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 the Best Lemon Bars
These easy lemon bars come together in just a few minutes. While the crust is baking, add the filling ingredients to a blender.
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: Cool and Chill
- 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.
BRUCREW TIP: Substitute other citrus juices to make different variations. See my blood orange bars and key lime bars!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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How far in advance could you make these and do they stay well in the refrigerator?
You can make them a few days ahead of time. Just add the powdered sugar right before serving.
I just finished baking and waiting to cool it down. However it does not seem to be as vibrant as yours. I followed the recipe exactly as written. I love that bright yellow color on your lemon bar. Can i add yellow food coloring to it?
The top on these lemon bars does bake a light color because of frothing it in a blender. Once you cut it into bars you should see a more yellow filling. I hope you enjoy the bars!
Watched your video looks like 3 cubes of butter not 3/4 of a cup. Could you please clear that up thank you.
It is 1 1/2 sticks of butter which is 3/4 cup of butter. In the video, I have the butter cut into 3 - 1/4 cup cubes. I hope that helps and you enjoy the bars.
Anne Marie Atkinson
Best lemon bars ever! I first made them for y bridge club and served them warm-everyone wanted the recipe. Lemon anything is my husband's favourite so when I make these they don't hang around very long:-)
This is my go-to lemon bar recipe! I've already made it three times this summer. I love the ratio of crust to curd to lemon. Thank you for this spectacular recipe!
This is exactly what I want a lemon bar to taste like! And the ratios of crust-to-curd are perfect. I was surprised at how tangy it was after I read that you added lots of sugar to help offset this. It’s very tangy and I only added half the rind. I did use almost all fresh lemon juice but also a bit of lemon concentrate (preserves juice). So even though the curd is actually thinner than the crust, it’s perfect because it’s so tangy, but not too much to me. There is plenty of crust to off-set this. And the crust texture is what I searched so hard for. A soft coffee shop style bar crust. I’m not a fan of the chewy shortbread crust that is so popular right now, although I like shortbread. By the way, my dough was crumbs, so I added a tad of milk to bring it together into a sticky dough. That seemed to be necessary, although I have pressed crumble-type dough into a baking dish on a few occasions. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like those other crusts as much. I might have needed to add moisture then too. I like a lemon bar crust that is more like already softened chewing gum in the mouth, rather than a fresh stiff gum that you just slipped in your mouth. I know, weird analogy.
This recipe is going on my record.
Hey Do you think coconut would work in these?
Are you wanting to add it to the filling before baking it? I think that would probably work just fine. Keep me posted if you try it.
Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?
This looks so good! The lemon curd consistency looks great! That can be hard to find!
These look amazing. Can I use an egg replacement in this recipe?
I have honestly never tried making these with an egg replacement, so I'm not really sure. If you try it, please keep me posted on how they turn out and what you used.
I would like to make these for my granddaughter’s wedding shower. (Her theme is lemons). How do I convert this recipe for a 9x13 pan? Bake time?
Double the ingredients and bake them in a 9x13 pan. The baking time should still be about the same time, but you may need to bake the lemon filling part an additional 5 minutes. I hope that helps. Congratulations to your granddaughter!!!!
Love,Love everything Delish
Can we use lime instead of lemon?
You sure can. In fact, I used key lime juice in these bars. https://insidebrucrewlife.com/key-lime-bars/ Happy baking!!!!
Do I need to use a blender or can I use a hand mixer? I know it might be a silly question but I just wanted to make sure. Thanks
There are no silly questions. A hand mixer will work just as well. Just make sure to mix it long enough to be frothy. It won't be thick, but it should be somewhat foamy. I hope you enjoy the bars! They are a favorite here!
What do you think about trying these with gluten free flour?
I honestly have never tried gluten-free flour, so I'm not sure. I have heard that most of the new gluten free products are easily interchangeable though. If you try it, please let me know know how it works.
Thank you for this recipe. They are delicious. I wonder if a substitute for the butter can be used, like Earth Balance? I know butter always tastes better. But, I'm lactose intolerant and also wanting to limit the saturated fat.
I haven't tried it with anything but butter. A lot of those butter substitutes have a lot of water content in them, so it can affect the end results of your baked goods. Keep me posted if you try it with anything else.
I made these for a co-workers birthday and everybody loved them! I will definitely be adding these to my cache of favorite recipes! Thanks for your sharing!