Simple and easy to make, these delicious Lemon Bars are a wonderful homemade treat. Full of bright and zesty flavor, plus a deliciously buttery shortbread crust, this classic is a family favorite!
What’s in this Lemon Bars Recipe?
A delicious buttery shortbread crust, and the most creamy, thick yet delicate lemon curd filling. It’s tangy and tart yet sweet and bright. The flavor of this dessert is just unbeatable!
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour for both the crust and the filling.
- Butter: Salted butter creates the most delicious shortbread crust.
- Powder Sugar: This goes in the crust and gets used as a finally topping to finish of the bars.
- Eggs: You need about 4 large eggs to make the lemon curd filling. It creates the thick, creamy texture you need.
- Granulated Sugar: This sweetens the filling.
- Lemon Juice: This is how you get that perfect citrus flavor!
- Baking Powder: This adds heft and structure to the filling.
Pro Tip: To make these lemon bars gluten free, swap the all-purpose flour for an equal amount of gluten-free 1:1 baking flour.
Variations on Lemon Squares
These dreamy lemon bars are so easily adaptable!
- For Blueberry Lemon Bars, stir a cup of fresh blueberries into the filling, or add a thin layer of blueberry jam between the crust and the curd.
- For Raspberry Lemon Bars, stir a cup of fresh raspberries into the filling, or add a thin layer of raspberry jam between the crust and the curd.
- For Cranberry Lemon Bars, stir a cup of fresh cranberries into the filling, or cook down some cranberries and sugar into a cranberry jam!
- For Meyer Lemon Bars, use Meyer lemon juice and zest.
- For Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust, pulse a few sheets of graham crackers in a food processor and use them in place of the flour.
On average, each lemon has 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. Great info to know!
These lemon bars are super delicious, but they also can be made with other citrus fruits. Grapefruit and blood orange both work great. For the best flavors, use fresh juice rather than bottled.
Simply give the baking pan a bit of a jiggle–the bars should jiggle just a little bit, like cheesecake or jello, but still be fairly set. If they are too jiggly and seem liquid-y, they aren’t done yet, so keep baking. The crust edges will also be slightly golden brown.
The crust on lemon bars occurs because the air bubbles from the eggs rise to the surface during baking.
Cracking likely means they are overbaked–either too long, at too high of a temperature, or both. 350°F is perfect for this recipe, so just keep an eye on them and don’t let them cook too long.
First, let the bars cool completely before cutting. Then, dip a knife in warm water and dry it off before each cut. The warming of the knife will help create a smooth cut.
Yes. The lemon curd filling is made with eggs, so it does need to be stored in the fridge for safe-keeping. After baking and cooling, store them away within a couple of hours.
How to Store
Store leftover lemon bars in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Lemon bars are best enjoyed slightly cool or at room temperature.
How to Freeze
Freeze lemon bars whole or cut into individual bars tightly wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.
These lemon bars are delicious all on their own or paired with a heaping dollop of whipped cream, meringue, or a dusting powdered sugar. Top the bars with toasted sweetened, shredded coconut flakes to make them festive for Easter. A surprising combo you may love is topping these with a bit of grated chocolate!
Lemon Bars Recipe
For the Bottom Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 240 grams
- ½ cup powdered sugar 57 grams
- 1 cup salted butter 226 grams, room temperature and cut into cubes (2 sticks)
For the Lemon Filling
- 4 large eggs 200 grams
- 2 cups granulated sugar 400 grams
- ⅓ cup lemon juice 76 grams
- ½ cup all-purpose flour 30 grams
- ½ teaspoon baking powder 2 grams
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make the crust. Mix together the flour and powdered sugar in a large bowl.2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup powdered sugar
- Using your fingers, cut the butter into the mixture until it clings together and is crumbly.1 cup salted butter
- Press this mixture into the prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until just turning golden.
- While the crust bakes, make the filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer or whisk to beat together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. (If you love lemon, feel free to use a little more juice!)4 large eggs, 2 cups granulated sugar, ⅓ cup lemon juice
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Stir this mixture into the egg mixture. (This mixture will be very runny.)½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Once you’ve brought the crust out of the oven, pour this egg mixture over the baked crust.
- Place the pan back into the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes. It should be a light golden brown.
- Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool before cutting and serving. Once your pan gets to room temperature, you might even want to pop it into the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
- Lightly dust them with icing sugar (try using a fine sieve or sifter) to make them look extra fancy.Powdered sugar
- If you want to use fresh lemon juice, you will need the juice of one large lemon. Microwave the lemon for 10 seconds before cutting and squeezing it to get the most juice out.
- Use room temperature eggs and lemon juice if you can. These will combine more easily with the other ingredients, but if you use cold, it won’t affect the taste or texture.