Lemon Bars: the tart, sweet dessert recipe perfect for your summer

Total time: 55 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 12 people
By Cookist

Fresh, lemony desserts are perfect for summer. It’s light, refreshing, but still sweet enough to satisfy your craving for dessert. These classic lemon bars (or lemon squares) are just what you need for an easy dessert recipe.

A buttery shortbread crust is topped with a rich filling that is sweet and slightly tart. The thick, creamy filling consists of a lemon curd that’s baked in a low-temperature oven (this will prevent the base from burning and won’t overcook the lemon curd filling).

To make it, you’ll need a few basic baking ingredients like butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, and fresh lemons. It’s a great treat to serve at picnics, baby or bridal showers, or bake sales.

Lemon Bars Ingredients


Butter – use salted or unsalted butter; this creates a buttery shortbread crust.

Sugar – sugar is used in the crust and to sweeten the tart filling; you will also need powdered sugar for the topping.

Flour – used in both the filling and base; use all-purpose flour.

Lemons – use fresh lemons, store-bought lemon juice won’t have the right flavor for this recipe.

Eggs – the eggs form a large part of the filling and create structure.

How To Make Lemon Bars

Prepare a square baking tin (about 8-inch in size) by greasing it and lining it with parchment paper. Create two overhangs with the parchment paper—this will make it easier to remove the lemons bars later on.

Start by making the shortbread cookie base. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the softened butter and rub it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to the greased baking tin and use the back of a spoon to press the crumbs into the base. Bake until golden.

In the meantime, make the filling by whisking together the sugar, grated lemon, flour, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour the filling onto the shortbread base (it should be slightly cooled), then bake for another 20 minutes.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the baking tin, then use the parchment paper overhangs to remove the bars from the baking tin. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack, then cut into squares. Use a large sharp knife to cut clean squares (clean the knife in between each slice). Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

How To Tell If Lemon Bars Are Done

The lemon bars are done when the center no longer jiggles and the edges start to pull away from the baking tin. As the bars cool, they will continue to set more.

Tips For Making Classic Lemon Bars

To prevent the lemon bars from tasting eggy, make sure to cool the base before topping with the filling, and mix the egg mixture well. It’s important not to make the oven temperature too high, as this will cause the eggs to scramble which will result in an eggy flavor.

Make them a bit healthier by using erythritol as a sugar substitute for the base. Use allulose for the filling.

It’s important to sift the flour for the filling to make sure it’s fully incorporated into the lemon filling.

How To Store Lemon Bars

Store the lemon bars in the fridge for up to 3 days. They’re delicious when served cold—perfect for summer.

Can You Freeze Lemon Bars?

Yes, these lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow the bars to cool completely (don’t dust them with powdered sugar yet!). Place the bars on a baking sheet and freeze for about an hour. Transfer the bars to a large Ziploc bag. Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.


Unsalted butter
225 g (1 cup)
White sugar
100 g (1/2 cup)
All-purpose flour
300 g (2 cups)
1/2 tsp
Baking powder
1/2 tsp
for the filling
White sugar
200 g (1 cup)
lemon, grated
All-purpose flour
40 g (1/4 cup)
Lemon juice
125 ml (1/2 cup)
for decorating
Powdered sugar


In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Add the butter.

Mix the butter with the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Transfer the crumbly mixture to a greased baking tin and press the mixture into the bottom of the tin forming a base.

Bake at 175°C/347°F for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together the sugar, grated lemon, flour, eggs, and lemon juice.

Pour the filling over the baked biscuit base. Bake at 175°C/347°F for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, then let it cool in the baking tin for a few minutes. Gently remove the lemon bar dough from the tin, transfer it on a rack and let it cool completely until they don't jiggle anymore. Slice into bars using a clean, sharp knife and decorate with powdered sugar.

Serve and enjoy!


You can also use a glass baking dish instead of a baking tin. You may need to increase the baking time.

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