Why The Position Of Your Oven Racks Is Actually Important

If you've ever baked your favorite chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies on the top rack in your oven, Taste of Home notes, you probably discovered they spread a little too much. Popped your pepperoni pizza into the oven only to find soggy, raw pizza crust? You may need to lower your oven rack. And if you find your cupcake tops browning too quickly or you've burned your favorite homemade red velvet cake, chances are you've placed the pan on the wrong rack.

The moral of these fails is simple: Understand your oven, and it will produce everything from beautiful golden pies, cookies, and bread to moist cakes, succulent, juicy meats, and crusty, chewy pizza pie. However, while your oven may seem like a straightforward appliance that you heat up and simply place food inside to cook, it's a little more complicated than that. According to appliance maker, Whirlpool, where you place your oven racks really does matter. This is especially true if you are trying to find the best spot in your oven for evenly-baked quiche or you question which oven rack you should use when you bake cookies. So why does rack placement matter?

Middle is your safe place

Just like the number one rule in real estate is location, location, location, the number one rule with your oven racks is placement, placement, placement. According to Whirlpool, the positioning of your oven rack, be it up high, down low, or slap dab in the middle will influence the end results of what you are cooking or baking. The site goes on to suggest, for the most part, that if you use the middle rack, specifically for items like your lasagnas, baked mac and cheese, pies, and cookies, you should achieve perfection. Per America's Test Kitchen, this is because the middle of your oven is engineered to create a heating zone where the hot air flows evenly.

America's Test Kitchen goes on to explain that because heat rises, the top rack will be the hottest point in your oven. This is where all the browning you like to see on top of foods will happen. Whirlpool notes that this is also where you want to place foods that cook quickly. Conversely, if you need something cooked more on the bottom, the bottom of the oven is your sweet spot. Whirlpool recommends using the bottom rack when making your roasts, baking your pans of brownie mix, or baking a pie crust.