Classic lemon bars with a buttery shortbread crust, tart lemon filling, and powdered sugar topping are always a crowd favorite!
Earlier this week I had the most intense cravings for lemon bars. Springtime always has me craving lemony treats, and lemon bars seemed like the perfect way to get my fix. And then I realized I don’t have a traditional lemon bar recipe! I have a recipe for lemon coconut bars and brûléed meyer lemon bars, but not the classic. Time to fix that!
I consulted a few sources, did a lot of test baking, and ended up with these simple but luscious lemon bars that I can’t get enough of. These bars have a tender buttery crust and the lemon filling is silky and tart. You won’t find a better lemon bar!
Tips for baking the best lemon bars
- Use a 9-inch square baking pan instead of a 9×13-inch pan. These bars are thicker and more substantial.
- Line the pan with parchment paper or greased foil so you can lift the bars out of the pan for easy slicing.
- Baking the crust first before adding the lemon filling keeps the crust from getting soggy.
- Always use fresh lemon juice for the best lemon flavor.
- Cool the bars completely before slicing so the filling completely sets up. I even like to chill them in the fridge in order to get the cleanest slices.
The Best Way to Store Lemon Bars
Lemon bars should be kept in the fridge. Store them wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container in the fridge with parchment or wax paper in between layers to prevent sticking. Lemon bars will keep for up to 5 days.
Other lemon desserts you may like
Shop tools for this recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams), softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams )
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (300 grams)
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (190 ml, 2-3 lemons)
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (60 grams)
- Powdered sugar for dusting
To make the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees and line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes on high.
- Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together.
- Press evenly into the prepared sheet pan and bake until it just starts to turn golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool for about 15 minutes before adding filling.
To make the filling:
- Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour until smooth.
- Pour on top of the cooled crust.
- Bake for a few minutes past the point when the center is set (if you jiggle the pan, the center should not move), about 30-35 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then lift out of the pan with the parchment paper or foil, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. You can chill in the fridge to cool it faster.
- Dust the top of the bars with powdered sugar, then slice and serve.