The Simplest, Easiest Way to Clean Your Cooling Rack

published Oct 30, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I’ll admit that when it comes to my cooling rack, I usually just give it a quick wipe and then put it right back in the cabinet. But because baking season is upon us, I decided to give my cooling rack a little more love.

With the wires running in different directions and teeny particles of food getting caught in between, it might seem tricky to give your cooling rack a thorough clean — but really, it couldn’t be easier. The secret is using another essential baking tool.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

How to Clean Your Cooling Rack — Using Your Rimmed Baking Sheet

A rimmed baking sheet has the perfect dimensions for cleaning your cooling rack. In the process, you may even get your baking sheet a little cleaner. Win, win! Here’s how to do it.

1. Fill baking sheet with warm, soapy water. Squirt some dish soap into a rimmed baking sheet and fill it with warm water.

2. Soak cooling rack. Invert the cooling rack in the baking sheet, and soak it until the food particles are loosened, about five minutes.

3. Scrub the rack. Using a sponge, scrub the rack gently in the directions in which the wires run, crosswise on the top and lengthwise on the underside, and along the edges.

4. Dry the rack. Allow the rack to air dry or dry by hand with a kitchen towel.

A caveat: This method should work for most cooling racks. However, I have a pair of cooling racks that have a raised edge on top that makes them too big to fit on a standard size baking sheet. For those cooling racks, I use the same method, but instead of a baking sheet, I fill a shallow Rubbermaid storage container with soapy water, and it works just as well. In fact, it allows me to soak multiple racks at the same time — efficiency bonus!

Small tasks like these tend to add up to make a big difference when you go to start a recipe. When all of your tools are clean and stored properly, you’ve got a little advantage when you set out on your next big bake!