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Best Lemon Bar Recipe

Review Recipe
close up side shot of lemon bars stacked on top of each other
This old-fashioned lemon bars recipe is a classic family favorite with plenty of sweet citrusy goodness and bright lemon color.
Jump to Recipe
Table of Contents
  1. What are Lemon Bars?
  2. Easy Lemon Bars Ingredients
  3. Best Lemon Bar Recipe Substitutions & Additions
  4. How to Make Lemon Bars
  5. How do you cut the perfect lemon bars?
  6. Serving this Recipe for Lemon bars
  7. Lemon Bars Recipe Storage
  8. Lemon Bars Recipe FAQs
  9. More Classic Dessert Recipes You’ll Love
  10. JUMP TO RECIPE

These bright and citrusy lemon bars are old-fashioned desserts made with simple ingredients. Our made-from-scratch buttery shortbread crust is layered with a luscious lemon filling and finished with a light dusting of powdered sugar that will delight your taste buds.

close up side shot of lemon bars stacked on top of each other

What are Lemon Bars?

Part crust, part curd, 100% delicious!

What do lemon bars taste like?

Lemon bars have a perfect tangy citrus flavor that is balanced by the sweetness from the shortbread crust.

Easy Lemon Bars Ingredients

Lemon Bars raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Crust

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting

PRO TIP:

Use fresh lemon juice to really enhance the flavor of this recipe, bottled lemon juice will not have the same flavor or texture.

Best Lemon Bar Recipe Substitutions & Additions

MEYER LEMONS: Meyer lemons have a slightly sweeter taste than regular lemons but can easily be used as a substitute in the lemon filling for this classic recipe.

CITRUS: You could change up the flavor of these yummy bars with a different citrus flavor. Try grapefruit, blood orange, lime, or regular orange.

How to Make Lemon Bars

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. For the shortbread base, mix the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir to combine.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

This is one recipe that I really recommend using a glass baking dish for. I just use a standard 9×13 glass casserole dish that you can pick up just about anywhere.

butter, sugar, and vanilla mixed together

STEP TWO: Press the crust mixture firmly into a 9×13 glass baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake crust for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown. Set warm crust aside.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your crust at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

crust filling pressed firmly into a pan

STEP THREE: To make the lemon layer, add the sugar and flour to a large bowl and use a whisk to get out any lumps. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest and whisk until combined.

eggs and lemon juice added to the sugar mixture

STEP FOUR: Pour the filling over the top of the crust. The lemon mixture will be a little runny. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the center is set and no longer jiggles. It’s normal to see air bubbles on the top of your lemon bars after baking. You can’t even tell they’re there once you dust them with powdered sugar.

filling poured over the warm crust and baked

STEP FIVE: Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate. These actually taste amazing after chilling for several hours or overnight. Dust cooled bars with powdered sugar before serving.

PRO TIP:

Once your homemade lemon bars are well chilled, take an oiled and very sharp knife and cut. I recommend wiping it off in between cuts just to get those beautiful, clean lines.

powdered sugar dusted on top

How do you cut the perfect lemon bars?

To make perfect cuts in your lemon bars, have a bowl of warm water nearby. Wet the knife in the warm water, wipe it clean with a dry dish towel, and make one cut from one edge to the other.

Serving this Recipe for Lemon bars

Serve these perfect lemon bars with a warm cup of tea or a refreshing cold drink, such as our raspberry iced tea or homemade raspberry lemonade, which would blend beautifully with the flavor of the lemon.

You’ll want to try our easy blueberry dump cake and our lemon poke cake as well for more quick and simple desserts.

Lemon Bars Recipe Storage

How long do lemon bars last in the fridge? Lemon bars will keep in the fridge for up to four days.

Can you store lemon bars at room temperature? If you are planning to enjoy the lemon bars within a day or two, they can be kept at room temperature. Any longer and it is best to store them in the fridge.

Can you freeze lemon bars successfully? Wrap each lemon bar individually in wax paper and store it in an airtight container. Stored this way, they will keep in the freezer for up to four months.

a close up shot of Lemon Bars dusted with powdered sugar

Sweet, tart, and delicious, these classic lemon bars are the perfect easy dessert. You’ll love the simple shortbread crust and fresh lemon filling. Whip up a batch for sharing, or keeping all to yourself (we won’t judge!).

Lemon Bars Recipe FAQs

Should lemon bars be refrigerated?

It is best to store this easy lemon bars recipe in a covered container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to four months.

Could I use a different citrus flavor in this classic lemon bar recipe?

This easy recipe is flexible enough that you could replace the lemon juice with grapefruit, orange, blood orange, or lime juice.

Can I use bottled lemon juice for these traditional lemon bars?

If at all possible, you should use fresh lemon juice in this easy lemon bar recipe. Bottled lemon juice will not give you the same rich lemony flavor.

Why are my lemon bars so gooey?

Your lemon bars will still be gooey once they come out of the oven warm. Let them cool and set, and they should firm up.

Why do my lemon bars taste like eggs?

If you overcooked your lemon bars, they may have an eggy taste to them. Make sure to follow the baking times accurately.

Did I overcook my lemon bars?

If your lemon bars have an eggy taste or a grainy texture, they may be overcooked.

More Classic Dessert Recipes You’ll Love

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close up side shot of lemon bars stacked on top of each other

Easy Lemon Bars

5 from 11 votes
This old-fashioned lemon bars recipe is a classic family favorite with plenty of sweet citrusy goodness and bright lemon color.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour

Filling

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup lemon juice, fresh is best (about 4 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
  • For the crust, mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.
  • Add the flour and stir to combine.
  • Press firmly into your prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are light brown.
  • Add the sugar and flour into a large bowl. Use a whisk to get out any lumps.
  • Add the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the filling over the warm crust. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the center is set and doesn’t jiggle.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely at room temperature. Then refrigerate.
  • Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Notes

  • Use fresh lemon juice to really enhance the flavor of this recipe, bottled lemon juice will not have the same flavor or texture.
  • This is one recipe that I really recommend using a glass baking dish for. I just use a standard 9×13 glass casserole dish that you can pick up just about anywhere.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your crust at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • Once your lemon bars are well chilled, take an oiled and very sharp knife and cut. I recommend wiping it off in between cuts just to get those beautiful, clean lines.

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 297IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Chelsa says

    5 stars
    My husband loves lemon anything. He asked that I find a recipe for lemon squares. Let’s just say I have made these 3 times recently and he has brought them up to work at the mine, and everyone loved them! Thank you for this recipe. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. YUM!

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