Lemon bars with a shortbread crust are an easy but pastry-case worthy dessert made in one bowl. Plus the shortbread crust can be patted into place--no fussing with a rolling pin.
I know I always say this but really, these lemon bars are probably one of the very best desserts I've ever made.
This lemon bar recipe, which uses just-squeezed lemon juice and grated zest always makes me feel like I’m somewhere fancy having high tea.
I’ve been making them for years. I found the recipe in a 1999 Cooking Light magazine.
If you like citrus desserts, you must also try Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe (Just 3 Ingredients) or Easy Lemon Icebox Pie.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
If you love lemon meringue pie but don't love all the work involved, you'll love these bars.
Instead of standing over a pot stirring and stirring to make lemon curd, you make an easy version in a mixing bowl and pour it over a pat-in shortbread crust.
These dessert bars taste fantastic.
You can easily double this recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan.
How To Make Lemon Bars?
These citrus bars are easy, in some ways easier and faster than making a batch of cookies.
Make a shortbread crust by mixing butter, sugar, flour and a bit of salt in a medium bowl.
Press the crust mix into a parchment-lined 8 x 8 pan.
While the crust is baking in the oven for 15 minutes, you make the lemon filling with eggs, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar.
Then you pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake again.
Let cool, cut into squares or triangles and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.
You also need a square cake pan, 8 x 8 or 9x9.
Be sure to line the pan with parchment paper before patting in your crust to make for easier clean up.
A bench scraper is easier than using a knife because you can just push up and down and the edge of the scraper is thin and sharp.
Don’t worry if the filling seems really runny once you pour it in the crust. The bars will thicken in the oven and even more so while cooling.
This recipe makes one 8 x 8 pan but you can use a 9x9, the bars will be just a bit thinner. You can also double the ingredients and use a 9x13 pan.
You'll need two to three small to medium sized lemons for this recipe.
How should you juice the lemons?
I own a couple different styles of citrus reamers but 99.9 percent of the time I just use a sturdy fork for juicing.
Slice the lemon in half and working over a small bowl, stick a fork in the cut side and twist and twist while squeezing the lemon until you've wrenched out all the juice.
Yes, lemon bars can be frozen. Before freezing the bars, cut them into squares and put them on a tray or container unwrapped for 45 minutes to an hour until they firm up.
Then wrap each lemon bar either with plastic wrap or wax paper or freezer paper. Seal the individually wrapped bars in a freezer-safe container or bag.
You can freeze lemon bars for several months but I think the quality is best if you freeze no longer than three months.
Yes, refrigerate lemon bars well-wrapped. Lemon bars contain eggs and are similar to a custard filling so they should be kept refrigerated so bacteria doesn't develop.
However, having said that, lemon bars are okay to stay out at room temperature for a few hours if you're serving them at a party or gathering.
Start with chilled bars. The warmer the bars, the more of a mess you'll make while trying to cut them.
Use a bench scraper instead of a knife. A bench scraper will give you more control because you can just push down once to make the cut.
- For crust:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon butter, room temperature
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- For lemon filling:
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
- ⅓ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 3 tbps all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ½ cup powdered or icing sugar, sifted
- Make crust
- Beat sugar and butter in mixing bowl with beaters until creamy, about two minutes.
- Add flour. Beat on low speed until you have a fine crumb.
- Line an 8x8 inch square tin with parchment paper or spray heavily with non=stick coating Or rub thoroughly with a bit of butter.
- Dump crumbs into tin and press with your hands or with the bottom of a measuring cup to form a crust.
- Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until just crisp with the slightest bit of browning on the edges. Cool on wire rack.
- Make Filling
- Beat eggs on medium speed until foamy-about three minutes. Add remaining ingredients sugar through salt and beat until combined.
- Pour over cooled crust.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350. Pay attention to smell. When you smell lemon bars, the bars are likely done. There should be just a slight jiggle when you remove the pan from the oven but the mixture shouldn't be loose. If it's loose, bake for another five minutes or so.
- Let cool.
- Cut into squares.
- Serve with a sprinkling of powdered or icing sugar.
Make sure eggs are room temperature.
Use fresh lemon juice. This recipe won't be even a fraction as good with bottled juice.
If you don't have an 8x8 pan, you can uses a 9x9 pan. Recipe is easily doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan.
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More Citrus Recipes For You
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