These Easy Lemon Bars are packed with tart lemon flavor. With a buttery shortbread crust and a bright and zingy lemon filling, this lemon bar recipe is the best way to use fresh lemons!
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Hello friends! I’m so excited about this Easy Lemon Bar Recipe today because I feel like we REALLY need something to brighten up this never ending winter! Citrus is the best thing about winter, and I love finding as many ways to use it as possible.
I recently came home from the grocery store with a bag of lemons and I found myself thinking – what can I do with all these fresh lemons? I started dreaming up lemon recipes, like this Lemon Chicken Stir Fry, but I wanted to make a lemon dessert, which leads me to these lemon bars.
What are Lemon Bars?
Lemon bars, also called Lemon Squares, are a bar dessert with a buttery shortbread crust and a lemon custard layered on top.
How do you make Lemon Bars?
There are two parts to making Lemon Bars. First you make the shortbread crust by mixing butter, flour and sugar – I also find that just a little salt makes a huge difference in the flavor of the crust! The key to making the crust for lemon bars is to make sure it is baked enough before pouring on the lemon filling. It is actually better to slightly over bake the crust rather than under bake it. If your lemon bars are too runny or jiggly, it is probably because the crust was under baked.
Making the filling for lemon bars is easy – just whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice and lemon zest. I added a little more lemon juice plus lemon zest to than the standard lemon bar recipes to make sure these were packed with lip puckering lemon flavor!
How do you zest a lemon?
If you are a long time reader, you know I use citrus zest all the time. It is such a great way to get ton of flavor, since the zest is where the essential oils are. I use a microplane grater and I HIGHLY recommend getting one if you don’t have one already! I use this almost every day in my kitchen. This is the best way to quickly zest a lemon. If you don’t have a microplane, you can use another grater – just be sure that you are only removing the yellow part of the peel and not the white part – called the pith. That part is very bitter and will not taste good!
How Much Juice Can you get from a lemon?
Lemons vary in size and juiciness, so the amount of juice that you can get from a lemon will depend on the lemon. I find that on average I get about 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice from most lemons – but it can be anywhere from 2-4 Tablespoons.
How to get more juice from a lemon
- You can get more juice from a lemon if you knead the lemon – or place the lemon on a firm surface and roll it back and forth under your palm.
- You can also microwave the lemon for about 15 seconds to help release the juice.
- Also I find that using a high quality juicer gets the most juice from a lemon. The juicer I love and use is no longer sold, but THIS one has great reviews!
how to get lemon bars out of the pan
The first time I made lemon bars, the crust stuck horribly to the pan. I learned a few things about how to keep the lemon bar crust from sticking to the pan. First and foremost – line the pan with parchment paper! You can also use foil. Be sure that enough of the parchment paper sticks out of the sides so that you can use it as a handle to lift the lemon bars out of the pan. I also found that making sure the crust was properly baked made it less likely to stick.
how to cut lemon bars
It is much easier to cut lemon bars if they are fully chilled. After baking, allow to cool at room temperature. Then transfer the pan to the fridge and allow to chill, at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, lift the lemon bars out of the pan with the parchment or foil. Finally, use a sharp knife, cleaning and drying the knife between cuts.
Do lemon bars have to be refrigerated?
Yes, lemon bars are best stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
How long do lemon bars last in the fridge?
If kept in an airtight container, lemon bars should keep for about 3 days in the fridge.
Easy Lemon Bars Recipe
For The Crust:
- 1 cup softened butter unsalted
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For The Filling:
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice about 6 lemons
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest 2-3 small lemons
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of the prepared 9x13 inch pan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until firm and golden.
- In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs, lemon juice and zest. Pour over the baked crust.
- Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until filling is set and not jiggly. Allow to cool at room temperature, in the pan on a wire rack. When cooled, transfer pan to the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours before cutting. Dust with confectioners sugar before cutting if desired. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.
Hello Thank You for one of my favorite deserts
When baking I usually substitute oil for applesauce to cut down the sat fat
How do you think this would work on the lemon bars
Hi Eileen – I haven’t tried it so I am not sure how it will turn out. I imagine it will affect the taste and texture somewhat. I would start out replacing half and see if that works. Let us know how it goes!
Can you freeze them?
Hi Sue – Yes. Allow them to cool completely, cut into squares, then wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap, making sure they are completely wrapped. Then store individually wrapped bars in a freezer bag. They should keep up to 6 months. When you want to thaw them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
I’m very excited to try this recipe! I love how your recipe explains so much about the process. I find it very helpful & your photos are enticing. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Jane Saunders says
I’m so in love with these bars – so fresh and perfect for spring. They are just the kind of thing my family gets excited about. Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you Jane!
There is no way these would last 3 days in my house! Lemon desserts are the BEST!
They didn’t last that long in my house either 😂 Thanks Lauren!