Ina Garten Only Uses Metal Pie Tins. Here's Why

To say Ina Garten has doled out some pretty fruitful baking tips over the years would be a serious understatement. The Barefoot Contessa has taught us her clever trick to get more out of measuring cups, which involves using them as makeshift mixing bowls. And her sage advice that store-bought ingredients like frozen pie crusts and puff pastries are just as good as any homemade creation has allowed us to save serious time, energy, and, perhaps most importantly, our sanity in the kitchen.

So when the famous chef shares that metal pie tins are the best vessel to use when whipping up tasty baked desserts — who wouldn't immediately toss their glass and ceramic pie plates to the wind? Garten knows best, after all. But, for those who need a little more convincing, the culinary celeb says it's because metal pans actually conduct heat better (per YouTube), which helps to ensure the bottom of your pies are flawless and browned to perfection every time they come out of the oven.

Metal pie pans conduct heat better

As it turns out, not all baking pans are created equal. Metal varieties like cast iron, copper, and aluminum (the most common material) are capable of conducting heat more efficiently than other types of pans, such as those made of glass or ceramic. This is because metals allow a free and rapid flow of electrons compared to the other materials that actually restrict the flow of electrons; glass and ceramic types are far better at insulating heat than conducting it. 

For this reason, metal is more effective at transferring heat to all parts of the pan, especially to the bottom, which makes it a better choice for evenly baking a pie crust. Given that glass and ceramic are insulators, they do retain heat for longer once they're out of the oven. However, metal pans cool down quicker, which also makes them a great option for blind-baking crusts of custard-filled pies and other tasty desserts that feature unbaked fillings. 

Granted, glass and ceramic pans are still capable of getting the job done — they just may take a little longer to cook, so don't be surprised if your pies come out with soggy bottoms if you take them out of the oven too soon using these types of pans.

Garten's other tips for whipping up the perfect pie

No matter which way you slice it, the best way to bake a pie is the Barefoot Contessa way. In addition to opting for metal pie pans, some of Ina Garten's best tips for baking pies include following ingredient measurements to a T and using the proper tools, such as a quality rolling pin and different types of thermometers for more precise baking.

For melt-in-your-mouth pies, the TV personality also says it's important for at-home bakers not to overstretch the dough — either while rolling it out or placing it in the pan — because it can result in the dough retracting in the tin. And don't forget to add in Garten's secret ingredient when mixing the ingredients for the dough: cold butter. Not only will it help hold the flour together, but when the little pieces of fat are heated the steam will evaporate, leading to an even flakier crust.