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Homemade Lemon Bars

These sweet homemade lemon bars are full of tart lemon flavor and are made with a sweet shortbread crust. They are always a crowd-pleaser and great for parties or holidays!

Homemade Lemon Bars sliced to show the inside.

This is one of my favorite desserts ever – homemade lemon bars.

So. Much. Goodness.

They are sweet and sour and pretty easy to throw together. Trust me, even if you think they look hard, they aren’t.

Make a simple crust in your mixer, bake it, top it with a lemon mixture, bake some more, cool, dust with powdered sugar, and devour!

I like making these bar cookies for holidays and parties; they are always a hit!

Homemade Lemon Bars with fresh lemon on top.

Ingredients for lemon bars

For crust:

  • Unsalted Butter – I like to use unsalted butter because salted butter can differ from brand to brand.
  • Powdered sugar – This helps sweeten the crust.
  • All-purpose flour – The base of the crust.
  • Kosher salt – Just a pinch to bring out the flavor of the crust and butter.

For lemon filling:

  • Granulated sugar – Lemon bars are sweet, and this helps sweeten the bars and balance out the tart lemon juice and zest.
  • Eggs – Helps thicken the bars so they set up as they bake.
  • Lemon juice – Use fresh lemons because you’ll get the best flavor.
  • Lemon zest – Brings in freshness and added lemon flavor.
  • All-purpose flour – Helps thicken the bars.
Homemade Lemon Bars cut on a board.

How to make lemon bars

This is one of those recipes that might look intimidating but are easy to throw together! It all starts with making a crust, then topping it with filling, baking, dusting with powdered sugar, and devouring!

  1. Make the crust by combining butter and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until fluffy.
  2. Add flour and kosher salt to the butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together and can easily be pressed into a pan.
  3. Bake the crust while you make your lemon filling.
  4. Mix granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, and flour in a mixing bowl.
  5. Pour into the half-cooked crust and bake until set.
  6. Let them cool, slice, and top with powdered sugar.

Using different citrus

I love using straight-up traditional lemons for lemon bars, but Meyer lemons would work well here, too. They tend to be sweeter, so keep that in mind.

You could substitute with fresh orange, grapefruit, lime, or blood orange juice.

All of these citrus fruits make an excellent cookie bar!

Homemade Lemon Bars on a marble board.

How to tell if lemon bars are fully cooked

The trick to lemon bars is to cook the filling enough to set but not so much as the filling curdles.

While this might sound complicated, it’s pretty easy. You want to cook your lemon bars until the center is set, and do not jiggle when gently shaking the pan.

Tips for making lemon bars

  1. Don’t use foil to line your pan – if you use foil to line your pan, you may end up with metallic-tasting lemon bars. The acid in the lemon juice can react with the aluminum in the foil.
  2. Use fresh lemons – if you want the best-flavored lemon bars, then make sure to use fresh lemons for the juice and the zest.
  3. Use parchment paper – line your pan with parchment paper for easy removal from the pan after cooling.
  4. FULLY cool – you must let your bars fully cool, or they will not be set up or cut correctly.
Homemade Lemon Bars dusted with powdered sugar.

Adding additional flavor

Craving a little more flavor?

You can add vanilla bean extract to the crust or filling. Or why not go for a deep vanilla flavor and use vanilla bean paste?

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Storage and leftovers

You can store any leftover lemon bars, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also freeze lemon bars! Simply wrap in plastic wrap or store in a freezer-safe zip-top baggie for up to three months.

Homemade Lemon Bars stacked on top of each other.

More lemon desserts

Homemade Lemon Bars

These sweet homemade lemon bars are full of tart lemon flavor and are made with a sweet shortbread crust. They are always a crowd-pleaser and great for parties or holidays!
4.48 from 19 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 9 servings


For crust:

For lemon filling:


For crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl of an electric mixer add butter and powdered sugar. Beat together until the mixture is pale in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup all purpose flour and kosher salt and mix just until the dough comes together. This may take a few minutes. The mixture will look crumbly at first but will come together. It’s ready when the dough can easily be pressed together.
  • Firmly press the dough into the bottom of your prepared pan. Make sure to keep the dough the same thickness throughout the pan.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool while you make the filling.

For lemon filling:

  • In an electric mixer bowl add sugar and eggs and beat till smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine.
  • Fold in the flour.

For baking:

  • Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and cool.
  • Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. These are best eaten the day they are made but can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.



Serving: 1g | Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy lemon bars, lemon bars, lemon bars with shortbread crust
Did you try this recipe?Leave a comment and 5 star review!
Homemade Lemon Bars pin for Pinterest.

About Brandy!

I am a food lover and recipe developer bringing you delicious recipes that taste great and are easy to make! My food is inspired by travels around the world and my love of flavorful food. A list of things that make me happy: cats, Coke Zero, houseplants, and travel. Read more...

Recipe Rating

Nellie Tracy

Monday 24th of June 2019

I love lemon bars and this is one of my absolute favorite recipes! So tasty!

Shadi Hasanzadenemati

Monday 24th of June 2019

love this for summer! Such a tasty recipe!


Monday 15th of April 2019

I haven't made lemon bars in so long! These look so perfect and delicious!


Monday 15th of April 2019

I love a good lemon bar! These are great for a Spring treat!


Monday 15th of April 2019

Lemon bars are always the first thing to go when I make them - so delicious!


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