These creamy lemon bars have the perfect flavor combination of tart and sweet. Made with a buttery shortbread crust, a luscious lemon curd filling, and a dusting of powdered sugar sprinkled over the top, these lemon bars are sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
This recipe was originally published in March of 2020, but was updated on March 1, 2022 with newer content and fresh pictures.
What makes lemon bars so amazing? Two things: the crust and the lemon filling. The shortbread crust is super buttery and has a touch of sweetness from the vanilla extract.
The lemon filling is bright, tart, and creamy, making it pair perfectly with the crust.
Why You'll Love These Bars
- The tangy lemon filling includes both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
- It has a buttery shortbread crust.
- The sweetness from the crust and the tartness from the filling pairs so well together.
- They're easy to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool.
- You won't have any leftovers--they're that good!
If you're looking for a bright and refreshing treat this Sping or Summer, then these creamy lemon squares should be on your baking list!
Serve them with a dusting of powdered sugar or even some homemade whipped cream for an extra touch of sweetness.
Expert Baking Tips
- Baking Pan: Line your 8x8-inch baking pan with foil, allowing a little to come up the sides. This will help with removing the bars. Then generously spray the foil and the sides of the pan with non-stick spray.
- Fresh Lemons: Use fresh lemons for this recipe. It has the best flavor, plus you'll need the zest as well. You'll need about 3 medium-sized lemons.
- Lemon Squeezer: I highly recommend this lemon squeezer. It's a lifesaver for me when I bake anything with lemons! Plus, you can use it for other citrus' too.
- Oven Temperature: The shortbread crust will be baked at 350 degrees. We will then lower the temperature to 325 degrees when the lemon layer is added to the crust. This helps the lemon filling to not overcook.
Here are some notes on the ingredients we'll be using. For the full ingredients list, look at the recipe card below.
- All-Purpose Flour: The base and structure for the crust. A little is used in the lemon filling for thickness.
- Unsalted Butter: This gives the shortbread crust a delicious buttery flavor. We will use melted butter.
- Baking Powder: Helps the bars to slightly rise when baking.
- Lemons: Using both fresh lemon juice and zest will provide a very lemony filling. Do not use store-bought lemon juice
- Eggs: 3 large eggs are used to provide body to the filling.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make these lemon squares.
Step 1: Shortbread crust. Combine the flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Then press the crust into the prepared baking pan and bake for 16-20 minutes.
Step 2: Make the lemon filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Then mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and eggs until combined.
Step 3: Bake. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and pour the lemon filling over the hot crust. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the middle is set.
Step 4: Cool the bars. Allow the bars to cool for 1 hour at room temperature and then for an additional 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Step 5: Serve. Dust with powdered sugar once completely cooled and slice into bars.
Keep any leftover lemon bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
They're done baking when the middle is set and doesn't jiggle when moved.
Yes they do. They're also best when served cold.
I like to use a pastry scraper to get clean and even cuts, but you could also use a non serrated knife.
It brings me so much joy to see you make my recipes. 🙂
More Fruit Lover Recipes
Creamy Lemon Bars
- 8x8 inch baking pan
- Non-Stick Spray
- Lemon Squeezer
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3 large eggs
- powdered sugar, optional for dusting over cooled lemon bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil, allowing a little to come up the sides. Then spray the sides of the pan and the foil with non-stick spray.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt with a wooden or plastic spoon. Press the dough into the prepared pan with your fingers and bake for 16-20 minutes or until the edges start to turn light brown.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and the eggs and whisk until combined.
- When the crust is done, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the middle is set and does not jiggle when you move the pan. Let the lemon bars cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then place them into the refrigerator to cool for another 2 hours.
- Once the bars are completely set and cooled, use the extra foil that is along the sides of the pan to pull the bars out. Dust the bars with powdered sugar and cut into bars. Use a butter knife or a serrated knife to cleanly cut the bars. Wipe the knife clean after each cut.
- Keep any leftover lemon bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.