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Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

These are the most luscious, lemony lemon bars with shortbread crust. Melt in your mouth, buttery shortbread is layered with a fresh, full-bodied lemon custard baked on top.

Luscious Lemon Bars 2
Lemon Bars can be made ahead of time and chilled.

Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

It’s a paradox that lemons, like most citrus fruits, peak during winter throughout much of the country, because sunshine-bright lemons just scream spring and summer.  Besides their happy and fresh look, you’ll want to grab plenty of fresh lemons for these lemon bars with shortbread crust. These lemon bars are the season’s mascot.

Why You’ll Love these lemon bars:

  • This lemon bar recipe contains the perfect balance of sweetness to tanginess ratio.
  • You’ll get to use up 3 large lemons plus zest. This is especially awesome if you’re a lucky lemon tree owner.
  • The smooth lemon filling rests atop a mouthwatering buttery shortbread crust that tastes of perfection.
  • These homemade lemon bars are heads and shoulders above any store bought lemon bars.
  • Homemade lemon bars are super budget friendly (you won’t even want coffee shop lemon bars after you try these.)
  • These lemon bars keep well for up to a week in the fridge.
Luscious Lemon Bars 3
Make the most out of fresh lemon juice and zest

Key Tips for making the best lemon bars

  • For the shortbread crust, be sure your butter is chilled to begin with.
  • Freeze butter just long enough so that it can be easily grated using large-hole grater. This makes it so much easier to form the crust.
  • Allow the finished lemon bars to fully chill before slicing in. The filling will set completely while it chills.
  • Lining baking dish with foil that extends beyond the dish will allow for easy removal of the entire dessert onto a cutting board.
  • Leftover lemon bars keep well for up to a week, covered and chilled in the fridge.
Luscious Lemon Bars
Luscious lemon custard layered on top of buttery shortbread

Lemon Bars Recipe
Commonly Asked questions

How do you know when lemon bars are done baking?

The center of filling should be somewhat firm yet still a bit “gooey” to the touch. When pan is jiggled, the filling shouldn’t shift at all. Once bars are fully cool and chilled in the fridge, they will set nicely.

How can you make sure lemon bars are set?

Be sure to fully bake the crust until golden brown. When in doubt, it’s better to slightly overbake the crust than underbake it, to ensure that the filling on top fully bakes through.

Do I need to line my baking pan with parchment paper?

We highly recommend lining pan with either parchment or heavy duty foil, with enough excess hanging over the edges, for easy removal of the entire dessert onto the cutting board, once chilled.

How long can lemon bars stay fresh?

You can make lemon bars several days in advance. Keep them covered and chilled. Leftover bars can keep for up to a week.


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lemon bars with lemon slices

Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

5 from 19 reviews

These are the most luscious, lemony lemon bars with shortbread crust. Melt in your mouth, buttery shortbread is layered with a fresh, full-bodied lemon custard baked on top.

  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Yield: 20 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 TB regular butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch pieces

For the Filling:

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 TB all purpose flour
  • Juice of 3 large lemons (2/3 cup)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 tsp table salt

Instructions

  1. For the Crust:  Preheat oven to 350F with oven rack at middle position.  Press a long piece of foil into 13×9 baking dish, so that the ends hang over the dish (helps with removal of bars.)  Grease the foil and set aside.
  2. Blend: Blend flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor until fully combined, about 15 seconds. Add butter and process to blend, about 10 seconds. Then pulse until the mixture looks pale yellow, resembling a coarse meal. (If you’re doing it by hand, mix the dry ingredients together in large bowl.
  3. Freeze: Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of a grater, into the bowl and toss pieces to coat with flour mixture.  Rub the bits with fingers until flour turns pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.)  Sprinkle crust mixture into prepared pan and firmly press into an even layer over bottom of pan.  Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes.  Then bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. For the Filling:  Whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in large bowl.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, milk, and salt to incorporate.
  5. Adjust temperature: Reduce oven temp to 325F. Stir filling mixture well, and pour into warm crust.  Bake until filling feels firm upon a very light touch, 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely to room temp.
  6. Chill: Tightly cover and  chill in fridge before serving. Once chilled, remove entire dessert with foil sling, and cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar upon serving, if desired. Bars will keep well in fridge, covered.

Notes

If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating♡

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 184
  • Sugar: 14.2 g
  • Sodium: 60.4 mg
  • Fat: 1.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38.4 g
  • Fiber: 0.8 g
  • Protein: 4.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 37.3 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: lemon bars, lemon bars recipe

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Recipe rating

44 comments

    • Addie

    So sweet and delicious!

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks!

    • Loreto and Nicoletta

    You just said the two magic words, lemon, and short crust! I would take these in knee deep snow or 40 degree heat. The color just says, joyfulness no matter what the day looks like!❤

      • Amy Dong

      I wholeheartedly agree!! 🙂

    • Laura Arteaga

    I’ve been looking for lemon recipes as my two lemon trees are full of fruits! This is such a great way to use lemons, can’t wait to try it!

      • Amy Dong

      Oooh, so jealous of your lemon trees, Laura!

    • tatiana

    Yummy and super lemony

    • Jamie

    These lemon bars are so delicious!

    • LaKita

    These lemon bars are so sweet, delicious, and amazing. Love how simple they are to make!

      • Amy Dong

      Yesss!

    • nancy

    wow these lemon bars are so addicting. Obssessed!

      • Amy Dong

      Right? We are right there with ya 🙂

    • Jessica

    These lemon bars are hands down the best I’ve ever had! I love that the lemon flavor is so prominent and that the recipe was so easy to follow. I will be trying your soft lemon pudding cookies next.

      • Amy Dong

      Awww, thank you, Jessica!

    • Alexandra

    So delicious – love these lemon bars!

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you!

    • Sophia

    These were really good, the shortbread was super tasty. I made them for a Mother’s Day brunch and they were a big hit. Thanks!

      • Amy Dong

      The shortbread crust is my favorite part!

    • Marcellina

    I adore anything with lemon – these have my name on them!

      • Amy Dong

      Hope you love them, Marcellina!

    • Jan

    yum!

    • Allyssa

    Really loved how it turned out! Thanks for this lemony lemon bars, super quick to make and delicious! Loved it!

      • Amy Dong

      So happy you all loved it, Allyssa!

    • Raksha Kamat

    I made these lemony lemon bars today during tea time. They were just melt in mouth. Will be making them again as my family loves the lemon flavour in the filling.

      • Amy Dong

      Yum, would be perfect for tea time!

    • Denise Stoppel

    I made these last week to have sweet snacks (there were others) for my birthday, as we have a fairly busy household even in lockdown. Our lemon tree is something special even in fruit rich South Africa. The lemons look like small oranges, and are especially juicy and INTENSELY lemony (I only used 2 lemons, and they are quite small in comparison to commercially available lemons). They were an absolute hit, even to my non-sweet-loving partner. He loved them.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Denise!! So happy to hear your party loved these 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Deliciously Simple Catering

    These are the best lemon bars ever. The consistency of the cookie is perfect, the lemon curd is sweet but not too sweet. I served them at a lunch I catered and they were gone in 5 mins. My family is begging me to make a batch just for us! I’ve tried many lemon bar recipes and this is now my go to one! I did heat the filling in a sauce pan on low heat first and strained it as I poured it over the base (I like the lemony flavor without the little pieces of rind) and this finished them a little faster since the filling was hot. Silky smooth texture, absolutely fabulous. Thank you so much for your website, it is a great source of ideas, recipes, and awesome food photos.

      • chewoutloud

      DSC, so glad you and your catering guests liked it so much. Thanks for stopping over 🙂

    • tastytreats13

    I love lemon for desserts! These lemon bars look fantastic!

    • gottagetbaked

    Oooooh, I love lemon bars! These are gorgeous – and I’m drooling over that thick buttery crust!

    • Erin’s DC Kitchen

    What a perfect recipe for spring, yum. Your photos are amazing too!

    • delishthoughts

    Looks yummy! 🙂

      • lauralayne

      These look fabulous! Such a good recipe for spring!

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