The Best Lemon Bars
Sweet and tangy lemon filling on a buttery shortbread crust. Tips and tricks for making the perfect lemon bar!
I’ve been making lemon squares for as long as I can remember. Since my Mom is a huge lemon dessert fan, we tried all kinds of lemon desserts in our home and lemon bars reigned supreme.
The key to making a killer lemon bar is a punch of tangy lemon flavor. The homemade lemon filling what makes or breaks a lemon square. I have tried so many different recipes and sometimes the lemon flavor barely comes through!
Another important element of a lemon bar is the crust. It has to be rich and buttery. It needs to have enough butter to hold together. The buttery shortbread crust pairs beautifully with the tart lemon filling.
We planted a lemon tree in our backyard when we first moved in several years ago. I have been waiting with bated breath for it to actually produce lemons! This is the year when we finally got a bountiful crop and I have been loving picking the lemons straight from our tree. They are so incredibly juicy!
How to make Lemon Bars:
- Start by making the shortbread crust. It is made with MELTED butter, sugar, flour, a pinch of salt and either vanilla, almond, or lemon extract. The crust is pressed into a 9 x 13 pan and baked. An important tip is to line the pan with parchment paper. I use these parchment paper sheets all of the time and they work like a charm. It makes cutting the lemon bars a breeze!
- Whisk together the lemon curd filling. This lemon bar filling is made with FRESH lemon juice, eggs, sugar, and a touch of flour. Take the time to whisk the eggs together to fully incorporate them into the filling.
- Pour the filling over the parbaked shortbread crust and continue to bake. Let the bars come to room temperature and then chill. They are best served chilled. When ready to serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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- 1 cup Butter (melted)
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 1/4 cups + 1 Tablespoon Flour
- 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla, Almond, or Lemon Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 5 large Eggs
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 cup Fresh Lemon Juice (about 4 lemons)
- 1/4 cup Flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Let it overhang over the sides of the pan to make it easy to remove the bars from the pan.
In a small bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and salt. Press evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
While baking, make the lemon filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and flour until completely smooth. Once the crust is parbaked, pour over hot crust and return to the oven.
Bake for 20-22 minutes. Don't overbake the lemon bars. Let cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator. The lemon bars taste best chilled. Sprinkle powdered sugar all over the lemon bars and cut into squares.
*Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.