When life gives you lemons, forget the lemonade and make this Easy Lemon Bars Recipe!  They’re complete with a press-in shortbread crust, a tangy, luscious lemon filling, and a dusting of powdered sugar.  There are no fancy ingredients, they’re so easy to make and they always get rave reviews!

Stack of lemon bars on a platter

I’m a huge fan of citrus and use it daily in cooking and baking. It adds such a bright pop of freshness to everything, and is a ray of sunshine on the cloudiest of days.

Lemon desserts are a favorite of mine. My lemon pudding cake and lemon cheesecake recipes are tried and true favorites, but you really can’t beat this Easy Lemon Bars Recipe!

I adapted this recipe from my key lime bars, which have gotten rave reviews over the years. They’re bursting with fresh flavor and are perfect for lemon lovers!

Lemon bars cut into squares on a platter

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • These easy lemon bars are luscious and tangy, with a melt in your mouth shortbread crust and dusting of powdered sugar.
  • This recipe is extremely easy to make and comes together quickly. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool!
  • The lemon may be substituted with your favorite citrus juice to change up the recipe.

Recipe ingredients

There are only 6 simple ingredients in this lemon bars recipe — it really doesn’t get any easier!

Lemon bars ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Lemon. I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice as lemon is the star ingredient. Bottled lemon juice just does not have that fresh, bright flavor. Any citrus juice will work in this recipe — meyer lemons, limes, key limes, orange and grapefruit are all great options!
  • Powdered sugar. The powdered sugar is used twice in this recipe — in the shortbread crust and to dust the top of the lemon bars. Powdered sugar includes cornstarch, which gives the shortbread crust a delicious melt in your mouth texture.

How to make this recipe

This lemon bars recipe is so easy to make. There is minimal prep and only 2 components — a shortbread crust and lemon filling — both of which come together very quickly.

Pro tip: Juice the lemons, strain the juice, then add the lemon zest to the juice up to 2-3 days prior to making the bars. The lemon juice may also be frozen!

How to make lemon bars collage
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8″ baking dish with parchment paper or foil.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar till light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add flour and salt, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.
  • Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and granulated sugar until well incorporated. Add the 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk until combined, then whisk in the lemon juice and zest.
  • Pour the filling over the cooled crust, and bake 20-25 minutes longer, or until the filling has set. The filling will not “wiggle” when the pan is moved gently back and forth. Remove from heat and cool completely on a wire rack, or about 3 hours.
  • Once the bars have cooled, dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean in between slices.
Stack of lemon bars on a platter with lemon slice on top

FAQs

What are lemon bars made of?

This lemon bars recipe includes 6 simple ingredients: all purpose flour, butter, powdered sugar, lemons, eggs and granulated sugar. The flour and butter are used in the shortbread crust along with powdered sugar to make it melt in your mouth delicious. The lemon filling includes the zest and juice of the lemons, granulated sugar to add sweet flavor, eggs for structure and more flour to help thicken the filling. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar for the finishing touch!

How do you make lemon bars from scratch?

Lemon bars are very easy to make. First, prepare the shortbread crust by combining softened butter with flour and powdered sugar, then press into a greased baking dish. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Next, prepare the filling by combining eggs and sugar, followed by the flour, then the lemon juice. Pour over the crust and bake until set, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar.

How can you tell if your lemon bars are set?

Lemon bars are done when the filling has set. You can tell when they have set because the filling will have thickened and will not “wobble” when it’s done. Do not over bake as the filling will crack and have an eggy flavor.

How do you cut lemon bars cleanly?

Lemon bars are easy to cut cleanly once they’ve cooled completely, which usually takes about 3 hours after they’re removed from the oven. To cut, remove from the pan and dust with powdered sugar. Cut into bars with a very sharp knife, wiping the blade clean with a paper towel in between cuts.

Recipe notes

  • This recipe is easily doubled and baked in a 9×13″ glass baking dish.  For best results, use a glass baking dish.
  • Bars should be cooled completely at room temperature.  Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
  • Pro tip: Juice the lemons, strain the juice, then add the lemon zest to the juice up to 2-3 days prior to making the bars. The lemon juice may also be frozen!
  • Refrigerate leftover bars in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  • Substitute the lemon juice with any type of citrus juice. Meyer lemon, orange, key lime, blood orange or grapefruit are all great options.
Lemon bar on a plate with bite taken out of it

More lemon desserts you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Stack of lemon bars on a platter

Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

This Easy Lemon Bars Recipe is complete with a press-in shortbread crust, luscious, tangy lemon filling and a dusting of powdered sugar. They're made with simple ingredients, they're so easy to make and they get rave reviews every time!
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice meyer lemons work perfectly as well!
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8" baking dish with parchment paper or foil.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar till light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour and salt, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.
  • Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and granulated sugar until well incorporated. Add the 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk until combined, then whisk in the lemon juice and zest.
  • Pour the filling over the cooled crust, and bake 20-25 minutes longer, or until the filling has set. The filling will not "wiggle" when the pan is moved gently back and forth. Remove from heat and cool completely on a wire rack, or about 3 hours.
  • Once the bars have cooled, dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean in between slices. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • This recipe is easily doubled and baked in a 9×13″ glass baking dish.  For best results, use a glass baking dish.
  • Bars should be cooled completely at room temperature.  Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
  • Refrigerate leftover bars in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  • Pro tip: Juice the lemons, strain the juice, then add the lemon zest to the juice up to 2-3 days prior to making the bars. The lemon juice may also be frozen!
  • Substitute the lemon juice with any type of citrus juice. Meyer lemon, orange, key lime, blood orange or grapefruit are all great options.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar, Calories: 293kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 91mg, Potassium: 59mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 406IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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