The Best Lemon Bars

filed under: Bars · Dessert on March 10, 2020

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!)

One Lemon Bar Dusted with confectioners sugar

How to Make Lemon Bars

Lemon Bar recipe (full 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. Out of eggs? Check out some Egg Substitutes to try in this recipe!
  • 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 Stacked 5 high

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.

 

One Lemon Bar straight on view

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

4.92 from 23 votes
bar1200
The Best Lemon Bars
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Chill
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
Ingredients
CRUST
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
FILLING
  • 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
Instructions
CRUST
  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.
FILLING
  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

The Best Lemon Bars!

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Comments

  • Gina says:

    I have made this recipe a few times now. It is an absolute show stopper. Everyone loves them. They are just the right amount of tart and sweet. I love them ! If you want to dazzle a crowd, make these. They do not disappoint!

    • Amanda says:

      Awesome to hear Gina!!

  • Anna Ships says:

    This lemon bar recipe is the best I’ve ever tried (others have produced too much crust, not lemony enough, wouldn’t bake well when more lemon juice was added). I actually baked mine in a 9×9 pan and so approximately three-quartered all the listed ingredients (used 3-4 lemons) and it turned out perfect and ended up baking closer to 23 minutes. It is definitely on the lemony side but that is what I love! It isn’t too tart and still is buttery and sweet.

  • Claire says:

    Ive made these and they came out very mushy what am i doing wrong?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      The lemon part should be very creamy, but the crust should not be mushy. Maybe try baking it more?

  • Claire says:

    My recipe is about 30 years old was my aunts hers asked for confectioners sugar 1/2 cup mixed in with flour to make crust the crust was fine but my liquid was delicious but it asked for a 15/10 pan which was a big mistake it all flowed over, I’m going to try this recipe and see how it comes out the only difference is it asks for 2 cups sugar

  • Claire says:

    Thank you for your response to get that nice slice did you use hot water to slice with knife?

  • Faith says:

    So disappointed all I can taste is butter.

  • Grace Epping says:

    do you know how long these store successfully in the freezer?

  • Coleen Mielke says:

    Delicious. I cut the crust ingredients in half and it came out great.

  • Reshika says:

    Hi thank you for sharing however I’m vegetarian, is it possible to have an eggless recipe for lemon bars.

  • Jo Gibson says:

    Thanks for these recipes. I adore lemon flavor and look forward to baking the squares, cakes, etc. Thank you

  • Claudia says:

    Fantastic! Love the lip smacking lemon taste! I made these several times and they are the first to disappear! Thank you for sharing, I have shared this many times thanks to you!

  • Yansi says:

    Excelent recipe, and easy .Taste delicius, i use only 1/2 cup of lemon juice . Thanks for sharing.

  • Tara says:

    OMG!!!! This the best recipe ever.

  • Vicki Knutson says:

    do you have a recipe for pumpkin cookies?

  • Tabita Mbewe says:

    Yummy recipe I need to try it thxz for sharing with as

  • Yolanda Royal says:

    I love this recipe, made it for my family for Christmas a couple of years back they’re asking for more.

  • Mary Louise says:

    Great recipe like always! A couple of twists I included was; added some salt to crust, added pure lemon extract and grated lemon rind into mixture. Delicious as always! Thank you for the great recipes!

  • Elena says:

    Hi! Can they be left out of the fridge? I want to sent them as a parcel via courier…thanks in advance

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, they should be ok. 🙂

  • Regina says:

    My lemon bars had a big crack, any idea what could cause that? Super yummy still though!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Oh dear! Sometimes that can happen from overbaking, there might be a hot spot in your oven. (I had that happen in my old oven.) Yes, hopefully, they still tasted good!

  • Dee says:

    I made this recipe and there was not enough filling. More crust than filling.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      That is clearly evident in all the images for the recipe. If you want more filling you are welcome to double it. 🙂

  • Jay Jones says:

    Absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Zoe says:

    Wow. I made these squares and literally the first thing my lemon loving husband said as his eyes lit up with deliciousness was, “you should sell these!” Haha! Legit, they might be the most delicious thing I have ever baked and I bake often!
    I did cut down the lemon juice to roughly 1/2cup instead of 2/3cup and I also did slightly less sugar for the topping & added a tsp. of vanilla extract. YUM! Thank you so much for this recipe. It’s cafe quality for sure and will be made again and again in my household.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      I work with iambaker and am happy to help out with questions!
      Hi, Zoe! I am so glad they turned out, and I love your adaptations to the recipe. Have a great day!

  • Eli says:

    Unsalted butter?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      I work with iambaker and am happy to help out with questions!
      Hi, Eli! Both unsalted and salted butter would work in the lemon bars recipe. Enjoy!

  • Cheryl Miller says:

    Can you do any substitutions in this recipe like use almond flour instead of regular flour and a sugar substitute instead of sugar to cut the calories and carbs down?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Cheryl! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. You can use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour, but we have not tested any sugar substitutes on this recipe. Have a great day!

  • Jennifer Lee says:

    When we poured the lemon onto the crust, the crust bubbles up..?!?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Jennifer! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Here are a couple of things you could try if the crust is bubbling up. Let the pie crust chill in the refrigerator for about a half an hour before baking it. About halfway through baking it, dock the crust (poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork). I hope this helps, and have a great day!