Lemon Gooey Bars

You’re not surprised I made another gooey bar, are you? No? Good.

Because this lemon version is my favorite gooey bar EVER.

Lemon Gooey Bars | crazyforcrust.com | Hands down, these are my FAVORITE gooey bars of all time!

Hi, my name is Dorothy and I have a gooey bar addiction.

I have about 3,453 versions on this site. Chocolate, Funfetti, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin, and the list goes on. Okay, so not quite 3,453…but if you could see inside my head, you’d know I wasn’t exaggerating…much.

They are my favorite bar for so many reasons:

1. They’re so easy to make. Cake mix, butter, egg, and sweetened condensed milk. DONE.

2. They’re infallible. Pretty much you can’t mess these up, I promise.

3. They taste amazing. Like cake…but gooey and bar-like.

4. There are so many different flavor combos it’s mind boggling.

Maybe I should change my name to Crazy for Gooey Bars.

Right now? I’m crazy for lemon gooey bars.

Lemon Gooey Bars | crazyforcrust.com | Hands down, these are my FAVORITE gooey bars of all time!

I first made these last June for my sister-in-law’s birthday. She looooooves lemon. I always make her some sort of lemon dessert for holidays and celebrations.

I broke the food blogger cardinal rule last June when I made them: I didn’t photograph them. It was a last minute bake and there was no time to cut and take pictures.

(There is only one hard and fast rule about gooey bars: they need to chill and set before you cut them. I KNOW. It’s hard, but if you want pretty bars, you gotta do it. Or, just attack the warm pan with a fork. Whatevs.)

I finally re-made them at Christmas. I made a lot of things at Christmas and when asked what her favorite was, my SIL said “THOSE LEMON BARS!”

I figured it was time to share!

Okay, so let’s rundown the gooey bar in case you’ve never made them.

  • Cake mix + egg + butter forms a thick dough. Don’t use the box directions. Just use the cake mix powder and follow my directions.
  • Press about 2/3 of the batter into a pan. You don’t have to use foil, but I highly recommend it for this recipe. Sweetened condensed milk is sticky. Spray it well with cooking spray.
  • Add whatever mix-ins you like. White chocolate + lemon is amazing, but coconut would also be fab in these.
  • You break up the remaining chunks of dough and place it on top of the bars. I like to break off about 1/2-1 tablespoon size pieces and drop them over the top, then lightly press with my hands. Some of the SCM will show through.

Once they’re baked, cool and chill to set, then cut into bars. These freeze well, as long as they are in a single layer. They’ll stick to each other and whatever you put in between the layers.

But if you have any left to freeze I kind of don’t understand you. How is that even possible? Are you related to my husband?

Lemon Gooey Bars | crazyforcrust.com | Hands down, these are my FAVORITE gooey bars of all time!

These are my favorite gooey bars yet. Lemon goodness, people!

Lemon Gooey Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Lemon Gooey Bars


  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (I use fat-free)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix butter with a mixer (hand or stand) until smooth. Mix in cake mix and egg; beat until combined. Note: if you use a hand mixer it will take a long time to come together. Just keep on mixing until you get a thick cookie dough.
  3. Press 2/3 of the cake mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle white chocolate chips over the top and drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the chocolate. Break up the remaining dough and crumble it over the top of the bars. Press lightly to seal.
  4. Bake for 28-33 minutes, until slightly browned. Cool completely before cutting. (It helps to refrigerate them after they’ve reached room temperature.)
  5. Note: you can do this in a 9x13 pan by using the whole can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup of white chocolate chips, but the bars will be thinner. Baking time will also need to be adjusted.
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White Chocolate Lemon Bars

White Chocolate Lemon Bars (9 of 11)w

Brownie Mud Hen Bars

Brownie Mud Hen Bars by Crazy for Crust | A gooey brownie topped with a crunchy sweet meringue!

Funfetti Gooey Bars

funfetti gooey bars (1 of 5)w

Sweets from friends:
Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars by Pillsbury
Peppermint Patty Gooey Cake Bars by Inside BruCrew Life
Better than Anything Caramel Stuffed Brownies by Something Swanky
Lemon White Chocolate Gooey Bars by Life, Love, and Sugar


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  1. I think lemon cake mix is pretty much the bomb digigity. Like, I might like it even better than red velvet (shhh!)!! Great job :)
    Ashton recently posted..100 Muffin RecipesMy Profile

  2. Yes a million times YES! These look great…I’m used to the Gooey Butter Cakes (Paula Dean’s) and those have more ingredients. I’m excited to try yours!
    Madison recently posted..Brown Sugar Toffee PizzaMy Profile

  3. Hmmmm, I’m the only one in my house who likes lemon. What does this mean? I whole pan of gooey bars for me! Sounds dangerous. And awesome.
    Erin | The Law Students Wife recently posted..Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls {Overnight}My Profile

  4. these looks so good! I am a fan of lemon anything
    alison @ Ingredients inc recently posted..Valentine Petit Fours and 10 Valentine QuotesMy Profile

  5. This is such a “Dorothy” treat with lemon and gooey bars! I love how incredibly easy these are– but that might make them incredibly dangerous as well! I’m kind of in love with the idea of just attacking the pan with of fork.
    Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen recently posted..Peanut Butter- Coconut Oil Breakfast CookiesMy Profile

  6. Those look wonderful! Definitely going to have to try this recipe!!
    nolazydaisy recently posted..Banana MuffinsMy Profile

  7. Those do look like all sorts of wonderful
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie recently posted..Strawberry Pretzel SaladMy Profile

  8. I am a big fan of lemon desserts too and these gooey bars sound amazing! I love the sound of the white chocolate chips in here too – yum!
    Kelly – Life made Sweeter recently posted..Red Velvet Valentine MacaronsMy Profile

  9. Oh Now I need to get into the kitchen! I need one of these like pronto! Totally pinning to my ooey gooey bar board!
    Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen recently posted..Fajita Baked PotatoMy Profile

  10. These bars look delicious! Can’t wait to try them. :)

  11. These would go so fast at a bake sale or potluck! Beautiful!

  12. Yummy! Definitely not part of my diet, but I pinned it for later. It sounds so rich and delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Ok….I think I’ve lived in a box….because I’ve never heard or realized gooey bars existed. Seriously need to remedy this ASAP!
    Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent recently posted..Russian BliniMy Profile

  14. I just made some gooey bars the other day! These lemon ones look delicious, I am still waiting for my lemons to turn yellow- stupid tree is keeping them green! Ugh I need lemons in my life for beautiful bars like these :)
    Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen recently posted..Strawberry Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

  15. The fact that they’re your faves speaks volumes! they look so good, gooey & lemony! pinned

  16. These gooey bars look marvelous. Lemon goodness indeed!
    Joshua Hampton recently posted..The Best of 2013 Food TrendsMy Profile

  17. I’ve never had a gooey bar! Seriously i’ve been missing out. These look divine, pinned.
    Krystle(Baking Beauty) recently posted..Skinny Onion Dip RecipeMy Profile

  18. Love how vibrant these lemon bars are..and they are gooey! Win!!
    Jenny Flake recently posted..Pink Velvet Strawberry and Chocolate Chunk CookiesMy Profile

  19. I adore lemon bars!!! I could hardly contain myself when I found this recipe. And Gooey Lemon Bars? I am dying – not only do they look absolutely mouthwatering, but your pictures are absolutely gorgeous as well.

  20. Lemon…Yes please. Now I have to be honest and say I have never had gooey bars? I know I know please don’t delete my comment. :) And five ingredients to top it off. So gonna have to try these asap! Love your blog!! :)
    Cyndi recently posted..Italian MeatloafMy Profile

  21. Well of course you know I love these! ;) Most delicious ever! And so easy!
    Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar recently posted..Moist and Chewy Banana Oatmeal CookiesMy Profile

  22. Haha, nope, not surprised at all! But, I am gladly welcoming these bright and citrus-y bars with open arms! They look incredible, Dorothy. The color is amazing!
    Mary Frances recently posted..The Easiest and Best Sopapilla CheesecakeMy Profile

  23. I spent 10 years in St. Louis, I love me the Gooey Butter Cake but lemon has never been my favorite flavor/downfall. I’m going to have to try these, I bet you can make me change my mind, they sound delish!

  24. I need to make more gooey bars. I’ve only made them once. I think I can totally correct that with these lemon ones. I love lemon!!
    Shannon @ Bake.Frost.Repeat recently posted..Cupid CrunchMy Profile

  25. These lemon bars look heavenly!
    Medeja recently posted..Vištienos Karis II / Balti Chicken CurryMy Profile

  26. YAY!! I’ve been waiting for new lemon recipes after you received a thousand from your mother-in-law, and these were definitely worth waiting for. That’s so sweet that they’re your SIL’s new favorite dessert from you! But seriously, what’s not to love about gooey centers? That’s always my favorite part of any dessert — brownies, banana bread, cookie bars, you name it!
    Amy recently posted..Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf CakeMy Profile

  27. I wouldn’t doubt that these are your best gooey bars yet because lemon is one of my favorite flavors ever!! These look so lucius and chewy!! YUM!!
    Renee @ Two in the Kitchen recently posted..Cookies and Cream Cheesecake CakeMy Profile

  28. Gooey bars are the bet and you know how much I love lemon! These look fantastic Dorothy!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted..Cherry Oatmeal Crumble BarsMy Profile

  29. I love that we get to reap the benefits of your gooey bar obsession. These look amazing. Shared everywhere!
    Jennie @themessybakerblog recently posted..Turtle Cheesecake Swirl BrowniesMy Profile

  30. These look fabulous and I wouldn’t have any left to freeze either Dorothy!
    Julie @ Julie’s Eats & Treats recently posted..60 Brownie and Bar RecipesMy Profile

  31. Linda Pieterse says:

    Hi Dorothy,

    These look fab! I live in The Netherlands and haven found lemon cake mix here. Could you tell me what to replace it with….. The amounts of flour, baking powder and lemon?

    Many thanks

    • I’ve never made gooey bars without cake mix, I’m sorry. Do you have regular white or yellow or vanilla cake mix? You can use that, and then add some extra lemon zest and some lemon extract to make it more lemony in flavor!

  32. I love a chewy bar. I love a lemon bar. So, I will definitely love these lemon gooey bars! I live in the land of gooey butter cake (St. Louis) but your quick and easy short cut variations are the best, Dorothy! Question: Do you store these at room temperature or in the fridge?
    Wendy recently posted..Rose Bud Butter CookiesMy Profile

  33. Jan Bergseth says:

    I’m from Canada and I wanted to check the size of the cake mix that you use please. Not sure if US boxed cake mix and Canadian are the same (or close) Thanks, I’m making the pumpkin gooey bars first :)

  34. What is the best way to store these and for how long?

    • They’ll last in a sealed container for about 4 days on the counter (or in the fridge; either is fine). If you freeze them, do it in a single layer because they are semi-sticky on top and can stick to each other (or the paper you put in between). :)

  35. I’ve made these tonight and I have to say OMG!!! The recipe was so simple to follow and I can’t believe how great they taste!!! Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  36. Umm Abdullah says:

    I had an orange cake mix and used that – and the combination of orange and white chocolate is very good! I’ll have to try it with lemon sometime… Thanks.

  37. Heidi Bee says:

    I just found your site and I am in love! You have so many amazing recipes!! Believe or not I have never made gooey bars before but will be asap! Thanks so much!!

  38. Sweet-tooth as I am, I love your recipes. They look delicious especially the brownies. I am a fan of desserts and would love to try these lemon bars. Thanks for sharing

  39. Hi. I’m not sure if I can get cake mix, can you do it with just a basic cake recipe – flour, sugar, eggs and butter?


  40. How long do you think these would keep? I made them last night to bring into work for our birthday celebration, but it got rescheduled to Thursday! As this is my first time making them, I’m not totally sure about their lifespan. Of course everything is best fresh, but I’m being asked about whether they might make it a few more days.

    Thanks so much!


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