With only a few ingredients and a blender the Best Lemon Bars come together in minutes. A sweet cookie crust adds the perfect touch to the tart and creamy lemon curd filling. These easy lemon bars are perfect for spring parties, showers, picnics, or bake sales.
Add this strawberry cream pie recipe and your dessert table will be full of lemon dessert goodness.
Why This Works
These shortbread lemon bars are responsible for changing my mind about sweet and sour desserts. I used to avoid all sour things because they would make me pucker.
Even thinking about lemon desserts would make me shiver, but then I am happy to report that I decided to give lemon another chance. Adding a sweet cookie layer balances out that sour flavor for me.
These sweet and sour bars and these lemon cookie bars made me realize that I DO like lemon...with lots of sugar. LOL!
I have decided that when life gives you lemons, you should definitely make dessert.
A few years ago I had a friend who runs a local bakery, and she needed a lemon bars recipe because her resident baker had left. She said the current recipe in their folder was not working at all because the former baker had been tweaking it.
After much research and baking quite a few versions, I came up with what I like to call the best lemon bars.
Since I'm a fan of sweet lemon desserts, I made a sweet cookie crust for the base by tweaking the shortbread crust on this caramel squares recipe.
These easy lemon bars only use 7 simple ingredients. Most of them are probably ones you have in your pantry or fridge already.
- Flour - Used in both layers to provide structure.
- Sugar - Powdered sugar and granulated sugar add sweetness to the crust and filling.
- Butter - Softened butter makes a soft dough for the buttery cookie crust.
- Salt - Balances out the sweetness. If you are using salted butter, reduce this amount.
- Lemon Juice & Lemon Zest - Gives this dessert a great lemon flavor.
- Eggs - Add structure to the custard filling.
How to Make
Step One: Make the Crust.
- Mix together flour, powdered sugar, and butter with a fork or pastry blender until soft crumbs forms. If you use a stand mixer it may form a soft dough if you mix too long.
- Press it into the bottom of a greased 8x8 pan going up the sides of the pan slightly to keep the filling from going under it.
- Bake the cookie crust for 20 minutes.
Step Two: Make the Lemon Filling.
- Add all the filling ingredients into a blender and pulse until light and foamy.
- When the crust is done baking, pulse one more time, then pour the filling on top of the hot crust.
- Bake it for another 25 minutes.
Step Three: Let cool.
- Let the bars cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for a few hours to set completely.
Step Four: Cut and Serve.
- Lift the cooled bars out of the pan and cut into squares.
- Sprinkle with a hefty dose of powdered sugar right before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- If you are a lemon lover, add more zest to the lemon curd filling! You could also add some lemon zest to the shortbread crust if you wanted to give it a lemon flair.
- Line your pan with parchment paper or foil, so you can lift the dessert out easily after it cools.
- Use a blender to mix all your lemon curd filling ingredients together. It's so quick and easy doing it this way. You may see some white bubbles rising to the top as it bakes. To avoid this, do not over mix the lemon mixture.
- One of my favorite kitchen tools is this little dusting wand. It makes it so easy to dust these easy lemon bars with of powdered sugar.
- Make sure to add the powdered sugar right before serving because it will soak into the bars the longer it sits out.
Can you use bottled lemon juice?
You sure can. In fact, I have found that bottled lemon juice gives the best ever lemon bars a little more tart flavor which actually pairs really well with the sweet cookie crust in these lemon bars. Freshly squeezed lemon juice also works well, but seems to be a little sweeter in my opinion.
Do lemon bars need to be refrigerated?
Yes these bars need to be refrigerated because the lemon filling is a custard. If you are not serving the lemon bars the same day you bake them, they need to be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container where they will keep for 5-7 days. If you are serving them at a party, they will be fine at room temperature for a few hours.
Do lemon bars freeze well?
Yes, after the bars cool completely, wrap them tightly in foil or plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month. Thaw completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar right before setting them out.
What is the best way to cut lemon bars?
Line your pan with foil or parchment paper, so you can lift the bars out easily once they are cooled. Cool the bars to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm. Use a sharp knife that has been dampened in warm water and dried off to make clean cuts. Wipe the knife after each cut.
More Lemon Desserts
- Fresh Fruit Danish
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
- Lemon Coconut Cupcakes
- Strawberry Snacking Cake
Other No Bake Lemon Desserts
- Strawberry Cheesecake Salad
- Fruit Parfait
- Lemon and Strawberry Cake
- No Bake Strawberry Cream Pie
- Whipped Cream Fruit Dip
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*The post for Best Lemon Bars was first published February 18, 2016. The photos and post were updated and republished April 7, 2021.
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