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Classic Lemon Bars

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If you enjoy eating scrumptious classic lemon bars, you’re going to love this delicious recipe! It starts with a beautiful buttery shortbread crust that’s filled with sweet, slightly tart lemony goodness. This bakery-style dessert is very easy to make and tastes 10 times better than a boxed lemon bar mix. Last week my good friend Mike requested that I make a batch of yummy lemon squares and post up the recipe. So here it is!

Classic Lemon Bars

About Classic Lemon Bars

This traditional dessert is just like the ones you’ll see displayed on cake stands under large glass domes at bakeries, coffee houses and diners. Below are all the ingredients you’ll need to make the shortbread crust and lemon filling for classic lemon bars. You might already have most of these ingredients in your pantry. It’s also helpful to have a 9X13 bar pan or cookie sheet, and some parchment paper.

Classic Lemon Bars

Delicious Homemade Lemon Squares

If you don’t have fresh lemons on hand or they aren’t in season when you’re craving these luscious classic lemon bars, it’s absolutely fine to use bottled lemon juice. Today I bought fresh lemons at the market. In my backyard I have 4 large lemon bushes, but they don’t produce fruit until mid-October. So in a few months I’ll be making and posting more recipes that call for lemons!

Classic Lemon Bars

How to Make Lemon Bars

To make classic lemon bars you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment. I use my KitchenAid stand mixer, but you can use a mixing bowl, pastry cutter, wooden spoon and a whisk. Start by adding the butter and sugar to your mixing bowl. Cream them together.

Classic Lemon Bars

Lemon Bar Recipe

Add vanilla and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the bowl. Mix briefly. Add in the flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. The dough for your shortbread crust should look like this.

Classic Lemon Bars

Lemon Squares from Scratch

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper. Leave a few inches of parchment paper hanging over the sides of the pan. Later you’ll use these edges to lift up and remove the classic lemon bars from the pan. Transfer the shortbread dough to the pan. Use your fingers and/or a spatula to spread the dough in an even layer within the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Today I made the edges of my crust shallow. You can build them up a little higher if you’d like.

Lemon Bars from Scratch

Easy Lemon Bar Recipe

Bake the shortbread crust for about 15-16 minutes until it’s just lightly golden brown all over. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crust to cool off completely.

Lemon Bar Filling

Lemon Filling for Lemon Bars

While the crust is cooling, make the lemon filling. If using fresh lemons, squeeze one full cup of lemon juice. For this classic lemon bars recipe I ended up using 8 fresh lemons. But it really just depends on how juicy the lemons are. So I always make sure I have a few extra lemons on hand, just in case.

Easy Lemon Bar Recipe

In a clean mixing bowl, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, one cup of lemon juice and the flour until fully combined. Your lemon filling mixture will look like this.

Homemade Lemon Bars

Best Lemon Bars Recipe

Pour the lemon mixture into the cooled-off crust. Bake your classic lemon bars at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the filling is set. Just look at how beautiful and scrumptious this looks. My kitchen is filled with the gorgeous smell of shortbread and lemon. It feels so satisfying to make this homemade treat for family and friends.

Classic Lemon Bar Recipe

Lemon Bar Texture

When you pull this yummy dessert out of the oven, the top of the lemon mixture will have a lot of small bubbles. That’s perfectly okay. Most of the bubbles will settle down a bit while cooling. Allow your dessert to cool off for one hour at room temperature. Then place the pan in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight.

Classic Lemon Bars with powdered sugar

When you’re ready to serve your classic lemon bars, sprinkle the top of the lemon filling with a generous amount of powdered sugar. Use the oversized edges of the parchment paper to lift the lemon bars up and out of the pan. Transfer it to a cutting board.

Best Lemon Squares

How to Slice Lemon Squares

Slice into 12 even squares. Or if you’re hosting a party with a lot of different desserts, cut each of the 12 classic lemon bars into four little squares. It’ll make this yummy dessert stretch a lot farther!

Best Recipe for Lemon Squares

Time to Garnish Your Lemon Squares!

If you’d like, you can garnish each piece of dessert with lemon zest. Enjoy your classic lemon bars with a tall glass of ice-cold milk or a cup of tea.

Classic Lemon Bars sliced into squares

Classic Lemon Bars

Classic lemon bars are perfect for breakfast, dessert or a yummy mid-day treat. They’re also a wonderful dessert to take to a friend’s house when you’re invited over for dinner.

Classic Lemon Bars

Half of these lemon squares are headed to my daughter Ashley’s house. She’ll share them with a group of friends who are coming over to her home this evening to study for a big law school exam. The rest of these classic lemon bars are packed up and ready for my husband to take to work. He’ll eat one or two squares and share the rest!

Classic Lemon Bars

Refrigerate any leftovers on a covered plate or in a large Ziplock bag. These classic lemon bars will stay fresh for up to a week. But if your family’s anything like mine, these scrumptious classic lemon bars will magically disappear in a day or two!


Best Kitchen Tools for Making Lemon Squares

I love using cake stands. The one you see here in this post I got online through Minted. But you can get a similar one from Amazon. Because I have so many lemon bushes in my yard, it really helps to have a citrus press. They come in three different sizes for limes, lemons and oranges.

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Classic Lemon Bars

Classic Lemon Bars


Description

If you enjoy eating scrumptious classic lemon bars, you’re going to love this delicious recipe! It starts with a beautiful buttery shortbread crust that’s filled with sweet, slightly tart lemony goodness.


Scale

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR SHORTBREAD CRUST

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter (24 tablespoons), softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon pure Mexican vanilla (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 + 1/8 teaspoons salt

INGREDIENTS FOR LEMON FILLING

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed or bottled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

INSTRUCTIONS – SHORTBREAD CRUST

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper. (Leave enough parchment paper over the edges of the pan so later you can use these as handles to lift the dessert up and out of the pan when it’s ready to cut and serve.)
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice and mix briefly. Add flour, corn starch and salt. Thoroughly combine all ingredients.
  4. Spread the dough over the bottom and sides of the pan in an even layer. Use your hands and/or a spatula.
  5. Bake the crust for about 15-16 minutes until it’s just lightly golden. Remove from oven.
  6. Allow the crust to cool completely.

INSTRUCTIONS – LEMON FILLING

  1. While the crust is cooling, prepare the lemon filling.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, lemon juice, granulated sugar and flour until everything is well combined and there are no lumps.
  3. Once the crust has cooled, pour the lemon filling into the crust.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When the filling has set, remove from the oven. There will be a lot of small bubbles on top of the lemon filling. That’s absolutely fine!
  5. Cool the dessert on your countertop, then refrigerate for two hours.
  6. When you’re ready to serve the classic lemon bars, generously sprinkle the top of the lemon filling with powdered sugar. Lift up the edges of the parchment paper and transfer the dessert from the pan to a cutting board. Slice into 16 squares. Enjoy!
  7. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to one week.

  • Category: Breakfast, Tea Time, Snack, Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian, French

Keywords: lemon bars, lemon bar recipe

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LEMON SQUARES RECIPE > PIN IT TO PINTEREST

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Classic Lemon Bars

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GLAZED LEMON BLUEBERRY SCONES are heavenly treats perfect for breakfast, brunch, tea time or a mid-day snack!

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LEMON CURD is one of the most versatile lemon recipes you’ll find! Fabulous when drizzled on pancakes, waffles and French toast, it’s also perfect for pies, mousse recipes, and poke cakes!

Lemon Curd Recipe

LEMON WHIP FRUIT DIP is a delicious light and fluffy recipe that’s perfect for family gatherings, parties, brunch and everyday occasions.

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CLASSIC LEMON BARS > JOIN THE CONVERSATION!

Have you enjoyed one of these classic desserts this season? Do you have a favorite lemon dessert? I’d love to hear your thoughts about lemon bars and lemon recipes in the comments below. Join the conversation!

62 thoughts on “Classic Lemon Bars”

    • Hello David! I’m honored that you stopped by for this classic lemon bar recipe and left a comment. I send wonderful wishes your way for a fantastic week!

  1. Lemon Bars are hands down one of my favorite dessert (or anytime!) treats. That being said, I’ve never actually attempted to make them from scratch. But, looking at these lovely photos, and the step by step recipe, will definitely change that! I can’t wait to whip up a batch of these very soon!

    • Yahoo!!! I’m thrilled to know you’ll soon be enjoying a batch of classic lemon bars. I love how amazing it is to make beautiful, tasty desserts from scratch. :-)

    • You’re so welcome, Lauren! With so many bright and beautiful lemons at the market right now, it’s the perfect time to bake up a batch of scrumptious classic lemon bars. :-)

  2. These lemon bars sound so good and I will be trying them soon. I also think they would be a great hit at our block party!!

    • Woo-hoo! Anne, I love that you’ll be making these classic lemon bars for your block party. Instead of cutting them into 12 squares, cut them into 48 little pieces. They’ll stretch a lot farther and there will be enough for everyone to enjoy. :-)

  3. These look absolutely mouth-watering! I love the photos that show each step in the process because I always wonder if my batter is supposed to look like that! Pinned for future use! Thanks!

    • Jen, thanks a million for sharing the love for these classic lemon bars by pinning this recipe to Pinterest. I really appreciate it! Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful week.

  4. Now this looks like it would be an absolutely delicious treat, I am really a fan of anything which includes lemon, lemon cake has to be one of my favourite for instance.

    • Lemon bars are one of those delicious old-fashioned comfort foods perfect for any season. Danielle, I hope you’ll whip up a delicious batch this weekend. :-)

  5. Lemon is such a delightful flavor!

    I wish Kitchen Aid would make it possible to change the color of their mixers. I love mine, but sometimes I wish I could make it this kind of yellow!

    • I know, right? I would love to change the color of my two white KitchenAid mixers too. I’d probably go for ice blue and either yellow or green. Thank you Alyx for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  6. I LOVE lemon bars, but I am sure I would screw them up if I tried to make them myself! ha! I pinned this anyway, for a day when I am feeling motivated!

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