We usually associate cooling racks with baking as they are the perfect tool for us to place our favorite treats so they can cool down before we take the first bite. But there are other brilliant hacks for cooling racks that you probably didn’t know were possible. If you’ve got questions like, “Can I use a cooling rack in the oven?” then you’re in the right place. Read on to know the answer and check out what other uses your cooling rack can do.
Can I Really Use a Cooking Rack in the Oven?
Can I use a cooling rack in the oven, you ask? The short answer is yes! As long as it’s made with high-quality stainless steel.
Most cooling racks in the market are made of iron with a thin layer of chrome coating. These types of racks are the cheapest ones to make and are usually the lowest in quality. So, the coating chips off, and when it does, it might end up in your food. And if this coating wears away, the rack’s iron bars are exposed to water and air, making it very prone to rust. While it may be cheaper to buy this chrome-coated rack, you will replace them more often in the long run. Not to mention the possibility of exposing them to your family.
So, can I use a cooling rack in the oven? Get a 100% high-grade 304 stainless steel cooling rack so you won’t worry about rusting or coatings flaking off to your food. The 304 stainless steel is very safe for oven use up to 575F degrees. This means you can use them confidently for baking, roasting, smoking, grilling, and even BBQ because of its high heat tolerance and 100% stainless steel construction.
Also, look for oven-safe labels and refrain from using cooling racks with non-stick coating. Non-stick cooling racks may be easier to clean, but the polytetrafluoroethylene coating will break down and warp when put under the oven’s high heat.
You can also use a rectangular stainless-steel rack with a crisscross pattern as it allows better air circulation while keeping your food from slipping out. Look for one that can fit into a sheet pan.
Once you have made sure that your cooling rack is free from potentially food-ruining coatings or rusting, here are some ways to use it.
Other Uses of Cooling Rack for the Oven
If you’re still asking this question, “Can I use a cooling rack in the oven?” check out the other uses of your good-quality stainless steel cooling rack for the oven below.
To Smoke Fish or Meat
With smoking, you’ll be needing a lot of air circulation, and a cooling rack is right for this job. You don’ need a pan. Just put your salmon or pork directly on the rack in a smoker.
Are you making dehydrated fruits like apple rings or vegetables like oven-dried tomatoes? Use a cooling rack as it diffuses the heat and prevents scorching by keeping your food off the bottom of the pan.
For Better Basting
If you are roasting juicy meats like chicken thighs or steak, put your beans or vegetables under your cooling rack to soak up all the drippings while cooking. Since the cooling racks are not as high as the traditional roasting racks, they usually sit less than an inch above your pan. Put your cannellini beans and greens or sliced zucchini and eggplants below.
To Make Your Baked Foods Crispier
It may sound healthier, but there is something about oven-baked fried goods usually a little wanting. The only problem is, they are not crispy enough. But, if you use a cooling rack, they will bake and significantly up the crunch factor. Try this hack with tempura fish or baked buttermilk chicken.
There are some useful and fun hacks you can do with your cooling racks inside the oven. Just remember to invest in one that has a high-quality stainless steel feature. Don’t be swayed by cheaper ones that will easily chip off, wear away, and rust. This investment will go a long way and will probably last longer than you might imagine. We hope that we’ve answered your question, “Can I use a cooling rack in the oven?” and gave you some pretty cool ideas about where to use them. Here’s how to learn more about cooling racks.