Why You Should Remove Lemon Bars From The Pan Before Slicing

Lemon bars are to citrus fans like brownies are to chocolate lovers. Both desserts are easy to make, best enjoyed in squares, and generally baked as a rectangle on a sheet. Plus, they each open the door for variations. For instance, you can make classic lemon bars or switch things up with a cheesecake rendition. Either way, the lemon-based dessert is undeniably delicious and can feed an entire group.

Yet given the temptation of just-baked lemon squares, you may not think twice before cutting out a piece straight from the pan. Doing so may satisfy you in the short term, but it's ultimately better to hold back the knife until your squares have left their tray. This exercise in patience isn't the product of manners or some unspoken lemon bar etiquette. Rather, it's a practical matter. Cutting out your lemon bars straight from the pan can prove disastrous, not only for your tray but for future baked goods.

Cutting on your pan can scratch the surface and disrupt future flavors

We already know to avoid using metal utensils on nonstick pans, but that same rule applies to using knives on baking sheets and for similar purposes. If you cut lemon bars while still in the pan, you're likely to scratch that pan's surface. Scratches may not seem like a big deal right now. However, they can ultimately impact the taste of your lemon bars down the line. 

Yes, scratches will make future lemon bars — or really any future baked good — inclined to stick to the bottom of the pan. Scratches also ruin the pan's anodized surface. What that means for you is that your baked goods won't taste so good the next time you break out the tray. So long, perfect squares of citrus. 

To avoid ruining your pan and your next batch of lemon squares, be patient. After your lemon bars have cooled, lift your parchment paper and move the dessert to a cutting board. Once your lemon squares are safe and secure on the board, you can finally cut them into squares. Granted, this extra step won't save you any time. However, it will save your knife's sharpness, your pan's smoothness, and any and all future lemon square endeavors.