Easy Lemon Bars that are quick and easy to make, with a few simple ingredients. The bars start off with a simple to make shortbread crust a not too sweet or tangy thick lemon curd filling on top. This classic lemon bar recipe is the best way to use up fresh lemons! All they need is a light dusting of powdered sugar.
I don’t know what it is about bars, but they’re so pretty and so lovely to have at any special event, or actually, any day! If you are looking for something fun, something bright, something that you could put together relatively fast (except calculate the time to cool the bars, so they will slice nicely). This is your dessert!
Especially when they are the kind that are really pretty basic to make! You don’t have to drag out a rolling pin, really! I know my bread recipes are usually a little more complicated, so this is something to put together in a short amount of time with a very big reward!
The combination of soft, buttery crust and tart lemon topping showered in confectioners’ sugar is something that cannot be any better. Half of my baking tasters feel their favorite part of the bar is the edges! Then there is the other half that loves the luscious tart center.
If you are a better planner than I am, you could bake them the night before, and then leave to chill overnight and bring them somewhere in the morning to somebody you really like!
Easy Lemon Bars Recipe
Originally published March 23, 2015 and updated on June 8, 2020. These are one of our favorite spring and summer recipes and I wanted to share it with all of you to bring a little sunshine.
I am excited to announce that Savoring Italy has been selected as one of the Top 50 Italian Food Blogs on the web by Feedspot.
These are classic lemon bars and they have a really simple to make shortbread crust. The crust is buttery and tender, no need to add any thing to do it make it better other than the flour, sugar and butter (and dash of salt!).
It is the most requested spring and summertime recipe over here. My kids just love a great lemon bar. I love the bright yellow color of the filling…it brings so much happiness in every bite! These bars have the perfect combo of sweet and tart.
I have seen recipes that use a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and other recipes that use even more (one half cup). I use about 5 tablespoons (you could even use up to 7, if that floats your boat). Another important aspect of the filling is the lemon zest. Without the lemon zest, the filling would be a little boring.
The crust is thick and firm enough to hold up the creamy and dreamy lemon filling. The crust stays tender and not hard. It really is a perfectly flaky yet firm crust; firm enough so that the the bars don’t fall apart when you cut into them. You could even make the crust with vegan butter sticks to keep it dairy-free and it will still be lovely. The filling sweet with a bit of tang, but not so tangy that you it hurts your teeth. These lemon bars are the magical sweet and tart in ever bite.
I realize that I have to share more bars here with all of you lovelies. It may be possible the last ones I shared where these sensational strawberry crumble bars. I am already imagining baking these bars with grapefruit and maybe orange juice. Or I’ll just stick to these lemon bars, because these bars are what everyone is asking for (yes, they disappeared too fast!).
What’s in the Best Lemon Bars?
To make the best ever lemon bars, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated Sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon juice and zest
How to Make Easy Lemon Bars
In a medium bowl, make the lemon bar crust by combining all-purpose flour, dash of salt, sugar, with one stick of very soft butter. The best way to soften the butter is to place it on a dish and cut it into chunks. In a short time, the butter will be softened enough to work with, which is the best way to use it for the crust. Want to make it dairy-free? Use a vegan butter stick place of the butter. You could do in a mixer or even a food processor, or just do it all by hand.
Place the crust in the parchment lined baking pan (I used 8×8 inch pan). The texture is a bit crumbly so simply press it down and smooth it out.
Prick it with a fork (this lets the steam escape). Bake for 12-15 minutes. Mine is usually down around 12 minutes, but every oven is different. It just has to become a firm textured crust, you’re not trying to make it get color. It will bake further with the filling, so don’t be worried that it’s under baked.
While the crust is in the oven, put together the filling. In a medium bowl combine the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice and zest. Three eggs is all it takes to make a luscious filling. Whisk all the ingredients together.
Pour the filling mixture over the crust and bake for about 30-35 minutes. You’re baking until the top has set so it may even be ready at 30 minutes. Be sure not to overbake them. It will set even more when it’s cooling down.
Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. So much easier to slice the bars while the are chilled.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve. They’ll stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days (they don’t last longer than a couple days here!!).
Cool them for about 1 hour at room temperature, and then refrigerate them for at least 3 hours before slicing. Although you could serve them at room temperature, a chilled lemon bar with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar is the only way for me. They’ll keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, double the ingredients and bake in a 9×13-inch pan or if you have another 8×8-inch pan, bake it in two 8×8-inch pans. If you’re baking in a 9-13-inch pan, the baking time may increase a little bit.
Do lemon bars have to be refrigerated?
Yes, lemon bars are best stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
Do Lemon Bars have to be refrigerated?
Store them in an airtight container. Keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Tips for Making the Best Ever Lemon Bars
I like to zest my lemons first before cutting them. Be sure to only get the bright yellow part of the lemon (I prefer using organic lemons, especially when I’ll be using their zest). The white pith has a bitter flavor, so try not to zest that into the filling.
Once the lemon are zested, I cut them open to juice them. Everyone has different tastes, so it’s up to you on deciding how much fresh lemon juice you would like to add to the filling (the recipe is 5-7 Tablespoons). I used 5 Tablespoons. I like the filling to be not too sweet and definitely not too tart.
It’s perfect balance of the sweet and sour of the fresh lemon juice. But you may need it even more tart, so go ahead and add the other two tablespoons of lemon juice. Just simply taste when you get to the 5 Tablespoons and add more a little bit at a time to see if you like the sweet and tart balance.
More lemon desserts:
Easy Lemon Bars
- 1 stick unsalted butter softened (use vegan butter stick to keep it dairy-free)
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- dash of sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest zest before juicing lemons. I used organic lemons
- 5-7 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from 3-4 lemons
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Line a 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with baking spray (or grease with butter). In a medium bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the flour until a soft dough is formed.
- Remove the dough and place it into your prepared pan. Press firmly onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- In a small bowl, whisk the whole eggs sugar and flour. When it is smooth, add in the lemon zest and the juice. Whisk together until incorporated. Taste the filling, if you would like it more tart, add a little bit more of the fresh lemon juice. *5 Tablespoons is enough for my taste, but you may like it more tart.
- When crust is ready, remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 300 degrees.
- Spoon the filling over the crust and smooth over with a spatula.
- Return pan to oven and bake until the filling is just set, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Lift the cooled bars out of the pan, using the parchment paper as handles. Let cool on a rack to room temperature.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator until cold (or overnight). Bars are better sliced when cold.
- Slice the bars into squares (I cut them into 12 small squares) and dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. The crust will soften over time. Store for a few days in the fridge.