Best Lemon Bars

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This recipe for our Best Lemon Bars practically “melt-in-your-mouth”.  The rich tartness of the gooey lemon curd filling, the sweetness of the powdered sugar, the flaky buttery shortbread crust…*sigh*  

More creamy lemon bar desserts you’ll love are these Blueberry Lemon Bliss Cheesecake Bars and these Lemon Layered Pudding Cheesecake Bars!

best lemon bars recipe

3 Reasons to Make Our Easy Lemon Bars Recipe!

So, I’ve narrowed it down to 3 reasons why to make these bars over and over again!  Because, really, there are just about a ba-jillion reasons why I could go on and on for lemon bars, but I’ll just make it real simple and break it down for you.

  1. “Easy to make!”  Yeah?  Easier than you would think if you’ve never made them.  Aren’t we always looking for something to taste and impress that’s out of this world?  Like we slaved hour upon hour, when really it was chalked up to only a few minutes here and a few minutes there!
  2. They practically “melt-in-your-mouth.  It’s got the perfect ratio of bursting citrus flavor.  And home-made!!  Like who can beat that?  Made with real dairy butter, fresh eggs, lemon zest and juice.
  3. They are “Popular!!” These popular lemon bars are huge crowd-pleasers for your next gathering this spring or summer!  They are little bites of heaven bursting with fresh lemon flavor!  

fruity summer dessert bar recipe

2 Steps to Putting These Classic Lemon Bars Together

  1. Making the buttery shortbread crust, which takes just a few short minutes to mix up and press into a pan. Pop it in the oven and bake away for 15 minutes or so.
  2. While the crust is baking, prepare the creamy lemon layer, which again, takes just a few short minutes and pour it on top of that baked crust after it’s baked, and pop it in the oven and let the lemon bar ‘magic’ begin.

Ingredients You Need

Shortbread Crust

  • unsalted butter softened
  • granulated sugar
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt

Lemon Curd Filling

  • eggs
  • granulated sugar
  • all-purpose flour
  • fresh lemon juice
  • Optional: lemon zest
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • Optional: You could add a teaspoon of vanilla extract

fruity summer dessert bar recipe

How to Make the Best Lemon Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set aside an 8 inch baking dish or pan sprayed with cooking spray. You can also line with parchment paper or tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

Shortbread Crust

  1. With an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment. in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes on high.
  2. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together.
  3. Press evenly into the prepared sheet pan, building up a ½-inch edge on all sides and bake until it just starts to turn golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Curd Filling

  1. While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.
  2. Pour lemon filling over the crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set by touching top of bars and not jiggly.

Baking the Lemon Bars

  1. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven, until the filling is set by touching top of bars and not jiggly.
  2. Let cool to room temperature.and dust with powdered sugar.
  3. Cut lemon bars with a knife into squares or triangles and dust tops with powdered sugar. Addictive!!!

fruity summer dessert bar recipe

Troubleshooting Lemon Bars

What to Do If Lemon Bars Are Too Runny?

  • Runny Lemon Bars – When making lemon bars for the first time, ensure that they are baked long enough to prevent a runny result; if the edges seem to be browning, cover with foil and reduce heat. The bars should be set at the edges and jiggly, yet not runny in the middle, and they will set fully after cooling.

Key takeaways: 1) bake bars long enough; 2) cover with foil to prevent burning; 3) allow to cool before serving to allow bars to set.

What If My Bars Get Cracks?

  • Cracks – Cracks can appear in lemon bars, which usually occur when the lemon mixture is excessively beaten or when the bars are baked at too high of a temperature and taken out of the oven suddenly. However, cracks do not affect the taste and can be covered up with powdered sugar.

Key takeaways: 1) Cracks form when lemon mixtures are excessively beaten or when bars are baked at too high of a temperature; 2) Cracks do not affect the taste; 3) Cracks can be covered with powdered sugar.

What Are Upside Down Bars?

  • Upside Down Bars – Upside down bars are an accidental creation that can occur when there is a large space between the crust and the sides of the pan, or when the crust is cooled before filling is added. To avoid this, hot crust and pan should be used to cool the filling quickly, preventing it from sinking.

Key takeaways: 1) Upside down bars are a result of incorrect preparation steps; 2) Too much space between the crust and the sides of the pan can result in upside down bars; 3) Hot crust and pan should be used to cool the filling quickly.

Storing & Freezing Lemon Bars

  • Refrigerate: Store lemon bars in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap or in a ziplock bag for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze Lemon Bars: Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3-4 months in the freezer. Thaw bars overnight in the fridge.

More lemon? You’ll love this Triple Lemon Cupcakes, this Homemade Lemon Curd (Microwave)Lemon Burst Poke Cake and these Top 15 Luscious Lemon and Berry Desserts!

fruity summer dessert bar

summer treat

The best lemon bars recipe should be moist and zesty, use freshly-squeezed juice and real butter. Bringing together a blend of tartness and sweetness, lemon bars are the perfect combination of citrusy flavor.

As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemon bars.” Now go forth and conquer the ultimate citrusy treat!

Make this best creamy lemon bar recipe for any event, because honestly, these are super yummy and creamy lemon delish bars no one can resist!

Desserts Bursting with Lemon Sunshine!

Best Lemon Bars

Best Lemon Bars

Kim Lange
The rich tartness of the gooey lemon curd filling, the sweetness of the powdered sugar, the flaky buttery shortbread crust…*sigh* They practically "melt-in-your-mouth".
3.93 from 42 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 9 Bars


Shortbread Crust

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch or two of salt

Lemon Filling

  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup lemon juice or 3 large lemons squeezed
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • powdered sugar for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set aside an 8x8 pan sprayed with cooking spray. You can also line with parchment or tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

Shortbread Crust

  • With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes on high.
    Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together.
    Press evenly into the prepared sheet pan, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides and bake until it just starts to turn golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Curd Filling

  • While the crust is baking, in another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. 
  • Pour lemon curd filling over the crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set by touching top of bars and not jiggly.
  • Let cool to room temperature.and dust with powdered sugar.
  • Cut lemon bars into squares or triangles and dust tops with powdered sugar. Addictive!!!


Double recipe for a 9x13 pan.
Keyword lemon, lemon bars, lemon curd, lemon desserts
Tried This Recipe?Let us know how it was by commenting below!

Recipe from Ina Garten 



  1. Do you let the crust cool before putting the lemon filling on? Or do you put the filling on top of the hot crust ( so it would still be kind of soft) and continue baking it the additional time?

  2. I have to agree, these lemon bars are definitely timeless and classic and everyone always swoons over them. Thank you so much for your review Lynn and Happy Baking! xo

  3. Seriously, lemon bars are just the absolute best. I’ve made them since 1973. This exact recipe was made by a mother to one of my daughter’s classmates in which she brought them to a luncheon for the teachers (I happened to be the librarian at the time). I took one bite and was hooked ever since!! Timeless and classic…soooooo addicting!

  4. No, it shouldn’t be sticky. Did you get the lemon curd under the crust somehow and then it baked? I’ve made these lots of times, so I’m not sure?

  5. I made these today and the crust is very sticky. Is it supposed to be that sticky?

  6. I made these lemon bars and just not enough filing for the amount of crust, if I made then again I would make the filling recipe one & half time.. But other wise I would give a it a 3 star rating
    2 7 2019

  7. Cindy, I’m so glad to hear that! Great idea making them gluten-free and I am craving them now…LOL! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and saving it. 🙂 Happy New Year!

  8. Made these with gluten free all purpose flour (so I could have a try!).A coworker was saying how she had been craving them – so I delivered! I forgot to take a photo, but they turned out great (I have never made lemon bars before, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually had them..) Will definitely be saving this recipe for the future.

  9. Sure, just place the bars on a baking sheet in the freezer until the bars freeze all the way through, about two to three hours.

    Wrap each lemon bar in plastic wrap and place them in a sealable freezer bag. Mark the date on the bag and use within one month for best quality. Hope that helps!

  10. I’m sooo happy they turned out great for you! I refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving, but you can do room temperature up 2 days or so. Thank you for commenting!

  11. Te recipe turned out great!!! I was just wondering if the lemon bars should be refrigerated?

  12. Thank you So much for the 5 star rating Sherry! Storage: The lemon bars are best eaten within 24 hours, but may be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can serve them either way actually. If I was serving them I would have them refrigerated and then set them out when you are ready for your party, they will be fine sitting out for several hours, if they last that long! 🙂

  13. I have made these a couple of times and love them! I am wondering if you usually serve chilled or allow them to come to room temperature. I am making them for a party and wonder if I have to chill right up until serving.

  14. Do you think I could use coconut oil instead of butter in this recipe ? I can’t do butter anymore .

  15. There’s nothing better than lemon bars (Well, along with all the chocolate-y and nutty things), and this one looks impeccable. I’ll certainly need to try this recipe as I even don’t remember when I made/ate it last time.

  16. Hi Cathy! You can store bars tightly covered, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The flavor of the bars improves with refrigeration. Hope that helps! Enjoy!

  17. Can these be made a couple of days ahead of time? If yes, should they be stored in the refrigerator?

  18. I have made these twice now, both times a hit. The first time the original lemon because I had extra lemons in the fridge. The second time (because I don’t really like lemons a lot) I split the recipe in two halves and made one lime and one grapefruit! Both worked beautifully, though I think zest for the grapefruit is more essential for the flavor to shine through.
    Truly the best sour citrus bar recipe I’ve done.

  19. Hi Nancy! Your party tray sounds so elegant! What a great idea, I love it! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting us know about it. I’m going to have to try that next time. 🙂

  20. These are my favorites. For parties I cut them in triangles and put in aluminum fail flattened cupcake liners. Arranged on a tray they look super special.

  21. I love easy and tasty! I wonder how these would make if using gluten-free ingredients? Only one way to find out about that! I am saving this yummy-looking recipe and trying it out! Thanks for sharing!

  22. I love this recipe, Tess. Mine actually uses powdered sugar in the crust, but otherwise it’s about the same. These are my son’s FAVORITE goodies. I have to mail him a package of them every year for Christmas! 🙂

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