ultra is considered commercial grade. This simply means that it can withstand the forces of a commercial dishwasher without being damaged.

The materials used to make the Ultra also allow it to be safely used in an oven at temperatures up to 575 degrees. A cooling rack like this can potentially be used for more than cooling cookies and breads. With the high-temperature tolerance, it can be used for cook roasting, BBQs, and grilling.

A thick gauge stainless steel 3/8-inch grid is backed by three support bars with feet to raise the cooling rack off the counter. The small grid size is a user favorite of the Ultra because cookies and small foods don’t fall through the rack. It still allows for food to cool without the mess of broken food on the counter.

This design allows for maximum airflow and, consequently, quick cooling and cooking of food. When used in the oven, heat can move around the meat to help cook evenly.

The three sizes of the Ultra that are available will fit into standard sized pans and cooking sheets. The 8.5 x 11 can fit into a standard 9 x 13-inch pan. The 10 x 15 can fit into a jelly roll sheet. While the 11.5 x 16.5-inch rack, will fit into an 18 x 13-inch baking sheet. Not on only do the sizes fit nicely into several standard sized pans and baking sheets but it also makes it easier to store because the cooling rack can sit inside the pan while in the cupboard. The nice fit inside these pans and sheets also allows fat to drip into the pan while cooking, creating a tender piece of meat.

The manufacturer, Ultra Cuisine provides a replacement or refund with no questions asked.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): CoolingBake Wire Cooling Rack

CoolingBake Wire Cooling Rack

View it on Amazon for $30.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Cooling Bake Wire Cooling Rack (CB) is made of solid stainless steel making it strong and rust resistant. It comes in three convenient sizes.

These sizes are ideal for fitting inside standard cooking pan and sheets. Whether that be in a 9 x 13 baking dish or half sheet pan, you’ll be able to use these racks for more than cooling. The racks can also take up less space in the cupboard because they can be stored inside the pans in which they are used. Another way to conserve storage space is by stacking the racks together.

Because you can fit them inside standard sheet pans, you’ll be able to cook roasts, use them on a grill, or BBQ. A versatile piece of cookware like this gives you more options and better results.

With 18% chromium and 8% nickel (18/8), this is quality stainless steel that is made to withstand the temperatures and water pressure used in a commercial dishwasher. The CB can be used in temperatures up to 500 degrees.

Thick wire is used to create the 3/8-inch square grid. A grid this size helps to prevent foods from falling through while they cool. It also helps when cooking meat because as the meat heats and becomes tender it can begin to fall through a line rack. While the grid of the CB, holds that meat in place until you are ready to remove it.

There are three cross bars with two feet on each of them. This keeps the rack raised so that air can circulate for better cooling and cooking. Fat and drippings will be kept separate from the meat. Flavors can spread evenly throughout the meat, from top to bottom.

The solid construction with cross bars prevents the rack from sagging in the middle. Bending a cooling rack can also happen when cooking heavy cuts of meat. But the CB is strong enough to handle the weight and heat necessary for this type of cooking.

The CB comes with a lifetime guarantee that, under normal use, it will not rust or break. You will be able to get a replacement or refund if either happens. Cooling Bake also includes a free dessert recipe book with purchase.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Bellemain Cooling Rack

Bellemain Cooling Rack

View it on Amazon for $35.69*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Bellemain Cooling Rack (Bellemain) is another good choice for a cooling rack. It comes in a 12 inch by 17-inch size that can fit into a half sheet pan for baking, roasting, grilling, or using on a BBQ.

Cleaning up cookies and trying to remove meat when it has fallen a cooling rack through can difficult and messy. The Bellemain is another cooling rack that uses a grid pattern to create the most effective surface for cooling and cooking. Air is able to successfully circulate around food, making cooling times faster and cooking times shorter. This design also prevents small pieces of food from falling through. It is further aided by six feet that hold the rack above the counter.

The Bellemain is made of 10-guage iron with chrome plating. Gauge is referring to how many feet of iron wire it would take to weigh a pound. At 10-guage, the Bellemain can hold a 10lb pot of stew without bending or sagging. The chrome does pose a risk of chipping which can lead to the development of rust.

All cookware should be easy to clean. This cooling rack can be safely washed in the dishwasher. It is tough enough that you can take from the oven, remove the food, and place it directly into the dishwasher and there would be no ill effects.

A common problem with cooling racks is rough edges that can catch skin, clothing, or tear through dishcloths and scrubbers. The Bellemain has smooth edges to prevent all of these problems. This helps to create a safe cooking environment for you and can extend the life of your cleaning implements.

The Bellemain only comes in one size, which does limit its use to an extent. Because it comes in the largest size you should be able to cook or cool most anything you want. However, if you want to use a smaller pan so that you can have more than one dish cooking at the same time, you’re not going to have much space left in the oven.

Bellemain provides a 10-year warranty against bending, warping, or performance. This can provide you with peace of mind knowing that it isn’t going to break unexpectedly.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Wilton Perfect Results Nonstick Cooling Grid

Wilton Perfect Results Nonstick Cooling Grid

View it on Amazon for $4.51*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe Wilton Perfect Results Nonstick Cooking Grid (Wilton) is a good inexpensive choice that gives you the design you need to get good cooling at less than half the price of some cooling racks. At 10 inches x 16 inches, it can fit into a jelly roll pan if needed.

The Wilton has a nonstick surface that makes cleaning easy and fast. Cooling racks are notorious for getting food stuck in difficult to reach spaces, like the corners of the grid. Once dried on, you’ll have to soak and off and food you’ve missed after the first cleaning. Not so with the Wilton. The only downside of a nonstick surface is that it has the potential to flake off into your cooking which isn’t healthy and can also lead to rust on the cooling rack. However, the Wilton holds up to extensive use and users did not report any flaking.

Heavy gauge construction helps the Wilton to hold up under extreme conditions. For the price, the Wilton performs extremely well when cooking heavier foods like roasts and other meat. It does not bend, warp, or sag under the weight.

The tight grid design is excellent for preventing cookies from falling through while they cool or meat from falling under the rack. Meat can often get caught around a cooling rack, making it difficult to remove. The grid of the Wilton helps to keep all of the food together until you are ready to remove it.

The feet give adequate space to allow air to flow freely over the food, whether it is cooling or cooking. You won’t have to flip or rotate the food while it cooks, which can help prevent burns or accidents. Some users used the Wilton to allow waffles to cool and the grid worked well to let heat and moisture out so that the waffles did not become soggy.

The Wilton includes a special grid design with four extra openings around the feet. These openings allow you to stack more than one rack for storage. Flat storage will open space in your cupboard. As storage space in a kitchen is always at a premium, this is one of the users’ favorite features. Only one rack is included in each order.

While the packaging says the Wilton is dishwasher safe, it is only under certain conditions and types soaps. Handwashing would be a safer choice and extend the life of the rack.


Pre-purchase considerations

size

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. The only time it would not is if you have limited cupboard space. You may want to measure your cupboards to be sure they have space for a tall cooling rack.

If you want a rack to cook meat, you will need a size that can fit in a pan or baking sheet. Measure the size of pan or baking sheet that you most often use for cooking meat and find a cooling rack that will fit inside of it. This will give you better versatility for cooking and cooling. If you cook often, you may want more than one cooling rack in several sizes to fit different pans and baking sheets.

GRID VS LADDER DESIGN

Cooling racks used to be made with a ladder design with only bars running horizontally. However, food often fell between the bars on this type of rack. Grid designs give you the greatest versatility and prevent food from falling through the rack.

A good grid design should have about 3/8 inch openings. Anything much larger and you’ll have the same problem you have with a ladder design, any smaller and it may restrict air flow. You want air to be able to flow all around the food for the best cooling and cooking results.

MATERIALS

There are a wide variety of materials used to make cooling racks. High-end cooling racks are usually made of solid stainless steel. Stainless steel resists rust and does not need any protective coatings to be used, which means fewer toxins potentially getting into your food. Be sure you are getting a thick stainless steel so that the rack doesn’t bend, warp, or sag while being used.

Iron is also a common material used to make cooling racks. As with stainless steel, look for a thick, at least 10-gauge iron that won’t bend with regular use. Iron may have a chemical coating over it to protect it from rust.

Nonstick cooling racks are usually light and thinner than other materials. Some are of high-quality and do not flake off, while others flake off into your food. Read any customer reviews to see about flaking in this type of cooling rack. Also, look for product warranties and guarantees because usually if a product carries a long warranty, the company knows it will last.

FEET AND CROSSBARS

All racks come with at least four feet. The feet should be high enough to let a good amount of airflow around the food. If you want to use the rack in the oven, it should be even with or slighter higher than the sides of the baking sheet.

High-quality cooling racks have crossbars with feet that offer greater support of the rack. Some have three crossbars, giving extra strength and support in the middle to prevent sagging, warping, and bending during use.

For storage purposes, some feet are designed to allow the stacking of multiple racks. If storage is an issue, look for racks that fit nicely together. If not, the racks should be able to be stored in the pans that you place them in for cooking.

cleaning

A cooling rack should be easy to clean, otherwise, you will be picking food out of the tiny corners of the grid. Racks that can be placed in the dishwasher are the most convenient. If you have a nonstick cooling rack, read the packaging carefully because some are not dishwasher safe. Dishwashers can cause the nonstick finish to flake.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

A cooling rack can make all the difference in ease of cooking and results. A strong rack will allow you to lift food out of the pan without bending and will leave with a delicious piece of meat. Be sure to know what type of cooking you do most so that you find a cooling rack with the right features for you.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. 11 Best Baking Tools for the Holidays, realsimple.com
  2. BOU Sopheaneak, topportalreview.com, May 21,2016
  3. Elizabeth Arnold, How to Get Rust Off of Oven Racks, homeguides.sfgate.com
  4. Kimberley Wilson, On Test: The Best Cooling Racks, bbcgoodfood.com
  5. Lee Gearhart, What is 18/8 Stainless Steel, finishing.com
  6. How to Choose a Wire Cooling Rack for Baking, wikihow.com

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