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Indulge in these delightful Lemon Bars! The perfect balance of zesty lemon filling over a buttery shortbread crust. A refreshing and delicious treat that’s sure to brighten up any occasion or satisfy your sweet cravings.
Step by step photos and instructions below!
If you are into lemon like I do, you will enjoy the heck out of these this lemon bar recipe!
These bars have a sweet, crisp shortbread crust, topped with a creamy lemon filling, and are dusted with powdered sugar.
Lemon bars have captivated dessert lovers for generations, and it’s easy to see why. Their perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors, paired with the yummy texture, make them a timeless treat.
I hope you enjoy sharing these zesty, cheerful treats with friends and family. Let the sunshine in with every bite, and let the humble lemon bar brighten your day. Happy baking!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Simple ingredients. Lemon bars require just a few basic ingredients, making them easy to prepare even on short notice.
- Perfect for sharing. This recipe is easy to cut into squares or bars. They are ideal for sharing at gatherings or gifting to friends and loved ones.
- Freezer-friendly. Lemon bars can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer. See the notes box for how to freeze.
- Adaptable. Lemon bars can be changed up to suit different dietary needs or tastes. You can adapt to make gluten-free or dairy-free versions easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use fresh, ripe lemons, preferably organic, for the best flavor. Meyer lemons are a great choice due to their sweeter, less acidic taste.
Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor and quality, but if you’re in a pinch, bottled lemon juice can work. Be aware that the flavor may be slightly different.
Lemon bars can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. They can also be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days, but the texture may become softer.
Yes, you can freeze lemon bars for up to 3 months. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Toppings like powdered sugar, whipped cream, or meringue can add extra flair. For variations, consider adding raspberries, blueberries, or a layer of cream cheese to the filling.
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
What to do with leftovers
Cover with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Do not line the pan with aluminum foil. The acid from the lemon filling will react with the foil and give the bars a metallic flavor.
5-6 lemons freshly squeezed should produce a cup of juice and about 2 heaping tablespoons of zest.
You can substitute fresh lemons with concentrated lemon juice, but the flavor won’t be as good, especially if you leave out the lemon zest. The zest is where all the best lemon flavor is found!
Do not rush or skip the chill time, the bars finish setting up while cooling.
Cutting and serving
To get clean cuts, use a large sharp knife to cut the bars. Clean the knife after each cut.
Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Do not dust the bars but do cut them into squares prior to storing. To store, wrap the bar in plastic wrap and place into a large freezer bag or freezer container to freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then dust over with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Sugar. Granulated sugar is ideal for the crust, while powdered sugar (also known as confectioners sugar) is perfect for dusting the finished bars.
- Flour. All-purpose flour works well for the shortbread crust, but you can also explore other options like almond flour for a unique twist.
- Salt & Butter. Select high-quality, unsalted butter for a rich, buttery taste and tender crust. If you use salted butter, cut out the added salt. If you use unsalted, then add it.
- Cream of tartar. Cream of tartar creates a brighter tangy and sour flavor. If you prefer more of a tangy and sweet flavor, you can simply omit without changing the texture of the lemon layer.
- Eggs. Use room temperature eggs. Fresh, large eggs contribute to the rich, velvety texture of the lemon filling.
- Lemons. For best results and flavor, consider using Meyer lemons, known for their sweeter, less acidic taste. Regular lemons will also yield delicious results.
Styled Pin Header
- Large bowl and medium bowl for mixing the base and filling.
- Wooden spoon for stirring.
- Microplane. Use a microplane or fine grater to zest lemons, taking care to avoid the bitter white pith.
- Parchment paper. This will make removing the bars from the pan a lot easier.
- Baking Pan. I use a 9×13 size. Either metal pan or glass pan works.
How to make this recipe
Scroll for Recipe
The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.
Make the base
Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
Dump the dough into the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer over the entire bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until it just starts to become golden brown.
Make the filling
While the crust is baking, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, granulated sugar, salt, and zest in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then pour in the lemon juice. Whisk to combine until smooth and thick.
Pour over the baked crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes. The filling should be set and barely jiggle when you shake the pan. Let bars cool completely in the pan. Dust with powdered sugar.
Lift the bar out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Dust bars with powdered sugar. Cut into bars and serve.
More delicious summer desserts:
I love a good dessert bar, try my Sugar Cookie Bars or my Blackberry Pie Bars.
Check out this Chocolate Caramel Tart. A rich buttery chocolate cookie crust, gooey salted caramel, topped with a decadent and gorgeously rich ganache , this Chocolate Caramel Tart recipe is so dreamy.
For the Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.
Make the base
- Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
- Dump the dough into the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer over the entire bottom of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until it just starts to brown.
Make the filling
- While the crust is baking, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, granulated sugar, salt, and zest in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then pour in the lemon juice. Whisk to combine until smooth and thick.
- Pour over the baked crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set and barely jiggles when pan is shaken.
- Cool and dust with powdered sugar.
- Let bars cool completely in the pan.
- Lift the bar out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Dust bars with powdered sugar. Cut into bars and serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.