Need to cool a pan from the oven or stove but don't have a cooling rack? Try these ideas!

Makeshift Cooling Rack Ideas

Lots of times, you need a cooling rack — whether for something from the oven or a hot pan off the stove.  Aboard Que Tal, I simply didn’t want to take up space by carrying “true” cooling racks and thus learned to improvise.

Admittedly, none work quite as well as the little wire stands do . . . but I didn’t really notice any difference in the finished product either.  So here’s a few ideas:

  • If you’re not using the stove, place the pan on a burner (and keep it from sliding with your pot restraints, if they’ll fit the pan that’s cooling) — you get the most air flow this way, but usually I found I needed the stove before the pan was cool.
  • Place a wet cloth on the counter — it’ll keep things from slipping and also help cool — and then put a couple of forks or knives on the cloth, then the pan on top, as shown in the photo.  The silverware makes an air gap under the pan.
  • Use a trivet — I really like the silicone one I have (read more about it here).  It protects the counter from the heat, the ridges allow some air underneath (although not nearly so much as the two options above) and it provides some slip-resistance (important if underway or in a rolly anchorage).
  • If you have a fan in the galley, point it directly on the item you’re cooling.  This is probably the biggest help, and I use it in conjunction with whichever of the other methods I’m using.
  • Got Gecko Grips?  They’re fantastic to use as a cooling rack!
Of course, if you’re in a cool climate, you can always place the pan — on a trivet or some towels — in the cockpit.  But be sure to protect it against any bugs or birds that may be in the area!

For items like cookies that you may be more used to removing from the pan and placing on a rack, I simply placed them on a plate to cool.  I used one plate for the hot ones, and moved them to a second plate (where they were several layers deep) when I needed the first plate for the second batch.  That way, there was only a single layer while they were the hottest.  Another useful tip to keep heat out of the boat:  most cookies can be baked as bar cookies in a 9″ x 13″ pan, meaning that the oven is on for far less time and you only have the one pan to cool.

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