My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s “Fan Favorite” Lemon Bar Recipe
Let’s be honest: Ina Garten’s recipes are pretty much always in the mix when it comes to celebrity recipe showdowns. It was no different for lemon bars: Ina Garten’s recipe averages a 4.5 star rating and has more than 700 reviews — many of which describe it as the absolute best. It’s also labeled as a “fan favorite” on Food Network’s website.
When I read the recipe for the first time, I was struck by a few things. The first is that it calls for six extra-large eggs. I only ever keep large eggs on hand (as is true, I would assume, of most home cooks and bakers), and so I was a little frustrated that I wouldn’t be able to use the carton of eggs I had on hand.
The second thing that jumped out to me was the amount of sugar in the recipe. Ina calls for 3 cups in the filling alone, which is more than twice as much as any of the other recipes I tried. Ina does, however, incorporate plenty of lemon juice and zest into her bars, which I hoped would balance out the sweetness.
Here’s what happened when I gave Ina’s lemon bars a try.
Get the recipe: Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars
How to Make Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars
The first thing you’ll do is heat the oven to 350°F. Add 2 sticks room temperature butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar to an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy. Add 2 cups all-purpose flour and continue to mix until just combined. Transfer the dough mixture to a well floured surface and, using well-floured hands, gather it into a ball. Transfer the dough to a baking dish, pressing it into a flat layer on the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides. Let it chill in the fridge, then bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
For the filling, you’ll whisk together 6 extra-large eggs, 3 cups granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, 1 cup lemon juice, and 1 cup flour. Pour it into the crust and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with powdered sugar.
My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars
All my love to the Barefoot Contessa, but this was not my favorite recipe of hers. I found the bars to be way too sweet — I could barely handle one bite, let alone an entire bar. The crust was also a little too chewy — it tasted as if the filling was blending into the crust.
I did find Ina’s tip to use floured hands for working with the dough to be extremely helpful. And the triangular shape is fun! But between the fussy ask for extra-large eggs and the borderline obscene amount of sugar, I likely won’t make it again.
If You’re Making Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars, a Few Tips
1. Reduce the amount of sugar. If I were to make these again, I’d reduce the amount of sugar in the filling by at least 1 cup.
2. Line the dish with parchment paper. Creating a parchment paper sling that hangs over the sides of the dish allows you to cut the bars on a cutting board instead of inside the dish.