Perfect Lemon Bars

Perfect Lemon Bars
This is a lemon bar recipe for lemon lovers. It has a filling that is nice and thick, a great lemon flavor and a beautiful silky texture. The lemon custard is sitting on top of a layer of tender shortbread crust that is thick enough to hold up to it without getting soggy, even if you are planning to take the bars to a picnic the next day.

Many lemon bar recipes use sour cream or milk to round out the flavor of the filling and give it more body. This makes for a tasty lemon bar, but it also mellows the natural zestiness of the lemon a little bit. My favorite lemon curd recipe isn’t cut with butter or any other fat (besides the egg that thickens it) and it has plenty of body – and the filling for these bars works the same way. With just lemon juice, sugar and eggs you get a fantastic result.

You need to use fresh lemon juice to get the best results for this recipe, as store-bought lemon juice just doesn’t have the same brightness as a freshly juiced lemon. You’ll also want a little bit of fresh lemon zest to add to the crust, to give the bars a little extra lemon. Serve these bars chilled or at room temperature, and dust them with a little bit of confectioners’ sugar just before serving to give them a beautiful finished look.

Perfect Lemon Bars

Perfect Lemon Bars
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
Make the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Blend in with an electric mixer at low speed until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs. Pour into pan and press mixture down (with your fingers or the back of a spoon) into an even layer.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges.

While crust is baking, make filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in a large bowl.
When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until filling is just set (it will still jiggle when the pan is gently moved). Filling will continue to set as the crust cools.
When bars are completely cooled, refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Top slices with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Makes about 24 bars.


  1. This recipe did not disappoint! The lemon bars came out exactly the way I like them and they were so easy to make! Thank you! :)

  2. Thanks for the recipe. Lemon bar is one of my fav American desserts. It seems I finally got a recipe that it won’t disappoint… Love your blog!

  3. Julie Calderwood

    I made these last night and they didn’t turn out. the crust disappeared into the lemon and they didn’t set up. was I supposed to put filling into a pot and boil it first or something? I’m at a high altitude, would that make a difference? I guess If anyone can mess up a recipe, it’s me.

  4. I made these today and they taste really good. The only thing is they aren’t as thick as I hoped they would be. I only had extra large eggs so I’m wondering if that was the problem. My husband doesn’t mind the consistency. He thinks they taste awesome! Thanks for posting the recipe.

  5. Found you on Pinterest. These lemon bars are great! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Made these twice, they are the best lemon bars i have eaten

  7. Love these , by far the best tasting lemon bar I have ever had. I’ve made this recipe a few times now. I have to agree with some of the others the filling never gets think enough I have even baked them for 30 minutes didnt help. So next I am adding a couple spoons(around3 Tablespoons) of flour to see if that helps. they are in the oven now! But I love them!

  8. I made these last night, followed the recipe to the letter, and they did not set, even after leaving them in for an extra 10 minutes. They still taste wonderful though, just messy and in need of a fork.

  9. These are delicious, very lemony! They were a hit where I shared them. My hints, I thought the crust would be too thin so I used the aluminum foil to shorten up a 1/4 of a half jelly roll pan. It ended up that the crust was too thick-it needs to be on the thin side rather than the thick side. I had extremely small eggs so I used 5. They were very yum!

  10. Thanks for this delicious recipe, I did have to add more butter to pastry, but the lemon curd is excellent!

  11. I made these today and like someone else the crust mixed with the lemon filling so I have double crusted lemon bars (crust on top and on bottom, the filling is in the middle lol), they set up luckily and are still really good, if I make these again I will cook the crust longer and maybe try heating the filling up a bit.

  12. HI I saw these on Pinterest and had to make them. I was reading some of the comments and was a bit afraid they were not going to come out. I followed your instructions to a T and the only thing I did differently was use a 8×8 metal pan and cut them while they were still warm and they came out perfect!!! perfect consistency and size and taste

  13. I noticed that the pan size wasn’t quite right so I switched it to a 9″ x 12″ pan and it set up and turned out perfectly. I was wondering how you got 24 servings from a 9″ x 9″ pan and when i put the crust in it was very thick. Also, for reference, this took about 7 or 8 small lemons.

  14. I made this in as a pie and it was excellent. I’ll definitely make again. Thanks!

  15. Great flavor, but I couldnt get the foil off the bottom.

  16. Made the lemon squares and followed the recipe to a T. Removed from oven just as they set and had a little jiggle, let them cool. It was extremely hot this weekend so I kept the lemon squares in the refrig., and served them cold . Everyone raved about them and requested the recipe. Thanks so much.

  17. I made these today, my first lemon bar ever and it was Delicious! I made it only because i saw it on “las vegas” lol…
    can i make it an orange bar as well ?
    And Thanx for the lovley recipe

  18. WOW, looks amazing :) Love your blog

  19. These are so yummmmmy :)

  20. 2 things I think are so funny
    1. I followed the recipe exactly except…..

    2. So many different outcomes with the exact same recipe

    anyway I am going to try these and see how mine turn out–lemon and crust –gotta be good

  21. This is my favorite lemon bar recipe. I have used it 2-3 times in the past year. The only thing I recommend is lowering the amount of lemon to 3/4 of a cup. I am a lemon lover and they are a little too tart even for me whenever I use a full cup of lemon. Enjoy!!

  22. Thoughts on using meyer lemons and the sugar ratio for that?

  23. Natasha – I would not change the amount of sugar if you want to make this with Meyer lemons. Meyer lemon bars should be a touch sweeter than regular lemon bars and the sugar goes towards the consistency of the filling in this recipe.

  24. The size of the egg probably has something to do with the set-up. I always use XL or Jumbo’s

  25. I LOVE lemons!!! I made these tonight and they are PERFECT! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I never buy them or eat anyone else’s because they are never lemony (is that a word) enough. But these are great. I actually only used half the crust because I only had an 8X8 pan and my eggs were mediums so I used five instead of four. Still turned out wonderful.

  26. Yucky. These were not good.

  27. I just made these. Perfect and sooo easy.

  28. This is the second time I’ve made these so I just had to write and tell you how UTTERLY fantastic they are. Exceedingly difficult not to eat the entire tray. I’ll be bringing a double batch to a picnic this afternoon where I expect they’ll disappear in a flash.

  29. This was my first time making lemon squares and they turned out fabulous! Everybody loved them. I will be making these again, that’s for sure. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. Hi! Did you use salted or unsalted butter?

  31. Hi! Such a good recipe it seems!

    I’d like to try it but, could I ask you a favour? Could you write the ingredients in european measures, too? Like grams, liters… I live in Italy, and, well, “cup”, “teaspoon”… they don’t tell me much more than “some sugar”, or “not much flour”… XD

    A part from this request, my compliments! ^^

  32. Great recipe! Really easy to make, loved it!

  33. These lemon bars look delicious! I’ll probably cut down on the sugar, but that’s just a taste preference.

  34. After reading some of the reviews, I was a little skeptical to try these but I went ahead and did it since I needed to use up some lemons. I switched the pan size to a 9×12 pan like another reviewer said and only put in 3\4 cup lemon because I didnt have any more lemons to squeeze and we live in the mountains about 45 mins from a store so I decided to just cut it a little short. I’m going to say, I am a HUGE fan of lemon and love everything lemony and even with cutting the lemon juice down, these still were reallyyy lemony. (delicious though). I followed all the other directions to the t, and they came out great. My crust did not combine with my filling (like some reviewers said) and I followed baking times listed, even with the pan size adjustment. If you’re trying to decide if you should do these or not, DO IT!

  35. Oh, I have to make these!

  36. This is my go-to lemon bar recipe!! They are the best I’ve ever had. Everyone always raves about them and I’ve never had trouble with them setting or turning out.

  37. I made these last night and they were quite the hit!! I live in Central America, and couldn’t get my hands on any lemons, but I used lime juice and it was just as good, and still yellow ha. It was VERY tart, although the sugar and sweetness did even out the tartness. Next time I’ll try cutting back on the amount of lemon to see if it brings it down a bit just to fit my husbands taste, however everyone ELSE who ate the dessert, thought that it was PERFECT and loved the tartness.

  38. Made these last night and they were absolutely perfect! Tart and just a little sweet and the crust was beautiful. I sprayed the tin foil before adding the crust and I had no problem removing the bars.
    I was worried because the filling was so runny, but it set up perfectly. Best lemon bars I have ever tasted!

  39. These bars are the perfect lemon bar. I have used this recipe countless time and they have never failed to get rave reviews. Thank you for sharing.

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