The Best Lemon Bars

filed under: Pies + Tarts on February 2, 2016

This perfect Lemon Bars Recipe has two important things; the perfect amount of lemon and a rich buttery crust. I add a bit more lemon juice than most, but it’s what sets my lemon bar recipe apart! If you love these you will also love my Orange Bars!

Lemon Bars Recipe

Growing up in Minnesota I knew these as “lemon squares”. It’s just what my grandma called them! They were served at most potlucks, Thanksgiving, Christmas, church fundraisers, and definitely bake sales.

So what is a lemon square/lemon bar? They are tart, sweet, and buttery perfection, all rolled into one! I find myself making these decadent bars all year long, but especially in the winter. There is something so refreshing about lemon desserts when there is snow on the ground. (which is half the year when you live in Minnesota!)

4.86 from 14 votes
The Best Lemon Bars
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
2 hrs
Total Time
50 mins

This perfect Lemon Bars Recipe has two important things; the perfect amount of lemon and a rich buttery crust. I add a bit more lemon juice than most, but it’s what sets my lemon bar recipe apart!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon bars
Servings: 12
Calories: 238 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (32g) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your hands. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan lined with foil.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden.
  1. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Crack eggs into a separate bowl, then whisk them into the sugar and flour mixture. Add 2/3 cup lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.

  2. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the oven. (Do not cover)
  3. Allow bars to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours then dust with confectioners sugar.
  4. Cut into squares and serve.

Recipe Video

Lemon Bar Recipe

How to Make Lemon Bars

Lemon Bar recipe (below)

9×13 pan (I love this recipe in an 8×10 pan as well, the crust is wonderfully thick)

aluminum foil

Room temperature ingredients are key! I teach you how to quickly warm up butter and eggs here.

Lining your pan with foil is optional. You can also use parchment paper, I would just make sure it extends up over the sides for easy bar removal.

Only have 2 lemons but want to get as much juice as possible? Take the lemon and roll it on the counter roughly, pressing hard on the lemon. This will help to loosen up the juices before extraction.

Try to get your crust as even as possible! In case you were wondering how to make lemon bar crust, I will share my secret! I press the crumbs into the pan then go back with a hard flat surface (like a drinking glass) and press down on the crust. This helps to create an even surface.

Feel free to use only 1/2 cup of lemon juice the first time you are making these bars. I just happen to like that awesome extra lip-smackin-kick of the real lemon juice and like to use a lot!

Make these bars Gluten-Free simply by using an interchangeable Gluten-Free flour. I used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend and it worked beautifully.


Lemon Squares

How to Store Lemon Bars

While these bars can be kept out at room temperature for several hours, they should be refrigerated if you can’t finish off the pan the same day you make it. If you know that you are going to be storing them, try to only cut off the pieces you need, not cutting up the entire pan into bars. (Hint: This also means nice crisp cuts when you serve them cold!) I usually place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the bars and then cover with foil. Lemon bars can be stored for several days in the refrigerator.

If you are freezing the lemon bars I like to cut them into individual size portions and then wrap each bar with plastic wrap. Date it and stack neatly in your freezer! To thaw, either place bars in the refrigerator the night before using or leave on the counter to come to room temperature.


The Best Lemon Bar Recipe

Love lemon desserts? Try any of these:

Raspberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Surprise Cake

Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Easy Lemon Cupcakes

Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

The Best Lemon Bars!

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  • Shirley says:

    Love your recipes really look forward to them ..

  • Wanda says:

    Looks so delicious, eager to get them made. Yum yum.

  • Lisa Ritzheimer says:

    Do these need to be refrigerated? How do you store these?

  • Brenda Bucco says:

    How many lemons do I buy to get 2/3 cup of lemon juice?

    • Grizzy says:

      I used 2 large lemons

  • Rebecca Taylor says:

    I made these for a co-workers birthday and everybody loved them! I will definitely be adding these to my cache of favorite recipes!

  • Joanne Pietrzak says:

    Your lemon bars look delicious, so l will be making them for Thanksgiving, to take them to my sons’ in laws hse.

  • Carolyn Chambers says:


    • Amanda says:

      It says 4 eggs right in the filling ingredients.

  • Joy A Gill says:

    My son comes every Sunday for dinner. It’s a sacred day set aside for family. He rarely asks or requests anything, but he requests this dessert. Thank you for bringing memories of my Mom, his Nana, that make us smile. She would bake this just for me when I was little, then for my son. We love this, thank you so much!

  • Holly Tuhey says:

    Question. Once you take the lemon bars out of the oven, you will have to let them cool before going in fridge.
    How long before you can stick them in the fridge you’ve got a piping hot glass pan!

  • Louise says:

    Omg these hit the spot!! The best lemon bars indeed 🙂 Happy pregnant lady right here 🙂

  • Carmen says:

    Hi I just took my Lemon bars out from the oven. I REALLY NEED TO KNOW NOW. Why don’t they have a yellow color? They seem to have a coating on. What did I do wrong. HELP!!!

  • Kris Schamberger says:

    My mother made these and taught me the only way to truly get a lemon flavor is to include some lemon rind. You don’t have any rind in your recipe so I am very sceptical that it would be lemony enough for me and my family.

  • Jessica says:

    I made these Christmas Eve, and got lots of complements. My husband made these using a Paula Dean recipe but they were too sweet and we could not finish them. These bars are easy enough to make with the kids and perfect for the palate, ours anyhow! Thank you for this recipe.

  • Anderson S.c. says:

    Yummy….I can’t wait to try..

  • Angela says:

    I made them for the first time today in a 9X13″ pan. They came out with a thick bottom that was so delicious. I over baked the crust by an extra five minutes. The crust’s flavor reminds me of Scotland’s Walker’s Biscuits. The lemon filling wasn’t as tart as I would have liked. Next time I may try adding a little lemon zest. All in all I will make this again!

  • Elizabeth says:

    How about lime bars? May I use the same recipe?

  • Elizabeth says:

    May I use limes?

  • nora card says:

    Im going to try this one. I have my mom’s recipe a bit different and they came out horrible tho hers were always YUM! ? – do you put lemon mixture onto hot crust or let it cool some

  • Dani says:

    I’m not going to give this a star rating, since I made several adjustments to the recipe. I’m a professional pastry chef, but I’ve struggled to find my “holy grail” lemon bar recipe. This is the closest I’ve found, with the following tweaks: add 1/4 tsp salt to the crust, huge difference! Use Meyer lemons and absolutely add the zest!! Also add a pinch of salt to the lemon filling along with the sugar. Next time I’ll cut down the sugar by about 1/4 if using Meyers, the bars were a tad too sweet for me. I’ll also bake the crust quite a bit longer, shortbread is really much better over-done than under-done.

  • Denise Aziz says:

    Salted or unsalted butter in lemon bars! So frustrating when salted v. unsalted butter in recipes is not called out. Thanks!

  • Jan says:

    These lemon bars when so easy to make and absolutely delicious!!! If you are a lemon lover definitely make these bars.

  • Patty Butterfield says:

    Great recipe but the multitude of pop-up ads on iambaker ruins the site! Please stop with the ads, they make it unbearable to view the page. Not worth it to me.

  • Barbara says:

    Can’t wait to try your recipe. Looks delicious.

  • Delmeda pena says:

    Will try your recipe they look delicious.

  • Naveen says:

    Hi Instead of lemon juice can we add lemon cardial

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