The best refrigerated shelf will reward you with crispy fried chicken and tender cakes

the best refrigerated shelf will reward you with crispy fried

When you get to the “cool down” part of the recipe for a sponge cake or a serving of picnic chicken, you will be ready to claim victory and share your masterpiece with the group chat. But don’t overtake yourself – proper cooling of your food will make the difference between a crispy, crunchy donut and a sad, mushy pile of grated vegetables. And for this you need a cooling shelf. The best refrigerated shelf ensures that your cakes and cookies stay perfectly moist and your fried shrimp retain the crunchy crispy coating you worked so hard for.

Oven-safe cooling shelf

Why do I need a cooling shelf?

Baked goods are spirited. You could pull a perfectly baked cake out of the oven – one that passed the toothpick test and felt slightly springy – and a few hours later cut a slice out of the pan just to get a chewy and dry crumb rather than tender and moist. The problem? You packed your perfect cake in a hotbox by letting it sit in the pan where it was further baked and overcooked. This can be avoided with a cooling shelf, which enables faster and more even cooling. We recommend placing the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for ten minutes to allow air to circulate under the pan while it sets, and then turning it on the rack to cool completely.

The benefits of a refrigerated shelf don’t stop with baked goods. It’s also key to keeping your crispy food crispy. A wire rack lifts the food off a solid surface so that the air circulates and the bottoms of your breaded fish fillets don’t get mushy from absorbing residual steam. You also don’t want fried food sitting in its own fat (like these aloo tikki), so the refrigerated shelf will drain excess fat.

So I can use my cooling shelf for cooling, duh. But can I use it for sheet metal cooking?

You can and should, as long as your grate is marked oven-safe. The open grate allows hot air to circulate in the same way as cold air, which means that both the top and bottom of your oven-baked chicken chops will be nice and crispy. Your food will be lifted slightly out of the pan, which means it will cook faster, more evenly and achieve better all-round browning. Using a cooling shelf for cooking in the sheet pan is particularly good for crispy baked chicken wings or even for roasting a whole bird. Think: air fryer, but low-tech. You can also use your gridiron so that the baked bacon gets nice and crispy as its fat is rendered – or so your steak can drizzle its steak goodness over broccolini and white beans. This is tin pan cooking at its best.

So which refrigerated shelf is the best refrigerated shelf?

If you plan to use your grate for cooking in addition to cooling, look for one that is labeled oven safe and has a grid design so your food doesn’t slide through the grate. Write down the measurements and make sure the rack fits snugly in your sheet pan – there shouldn’t be much clearance between the rack and the edges of your sheet pan. We love this cooling rack from Nordic Ware, which with a size of 16.75 “x 11.5” fits perfectly into our popular half-sheet pan with a rim. It is high quality, non-stick coated and heat resistant up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Oven-safe cooling shelf

If you’re cooking or grilling at higher temperatures, use a stainless steel wire rack that is heat-resistant to 575 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this isn’t non-stick, you may need to spray it liberally with cooking spray depending on what you’re cooking.

Kitchenatics stainless steel cooling shelf (half sheet)

Are there any other ways to cook with my refrigerated shelf?

Yes indeed! We strongly recommend taking the wire rack with you on the grill, especially when preparing tiny or thin ingredients such as green beans, cherry tomatoes or squid that could easily fall through the wire rack. You could invest in a grill basket, but a wire rack is easy to stow away and you’ll be using it all the time, like we just talked about, right? The best cooling shelves for your grill are slightly smaller, about 8.5 “x 12” (the size of a quarter-sheet pan) and have a stainless steel construction – no non-stick coatings here – for maximum durability at high heat. Hot Tip: Place the cooling shelf upside down on the grill so you can grab it by the feet of the rack with pliers to move it around easily.

Kitchenatics stainless steel cooling shelf quarter size

Kitchenatics stainless steel cooling shelf (quarter sheet)

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Amanda Litchford

Making delicious meals and researching products has inspired me as a stay at home mom to start this website in helping out others who don’t have the time or expertise in the kitchen.

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