Lemon Crumb Bars

filed under: Bars · Dessert · Food + Drink on April 23, 2022

Lemon Crumb Bars are dessert bars filled with lemon filling and flavor in between two layers of an oatmeal crust. They are one of the BEST lemon desserts I have ever had! If you love lemon desserts, be sure to also try my Lemon Bars and Lemon Brownies!

Lemon Crumb Bars

When life gives you lemons, make these Lemon Crumb Bars! They start with the oat crust from my Apple Cream Cheese Bars (without the cinnamon). And then the oatmeal layers are separated by a lemon filling that you can taste in every bite. There is a fantastic fusion of texture and flavor in these bars… they are unlike any other lemon dessert on my website!

Stack of Lemon Crumb Bars

Bars Ingredients

There are two parts to this recipe–the oatmeal layers and the lemon filling.

Oats: Use quick-cooking oats. Quick oats are more processed than old-fashioned oats, which allows the oats to cook faster. 

Sweetened Condensed Milk: Be sure to check the labels carefully when buying sweetened condensed milk. Do not use evaporated milk in this recipe.

Lemon Juice: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 5 lemons for the best taste. We tested this recipe using bottled lemon juice, but there was a difference in flavor. I will get to that later.

Lemon Zest: For even more lemon flavor in each bite, add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the filling.

Adding Lemon Filling to Lemon Crumb Bars

Making the Crust (And the Crumble Topping!)

The first thing you will want to do is get the crust made; you will be baking that for 12-15 minutes and letting it cool a bit before adding the filling. To make the crust, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.

Pour the melted butter over the mixture and mix together until crumbly, being careful to not overmix!

This is important – measure out 2 cups of the crust to be used for the topping and set that aside. Pour the remaining crust into a lined 9×9-inch baking dish. Press it firmly to the bottom of the pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until it is a golden brown. Set the crust aside as you make the filling.

Sprinkling Crumb onto Lemon Crumb Bars

How to Store Lemon Crumb Bars

Lemon Crumb Bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If you store them in the refrigerator, they will last up to 5 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. 

Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice vs. Bottled Lemon Juice

As I stated earlier, we tested these bars two times–one time using freshly squeezed lemon juice and the second time using store-bought juice. When taste-tested side by side, the bars that were made with freshly squeezed juice won by a landslide. Of course, there is always one odd one out, as they say, who preferred the bottled juice. 

If using the bottled juice, you will notice more of an artificial lemon flavor compared to freshly squeezed juice. However, if you only have bottled juice, the bars are still lemony and tasty.

Fork Taking a Bite of Lemon Crumb Bar on a White Plate

5 from 5 votes
Lemon Crumb Bars
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Chilling Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 55 mins

Lemon Crumb Bars are dessert bars filled with lemon filling and flavor in between two layers of an oatmeal crust.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: Lemon Crumb Bars
Servings: 12
Calories: 368 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke--iambaker.net
Oat Crust
  • 1 cup (80g) quick-cooking oats
  • cups (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks or 170g) butter. melted
Lemon Filling
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup (115g) freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 5 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper.

Oat Crust
  1. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour melted butter over the mixture and mix together until crumbly. Be careful not to overmix so it will be crumbly for the top later.

  2. Measure out ½ of the mixture (about 2 cups), and set it aside to reserve for topping.

  3. Pour the remaining mixture into the lined baking dish. Press firmly to the bottom of the pan.

  4. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until a golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the lemon filling.

Lemon Filling
  1. In a large bowl, add sweetened condensed milk, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  1. Spread lemon mixture over the top of the baked oat mixture.

  2. Crumble the reserved oat mixture over the top.
  3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  4. Let come to room temperature and then refrigerate 1 hour before serving. (Best enjoyed at room temperature.)

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  • Reshia Gregory says:

    I loved these! My husband and grown children loved these!
    Thank you so much! This is our new favorite for every occasion! You’re always coming to the rescue for me!

  • Harki says:

    Thank you for including the metric measurements, where I bake here in Australia it’s metric, and I find cups to be tricky and changeable and mean different things in different places, eg our tablespoon is 20ml. I plan to make this yummy recipe!

  • Michelle says:

    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to make these.

  • Blanche says:

    Love your ideas out of the box

  • Kris says:

    You may want confirm your metric measurements for the dry ingredients.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thanks, Kris! I got that fixed. 🙂

  • Beverly Jean Beene says:

    I love Lemons

  • Marilynn Green says:

    I stopped buying fresh lemons years ago. Now, I buy Minute Maid FROZEN REAL lemon juice. It is NOT what the bottled “reconstituted” stuff is, but actual FRESH lemon juice that has been frozen. I always have 3-4 bottles of it in the freezer. I’m not a fan of “zest” so keeping this in the freezer lets me make “lemon” anything any time I want. And I used it in this recipe, awesome! When I used to buy lemons, I’d juice them all to keep them from getting old, and put in the freezer in a freezer container
    , now Minute Maid does that for me………..LOVE IT!

  • Lee says:

    how is this with gluten free flour?:

  • Nancy Strawn says:

    Does this recipe do all right being doubled?

  • Felicia Adams says:

    Hi there I like this recipe. I
    Will put some whipped cream on top instead of the crumbs.

    I enjoy your recipes.

  • Jacky says:

    Great lemony taste

  • Megan Cover says:

    I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9×12 for 45 minutes. It’s amazing!

  • Tambeaux says:

    Oh my stars! I’ve made MANY a lemon bar recipe. THIS is the best. The Holy Grail of lemon bars!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Right?? Agree 100%! Thank you!

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.