While you can use a roasting pan without a rack, you won’t be able to prevent your ingredients from touching the bottom of the pan. Racks sit about an inch off the surface to give your food room to breathe. The rack promotes even even heating and allows the drippings to drop straight through to the pan.
The best roasting rack will serve many purposes. You can use them for roasting, of course, but they’re also helpful when frying, to help the excess oil drain off afterward. This will ensure all sides of your baked chicken thighs remain crispy. After baking, racks can help cool a batch of cookies or hold your doughnuts as you cover them with glaze. You can even use them to heat a slice of pizza in the oven.
How To Clean A Roasting Rack
Not all roasting and cooling racks are dishwasher safe, so check the manufacturer information first. Flat racks are usually stainless steel and are easy to clean, however, silicone versions are also available, but they can be trickier to wash.
One easy way to clean this useful kitchen item is to fill a rimmed baking sheet with warm soapy water. Then slip the inverted rack inside and let it soak for a few minutes before scrubbing with a sponge or brush, rinsing and drying. Soaking for too long, such as over an hour, can create adverse effects, flaking off the non-stick coating.
Extra grimy racks might require a little extra cleaning power. Try sprinkling on baking soda, Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend. Grab a toothbrush or vegetable brush to help break up cake-on grease in hard-to-reach spaces. Go slowly to keep an eye on any loose bristles that might become stuck in-between the wires.
To rinse the rack, you can run it back and forth under the faucet, or you can also run your hand along the rack as the water runs across it. This helps disperse the water over a wider surface area, which can get the job done faster and use less water.
How To Spot The Best Roasting Rack
One of the first things you want to look for when purchasing a roasting rack is how well it works with your pan. It should slip inside nicely and in some cases, you can get a v-shaped cradle rack that adjusts to fit various-size vessels.
You might be wondering how high a rack should be. One or two inches should be adequate for roasting a turkey, but you might more space for veggies to be placed underneath. The fat dripping from the meat can add flavor to vegetables and sides.
High-gauge steel flat racks typically contain a non-stick coating, which won’t peel off any poultry skin while cooking. These work best for cooking roasts or fish. They also work well for making homemade dried fruit
If you’re looking to pick one up and can’t decide what type to go with, check out our selection of the best roasting racks that’s been vetted by a team of experts.