These old-fashioned lemon bars recipe pair a buttery shortbread crust with a sweet-and-tangy lemon filling and a dusting of powdered sugar. You can’t go wrong with this classic lemon dessert!
There’s nothing like the taste of a homemade lemon bar. If you have a weakness for lemon, I bet these bars are among your favorite desserts—and if you haven’t tried making them yourself, now’s the time to start! Just like my No-Bake Lemon Cream Cheese Pie, and Lemon Bars with Cake Mix these bars are perfect for parties and picnics, and they’re a cinch to make!
Classic Lemon Bar Recipe
There’s something about lemon bars that just makes them irresistible. Maybe it’s the tartness of the lemon combined with the sweetness of the sugar, or maybe it’s the way they manage to be both buttery and rich, but somehow also light and refreshing. Whenever I see lemon bars at the bakery or farmer’s market, I always have to get myself one!
–> Check out these 23+ Irresistible Lemon Desserts
Of course, there’s no need to buy them when you see how simple they are to make. If you’ve made lemon curd before, making the best lemon bars is almost the same—you just need to add the step of making the crust!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the Crust:
- Unsalted butter – Let this soften to room temperature.
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
For the Lemon Curd Filling:
- Eggs – These should also be room temperature.
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon zest – Zest your lemons before you juice them.
- Lemon juice
- All-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar
How to Make Lemon Bars From Scratch
Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
2. Make the Crust
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. In another bowl, combine the flour and salt, then reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients until just mixed.
3. Bake the Crust
Press the crust mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking dish, going 1/2 inch up the sides. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.
4. Make the Filling
Whisk together all of the filling ingredients until well combined. Pour this over the crust and smooth it with a spatula, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
5. Bake the Lemon Bars
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the filling is set. Cool the lemon bars to room temperature on a wire rack, then chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
6. Finish and Serve
Dust the bars with powdered sugar and cut them into squares.
How to Store Lemon Bars
Store lemon bars wrapped in the pan or transfer them to an airtight container. They can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator, or in the freezer frozen for up to 3 months.
How many lemons make 1 cup of lemon juice?
Approximately 5 lemons make 1 cup of freshly squeezed juice. Here’s my favorite lemon juicer to help!
Why are my lemon bars so gooey?
If your lemon bars are gooey, they might need more time to set in the fridge. I recommend refrigerating them for at least 2 hours before you cut them.
Do lemon bars have to be refrigerated?
Yes, lemon bars need to be stored in the refrigerator. This isn’t just for food safety reasons, either—left outside of the fridge, the filling will get soft and messy!
Should lemon bars jiggle?
When lemon bars are finished baking, they should jiggle about as much as firm Jello would. If they’re looser than this, they need more time in the oven.
More Lemon Recipes to Try
- Lemon Cookies
- Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Lemon Pound Cake Recipe (Box Cake Mix Starbucks Copycat)
- 8 oz unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch of kosher salt
- 6 large eggs room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 cup lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- For the crust, cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Combine the flour and salt. Adjust the speed of the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients until just mixed. Dump the dough into an ungreased 9×13 baking dish and press the crust into the dish, including about ½-inch on all sides.
- Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool to room temperature.
- For the filling, whisk together all ingredients until well combined. Pour batter into the baking dish with the cooked and cooled crust and smooth with a spatula.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set. Cool completely to room temperature and then chill at least 2 hours before serving.
- Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.