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My BEST Lemon Bars recipe is a classic with shortbread crust and a creamy lemon filling! These easy lemon bars makes the perfect batch with a thick crust and perfect lemon filling.

This is a great make-ahead dessert bar for picnics, BBQs and potlucks – it’s seriously, the best lemon bars recipe!

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Stack of three lemon bars on a paper towel with lemon wedge in background
Table of Contents
  1. VIDEO: How to make the Best Lemon Bars
  2. You’ll Love the BEST Lemon Bars Ever!
  3. Ingredients in Easy Lemon Squares
  4. How to Make Lemon Bars
  5. Make the Filling While the Crust is Baking
  6. Tips for Making the Best Lemon Bars
  7. Lemon Bars FAQ
  8. Lemon Recipes You’ll Love
  9. Lemon Bars Recipe Recipe

VIDEO: How to make the Best Lemon Bars

You’ll Love the BEST Lemon Bars Ever!

Oh, how I love a shortbread crust topped with tart lemon filling. It just says summer and picnics and potlucks to me! This lemon squares recipe is one of my favorite dessert bars.

One of the most famous recipes is Ina Garten’s but I’ve got news – this recipe is better than Ina Garten’s lemon bars. My recipe is easier to make with less waiting time, which means you’ll be slicing these sweet treats before you know it. 

The balance of crust to filling is perfect in these bars and the lemon filling sets up perfectly every time. No runny lemon bars. Once cooled the bars slice beautifully. All they need is a dusting of powdered sugar.

Ingredients in lemon bars

Ingredients in Easy Lemon Squares

Butter: Use unsalted butter for the crust, make sure it’s softened.

Flour: I always use All-Purpose Flour.

Powdered Sugar: I love using powdered sugar in shortbread!

Lemon: You’ll need FRESH lemon juice and lemon zest!

Eggs: Be sure to buy large eggs.

Salt: For flavor

Close up photo of stack of three lemon bars on a paper towel

How to Make Lemon Bars

The first thing that sets these bars apart is the crust. It’s a simple buttery shortbread crust that is easy to make. Many recipes have you bake the crust in a large baking dish, but I prefer a smaller 9×9” square one. That way you get thick lemon bars. 

You don’t have to chill the dough – just mix it up, press it into the pan and bake it. No waiting!

All you do is cream butter with a mixer until it’s smooth. Add powdered sugar, flour, and salt and mix slowly until the dough is crumbly but sticks together when you squeeze it.

Press it into a prepare baking dish and bake it for 13 minutes or until it turns lightly golden around the edges.

4 photo collage with steps of how to make lemon bars

Make the Filling While the Crust is Baking

Make the filling by whisking the eggs and then add the sugar, lemon zest, salt and lemon juice and whisk again. Once the crust is done baking, pour the filling over it while it’s still hot. You don’t have to wait for it to cool!

Bake the bars for 15 to 18 minutes or until the lemon filling is no longer liquid in the center and the bars are lightly golden on top.

Cool the bars completely before slicing and serving. I like to dust them with powdered sugar!

Overhead shot of stacked lemon bars with lemon wedges and powdered sugar on top

Tips for Making the Best Lemon Bars

  • Accurately measure your ingredients! This one thing can make a huge difference in your lemon bars. Using the spoon and level method to measure the powdered sugar and the flour will ensure you have the right amount in your recipe.
  • Be sure to use powdered sugar for the crust – it will make it more tender.
  • Keep an eye on the bars while they bake. You want to pull them out of the oven when they are set in the middle and just lightly golden on top.
  • Don’t skip lining the baking dish with foil. This will make it really easy to lift the bars out in one piece before you slice them.
  • If your kitchen is warm, you can place the cooled bars (in the baking dish) in the refrigerator so they firm up. This will make it easier to get clean slices.
  • Lemon bars will hold up well at room temperature for several hours, but you will want to store them in the refrigerator after that to keep the filling from spoiling.
  • Lemon bars will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator or you can freeze them for up to a month.
  • You can make Ina’s Lemon Bars in a shortbread cookie crust too – just be sure to compact it well so the lemon mixture doesn’t seep through.
Stack of the best lemon bars with powdered sugar on top and one bite missing

These are not the flimsy, thin lemon bars you see all over the internet! My recipe makes the best lemon bars ever – thick shortbread crust with that creamy tart lemon filling! If you’ve been disappointed with other recipes you have to give my recipe a try – I know you will love it.

Lemon Bars FAQ

Do I need to refrigerate lemon bars?

Yes, store these in the refrigerator after slicing.

Can I freeze them?

Yes you can! Freeze these for up to 3 months.

Can lemon bars be made ahead?

These are perfect made up to 2 days ahead of time. Don’t dust with powdered sugar until before serving – it will dissolve.

How do you cut lemon squares?

The best way to cut them cleanly is to remove the entire slab from the pan using the parchment or foil. Then spray the knife with some nonstick cooking spray, and wipe it clean between cuts.

Can I substitute lime?

Yes! It’s really easy to make lime bars with this recipe – same recipe, but use lime or key lime juice and zest.

Lemon Recipes You’ll Love

Have you made this recipe?

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Stack of the best lemon bars with powdered sugar on top and one bite missing

Lemon Bars Recipe

4.95 from 54 votes
These are not the flimsy, thin lemon bars you see all over the internet! My recipe makes the best lemon bars ever – thick shortbread crust with that creamy tart lemon filling! If you’ve been disappointed with other recipes you have to give my recipe a try – I know you will love it.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 9 bars
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
 

Crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (57g) powdered sugar
  • 2 cups (248g) all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (118ml) fresh lemon juice from about 4 medium lemons
  • Powdered sugar for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 or an 8×8 pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Make the crust by creaming the butter with a hand or a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) until smooth. Add powdered sugar, flour, and salt and mix slowly until the mixture is crumbly but sticks together when you press it between your fingers. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until it just starts to get a light golden brown around the edges.
  • While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs until beaten. Whisk in the sugar, lemon zest, salt, and lemon juice. Pour over hot crust, then continue to bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the mixture is no longer liquid in the center and it’s lightly golden brown on top.
  • Cool completely before removing from pan. Remove foil, then dust with powdered sugar. Slice and serve, dusting with more powdered sugar as desired.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
  • I recommend a stand mixer for the crust if you have one, if not, a hand mixer will work but it will take a bit of time to get it mixed. Make sure the mixture sticks together when you press it into the pan – and make sure it’s pressed very well into a solid crust so there are no holes.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 736IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword lemon
Overhead shot of stacked lemon bars with lemon wedges and powdered sugar on top and recipe title on top of image

The BEST Lemon Bars have a creamy, sweet and tart lemon filling with a thicker than usual shortbread crust. It makes the perfect ratio and texture!

Last Updated on June 3, 2022

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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35 Comments

  1. Really liked your recipe. I used my food processor for the crust on the dough setting. I made sure to really flatten the crust in the pan before cooking. Took a little longer to cook – 20 min. Then mixed the filling in the processor also after the crust. Lined an 8×8 glass pan with parchment paper. Followed your recipe precisely and they came out great! I didn’t have any issues with holes in the crust.