9 Best Substitute For Cooling Rack

Cooling Rack Substitute

A cooling rack, a humble yet vital tool in the baking process, serves a simple purpose: to facilitate even airflow around freshly baked goods, thereby preventing them from becoming soggy. It’s a tool often taken for granted until it’s not within reach, leading many bakers into a moment of kitchen crisis. But rest assured, this isn’t an insurmountable challenge.

Within the confines of your kitchen lie several items that can function effectively as cooling rack substitutes. These alternatives, ranging from oven racks to custom-built aluminum foil setups, not only replicate the basic function of a cooling rack but also exemplify the essence of resourcefulness in culinary endeavors. Utilizing these alternatives at the right time can ensure your baking process doesn’t stumble, and the quality of your baked goods remains uncompromised. Our guide unfolds the best cooling rack substitutes, thoroughly explaining why and when each one can be your baking savior.

What is a Cooling Rack?

A cooling rack, also known as a wire rack, is a basic kitchen tool that is usually composed of a network of fine wires set in a rectangular or square frame. It is designed to hold hot baked goods, allowing them to cool uniformly and quickly by letting air circulate freely around them. This prevents steam from condensing and making your freshly baked items soggy. Despite its simplicity, the cooling rack is essential in baking for ensuring the texture and quality of the final product.

Quick List of Cooling Rack Alternatives

  • Chopping Board with Skewers
  • Oven Rack
  • Perforated Baking Sheet
  • Muffin Tin
  • Custom-built Rack with Aluminum Foil
  • Dish Rack
  • Parchment Paper on Countertop
  • Upside-down Egg Tray
  • Baking Pan with Toothpicks

Best Substitutes For Cooling Rack

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a baking project and realize you don’t have a cooling rack, don’t fret! There are plenty of alternatives around your home that you might not have thought of. Let’s explore these substitutes in depth.

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Chopping Board with Skewers

A chopping board with skewers, or long toothpicks, can serve as a brilliant makeshift cooling rack. This method involves placing parallel skewers on a chopping board, then resting the baked goods on top.

To start with, it’s important to remember that this substitute works best with larger baked items like bread or pastries, as smaller ones like cookies may slip between the skewers. The benefit of using a chopping board is its ubiquity in almost every kitchen. The board provides a stable and heat-resistant surface, while the skewers mimic the elevation of a cooling rack.

When using skewers, ensure they are long enough to support your baked items. You should also space them closely enough so that the food doesn’t sag or fall through. Remember to place the board in a cool, dry area for best results.

Oven Rack

Another viable substitute for a cooling rack is an oven rack. The design of most oven racks mirrors that of cooling racks, making them a suitable replacement.

Firstly, remember to let the oven rack cool after you’ve removed your baked goods from the oven. Once it’s cooled down, it can be set on your countertop with oven mitts or trivets underneath to protect your surfaces.

The structure of an oven rack promotes airflow in the same way as a cooling rack. However, due to the size, it’s more suitable for cooling large batches of baked goods or larger items. Ensure to clean it well before and after use.

Perforated Baking Sheet

A perforated baking sheet is another alternative that you might already have in your kitchen. These baking sheets have tiny holes that allow air to circulate under your baked goods, helping them to cool uniformly.

One of the advantages of using a perforated baking sheet is that it can accommodate items of all sizes. It’s also relatively easy to clean, as most are dishwasher safe. However, keep in mind that a perforated sheet won’t provide as much airflow as a cooling rack. It’s more suitable for items that don’t require extensive cooling or crispness.

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Muffin Tin

Surprisingly, a muffin tin can also serve as a cooling rack in a pinch. By flipping it upside down, each cup can act as a stand to elevate your baked goods.

The shape and design of a muffin tin make it ideal for cooling small pastries or individual cookies. The cups provide enough elevation for air circulation, though not as much as a traditional rack.

Remember to cool the tin before using it as a makeshift cooling rack. Also, it’s not ideal for larger items due to the limited size and spacing of the cups.

Custom-built Rack with Aluminum Foil

If you don’t mind a bit of DIY, you can make your own cooling rack using aluminum foil.

The first step is to tear a length of foil slightly longer than your baking sheet. Then, crumple it into a long, thin rope. Repeat until you have several ropes of foil, and arrange them parallel to each other on your baking sheet. This creates a makeshift wire rack, with the foil serving to elevate your baked goods.

This is a very convenient method, as aluminum foil is a staple in most kitchens. It’s adaptable to any size or shape of food. However, it does require some effort to set up and may not be as sturdy as other alternatives.

Dish Rack

A dish rack, especially the wire ones, can also serve as a makeshift cooling rack.

You probably already have a dish rack in your kitchen. Its design allows for decent airflow, and it’s sturdy enough to hold even larger baked items.

The major caveat with this method is cleanliness. Make sure the dish rack is thoroughly cleaned before using it for cooling. Also, remember to dry it completely to avoid any water spots on your baked goods.

Parchment Paper on Countertop

This might be the simplest substitute. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can lay out a sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and place your baked goods directly on it.

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Parchment paper is non-stick, heat-resistant, and prevents your countertop from getting messy. However, this method doesn’t provide much airflow, so your baked items might not become as crisp as they would on a cooling rack.

This method works best for items that don’t need to be overly crisp, like cakes or soft cookies.

Upside-down Egg Tray

An upside-down egg tray is another innovative substitute for a cooling rack. It’s particularly suitable if you’re cooling small baked items like cookies or mini muffins.

The egg cups elevate the baked goods, allowing air to circulate underneath them. However, remember to clean the egg tray thoroughly before using it to cool food. Also, consider that egg trays vary in material, and not all may be suitable or safe for this purpose.

Baking Pan with Toothpicks

A baking pan with toothpicks is the final substitute for a cooling rack on our list.

This involves inserting toothpicks into the base of a baking pan and then placing the baked items on top. The toothpicks elevate the goods, allowing air to circulate underneath.

This method is versatile, as you can place the toothpicks wherever you need support. However, it requires more setup time and may not be suitable for heavy items.


While a cooling rack is undoubtedly a useful tool in baking, you don’t have to worry if you find yourself without one. There are numerous substitutes available, from common kitchen items like oven racks and chopping boards, to more creative solutions like custom-built aluminum foil racks. The key is understanding how a cooling rack works, mainly by elevating your baked goods to allow air to circulate underneath. So, the next time you’re mid-baking and realize you don’t have a cooling rack, simply look around your kitchen. The chances are that your perfect substitute is right there, waiting to save the day!

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