Why You Can Skip Greasing The Pan For Ina Garten's Lemon Bars

When life hands you lemons, you make homemade lemon bars, or at least, you should consider it. Who invented these citrusy confections? The Big Cookie Company notes that the bar cookie has been around since the 1930s; however, the lemon bar didn't make its public debut until a few decades later, and lemon meringue pie may have been its inspiration. According to the Cape Gazette, lemon bars began with a recipe published in the Chicago Daily Tribune on August 27, 1962. Mrs. Eleanore Mickelson is credited with this sweet lemon creation, but for the lemon portion of the lemon bar recipe, Mickelson used just eggs and lemon juice. 

The Cape Gazette goes on to reveal "Betty Crocker's Cooky Book" include its own riff on the lemon bar in their cookbook in 1963, and from there, this cookie started showing up everywhere. But regardless of how lemon bars started to make their way into our culinary repertoire, their evolution has been nothing short of glorious for our taste buds. Even celebrity chef Ina Garten has a recipe that citrus lovers will enjoy, and there's a traditional step you get to skip when you make Garten's lemon bars: greasing the pans (via Food Network). How is that possible?

Use parchment paper or cooking spray instead

If the idea of not greasing a pan when making lemon bars gives you pause, you are not alone. No one wants to make beautiful, delicious baked goods only to have them stick to the pan. But according to an episode of Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa," Ina Garten's recipe for these cookies ensures there is no need for this step. As Garten is making her lemon bars and pressing the dough into the pan, she explains that because there is butter — two cups to be exact, there is no need for greasing the pan. 

Better Homes & Gardens shares that not greasing your pan when there is enough butter in the recipe is common practice. If you grease your cookie pan when a recipe doesn't specifically tell you to, you risk having your cookie dough spread, resulting in a thin cookie. Insider concurs that greasing a cookie pan is not a good idea, and using butter to grease your pan could be detrimental. Pastry chef and cofounder of Milk Jar Cookies told the outlet, "Using butter to grease your cookie sheet can cause the bottoms of your cookies to burn." Instead, the recommendation is to use parchment paper or cooking spray.