How to Find a Substitute for a Wire Cooling Rack (Baking)

A wire cooling rack is an indispensable piece of kitchenware when you want to quickly and efficiently cool down baked goods. However, you might not always have one handy. If this is the case, improvise a rack out of other common things you can find in many kitchens or set pans down where they have airflow so the bottom cools down faster. If you can’t create a makeshift cooling rack or set a pan somewhere where it will cool down faster, transfer baked goods to other cool, flat surfaces to cool them down faster.


[Edit]Improvising an Elevated Surface

  1. Use a spare baking rack if you have one available. Pull an extra rack out of the oven, toaster oven, or roasting pan. Set it on the counter and set a hot baking sheet or pan on it to cool or transfer the baked goods directly to the baking rack to cool them even faster.[1]
    Find a Substitute for a Wire Cooling Rack (Baking) Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • If there isn’t enough clearance under the rack to allow a lot of air flow, you can set it on something that will lift it up higher and still allow air underneath all of it. For instance, a frying pan or a pot would work.
  2. Use a removable grate from a gas stovetop as a cooling rack. This will work if you have the type of gas stove with raised grates that sit over top of the burners. Take a grate off and set it on the counter, then set a pan on it so the bottom of the pan cools faster or transfer large baked goods directly to it.[2]
    • Make sure the grate is completely cool before you do this.
    • If you want to transfer a large baked item, such as a loaf of bread, directly to the grate to cool, clean the grate thoroughly with soap and water first.
  3. Place baked goods on top of a cool burner on an electric stove. Set a hot pan or baking sheet down on the burner so the airflow will cool it down faster or transfer large baked items directly to the burner. Clean the burner thoroughly before you put any baked goods directly on it.
    Find a Substitute for a Wire Cooling Rack (Baking) Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Make sure none of the burners around it are on, or else the baked goods won’t cool down effectively.
  4. Roll up pieces of foil and put them on the counter apart. Roll at least 3 pieces of foil into tight cylinders thick enough to lift the baked items you want to cool off the countertop and allow air to circulate underneath. Place the rolls about apart from each other, then set a baking sheet, pan, or large baked item on top of them.[3]
    • Make more than 3 foil cylinders if whatever you plan to cool is large and heavy. As long as the cylinders can be spaced apart from each other, there is no limit on how many you can use to distribute the weight.
  5. Create a grid out of metal open-style cookie cutters to use as a rack. Position several open-style metal cookie cutters of any shape next to each other with a little space between them so air can move around. Set your pan or baking sheet of baked goods down on them or transfer a large baked item to sit directly on top of them to cool down.[4]
    • You won’t be able to transfer smaller baked goods, such as cookies or muffins, directly onto the cookie cutters because they won’t be able to balance on them.

[Edit]Transferring Items to a Cool, Flat Surface

  1. Place baked items on a clean, cool baking sheet to cool down faster. Transfer baked goods from a warm baking sheet or pan to the cold one. This will help the undersides of the baked items cool down faster than leaving them on the sheet they were baked on.[5]
    Find a Substitute for a Wire Cooling Rack (Baking) Step 6.jpg
    • Set the baking sheet aside and away from the oven ahead of time to ensure it is cool when you want to put the baked goods on it.
  2. Put baked items on a countertop lined with paper towels to cool down. Line a countertop with paper towels. Transfer the baked goods from the pan or baking sheet to the paper towels and wait for them to cool.
    Find a Substitute for a Wire Cooling Rack (Baking) Step 7.jpg
    • The paper towels will also absorb extra oil, butter, or grease from the bottoms of the cookies.
  3. Transfer baked goods to a cool plate to cool them faster. A room temperature plate that is large enough to hold the cake, cookies, bread, or pastries will work to cool them down more quickly. Carefully remove the baked goods from the pan or baking sheet and place them on a clean, cool plate with space between individual items.[6]
    • Put a paper towel down on the plate first if you want to absorb extra oil or butter from the bottoms of the baked items.
  4. Use a room-temperature pizza baking stone to cool baked items if you have one. Simply slide the baked items onto the pizza stone or transfer them with a spatula. Leave them to cool at room temperature.
  5. Move baked goods to a cool cutting board to let them cool down. Any kind of clean cutting board works as a good flat surface to cool down baked items on. Transfer the baked goods to the board so they cool down faster than if you leave them on a baking sheet or in a pan.
    Find a Substitute for a Wire Cooling Rack (Baking) Step 10.jpg
    • Marble or granite chopping boards can be an especially good surface to cool a baked item on because they stay very cool.
    • Lay a paper towel on top of the cutting board first to absorb extra fat from the baked goods if you want.


  • Wire cooling racks are inexpensive items that are very handy to have in the kitchen. If you don’t have one, consider picking one up next time you visit a kitchen supply store.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Improvising and Cooling Down Pans Faster

  • Spare baking rack
  • Removable gas stove grate
  • Burner on electric stove
  • Foil
  • Open-style cookie cutters

[Edit]Transferring Items to a Cool, Flat Surface

  • Baking sheet
  • Plate
  • Pizza stone
  • Cutting board
  • Paper towels (optional)

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