This Easy Lemon Bars Recipe is a refreshing, sweet, and slightly tart treat made up of a lemony custard filling on top of a buttery shortbread crust.

This easy dessert is quick to make and everyone absolutely loves them!

Stacked Lemon Bars With a Powered Sugar Topping

Easy Lemon Bars

Never in a million years did I think I’d say that I like love Lemon Bars… but I do!!!

I’ve always liked lemonade and lemon chicken but lemon desserts and pastries were never hard for me to pass up. However, a few years ago I finally gave lemon a second chance and was pleasantly surprised to find how deliciously fantastic it is in things like cheesecake, cupcakes, and these bars.

Overhead shot of Lemon Bars in a baking pan

The Buttery Crust

What makes these so good? First, that crumbly buttery shortbread crust. And please don’t substitute the butter with margarine or shortening. Butter is best and makes everything 983x better.

And the FRESH lemon… Second, to make this lemon bar recipe, you need the best lemon custard! When baked, it forms a crust on top with the soft sweet and tangy filling underneath. Fresh lemon juice is a must! And to top it all off, they’re sprinkled with powdered sugar… LOTS of powdered sugar.

How Much Juice is in One Lemon

Like most fruit, lemons can range in size but on average each lemon will give you about 3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Each lemon will provide about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest using a microplane grater.

My only warning, besides being irresistible and ruining your diet, is to not make these for your birthday, or at least just don’t put birthday candles on them. Trust me! I know from experience. We were celebrating a friend’s birthday and Lemon Bars were his cake of choice. The candles were stuck down into the bars and lit, we sang “Happy Birthday”, waited as he paused to make a wish… then inhale, exhale… BOOM! The powdered sugar rose into a dust cloud that quickly caught fire and slightly singed his eyebrows. It was quite shocking, scary, and hilarious all at the same time. Oh, the life lessons we learn.

Overhead shot of three plates with Lemon Bars on them

If you’re looking for a bright and cheery dessert for your upcoming spring or summer party, make these sweet and tangy refreshing Lemon Bars!

More Lemon Recipes

Stacked Lemon Bars With a Powered Sugar Topping
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Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

Classic Lemon Bars have a sweet tangy lemon curd baked on top of a buttery shortbread crust.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 16
Author Melanie
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Ingredients  

For the Crust:

  • 10 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Instructions 

For the Crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9x9 inch pan.
  • Mix the flour, powdered sugar, and salt together. Cut the butter into the mix until crumbly and then press into the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the Filling:

  • Whisk all the filling ingredients together until combined.
  • Pour over the cooked crust and place back in the oven for 17-20 minutes until filling is set.
  • Cool completely, dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares.
4.98 from 212 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 179 | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 39mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Lemon Bars with title
Lemon Bars with writing

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I had an 8×8 pan or a 9×13. I tried using the 8×8 at first but had waaaaaaaaaaaay too much crust. I should have just used some of it and did the filling normally but I ended up spreading all of the crust in a 9×13 (which seemed perfect) but didn’t have enough eggs or zest to double the filling. The taste was still great, though. The bars were just a bit thin.

  2. Sorry, but I will not be saving this recipe! These are the worst tasting lemon bars I have ever made and they did not even set up well! I followed the exact recipe to a T. I could not find my usual go to recipe so googled and decided on this one since it had so many 5 stars. I wasted precious time and ingredients:(1 star

  3. Tried these out and they were very good. Double the recipe for a 9”by 13” pan. (Would have been better to know ahead of time)

  4. Made them for the first time today. Turned out very well though my partner just isn’t a fan of lemon bars in general.

    These are flavorful with a crisp bottom layer. They are really easy to make. Waiting for them to cool before dusting with powdered sugar and cutting into them is the tough part!5 stars

  5. I loved the shortbread crust. I would like more lemon flavor. If I added another lemon, would it make the lemon curd too liquidity?4 stars

    1. For more lemon flavor, I would suggest additional zest (or lemon extract). Adding additional juice will change the consistency.

  6. It was so easy and delicious! I made it gluten-free and dairy-free and used maple sugar instead and it still turned out great!5 stars

  7. great recipe. everyone at work keeps asking me to make more. 9×13 gang listen up! this recipe can be doubled to fit in a 9×13 dish (I used glass). but if you do this, grease the dish a little extra, prebake the crust for 13 minutes, then bake the bars for 20 minutes. that’s how I got a perfect crust.5 stars

    1. Yes they should be cooled completely before serving, Dani. They should be stored in the fridge covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.

  8. I appreciate the smaller portion recipe. Didn’t want to use up all of my eggs. Taste is great, perfectly balanced. My only issue was my filling was bubbly and browned on top, omlet-like. I did not over bake because at 15 min , filling was runny but bubbles already formed. I used my hand mixer to make the filling, did that put too much air in there causing the bubbles to form then rise to the top? If anyone can weigh in, I would appreciate it.5 stars

    1. That happened to me as well and I did stir the mixture quite a bit so I’m wondering if there was too much air as well. Did they taste good at least?

  9. The first time I made these they turned out perfect. The second time though my filling became really thick similar to the crust and I’m not sure why. It’s almost like the an omelet on top even though I followed the instructions.

    1. If your lemon bars’ filling became really thick, you might have cooked it too long or at too high of a temp. I hope that helps, Ash!

  10. My daughter and I (mostly my daughter :) just made these for her sweet treat “bar” for her 13th birthday party tomorrow…We used cup for cup gluten free flour and these are hands down the best lemon bars we’ve ever made and tasted!! These will become our go to recipe from hear on out…so yum! Thank you! Thank you!5 stars

  11. Is the crust supposed to be cooled before filling? It doesn’t state that in the instructions but you mention it in a comment, is a revision necessary? My crust came apart when the filling was added even though I baked it longer than the recommended time.

    1. The crust only needs to be cooled for the amount of time it takes to make the filling. I can’t say for sure why your crust came apart Pete, that has never happened to me!