Lemon Bars

5 from 2 votes

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You are going to love the bright, tasty, shortbread crusted, deliciousness that is Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are one of my favorite go-to desserts because they are incredibly easy and they taste so refreshing. They are such a happy little treat, especially in the cold, dark winter months!

lemon bars sprinkled with powdered sugar
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Lemon Bars

Lemon bars always bring a smile to my face because they are just cheery! We all need a little extra happiness nowadays right?! 

These are perfect to bring to any type of shower, gathering, or picnic because they don’t take a lot of effort, they are easy to transport, and look so pretty.

I love the zingy citrus taste combined with a buttery shortbread bottom. It’s a match made in heaven. 

top view of lemon bars on wood cutting board

Do lemon bars have to be refrigerated?

Lemon bars are fine to keep at room temperature if they are going to be consumed within a few hours. If not, I would refrigerate them. They also freeze incredibly well too. 

How do I know when lemon bars are done baking?

Lemon bars can be a bit tricky because you don’t want to overcook them but you also don’t want them to be a runny mess.  They are done when the center isn’t wiggly and the edges begin to turn brown. 

Hand holding a lemon bar

What is the best way to remove lemon bars from the pan and cut them?

Before you assemble the lemon bars, you will want to spray your pan with non-stick spray and then line the pan with parchment paper or foil. Leave extra paper on each side of the pan that will act as handles when you are trying to remove from the pan. 

The easiest way to remove lemon bars from the pan is to run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen them up a bit. Now grasp the “handles” on each side and place the bars on a cutting board.

Wait until the lemon bars are completely cooled before attempting to cut-that will spare some mess! Cut into bars, pushing the knife straight through. I like to rinse my knife in hot water between each slice to get a nice, clean cut. 

Use fresh lemons vs lemons from a bottle. It makes a big difference. 


  • Lemon – use fresh lemons here, it makes all the difference!
  • Butter – this helps to make the crust like a shortbread cookie.
  • Flour – another simple ingredient to make the crust.
  • Salt – this helps to balance all the sweet flavors.
  • Sugar – this makes that tart lemon into a sweet dessert.
  • Eggs – these thicken and add creamy texture to the lemon layer.
  • Powdered Sugar – perfect for sprinkling on top, it’s iconic!
top view of lemon bars on wood cutting board with knife and lemons around it

More lemon desserts:

lemon bars sprinkled with powdered sugar
5 from 2 votes

Lemon Bars

These bright tangy lemon bars are made with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, a shortbread crust, and a splash of cream in the lemon layer for a wonderfully creamy balance. 
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 16 bars


For the Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the Filling:

  • 2 large eggs plus 7 large yolks
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ grated lemon zest plus ⅔ cup juice, (4 lemons)
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • confectioners’ sugar
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  • Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 2 long sheets of aluminum foil. Lay the foil in the pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over the edges of the pan. Push the foil into the corners and sides of the pan and grease foil. 
  • For the crust: In a food processor, combine flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until combined (about 3 seconds).
  • Cut butter into 8 pieces and sprinkle over top of flour mixture. Pulse until mixture is a pale yellow and crumbly (about 8 pulses). Sprinkle mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer.
  • Bake about 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking, until crust starts to brown.
  • For the filling: While crust is baking, whisk eggs and yolks together in medium saucepan. Add granulated sugar and whisk until combined.
  • Whisk in lemon zest, juice, and salt.
  • Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and mixture thickens slightly registering 170℉, about 5 minutes.
  • Immediately strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into bowl and stir in cream.
  • Pour the warm lemon mixture over hot crust. Bake 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the filling is shiny and opaque. The center should jiggle slightly when shaken. 
  • Let bars cool completely, about 2 hours.
  • Lift the bars from the pan using the foil overhang. Cut into squares, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve. 
  • Keep leftovers in the fridge and add additional powdered sugar before serving.



Serving: 1 of 16 bars, Calories: 218kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 135mg, Sodium: 80mg, Potassium: 37mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 450IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg
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This recipe comes from the America’s Test Kitchen New Family Cookbook. It’s a great book full of great recipes I’m always happy to share with you.

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1 Comment

  1. deb c says:

    Lemons going on the shopping list 🙂