When you’re making lasagna for the first or hundredth time, little details like greasing your pan can make all the difference to the quality of this classic Italian dish. Different forums will give you various answers that can be overwhelming, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd. But don’t fret! We have done our research, and we have the right answer for you — along with some tips on how to choose the right pan.
Greasing your lasagna pan will never hurt; it will always help. It is easy to assume the layer of tomato sauce on the bottom will act as a lubricant. But overcooking your dish the slightest bit will cause the sauce to boil and crisp, sticking to all sides of the pan.
Greasing the pan is an essential step in lasagna making. But whether or not your silky layered pasta comes out clean also boils down to which pan you choose. Stay tuned and keep reading! Below we give tips on choosing and what to consider when picking the best lasagna pan — with recommendations. We’ll also list some options on what to use to grease your pan.
Should You Use Grease Or Parchment Paper On A Lasagna Pan?
You finally have your perfect pan to make this delicious meal. Now, what should you do to make sure the lasagna slides out smoothly? Some die-hard lasagna bakers in the world swear by their garlic-scented kitchen and permanently burnt hands that not greasing your pan is the way to go, and sometimes you will get lucky. But nothing is worse than having gone through all the time and effort to make a meal for friends or family and then having the lasagna stick to the pan. The best and most simple way to avoid this is by greasing your pan.
When you’re scrounging your kitchen for items to use, you may want to opt for one that’ll help avoid a mess. Although parchment paper is a great way to avoid a more vigorous cleanup, the paper will brown in the oven and sometimes can burn if left in long enough. Instead, choose to save yourself the stress and potential fire hazard by using more traditional methods of greasing your lasagna pan.
Ways to Grease Your Pan
The simplest method is cooking spray. Whether you use Pam or a store-brand version, cooking spray offers the least mess and is the overall lightest option.
Olive oil is the go-to in the world of Italian cooking and baking. This will allow your lasagna to slide out smoothly and is always a classic. Just make sure to cover all nooks and crannies of your pan!
An American favorite grease is butter. Butter will add a bit of a creamy taste, especially when mixed with any garlic in your sauce.
What Is The Best Pan To Cook Lasagna In?
For the best lasagna, you’ll want to use a 9" x 13" pan. The deeper, the better, as more depth allows for more layers to your lasagna. Besides size and depth, there are a variety of pans to choose from. Further down, we'll answer the basic question of glass or metal for the pan's material, but here are a few more things to consider:
If you’re looking for crispy edges to your pasta, you’ll want to opt for a metal pan as the metal heats up very quickly — but make sure to grease it! This can be an aluminum, disposable (easy clean-up, but not highly recommended), cast iron, or stainless steel pan (recommended).
If you’re looking for a soft and melted middle and only slightly-browned edges, a glass pan is for you. Glass can easily move from oven to refrigerator (once cooled), which is great for storing leftovers. Make sure to check the label, but most glass pans are dishwasher safe as well.
Budget-Friendly Pan Options
For some that have limited supplies available, it can be daunting to buy a lasagna pan. Most are not cheap, at least not if you are in search of a great quality dish. If you want an easy pan that can double as a casserole dish, this OXO Freezer to Oven Safe glass pan is a great option for under $20. The only downside is the shallow sides limit you to fewer layers. Click here to see it on Amazon.
If you cook often and are willing to make an investment, Emile Henry’s Modern Classic Large Rectangular Baker is a deep, oven/broiler/microwave/dishwasher safe pan that retains heat well. In other words, the biggest bang for your buck! Click here to see it on Amazon.
If you are balling on a budget or making lasagna just one time, you may want to consider an aluminum disposal pan. These can be found at any grocery store in the baking aisle. Typically these range from $3 to $7. With aluminum disposables, you may sacrifice flavor for convenience. But there will be no cleanup, and if you’re giving the meal as a gift, you’re not sacrificing a beloved dish. With this type of pan, greasing is essential! Click here to see it on Amazon.
Is It Better To Bake Lasagna In A Glass Or Metal Pan?
For those who already come from a fully stocked kitchen, you simply have to choose between pans. Glass is absolutely the way to go. Even though glass conducts heat at a slower rate than metal, it distributes the heat more evenly. A glass pan will lead to a perfect, silky smooth lasagna center. It will also retain its heat throughout the pasta for a lengthier amount of time once out of the oven.
Meanwhile, a metal pan can lead to crispier edges, and it can be a cheaper option when faced with buying a pan for the occasion. Despite this, the acidity in the lasagna’s tomato sauce and the minerals in the metal can react negatively when baked. This can lead to a metallic taste transferred from the pan to the lasagna. Metal pans also cool off much quicker. So if you plan on going back for seconds, the glass will keep the food warmer for longer.
Have Fun Cooking!
Now that you’re all set with the perfect pan and your chosen method to grease it, your dish should slide out easy-peasy. Enjoy your meal, and don’t forget to have fun making your lasagna!
For more great tips for cooking pasta, check out our related posts:
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