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How To Make Lemon Bars From Scratch

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Lemon Bars are one of those desserts we all think are hard to make simply because they are so good. You can buy them in bakeries but why would you when you can whip them up at home quick and easy.

Lemon Bars stacked on a white dish with powdered sugar on top
Best Lemon Bars

Our easy lemon bar recipe is made from scratch and begins with a golden brown buttery shortbread crust. There are only a few simple ingredients in the crust and it comes together quickly. Print this classic lemon bars recipe and save it to make again and again.

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Ingredients

Lemon Bar Ingredients on the counter

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup Butter, softened at room temperature

Lemon Filling Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (use Meyer Lemons if available)
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose flour
  • Confectioner’s Sugar for dusting

Making The Lemon Bars

Making your lemon bar crust from scratch is really easy. Don’t let the very idea of cooking from scratch scare you. Everything made from scratch isn’t so hard.

Lemon bar crumb crust in the bowl

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lemon bars are notorious for sticking to the baking pan but if you use parchment paper, you can lift them out of the pan to cut them with no sticking and easy clean up. I prefer this brand of parchment paper.

Shortbread Crust

To make the crust, in a medium bowl mix together the 2 cups flour and powdered sugar. Then cut in the softened butter using either a pastry blender, like this one or the old fashioned way with two knives. You will want to continue cutting in the butter until it resembles large oatmeal flakes.

Press the shortbread crust into your parchment lined pan and bake at 350° for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Oven temperatures vary, if your oven tends to cook fast, begin checking at about 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set aside once it is done.

Making the Lemon Layer

While your crust is baking, you can prepare the Lemon layer.

Mixing the lemon filling for lemon bars

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar and fresh lemon juice until light and foamy using a mixer on medium speed. Add in the flour and baking soda and blend well.

NOTE: You can use a whisk or the bowl of a food processor to mix the filling if you like. As long as the ingredients are well blended, use what you have.

Pour the lemon filling into the crust and return to the oven to bake about 20 to 25 minutes. You can tell the filling is done when the center is firm. Jiggle the pan, if the center moves, they are not quite done.

Cool completely on a wire rack. I know it is so tempting to cut into those fresh from the oven, made from scratch lemon bars but try to resist. They cut better when they are completely cooled.

Lift the parchment paper to remove the lemon bars from the pan and dust with powdered sugar. Cut the cooled bars using a sharp knife. This recipe makes about 25 bars.

Lemon bars served on small white dessert plates

Serve Lemon Bars any time of the year. They are a nice easy to serve dessert for parties and baby showers and even Christmas gatherings. I hear that Santa loves Lemon Bars. Have you heard that too?

Storing Lemon Bars

Cover lemon bars tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can make Lemon Bars a day ahead of your event and store them wrapped in the refrigerator.

Can You Freeze Lemon Bars?

If you plan to bake ahead and freeze your lemon bars, DO NOT dust with powdered sugar. You will do this step when you thaw them.

To freeze lemon bars, allow them to cool completely. Place them onto a baking sheet and pre-freeze by placing them into the freezer for between about 3 hours, uncovered. Then wrap each cut bar individually with plastic wrap tightly. Once you have wrapped all of the lemon squares, you can place them into a freezer container, date and label it and place it into the freezer. Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Thaw by removing from the freezer and sitting on the counter for about a half hour before storing them in the refrigerator. You can also thaw in the refrigerator.

Printable recipe below.

Yield: 24

Classic Lemon Bars Easy Recipe

Lemon Bars stacked on a white dish with powdered sugar on top

Made from scratch classic lemon bars recipe with a buttery shortbread crust.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup Butter, softened at room temperature

Lemon Filling Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose flour
  • Confectioner’s Sugar for dusting

Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350°.

    Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. 

    To make the crust, in a medium bowl mix together the 2 cups flour and powdered sugar. Then cut in the softened butter using either a pastry blender or the old fashioned way with two knives. You will want to continue cutting in the butter until it resembles large oatmeal flakes.

    Press the shortbread crust into your parchment lined pan and bake at 350° for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Oven temperatures vary, if your oven tends to cook fast, begin checking at about 12 minutes.

    Remove from the oven and set aside when done.

    To make the lemon filling, In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar and fresh lemon juice until light and foamy using a mixer on medium speed. Add in the flour and baking soda and blend well.

    Pour the lemon filling into the crust and return to the oven to bake about 20 to 25 minutes. You can tell the filling is done when the center is firm. Jiggle the pan, if the center moves, they are not quite done.

    Cool completely on a wire rack.

    Lift the parchment paper to remove the lemon bars from the pan and dust with powdered sugar. Cut the cooled bars using a sharp knife. This recipe makes about 25 bars.

Notes

NOTE: You can use a whisk or the bowl of a food processor to mix the filling if you like. As long as the ingredients are well blended, use what you have.

Nutrition Information

Yield

25

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 208Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 49mgSodium 80mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 0gSugar 23gProtein 2g

Nutrition information is estimated and may not be exact based on uncontrolled variables in home kitchens used by each individual cook.

Did you make this recipe?

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