Lemon Bars

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These classic Lemon Bars have a buttery shortbread crust and a simple lemon filling – a little sweet, a little tart. The recipe is easy to make and the bars are easy to freeze!

Lemon bars cut into squares on a baking sheet.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled lemon bar ingredients in bowls.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. First, make the easy shortbread crust. Simply combine the dry ingredients together, and then cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives. The dough should resemble coarse crumbs. With your fingertips, press the dough into a greased or foil- or parchment-lined pan. Try and get the crust as even as possible. You can press a flat-bottomed glass on the dough to really smooth the surface down.
    A shortbread crust for lemon bars.
  2. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden. While the crust bakes, make the filling. It’s easy. Mix the eggs, sugar, small amount of flour, cream, lemon juice, zest, together until creamy. Pour the filling over the hot crust.
    Lemon filling being poured on a shortbread crust to make lemon bars.
  3. Pop everything back in the oven for another 15 minutes. The center should look ‘set’ when you take it out of the oven. Let the bars cool before sprinkling with powdered sugar. Then cut into square for lemon squares, triangles for lemon triangles, or bar shapes for, you know, lemon bars.
    Lemon bars with powdered sugar being dusted on top.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Lemon juice yield: One lemon yields roughly 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon zest. To make one batch of bars, you’ll need 12 tablespoons, so buy at least 6 lemons.
  • Juicy: To squeeze every drop of lemon juice out of each fruit, roll thrm on the counter roughly, pressing hard on each lemon. This will help to loosen up the juices before squeezing.
  • Chill before slicing: They cut like a dream when they’re cold, so I suggest you chill them before cutting.
  • Gluten-free: It’s the easiest thing in the world! You can make gluten-free lemon bars by switching out your favorite GF flour. It should turn out beautifully.
  • Bottled lemon juice: Fresh juice is recommended, but sometimes you need lemon bars and all you have is the bottle. If a recipe calls for the juice of 1 lemon, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of bottled juice.
  • Make ahead: These are fine made ahead, lightly wrapped, and stored in the refrigerator.
  • Storing: Since lemon bars are made with a custard (egg and dairy), you need to refrigerate them. They are fine to serve at room temperature if made the same day, or left out a few hours if they are on a dessert plate at a party.
  • Freezing: To freeze, cut and wrap each bar individually in waxed paper or plastic wrap, then stow away in a freezer bag to pull out when you need a little sunshine in your life.

Lemon bars cut into squares on a baking sheet.

More delicious bar recipes:

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Lemon bars cut into squares on a baking sheet.

Lemon Bars

These classic Lemon Bars have a buttery shortbread crust and a simple lemon filling - a little sweet, a little tart. The recipe is easy to make and the bars are easy to freeze!
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24 bars
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 168
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients 

For the crust:

For the filling:

Instructions 

To make the crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or coat well with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
  • Press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake until the edges are golden, about 18 to 20 minutes.

To make the filling:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and half and half until smooth. Pour filling over hot crust.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more or until center is set. Cool on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over top. Cut into 24 bars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Notes

  1. Lemon juice yield: One lemon yields roughly 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon zest. To make one batch of bars, you'll need 12 tablespoons, so buy at least 6 lemons.
  2. Juicy: To squeeze every drop of lemon juice out of each fruit, roll thrm on the counter roughly, pressing hard on each lemon. This will help to loosen up the juices before squeezing.
  3. Chill before slicing: They cut like a dream when they’re cold, so I suggest you chill them before cutting.
  4. Gluten-free: It’s the easiest thing in the world! You can make gluten-free lemon bars by switching out your favorite GF flour. It should turn out beautifully.
  5. Bottled lemon juice: Fresh juice is recommended, but sometimes you need lemon bars and all you have is the bottle. If a recipe calls for the juice of 1 lemon, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of bottled juice.
  6. Make ahead: These are fine made ahead, lightly wrapped, and stored in the refrigerator.
  7. Storing: Since lemon bars are made with a custard (egg and dairy), you need to refrigerate them. They are fine to serve at room temperature if made the same day, or left out a few hours if they are on a dessert plate at a party.
  8. Freezing: To freeze, cut and wrap each bar individually in waxed paper or plastic wrap, then stow away in a freezer bag to pull out when you need a little sunshine in your life.

Nutrition

Serving: 1barCalories: 168kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 103mgPotassium: 35mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 302IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Easily the best lemon bars I’ve ever made. The tart and sweet ratios provided a just right bite. The filling set up easily, while the crust stayed buttery and tender.5 stars