Anneka’s BakeClub: The Right Way To Position Oven Racks

Words by Anneka Manning

Set the oven racks in the best positions before preheating it.

Set the oven racks in the best positions before preheating it.

Before you start to bake, it is always a good idea to rearrange the racks in your oven to make sure they are at the right levels before preheating it.

Aim to have whatever you are baking directly in the middle of the oven, which will mean placing the rack in the centre for biscuits, but possibly the next level down for cakes and other recipes that have some height.

Generally ovens have four shelving levels and, so it is easy to explain where to put the shelves for a particular recipe in my BakeClasses, I number them from top to bottom – 1 being the highest level, near the top of the oven, and 4 being the lowest, at the bottom.

When using a number of racks – say for when you are baking a couple of trays of biscuits at the same time – put one rack towards the top of the oven (usually Level 1) and place the other towards the bottom (usually Level 3), allowing plenty of room both above and below them, as well as in between, for the heat to circulate easily.

If using your oven on a conventional setting (when both the top and bottom elements heat the oven with no fan) most of the heat in the oven will be at the bottom and top of the oven. Therefore, when you are cooking a couple of trays of biscuits or multiple layers of a cake at the same time on different racks, you will need to swap the trays or pans around about halfway through the cooking time so that they bake evenly and in the same amount of time.

Considering where you place your racks for a particular recipe will give it the best chance of baking and browning evenly.

Until next week… happy baking!

x Anneka

For more posts by Anneka Manning, click here.

Anneka Manning is a food author and the founder of exciting new Sydney-based cooking school, BakeClub. Visit her website at to join the club, book into a BakeClass, download delicious no-fail recipes and be inspired by baking videos. You can also find BakeClub on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest. To find out more or ask about private BakeClub classes, call (02) 9399 7645 or email