Lemon Bars: a beloved classic treat! Buttery shortbread crust, tangy lemon filling, and a dusting of powdered sugar on top. So bright, citrus-y, & happy!
So, as I mentioned yesterday, it’s Superbowl week! Gah! Can you believe it?
What are your plans? We’ll be getting together with friends and FEASTING. I have some of the best friends, and they make the BEST food! I know there will be lots of great choices, and of course I always bring dessert.
When it comes to desserts that are easy to tote along, bars win hands-down. Just stack ’em and pack ’em, and you’re good to go! Some of my favorites include these unbelievably rich and chocolate-y brownies, these sweet and buttery blondies, and of course cheesecake bars!
But the list wouldn’t be complete without that beloved classic: lemon bars!
WHAT ARE LEMON BARS?
Lemon bars are such a classic treat! I especially love them at this time of year, because they’re so tart and tangy, they just seem to brighten everything right up. Just what we need when it’s dark, gloomy, and cold!
They consist of a buttery, crumbly shortbread base, topped with a sticky layer of gooey lemon goodness that’s similar to a thick lemon curd. A generous dusting of powdered sugar on top really balances out all the flavors.
You get buttery, almost savory crust, bright tangy citrus, and sweet sugar on top. It’s such an incredible combo and this dessert is perfectly portable, so it’s a great treat to bring to a party.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE LEMON BARS
This recipe is quick and easy to make, with just a few simple ingredients.
Start with the bottom layer: the shortbread crust. Whisk flour, powdered sugar and salt together in a big bowl, then add in the cold butter. Work the butter in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I like to use a pastry blender for this step, but you could also use two knives or just your fingers.
Press this mixture into the bottom of the pan, and give it a quick par-bake to help it set.
While that’s going, you can mix up the filling. It’s just sugar, a little flour, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. I highly recommend using fresh lemons for this recipe- the flavor is amazing! You’ll love how bright and tangy these bars come out when you use the real deal.
Once you’ve got your filling all whisked together, pour it over the partially baked crust. (It’s fine if the crust is still warm.)
Pop it back in the oven, and bake!
HOW TO KNOW WHEN LEMON BARS ARE DONE BAKING
Lemon bar filling can sometimes be a little tricky! It’s meant to be sticky and a little gooey, so sometimes it can be hard to tell when it’s done.
If you look at your bars after the recommended bake time, and the filling looks loose, runny, or too liquid, give them more time. You’ll know your lemon bars are done when the edges are starting to turn golden, and the filling is set and no longer wobbly in the center.
HOW TO GET LEMON BARS OUT OF THE PAN AND CUT THEM EASILY
Lemon bars can be tricky to get out of the pan, if you don’t know what you’re doing! That top layer tends to be pretty sticky, so it’s not as simple as just flipping them onto a cutting board.
Here is what I recommend: mist your pan with non-stick spray and line it with parchment, prior to assembling the bars. If you’re not sure what that looks like, check out this post: How to Line Pans with Parchment.
If you’ve done it right you will have some overhang on 2 sides. This overhang works just like a handle. Run the blade of a thin, sharp knife around the sides, then grasp the parchment “handles” firmly, and the bars should lift right out.
Place them on a cutting board and cut into bars. I like to use this kind of knife, pushing straight down through, and rinsing it with hot water after each cut. It works so great!
I should also say that it’s DEFINITELY best to cut your bars once they are completely cool. If they are still warm when cut, things could get really messy!
HOW TO STORE LEMON BARS
If you plan on eating your lemon bars within a day or so of baking them, there is no need to refrigerate them. Just place the bars in an airtight container, stacking them with a sheet of parchment or wax paper between each layer.
But lemon bars can definitely be made ahead- they’re great for that. Just pop the airtight container into the fridge for up to a week or so. Or, if you plan on storing them for longer than that, they can be frozen. Just thaw at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
Whatever you end up doing for the big game, I KNOW that these lemon bars will put a smile on everybody’s face! How could anyone not feel happy with one of these sunny, sweet treats in their hand?? Enjoy!
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For the shortbread crust
- 1 1/4 cups (156.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60 g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, , cold (1 stick)
For the lemon filling
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (31.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs, , large
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest , (zest of 1 lemon)
- 2/3 cup (162.67 ml) lemon juice , (juice of 3 lemons)
- powdered sugar,, for garnish
To make the shortbread crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, mist an 8x8 pan with non-stick spray, and line with parchment.
- Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer, and bake until set (approximately 20 to 25 minutes).
To make the lemon filling
- Whisk the sugar, flour, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a large bowl.
- Pour the filling over the partially-baked crust and bake until the filling is set (approximately 25 to 35 minutes).
- Cool completely, cut into squares, and dust with powdered sugar for garnish.
These are perfect. I have tryed other lemon bar receipes but none are as good as these. Thank you so much.
p.s. some people just dont know what good is. Everybody enjoyed them. I followed the receipe to a T. Lol
Thank you so much Janice!
I chose to make these after having lots of lemons left after doing a lemon loaf. I am really pleased with this recipe. There are nice and lemony without being overpowering. We had to make the base twice but that was as my husband overdone the making it into the breadcrumb texture, watching the video helped to make sure we were on the right track. Will certainly try this recipe again. Thank you!
You’re welcome Robyn! I’m so happy it worked well for you!
I made these lemon bars yesterday, and it was my first time making lemon bars. They are so delicious. I didn’t have the right size pan so I used a 8×8 glass dish. Even though I baked the bars longer than the recipe called for, my center came out soft instead of firm. Next time I’ll use the same 8×8 pan you used on your video. Thank you for this simple recipe.
Thanks so much for the feedback Gloria! I’m hearing that a lot of people have had to increase the bake time…. wondering if I should change the recipe.
No, I wouldn’t change the recipe. I checked with my nephew and he said that some ovens don’t have true temperature so he suggested that I get an oven temperature. I had a similar issue with oatmeal cookies.
I doubled the recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan. I needed to bake them longer. Did the crust for 20 min and then 40 min for filling. They are so yummy! The perfect crust to filling ratio.
Great to know Patty! Thanks for sharing that. And thanks for the 5-star rating!
Made these and they came out great! Thanks for the recipe
So glad you enjoyed! Thanks so much for the great feedback!
These came out perfect! My husband has been nagging me to make lemon bars. His dad brought us a big bag of lemons straight from his lemon tree! I honestly don’t know where he got the idea because I’ve never made lemon bars in my life. Recipe was easy to follow and it ended up being a little project for my kids. Thanks for providing this recipe 😊 so darn good. Bookmarking!
You’re so welcome Carissa! I’m so happy you and your kids had fun making it and were pleased with the outcome. Thanks for the great feedback!
Hi I was baking and I saw a mistake not the measurements on the powdered sugar and the salt I think it is supposed to be switched I almost poison my self so I u could change that that would be nice.
I’ve just had a look and there is no mistake there. There is no amount given for the powdered sugar because it’s just a garnish to be sprinkled on top. And 1/2 teaspoon of salt is not going to poison anyone. It’s a perfectly reasonable amount of salt to add to a dessert recipe. Not sure what you think you saw but if I’ve misunderstood you, please feel free to set me straight.
It was soooo delicious! Thank you for the great recipe:)
You’re welcome! Thank you for the 5-star rating!
After 35 minutes I was wondering why the bars weren’t setting. Then I looked up other lemon bar recipes and this one has twice as much lemon juice as they do. So basically I ended up with lemon pudding that no one wanted to eat. Thank you SO much for wasting all these ingredients during a pandemic lockdown where baking supplies are extremely rare. VERY annoyed.
I’m very sorry that you had trouble. But please do not say that I wasted the ingredients. I did not waste the ingredients. I make these bars often and they come out beautifully every time. And there are over a dozen readers who have commented before you, saying that this recipe has worked perfectly for them. It was you who wasted the ingredients when you failed to read the information given under the heading “How to Know When Lemon Bars are Done Baking.” “If you look at your bars after the recommended bake time, and the filling looks loose, runny, or too liquid, give them more time.” It’s right there in black and white. No two ovens are exactly the same and the bake times given are only rough approximations. Also, I’ve just looked at the first 10 lemon bar recipes that google returns and most of them have 30 percent more lemon juice than this one does. 7 out of 10 recipes call for 1 cup of juice, where this recipe has only 2/3 cup. So what you are saying is untrue, and it’s misleading to other readers. I understand that times are hard right now and I get that you are annoyed. We are all annoyed. But it is unfair of you to take it out on someone who is offering you free recipes.
I keep having problems with a different lemon bar recipe. The first few times I made it they were phenomenal, but my last two attempt they turned out like rubber. I too did a Google search for other lemon bars to see if I could detect what went wrong with mine. Specifically, WHAT I DID WRONG!! I would not be so dense as to blame the writer of the recipe when it’s obvious the error is on MY end. My recipe, like the recipe on the page, has a ton of positive reviews. This is not some deep state conspiracy to clean out and waste your pantry staples….you messed up. How rude and childish to lash out at the author because you can’t follow directions.
Now, about me and why I am here😅….
Why DO my previously awesome squares keep turning to rubber? I did pick up a clue from your recipe which I am going to try later. You say to whisk the filling ingredients together. I’ve been using an electric beater. Am I overmixing?
Thanks for any insight you can give and Merry.
Thanks for the comment Char I appreciate it. I’d love to help you out but without really knowing anything about the other recipe it’s hard for me to say. Have you tried this one? I think most of the comments here are positive…
If using a 9x 13 pan should you double the recipe?
Yes, that should work, but keep in mind that the bake time may need to be adjusted. Good luck!
Flavor wise, these bars are phenominal. The confectioners sugar makes the crust wonderfully crispy and short and holds together well after cutting.
Baking, They took an extra 15 minutes in the oven to set for me. And when they were finished, I felt like they were too thick. I did use a glass 8×8 baking pan, so that may have affected the cook time, but I do wish I had made these in my 9×9. When cut into 16 pieces, the resulting bars were little 1″ cubes. I think there was just too much gooey filling in each bite. I’ll definitely bake these again, but I’m going to try them in a bigger pan.
So impressed by these lemon bars! Strong lemon flavor and not overly sweet. They have a great thick crust as well, which makes serving them easy. Loved this recipe!
So glad to hear it Lily! Thanks so much for the great feedback and for the 5-star review!
This is,by far..the best recipe for lemon bars..
I have never tasted anything so delicious.. I highly recommend this website to EVERYONE.. Believe me..
You will get THE BEST results
Aw, thank you so much!
Allie, your lemon bar recipe is the best.
If only everyone could follow your very easy to read directions they too can savor these delicious lemony bars.
Perfect ratio of crust & filling.
As oven times do vary, I have always used an oven thermometer.
Thank you Allie for sharing your passions. You are so much appreciated.
Hi! I just baked these for the first time and they are delicious! I love anything lemon so I knew I had to try them. Definitely will be a regular dessert at my house. Next time I might get creative and add more toppings!! Thank you for posting it!
I followed the recipe to a T and they turned out great. I used 1:1 Bobs red mill GF baking flour for my GF wife and the shortbread portion was exactly how it should be and not fall apart crumbly at all. Thank you!
That’s wonderful Matt! I’m so happy you and your wife enjoyed. And thank you for sharing your experience with Bob’s Red Mill GF. I’m sure a lot of other readers will love knowing this!
I made these and everyone I gave it to loved them! Thanks for the great recipe!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed. Thank you for the 5-star rating!
I’ve used this recipe COUNTLESS times and they’ve always turned out PERFECT!!! The measurements are perfect and easy to follow. Amazingly tangy each time 🙂
That is so great to hear Lizz! Thank you so much for the excellent feedback!
It was the first this made lemon bars. Yummmmyyy!!!! Delicious!!!! This recipe is the one l will keep. Easy to make. For sure 5 ⭐️.
So glad you were pleased! Thanks for the 5-star review!
Hi. I saw Caitlin’s response and my lemon bars cane out the same thick but favorable. I also used an 8c8 glass dish and left the bars baking an extra 15 minutes. Does that make a difference using a glass dish?
It might! That’s a good point. I use a metal pan when I make them. But glass is ok too- if they need more time to set then just let them have it. Thanks for the comment!
These bars are superb!!
Hooray! Thank you so much Suzanne!
Hi. How to make it less sweet? How much of sugar can I reduce in the lemon filling ? Overall it was so delicious but its sweet.. thank you 🙂🙂
I love cooking and making new things and creative new recipes
These are really good, and fast to make. Nice and simple recipe. Thank you!
My pleasure! So happy you enjoyed.
I love lemon bars! They look so delicious!
So, so good. Easy to throw together and perfectly tart.