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Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are a classic that no one can resist! A buttery crust is layered with a rich, sweet-tart lemon filling, then dusted with powdered sugar.

Stack of 4 lemon bars on parchment paper

Easy Homemade Lemon Bars

My sister gave me this lemon bar recipe a while back, but I had put it in my ever-growing stack and managed not to make it for, well… years. I’ve never had much luck with lemon bars. Today, though, its briefness and simplicity beckoned me. And am I ever glad it did! The flavor is subtle and just sweet enough. The crust is very light. The filling isn’t sticky, as I’ve found with some other lemon bars. And did I mention simple? Because there’s that too!

Basically, if you’ve had trouble finding the perfect lemon bar recipe, this is the one. It’s easy to make and it has the ideal balance of flavors and textures for maximum deliciousness! Whether you make it for a party or for yourself, you’re in for a treat.

(If you have a weakness for lemony desserts, try my Mini Lemon Pound Cakes and Ginger Lemon Hand Pies, too!)

Overhead view of lemon bar ingredients

What You’ll Need

All you need for this recipe are a few lemons and a bunch of pantry staples!

For the crust:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Butter – The butter should be cold, which ensures a perfect crust.

For the filling:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon juice – The number of lemons you’ll need depends on their size, but about 3 average-sized lemons should yield about 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Learn more: How to Zest and Juice Lemons.

How to Make Lemon Bars

This is one of those gloriously easy dessert recipes that can be made in about an hour. (We all have an hour to spare for homemade lemon bars, right?!)

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper with butter or nonstick spray to keep the bars from sticking.

Make the crust. Whisk together the flour and confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter, and incorporate it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or a fork until coarse crumbs form.

Bake the crust. Transfer the crust mixture to the prepared pan, then press it into the bottom. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Overhead view of dry ingredients in small bowl with spoon

Combine the dry filling ingredients. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.

Finish the filling. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir in the flour mixture, then pour the filling over the crust.

Overhead view of cut lemon bars on parchment before adding powdered sugar

Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or the edges are lightly browned and the center is just set.

Overhead view of cut lemon bars on parchment paper

Cool and cut. Let the pan cool on a wire rack until the bars reach room temperature. (Learn more: Why Every Baker Needs Wire Cooling Racks.) Dust with confectioners’ sugar, carefully lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper, and cut into squares.

Overhead view of lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar after cutting

Tips for Success

Here’s how to make sure your lemon bars turn out perfect every time.

  • Use cold butter. You can even pop it in the freezer for a bit. This ensures that the crust is tender, not hard.
  • Let the bars cool before cutting. If they’re not completely cool, you won’t be able to get nice, clean squares. 
  • Refrigerate if needed. If you’re in a rush, you can expedite the cooling process by transferring the lemon bars to the refrigerator to chill, then cut.
One lemon bar square stacked onto another with others in background

How to Store

Store lemon bars in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I recommend letting them sit at room temperature for a few minutes before eating, which brings out the bright lemon flavor of the filling and the butteriness of the crust.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze lemon bars in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 2 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about an hour.

Lemon bar on plate with fork; fork has piece of bar on it

Lemon Bars

Yield 24 2-inch bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Lemon bars are a classic that no one can resist! A buttery crust is layered with a rich, sweet-tart lemon filling, then dusted with powdered sugar.

Stack of 4 lemon bars on parchment paper

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (55g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted (plus more for serving)
  • 3/4 cup (170g) butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9" x 13" x 2" baking pan with parchment paper, and lightly grease the paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour and confectioners' sugar. Add the butter, and mix with a pastry blender or a fork. The mixture should be coarse and meal-like.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, and press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

To make the filling:

  1. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Add the flour mixture, and mix well.
  3. Pour over the partially baked crust. Bake 25-30 minutes, or the edges are lightly browned and the center is just set.
  4. Place the pan on a wire rack, and allow the bars to cool to room temperature. Dust with more confectioners' sugar and cut into bars.

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    4 Comments on “Lemon Bars”

  1. Lemon bars are one of my all-time favorite things to eat! Well, anything with lemon is my favorite 😉 For some reason I’ve never made them myself but maybe I’ll try this recipe.

  2. Extremely delicious, I got loads of compliments and it finished extremely quickly! I reduced the icing sugar by a third in the crust, and I probably will reduce the sugar in the filling a lot more next time – maybe a scant 1 and a half cups? I had to bake it a lot, lot longer than 25 minutes too, but it was definitely worth it. This will be my go-to recipe when I want something quick that the whole family can share, and I don’t feel like running out to the grocery store for special ingredients.

  3. Syin, I’m glad they were a hit!

  4. these were so delicious!!! i tried them with 1 1/2 cups sugar and a bit more lemon juice, and they were off the charts! thanks for posting the recipe!

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