Brownies & Bars

Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

4.64 from 361 votes
My best lemon bars recipe has all the best bits of classic lemon bars but made even easier!
A grid of easy lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar made with my lemon bars recipe.

Hi Bold Bakers!

This recipe is long in the making! Since the birth of Bigger Bolder Baking, people have been asking for an easy Lemon Bars recipe. Well, brace yourselves because it’s finally here.

My Lemon Bars Recipe has all the best bits of classic lemon bars but made even easier. Some lemon bars require pre-cooking the filling or extra equipment. However, these tangy and rich lemon bars are made in one bowl and by hand.

These healthy lemon bars are made with a classic sweet and buttery shortbread base and topped with a super fresh lemony custard. They also boast a crackle top, gooey center, and crunchy sweet base. Basically, these lemon bars are going to make all of your friends and family swoon!

And, if you love lemon recipes as I do, you have to try my lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting, lemon semifreddo, and my no-bake lemon cheesecake!

Rows of lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar on parchment paper.

What Is Shortbread?

Shortbread, or shortcrust pastry, is the beginning of my easy lemon bars recipe. Shortbread is defined by a super crunchy and flaky texture that has a sweet flavor.  This crust is also the base of millionaire’s shortbread. It only needs a few ingredients and is made by hand with just butter, flour, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. If you’re looking for a killer shortbread cookie recipe, look no further than my 3-ingredient shortbread cookies.

The rich sweet crust bakes ahead of the filling to ensure it’s cooked through. After baking for 25 minutes, I fill them will the custard filling and then it’s just a matter of time!

What You’ll Need For This Best Lemon Bar Recipe

[Did you know you can make your own extracts? ]

How To Make Lemon Bars

These homemade Lemon Bars are made with an easy lemon custard filling. The filling of this lemon bar is made by combining egg yolks, sugar, and lots of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Seriously, it has all the components of the best homemade lemon curd (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below).

  1. Preheat oven and butter and line baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Combine sugars and flours in a large bowl. Rub in the butter and bring together using your hands until dough forms a ball.
  3. Transfer dough to baking tin in one even layer. Prick crust all over with a fork.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes.
  5. While the shortbread dough bakes, combine egg yolks, sugar, soft butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest and mix in a medium bowl.
  6. Whisk in flour and baking soda.
  7. Remove baked crust from oven and fill with lemon filling.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the filling on top is golden brown.
  9. Cool fully before dusting with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.
  10. Store in the fridge.

Are Lemon Bars Best-Served Cold?

I like the idea of warm gooey lemon bars. However, lemon bars are easier to cut into squares when they are fully cooled. This is an important step in setting the center of them. After cooling I love to dust these easy lemon bars with powdered sugar for that extra touch of sweetness.

A stack of lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar and ready to eat.

Do Lemon Bars Need To Be Refrigerated?

Yes, lemon bars should be refrigerated. Since they are custard-based, you should make sure to put any leftovers in the fridge or if you don’t want to immediately dig into your classic lemon bars, then be sure to refrigerate within a few hours of them being on the counter. When it comes to storing lemon bars, refrigeration is the way to go.

Can You Freeze Lemon Bars?

Absolutely, you can freeze them. Just make sure that you seal them tight with plastic wrap before placing them inside the freezer. Lemon bars can last in the freezer for three to four months. And once you’re ready to eat them, thaw the lemon bars in the fridge overnight before enjoying your lemon bars.

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NOTE: THIS RECIPE HAS BEEN EDITED ON 9/6/2018 TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE FILLING. WE HAVE RESOLVED ANY ISSUE WITH THE RECIPE. Gemma 🙂

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

4.64 from 361 votes
My easy Lemon Bars Recipe has all the best bits of classic lemon bars but made even easier! Give it a go!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 9
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
My easy Lemon Bars Recipe has all the best bits of classic lemon bars but made even easier! Give it a go!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 9

Ingredients

Butter Shortbread Crust

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (caster sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4oz/177g) all-purpose flour
  • 10 tablespoons (5oz/142g) butter (cubed and softened)

Lemon Filling:

  • 8 egg yolks*
  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz/340g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4oz/115g) butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 lemons (juiced and zested (about 3/4 cup juice ))
  • 1/2 cup (2 ½oz/71g) all-purpose flour (See Notes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (See Notes)
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)

Instructions

Shortbread Crust:

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (170°C) then butter and line an 8x8 inch baking tin, set aside. 
  • In a large bowl combine the sugars and the flour. Next rub in the butter until you've reached the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Continue to bring the shortbread together using your hands until the dough forms a ball.
  • Transfer the shortbread dough to your lined baking tin and press it into one even layer using your fingertips and the palm of your hands. Then prick the crust all over with a fork.
  • Bake the shortbread crust for 25 minutes. While the base is baking, make the lemon filling.

Lemon Filling:

  • In a medium bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar, soft butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest then mix to combine. If the mixture looks a bit separated, don't be alarmed. 
  • UPDATED STEP: lastly, whisk in the flour and baking powder until there are no lumps. (We added this step 2018 to rectify lemon bars that were not setting)
  • Remove the crust from the oven then fill with the lemon filling. 
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top has formed a crackle-top crust and is golden brown.
  • Allow to fully cool before dusting with powdered sugar and cutting into squares. 
  • Cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

*Flour and baking powder were added to this recipe after the video launched. It's important to add it as it sets the lemon filling. 
 
*Save your leftover egg whites for meringue recipes and you can even freeze them for later

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Lojane
Lojane
1 year ago

Hi Gemma,
I’ve been following ur recipes for a year now and I absolutely love them. I’m 15 now but I hope to become a master baker like you. I tried this recipe specially for my cousin who loves lemon deserts. Wish u all the best and keep baking!! ❤️❤️❤️

Veronique
Veronique
1 year ago

Hubby has been asking for lemon bars ~ cant wait to try these for him ~

Alpana
Alpana
1 year ago

awesome..loved it. simple and quick yet yummy and delicious

Izreen
Izreen
1 year ago

Made this recipe over and over. Superb! Tq so much Gemma for being a wonderful teacher

Jonelle
Jonelle
2 years ago

Hi Gemma! Trying this for the first time… can you please explain what you mean by “line” the baking pan. Your instructions say to butter and line the pan. Is that flour after the butter as customary or butter than parchment? I’m assuming so. Thanks for the clarification! ????

Vickie
Vickie
2 years ago

Excellent! This is definitely a”do-over.” I substituted 4 eggs in place of 8 yolks and it work!
Thank you, Gemma!

Harriet
Harriet
1 year ago

I made bigger bolder lemon bar and they are AMAZING!!!!!!!

Alex
Alex
2 years ago

Does the crust really need to bake for 25 mins? I baked mine for 25mins and it got burnt
I even reduced the temp by 5°. By the time It got out of the oven with the filling, it just turned black.

Anne
Anne
11 months ago

Planning to bake this. What is the measurement for the lemon zest ?

marystark1
1 year ago

I made the recipe as written and it was an immediate hit. Used fresh squeezed juice from Meyer lemons I’d been gifted. NOTES: 1. Delicious as soon as cooled but even better the next day. (Assuming you have any left!) 2. My daughter loved the flaky crust but felt it was a little thick (I used an 8″ x 8″ pan) for the amount of filling. I made it again with half of the shortbread and the same amount of filling. She declared it, “perfection”! 3. I’d watched the video but glad I referred to the written recipe with the… Read more »

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!