Lemon Bars

It’s the tail end of winter and the lemons are everywhere. I live in an adorable neighborhood where people fill their yards with fruit trees, flowers, and crazy-looking succulents. One house a block and a half down from me has a lemon tree out front, brimming with fruit every year in late winter. Right now there are a hundred, maybe two hundred, fruits on their tree. Every time I walk by, I consider knocking on their door and asking if I can buy a bucketful. To turn into lemon bars, lemon tarts, lemon meringue pies, lemonades.
I haven’t worked up that much neighborly courage yet. The lemons in today’s recipe aren’t from my neighbor’s tree, but even the ones from the market are amazing this time of year.

Lemon bars are a classic, a for-sure-instant-hit, and this recipe couldn’t be any simpler.
lemon bars
Shortbread crust pressed into a pan. Sweet tangy lemon custard poured on top. Baked until the edges crisp, and custard just set. Powdered sugar on top.
lemon bars

Lemon Bars

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A simple recipe for lemon bars.


For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4-1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • powdered sugar, for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. To make the crust, cream together the butter and both sugars. Stir in the all purpose flour and salt until the dough comes together very well. Press evenly into the bottom of your pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes until just barely browned.
  3. To make the filling as the crust bakes, whisk together eggs and sugar until light and pale. Add flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the filling over the hot crust. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the edges of the lemon filling are browned, and the center is no longer wobbly. You’ll want to watch these closely at the end– overcooking will change the texture.
  5. Let the bars cool, then dust with powdered sugar and slice.

If you’re working with less-tart meyer lemons, you’ll want to use more lemon juice. I used about 1/3 cup, but you can go up to 1/2 cup if you want something very tart.

Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook.

2 thoughts on “Lemon Bars”

  1. You totally need to ask your neighbor if you could take some lemons in exchange for baked goods made with them! I grew up in Florida where we had every kind of fruit tree in our backyard. Sometimes, we had so much fruit, it was hard to keep up with picking them, then the fruit would go bad. I bet your neighbors would welcome your help in taking some of theirs. I live in New Hampshire now and sadly have no fruit trees. My hubby loves lemon bars so I’ll have to make these for him for Easter 🙂

    1. The lemons in exchange for baked treats is such a great idea! I will definitely ask them soon. I’ve noticed that they have a ton of ripe fruit on their tree lately, just sitting there… Perhaps they need someone to turn them into lemon bars. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s