Lemon Bar Recipe

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If you’re looking for the best Lemon Bars with shortbread crust, this one is it. Easy cookie crust with a sweet and tangy lemon filling and lemon glaze, topped with powdered sugar!

Love lemons? You’ve got to try our lemon chess pie and this lemon coconut cake. Or give our easy lemon ricotta cookies a try soon.

Lemon bars stacked on white parchment paper.
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Why these Lemon Bars are Best

All lemon bars are NOT created equal. If you’re here looking for the secret to the best lemon bars, you’ve come to the right place.

For years I have tried DOZENS of lemon bar recipes, and they all vary in consistency and taste, tart, sweetness, moisture and dryness.

What I love most about a lemon bar, is a buttery shortbread cookie crust with a sweet, tart lemon topping. I’m open to glazes and powdered sugar.

Today’s recipe has been made in my kitchen at least a dozen times over the past year.

  • Buttery shortbread crust
  • Sweet and tangy lemon topping
  • Powdered sugar for a touch of sweetness to finish

Today’s bars have the perfect consistency. Thick lemon filling on top of a buttery shortbread cookie crust.

Only 7 Ingredients

Ingredients needed to make lemon bars.

You only need seven ingredients to make today’s lemon bars.

  • Lemon: It all starts with fresh lemons. DO NOT use bottled juice here. You’ll want to use the lemon zest too. Not sure how? Check out my tips and tricks on how to zest a lemon.
  • Butter: Margarine and lard will not work here. You need real butter for the most flavorful crust.
  • Flour: Used in both the crust and the filling, it gives structure to these bars. You can swap it out for King Arthur Measure for Measure to make these bars gluten free!
  • Powdered Sugar: sweetens the bars without a grainy texture.
  • Eggs: provides the fluffy texture in the lemon topping.

How to make Lemon Bars

Step by step photos showing how to make lemon bar crust.

Make the Crust:

  • Mixture may be crumbly. Use your hands or a pastry blender.
  • Press into bottom of prepared baking dish.

PRO TIP: Use a glass pan if possible. I find the flavor is best, and the citrus doesn’t interact with the metal pan! But a metal pan will still work!

Step by step photos showing how to make lemon bar filling.

Make the Filling:

While crust is baking, make the lemon filling. Use our guide on how to zest a lemon for best tips and tricks.

Pour filling over par-baked crust. Bake until edges are golden brown. DO NOT overbake.

Lemon bars cut into squares and topped with powdered sugar.

Top with icing and powdered sugar. The best of both worlds.

When chilled, remove from pan by lifting the foil (or parchment) and cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Lemon bars stacked on a white plate.

Lemon Dessert recipes

If you’re looking for some of the best, flavorful, crowd-pleasing lemon desserts, I’ve got you covered.

  • Lemon Cheesecake Bars top the list of favorite lemon treats. With layers of cookie crust, lemon cheesecake and lemon cookie bars this is one of the most delicious desserts ever, you won’t be able to stop eating these!
  • Creamy, delicious Lemon Cheesecake has the perfect consistency and is topped with a homemade Lemon Curd!
  • Imagine if a snickerdoodle cookie combined with a lemon. That’s what these soft and chewy Lemon Crinkle Cookies taste like! The perfect flavor combination!
  • Lemon Hand Pies: flaky, baked hand pies with a sweet lemon filling! Don’t forget the dusting of powdered sugar on top!

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Lemon Bars Recipe

4.70 from 40 votes
By: Aimee
If you’re looking for the best Lemon Bars recipe, this one is it. Buttery shortbread crust with a sweet and tangy lemon filling!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients 

For the crust:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter cold
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest about 1 lemon worth

For the topping:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar plus extra for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
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Instructions 

  • Line an 8 x 8 inch (or 9″ square pan) with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cut together the cold butter, all-purpose flour, and powdered sugar. Mixture may be crumbly. Press into bottom of prepared baking dish.
  • Bake crust in oven for about 15 minutes. 
  • While crust is baking, make the lemon filling. Combine granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  • Remove crust from oven and immediately pour mixture over the baked crust. Return baking pan to oven for an additional 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  • Remove bars from oven. To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with lemon juice. Drizzle over warm bars. Cool completely then refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  • When chilled, remove from pan by lifting the foil (or parchment) and cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Notes

  • Use real lemons for the lemon juice. Bottle lemon juice doesn’t have the same fresh flavor!
  • Chill your lemon bars. For best results, lemon bars have an enhanced lemon flavor when chilled, plus it let’s them firm up some so they are easier to cut.
  • Speaking of cutting, the filling in lemon bars can be a little finicky when cutting. If you want PERFECT lemon squares, pop the bars in the freezer for half an hour before slicing.
  • Help! My powdered sugar has absorbed into my lemon bars. No fear. This happens. First, wait until the bars have cooled and chilled before adding your powdered sugar. It’s best to sprinkle generously right before serving. But, if it absorbs again, just add more powdered sugar, you can’t go wrong!
  • See blog post for more recipt tips and tricks.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar, Calories: 223kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 35mg, Sugar: 26g
Course: Brownies and Bars
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Easy Brownies and Bars

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The BEST Lemon Bars with a shortbread crust and tangy sweet lemon filling!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on November 25, 2018

Comments & Reviews

  1. I have been making a version of Lemon Squares for years. I usually keep a batch in the freezer for ” just in case” moments.

  2. Your lemon bars look amazing! I’ve never tried making them but your recipe seems pretty straightforward. I think the husband will love these, along with my Mom.

  3. I made these lemon bars for an anniversary party this past weekend and they were such a hit. One lady commented that they were a little piece of heaven. 

  4. Im looking for a recipe where lemon bar crust is somewhat soft and moist and not hard or crunchy….if that make sense. What is the texture of the bars like? Moisture?

  5. Please include nutritional facts with your recipes.  I have family members who need to keep track of sugar and sodium   Thanks

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