The Baking Tool That Prevents Soggy Nachos

Great nachos are all about texture. Gooey melted cheese, crispy tortilla chips, and creamy sour cream come together to make a delectable treat. The bane of a nacho enthusiast's existence, however, is sogginess. Waterlogged chips can be the downfall of the most creative plate, and, paradoxically, the fear of wet ingredients can bring down a thoughtful chef.

Luckily, you probably own a baking tool that can save the day: a wire cooling rack. The solution is to assemble layers of tortilla chips and cheese on top of it as the elevated and perforated tray allows more airflow. And it fits neatly on top of a sheet tray, which you can line with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up.

The wire rack will allow you to stack countless layers and take advantage of the oven's blast of high heat to cook it all. The best part is, if any crispy, browned bits drip from the pile, you can still scoop them up since they'll land on the tray underneath. The extra air circulation may even speed up the cooking time, as well as encourage a nice, even melt.

Other tips for making the best nachos

With this hack, you'll have added airflow around your bottom chips, so you'll want to take extra consideration as you layer on the cheese. The snack will probably brown quickly, so we suggest choosing dairy that will melt quickly and also grating it finely to help speed things up. The additives in store-bought shredded cheese that keeps it from clumping will also slow down the melting process, so this is a great time to break out your box grater and use block cheese.

A great plate of nachos also includes a balance of heavy savoriness, which you can deliver with beans or shredded meat, and light freshness, accessible either through a spicy pepper or pickled veggie. Though you'll likely add delicate herbs and chilled creamy toppings after removing the chips from the oven, consider taking a risk with wet-but-worth-it additions like chili. You'll craft a more exciting bite, and you'll have the safety net of your woven metal rack underneath to catch any spills.

Once you're freed from concerns about soggy nachos, you can take creative license in the kitchen. Whip up a funky cheese sauce or take inspiration from other flavorful dishes and make crab rangoon nachos. You can even embrace your sweet tooth and swap in warming spices, fruits, and chocolate syrup to make a shareable dessert.

Choosing and cleaning a wire rack

Wire cooling racks are a useful tool for other crispy foods, too. They can keep battered chicken crunchy and root vegetables from getting limp. But, before you dive into nacho making and chicken wing baking, you'll want to make sure your tray is oven-safe.

Of course, the easiest way to find out is by checking the label and packaging. Manufacturers should indicate whether the tool is safe to heat and the maximum temperature it can do so. Some experts warn that trays with nonstick coating could degrade or cause warping in the oven's high heat, so seek out stainless steel if you're concerned or have an older tray.

Once you're done, you'll want to give the rack a thorough cleaning. Even if you're meticulous about stopping bacon from sticking to your oven rack, you may find a few sticky spots. As with most metal tools, some companies make dishwasher-safe versions, but you'll be safest from rust if you hand-wash it. A scrub with Bar Keepers Friend — which also removes Dutch oven stains — can likely get your equipment back to its usual shine.