The Best Lemon Bar Recipe from Scratch

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This is truly my favorite lemon bar recipe! They’re made with a 3-ingredient buttery shortbread crust, and the lemon custard is sweet, tart, and gooey! These are the perfect dessert for spring and summer!

Also, check out all of our refreshing lemon recipes!

Close up picture of a lemon bar with powdered sugar and edible pink flowers. - fresh lemon juice, baking dish

For the longest time, I wasn’t a fan of lemon bars until I tried my mother-in-law! She’s been making this lemon bar recipe for years, and it’s by far one of the best I’ve ever had. I’m so happy she shared them with us!

These are gooey and full of lemon flavor. The crust has such a sweet buttery flavor to it too!

Add some edible flowers to make it charming, and sprinkle powdered sugar on top to add a little extra sweetness.

Lemon bars on a plate with a gold for and edible flowers. - lemon zest, store lemon bars, baking dish

How to Make Lemon Bars

Full recipe in the recipe card below.

Ingredients

  • Flour
  • Confections Sugar
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Lemon Juice
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
Lemon juice, sugar and flour to make lemon bars. - lemon zest, easy lemon bars, unsalted butter

Directions

  • Make the crust first by combining flour, confectioners, sugar, and butter in a bowl and mix with clean hands. Mix until the dough is combined and has a dough-like texture.
Shortbread Dough - lemon zest, stack of lemon bars, make lemon bars
  • Line an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with parchment paper and grease very well.
Pressing dough into a pan - lemon filling, salted butter, soft butter shortbread crust
  • Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Use confectioners sugar on your hands if it’s too sticky.
  • Bake the crust for 15 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the lemon custard.
  • In a mixing bowl, first, beat the eggs until frothy.
Squeezing fresh lemon into a bowl - lemon filling, dust with powdered sugar
  • Then add in the freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, eggs, salt, flour and baking powder.
  • Mix on medium until blended.
Pouring lemon batter into a crust - best lemon bars
  • Pour the lemon custard over the baked crust.
Baked lemon bars in a pan - lemon bars recipe, best lemon bars
  • Bake for another 25 minutes until the center is not jiggly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Lemon Bars Need to Be Refrigerated?

Lemon bars are basically custard, and this custard can start to become unstable when left out for too long. It can even sweat if it’s left out in the heat. 

If lemon bars are not going to be consumed on the same day they are made, gently cover them in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. They can stay like this for a few days.

Can Lemon Bars Sit out Overnight?

It isn’t recommended to leave lemon bars out overnight. Lemon bars are made with eggs that can encourage bacteria growth when left sitting out. It’s safest to place them in the refrigerator.

The yummiest lemon bars with powdered sugar - lemon bars recipe, best lemon bars

How Long Can You Keep Lemon Bars?

You can keep lemon bars in the freezer for up to four months, which is great if you want a dessert on-hand for unexpected guests! Freezing lemon bars are recommended if you don’t plan on eating your lemon bars within a week.

Can I Freeze Lemon Bars?

Freezing lemon bars is the best way to store your dessert for a longer period. You can even enjoy them frozen!

To ensure that your lemon bars hold their shape and maintain their pretty, sugar-coated appearance, wrap them individually in wax paper. Then wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container.

Try to store your lemon bars close to the back of the freezer to keep them safe from temperature changes every time the freezer door opens!

Lemon bar recipe with shortbread crust and powdered sugar - shortbread crust, best lemon bars

Can I Make Lemon Bars the Day Before?

Making lemon bars the day before they’re needed is a great way to save time the day of any gathering. Just be sure to store the lemon bars in the refrigerator and take them out shortly before the function begins.

How Do You Cut Lemon Bars Cleanly?

For a clean cut, let your lemon bars cool completely after removing them from the oven. You can also try using a hot, wet, and sharp knife.

How Much Is Lemon Juice in a Lemon?

When planning out the ingredients for your recipe, you first have to consider how much juice is in a lemon. It depends on the size of your lemon, but on average, you’ll have two tablespoons of lemon juice.

Always err on the side of caution and get more lemons than you think you’ll need! You can always use them for another lemony dessert!

Wrap Up…

If you’re looking for an easy lemon bar recipe that will impress your friends and family, this is the one. The shortbread crust is buttery and delicious, and the lemon custard is sweet, tart, and gooey. These bars are perfect for spring and summer!

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Lemon Bars

The Best Lemon Bar Recipe!

This really is THE BEST lemon bar recipe!!
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 392kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Lemon bar crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup butter

Lemon bar filling

  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 2 or 3 lemons will do the trick
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

For the crust

  • Combine all the ingredients until the dough clings together.
  • Press the dough into a 9×9 greased pan.
  • Bake for 17 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the filling

  • Mix the eggs together first.
  • Then continue to mix in the rest of the ingredients. Try not to over- mix the filling… a tip would be to add the dry ingredients together in a bowl first.

Assemble

  • Take the crust out of the oven and pour the lemon filling on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Let it cool completely before you cut into squares or shapes.
  • Once the shapes are cut, sift powdered sugar on top and garnish with edible flowers!

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 550IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.4mg
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