Easy lemon bars with a zesty lemon custard atop a crisp brown sugar shortbread crust—these lemon bars are lovely and delicious!
The best lemon bars are super easy for you to make and a dessert that seems elegant and decadent—impressive to your guests while only requiring minimal time and effort from you! What could be better than that?!
And don’t worry that these lemon bars are too eggy—you know how sometimes that’s all you can taste? No lemon, just eggs? I hate that so I worked on this lemon bar recipe too many times to count until I was satisfied with the proportions of crust to filling and had a filling that was not too eggy.
Easy Lemon Bars
I made these Easy Lemon Bars a few weeks ago for a dessert party, along with Raspberry Shortbread Bars and Cream Cheese Pound Cake and everyone devoured the lemon bars! I think we had maybe three leftover—and not for long!
What’s your favorite dessert to take to a party? You can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies or brownies, but if you want to take something that appears to be a little fancier, then try these Easy Lemon Bars.
Lemon Bars – Tips for Storing
Lemon Bars are best on the first day and will keep well for one more day if you have leftovers. Place them in an airtight container and either store on the counter or in the fridge. They may keep slightly better in the refrigerator, but it’s not necessary if you’re tight on space.
I don’t like to keep lemon bars longer than a couple of days because the crust softens too much and I like my lemon bars best when the crust is still slightly crispy. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with these lemon bars even after 4 or 5 days so don’t toss them if you haven’t gobbled them all by then!
Tools for Lemon Bar Recipe
There are no special tools required for this Lemon Bar recipe. You’ll need a saucepan like this one to cook the filling for about 7 minutes, and a mesh strainer to strain it afterward.
You probably have a baking dish already but if not, I love this one from Le Creuset. It’s versatile so you can use it for so many recipes and it will last forever! I use mine ALL THE TIME.
That’s it as far as tools!
Ingredients Needed for Easy Lemon Bars
You’ll need some fresh lemons for these easy lemon bars. Don’t use lemon juice from a jar or concentrate as it just won’t give you the same flavor that you can get from fresh. And you need zest, which has to come from fresh lemons.
I also like to add the seeds from a vanilla bean to the crust for additional flavor, but this is optional so if you don’t have a vanilla bean don’t worry about leaving it out.
- Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla bean
- Granulated Sugar
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
Confectioner’s Sugar for sprinkling on top
How to Make Lemon Bars
Preheat your oven to 350º and line a 9×13 inch pan or baking dish with foil, allowing the foil to hang over the sides. Lightly grease the foil.
Make the Crust for the Best Lemon Bars
Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl, then scrape in the seeds from a vanilla bean and stir into the flour mixture.
Pour in melted butter and stir until well mixed.
Press into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Filling for Homemade Lemon Bars
Whisk together flour, salt, and sugar.
Whisk in lemon zest, then eggs and lemon juice.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes until thickened.
Strain through a mesh strainer if needed.
Pour gently over hot crust.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until center is set.
Allow the Easy Lemon Bars to cool in the baking dish on a wire rack for about 1 1/2 hours.
Then use the foil overhang to gently lift the lemon bars from the pan. Gently peel the foil down and cut the Easy Lemon Bars into squares.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving. If you do it too early, the powdered sugar will dissolve.
My family loves these Easy Lemon Bars because they’re full of zesty lemon flavor with a nice custard, and a shortbread base that’s good all by itself. I hope yours does too!
If you love these Easy Lemon Bars, you might also like these lemon-based recipes:
Easy Lemon Bars
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and cold
- 2-3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil, allowing the foil to hang over the sides, and lightly grease the foil.
- Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and mix into flour. Pour in butter. Stir until well mixed and press into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until dark golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk in lemon zest. Whisk in eggs and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes until thickened. Strain through a mesh strainer. Whisk in butter until smooth.
- Pour gently over hot crust. Bake 8-10 minutes or until center is set.
- Let cool in pan on wire rack for 1 1/2 hours. Lift from pan, using foil sides as handles. Gently peel foil down and cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
- Cook's Illustrated
- Food Network
- Fine Cooking
- Gabriel's Bakery