Cooking TipsSubstitutions10 Substitutes for a Cooling Rack When You’re in a Pinch

10 Substitutes for a Cooling Rack When You’re in a Pinch

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David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

When you’re in a pinch and need to cool something off, there are plenty of substitutes for a cooling rack. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 different ways to cool your food without using a cooling rack. From using a pan to using an oven sheet, we have you covered!

Keep reading for more information.

cooling rack substitutes

What is a Cooling Rack?

A Cooling Rack is a kitchen tool used to help cool and dry foods after baking or cooking. It features components such as metal wires in a grid pattern, feet that elevate the rack from the countertop, and tight spaces between the wires for air circulation.

The elevation of the cooling rack allows heat to escape from the bottom and sides of the food, while the air circulation facilitates cooling from all angles. The tight spaces of the grid pattern also allow for air to pass through it, helping with an even drying process.

Cooling racks are used mostly for baking and roasting foods like cookies, pastries, and meats. They can also be used as a convenient way to transfer cooked food from the pan or baking sheet to a serving platter or dish.

Cooling racks are available in different sizes and shapes, making them suitable for all kinds of baking needs. They are also easy to clean and store, making them ideal kitchen accessories.

Substitutes for a Cooling Rack.

If you don’t have a cooling rack, there are several alternatives that can be used for the same purpose. These include:

1. An inverted baking sheet

Place an oven-safe baking sheet upside down on your counter and use it as a makeshift cooling rack. This works particularly well if you’re using items with a flat base like cookies or cake slices.

2. A wire cooling rack

If you have an oven-safe wire cooling rack that’s been used for roasting, you can use it to cool off baked goods as well. Just make sure it’s clean and free of any burnt food particles before using it.

3. The back of a baking sheet

Just turn the baking sheet over and place it on a well-ventilated surface like your countertop or stove. Then, carefully place the baked goods on top of the backside. This is best used when cooling smaller items like cookies, muffins, and cakes.

4. A wire colander

If you have a large wire colander, you can use it as a makeshift cooling rack. Place the colander on a flat surface and then place your baked goods inside. This is great for items like bread loaves or cake rounds.

5. Cooking Pan and Parchment Paper.

A baking pan lined with parchment paper is an easy and effective substitute for a cooling rack. The parchment paper will absorb any excess moisture from the food, allowing it to cool quickly.

You can also use this method to separate delicate foods like cookies, cakes, or pastries that may stick to a traditional cooling rack.

Place the food on top of parchment paper, then place the parchment paper on top of the baking pan. This will create an airy environment that allows for fast and even cooling.

Additionally, using parchment paper makes cleanup a breeze since it can simply be discarded after use.

6. Crumpled-Foil Rack.

For those times when you don’t have a cooling rack, crumpled-foil racks come to the rescue. Line your baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and gently press it into the corners and sides of the baking sheet.

To create raised ridges in the foil, use your hand or a spoon to press down on top of the foil along the length of the sheet.

Place your baked goods on top of the ridges and allow to cool. The ridges will help create air circulation under the food, aiding in cooling and preventing fogginess.

This method is best used for items that don’t need a lot of support like cookies and pie crusts. For heavier items, you’ll need a sturdier substitute.

7. DIY Cooling Rack.

If you don’t have an actual cooling rack, you can make your own with items lying around the house. All you need are a few wire hangers and some tin foil.

First, take two wire hangers and unbend them so that they are completely straight. Then wrap one of the wires in tin foil until it is completely covered.

This is important because it will help to keep your food from falling through the wire hanger. Then, lay the two wires parallel to each other and use a cable tie or twist ties to connect them together at one end. Voila!

You now have your own makeshift cooling rack. Place it over a baking sheet and you’re ready to go. You can also customize it by using multiple wires and varying the width between them, depending on what you’re cooling and how much space you have.

8. Larger Plates.

Rather than using a cooling rack, one can also use larger plates. This is an effective way to allow air to circulate around the food and help it to cool down quickly.

The advantage of this method is that it allows for easy access to the food as it cools down and doesn’t take up too much additional space in the kitchen. It also allows for easy cleaning after the food has cooled down.

9. Muffin tins and (cardboard) egg trays.

Muffin tins and cardboard egg trays can both be used as substitutes for a cooling rack. Muffin tins are great because they provide tall sides that help keep the food elevated, allowing air to circulate around it.

The raised edges also prevent ingredients from sliding off. To use a muffin tin as a substitute for a cooling rack, simply line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place your food on top.

Cardboard egg trays are another great substitute for a cooling rack. They’re usually made from recycled materials and can be bought from most grocery stores. Egg trays are also stackable, so you can easily adjust the height of your cooling rack.

To use them, simply place the food on top of the egg tray and set it on a baking sheet or other flat surface.

Using these alternatives can be a great way to save money and reduce your reliance on single-use items like cooling racks. Plus, they’re both very handy for storing eggs in the refrigerator! With a little creativity, muffin tins and cardboard egg trays can both be used as substitutes for a cooling rack in the kitchen.

10. Wood Slats.

Wooden slats can be used as an alternative to a cooling rack. They are available in various shapes and sizes and provide the same air circulation that you would get with a metal cooling rack.

By placing your food on wooden slats, you can ensure that the heat is evenly distributed throughout the food and it cools down quickly without becoming soggy or drying out. Wooden slats are also easy to clean and maintain, making them a great substitute for a cooling rack.

How to make a makeshift cooling rack?

The best way to create a makeshift cooling rack is by using materials you already have in your home. With a few simple steps, you’ll have a DIY cooling rack that’s perfect for baking and more.

First, gather the supplies: An oven-safe tray or dish, metal skewers, and aluminum foil. Start by lining the tray with aluminum foil, pressing down firmly around all edges. Place the skewers in a crisscross pattern across the top of the tray and press them down into the edges to ensure they stay put.

Once your cooling rack is constructed, place it on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe dish. This will help protect your makeshift cooling rack from heat and ensure it stays stable while you bake.

Now that your makeshift cooling rack is ready to use, you can begin baking and cooling your desserts as needed. When you’re finished with the project, simply remove the skewers and discard the foil. Your homemade cooling rack will be easy to store and maintain.

Creating a makeshift cooling rack is an easy way to save time and money. No need to purchase a dedicated cooling rack; with a few simple steps, you can make your own at home in no time.

Is it necessary to have a cooling rack?

The answer is yes. A cooling rack is an essential tool for any home baker, as it allows baked goods to cool evenly and prevents them from becoming soggy. It also helps to prevent over-baking, as the air flow around the baking pans helps to absorb excess heat.

Additionally, cooling racks are often used to hold decorating items, such as icing bags and pastry tips, which need to stay off of the counter. Without a cooling rack, it can be difficult to achieve evenly cooked baked goods or keep decorating items stable.

Finally, many baking recipes specifically call for using a cooling rack—so if you don’t have one, it’s time to invest! A cooling rack can be a valuable addition to any kitchen, and it’s an essential tool for bakers of all levels. So go ahead—add one to your collection!

How do you cool a cake if you don’t have a wire rack?

There are several methods that you can use to cool a cake if you don’t have a wire rack. One of the simplest is to turn the cake out onto a plate and allow it to cool slowly on its side on the countertop. This will allow heat to dissipate from all sides of the cake, cooling it more evenly than if it were left flat.

Another option is to turn the cake out onto a cutting board or piece of parchment paper and let it cool for 15-20 minutes. This will help draw the heat away from the cake, allowing it to cool more quickly. Afterward, you can transfer it to a plate, if desired.

Finally, if you don’t have any other options, you can invert the cake on top of a heatproof bowl or pot and let it cool upside down. This will help draw the heat away from the cake as well.


Cooling racks are a great tool to have in the kitchen and can be used for a variety of tasks. However, if you don’t have one on hand, there are plenty of substitutes that will do the job just as well.

Alternatives like baking sheets, cake pans, wire grids or cooling trays with tall sides can all be used to achieve the same results.

Alternatively, you can also use a cutting board for some cooling tasks. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your needs as to which substitute will work best in any given situation. With these substitutes for a cooling rack, you’ll be all set for whatever cooking and baking needs may come your way!

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