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This Lemon Bars Recipe is all you need!

Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

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My lemon bars recipe has all the best bits of classic lemon bars but made even easier!


Hi Bold Bakers!

This recipe is long in the making! Since the birth of Bigger Bolder Baking have all been asking for an easy Lemon Bars recipe. Well, brace yourselves!

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, but these tangy & rich lemon bars are made in one bowl and by hand.

Made with a classic sweet and buttery shortbread base topped with a super fresh lemony custard, these lemon bars 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!

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. Made by hand with just butter, flour, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar, you can imagine why this crust is also the base of millionaire’s shortbread — as they taste like a million bucks.

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!

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How do you make this lemon bars recipe?

These homemade Lemon Bars are made with an easy lemon custard filling. Made by combining egg yolks, sugar, and lots of fresh lemon juice and zest, the filling of this lemon bar has all the component of the best homemade lemon curd.

[ This recipe calls for vanilla! Did you know you can make your own extracts? ]

The difference is that there’s no fussy cooking over a stove or worrying about curdled eggs. All of the ingredients are combined then poured over the shortbread crust. They bake somewhat low and slow, and this is what allows the lemon custard filling to develop its thick custard center and golden brown top.

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Are lemon bars best-served cold?

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

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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 🙂

4.48 from 150 votes
This Lemon Bars Recipe is all you need!
Easy Lemon Bars
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!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 9
Author: Gemma Stafford
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
NOTE: THIS RECIPE HAS BEEN EDITED ON 9/6/2018 TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE FILLING. WE HAVE RESOLVED ANY ISSUE WITH THE RECIPE.
Shortbread Crust:
  1. Preheat your oven to 325oF (170oC) then butter and line an 8x8 inch baking tin, set aside. 

  2. 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.

  3. Transfer the shortbread dough to your lined baking tin and press into one even layer using your fingertips and the palm of your hands. Then prick the crust all over with a fork.

  4. Bake the shortbread crust for 25 minutes. While the base is baking, make the lemon filling.

Lemon Filling:
  1. 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. 

  2. 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)

  3. Remove the crust from the oven then fill with the lemon filling. 

  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top has formed a crackle crust and is golden brown.

  5. Allow to fully cool before dusting with powdered sugar and cutting into squares. 

  6. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Watch the Recipe Video!

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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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

Have you made a recipe? Share photos on my website or across social media with the hashtag #boldbaker.

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144 Comments

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  1. Kat on June 16, 2019 at 12:18 am

    For a bigger baking glass pan do I double the ingredients?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 16, 2019 at 6:15 am

      Hi Kat,

      It really depends on the size of your dish. If it is twice the size then yes you can double the recipe.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  2. Rashmi Jhawar on June 9, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Plz do give egg substitute of easy lemon bar recipe as we don’t eat eggs.

  3. Chocolatelover on May 27, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Hello Gemma ! Can you please tell me what to do with all the 8 egg whites remaining ? Can i use less eggs instead ? And in my country , we don’t really have those yellow lemons but we have green ones , will those work fine ?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 30, 2019 at 2:12 am

      Hi,

      Freeze them! I always freeze egg whites to have to use layer in meringue or pavlova. 🙂

      They work great. Make sure you write on the bag how many egg whites are in there.
      Gemma.

  4. Jenny on May 26, 2019 at 3:19 am

    When you say butter, you must mean unsalted right?

    I’ve used half salted and half unsalted (because I love a bit of salt in my desserts )but today I’ve run out of unsalted butter. I’m guessing saltd butter would be a terrible idea? Especially since both crust and filling need butter?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 27, 2019 at 8:20 am

      I use salted butter all the time Jenny but honestly that is up to you.

      It ads a little bit more flavor. If you are worried then reduce any additional salt in the recipe.

      Best,
      Gemma.

      • Jenny Mathew on May 28, 2019 at 11:48 pm

        Oh ok Gemma! Thank you. I didn’t realize you could use entirely salted butter here

  5. Cheryl on May 23, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Lemon Bars – Time to make an updated video with the recipe corrections.
    By the way – Love your recipes and videos.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 25, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      Noted Cherly. I’ll see what we can do.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  6. Gul on May 12, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Hi Emma I just made these and they were so scrumptious.. oey gooey tangy lemon curd and buttery crust.. they were amazing.. the crust and filling both were rush and yummy.. just love these are my fav

    • Gemma Stafford on May 13, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      Yay!!!! I love to hear that.

      Great job!
      Gemma.

  7. candilstiggers on April 8, 2019 at 6:50 am

    I’ve never made a lemon bar that required butter in the filling but these were delicious! This is now my favorite lemon bar.

    • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2019 at 11:56 am

      YAY i’m delighted to hear that!

  8. Jonelle on April 7, 2019 at 9:38 am

    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! 😁

    • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Hi, yes i just mean cover it with a sheet of parchment to make it easy to remove the bars after baking 😀 Enjoy!

  9. Yesenia on April 6, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Can i add fruit to this recipe? For example rasberries?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 7, 2019 at 1:13 am

      Hi there,
      I think yes! The raspberries will ‘bleed’ in the heat though. I would say try it, do not add too many raspberries to start, that will tell you.
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Vickie on April 3, 2019 at 11:03 am

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

    • Gemma Stafford on April 4, 2019 at 5:00 am

      Hi Vickie,
      Good woman! Great idea, I am delighted this worked for you. I had meant to try this too, now I will not need to!
      Gemma <3

  11. Midhat on March 22, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Most of the recipe add whole eggs what makes this one different would it be richer?
    And none of the recipe I used ever added baking powder what purpose would it serves in this recipe pls elobrate thanks for sharing ur recipe will definitely try it once u clear my confusion

    • Gemma Stafford on March 23, 2019 at 2:09 am

      Hi there,
      The egg yolks will give a richer finish for sure. The egg whites do two things, 1. they leaven a bit, 2. they hep to set the recipe. The flour and baking powder do this for this recipe to make for a more custard like lemon filling.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Suzanne Schneider on March 9, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Lemon bars bars are delicious year round!
    I swapped out the vanilla extract for lemon extract which adds even more flavour.
    There versions of lemon: juice, zest, extract.
    First day of Spring brunch is Sunday and these will be on the table!
    Thx Gemma🙋🏻🇨🇦

    • Gemma Stafford on March 9, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Yay!!!! Thrilled to heat that.

      Thanks Suzanne.
      Gemma.

  13. Deborah on March 8, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Gemna, do I have the fan on in my oven for this recipe, or better with no fan? Most ovens are fan forced, but that can effect the temp or cooking time.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 11, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      Hi there, for this I would suggest using he regular oven if you only have fan you can just set it 25 degrees cooler. I hope that helps!

  14. carrielyw on February 28, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing easy and delicious recipe. First time making lemon bar and it was a success. Some other lemon bar recipes use whole egg instead of yolks only. What is the difference? Also can I reduce the amount of butter? Gotta watch out on my weight. Thank you.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 1, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      YUM, great job 😀 I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed this recipe!

  15. Alex on February 24, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    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.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 25, 2019 at 9:21 am

      Hi, that’s very odd. It does take that long, next time i might suggest covering it with foil to keep it from browning.

  16. Aurifa on February 12, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Hi Gemma, I m your recent viewer. I like to try this recipe eggless. Please advice me eggless recipe for lemon squares. As well timing and outcome if I make on cook top without oven please?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      Hi, eggs are really important in this recipe as it forms the custard in the center so there is no replacement.

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