My favorite EASY lemon bars recipe with just the right ratio of buttery shortbread crust and creamy lemon filling. They are always a crowd favorite

I can’t be the only one out there looking for an excuse to bake some sweets, right?  If you love these kinds of “bar” recipes, check out my Key Lime Pie Bars, Pecan Pie Bars, and Twix bars!

A stack of two lemon bars with powdered sugar on top and more lemon bars in the background.

What I LOVE about these Lemon Bars:

  • Basic pantry ingredients.  There are only a few ingredients needed to make these lemon bars including flour, sugar, butter, lemon juice, salt, baking powder and eggs.
  • Chewy shortbread crust: These lemon bars are extra thick, soft and chewy, all made possible by the texture of the shortbread crust.
  • Creamy lemon filling. The filling is perfectly sweet and creamy, without being overly “tangy”.

How to make easy lemon bars:

1. Make crust.

  • Mix the butter and powdered sugar together until well combined.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix just until combined.
  • Press the dough evenly into the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
Four overhead process photos for making a shortbread crust for lemon bars, including making the dough from butter, powdered sugar, flour, and pressing it into a baking dish lined with parchment paper.

2. Make the filling.  Combine the lemon zest and sugar in a bowl.  Add lemon juice, flour, baking powder, and eggs and mix well until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Bake.  Pour the lemon filling into the baked crust and bake again for 20 more minutes or until the lemon filling is set.

A collage of four overhead photos showing the process for making lemon bars, including making the lemon filling with lemon zest, sugar, eggs, and flour, pouring the filling over a baked shortbread crust, and a photo of the cooked lemon bars cut into squares.

4. Cool.  Remove the lemon bars from the oven and allow them to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar and serving.

A lemon bar with a bite taken out of it.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: Make lemon bars up to 2 days in advance.  Allow to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator.

To freeze: Allow lemon bars to cool completely and cut into squares.  Store in an even layer in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 2 months.

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Recipe

A stack of two lemon bars with powdered sugar on top and more lemon bars in the background.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 45 mins

Ingredients
 
 

Shortbread Crust:

  • 1/2 cup butter , at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • dash of salt

Lemon Filling:

  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8” pan with parchment paper, or grease with cooking spray and set aside
  • For the crust: In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed, just until combined. 
    Four overhead process photos for making a shortbread crust for lemon bars, including making the dough from butter, powdered sugar, flour, and pressing it into a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  • Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • While the crust cools, make the lemon filling. 
    Mix the lemon zest and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, flour, baking powder, and eggs. Mix until well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over crust.
    A collage of four overhead photos showing the process for making lemon bars, including making the lemon filling with lemon zest, sugar, eggs, and flour, pouring the filling over a baked shortbread crust, and a photo of the cooked lemon bars cut into squares.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 more minutes, or until the filling has set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar before cutting and serving. Store lemon bars in the refrigerator.

Notes

Make ahead instructions: Make lemon bars up to 2 days in advance.  Allow to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator.
Freezing instructions: Allow lemon bars to cool completely and cut into squares.  Store in an even layer in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 2 months.  
 

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 108mgPotassium: 59mgSugar: 25gVitamin A: 385IUVitamin C: 1.9mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg

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Adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Baked these today as part of my Christmas baking. Lemon bars are always a tradition around Christmas in my family, along with way to many other sweet treats. The flavor of these are perfect. I should have baked them about 10 minutes longer as they weren’t quite finished in the center. I also doubled the recipe and cooked in a 9×13, so that could also account for why they would have been better cooked for 30 minutes instead of 20. It was my first time cooking lemon bars (my late grandma used to make them and were one of her favorites) so I thought they looked done but the center was still slightly gooey. They will surely get eaten either way. Ive tried many of your recipes and not one I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed, thank you Lauren!

    1. I typically bake it the same and watch it closely towards the end. The standard advice is to lower baking temp 25 degrees and bake longer.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband loves lemons, and he loved these! The other day day when I was out walking a lady gave me some lemons so this was perfect!

  3. 5 stars
    I picked a couple of lemons from my son’s Myer lemon tree while visiting in SF. Because Myer lemons were sweeter, I only used 1/2 C sugar in the filling. These bars came out perfectly tangy. Thank you for sharing your prize winner recipe. I believe my daughter in law will make them again.

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