Lemon bars are a popular dessert that is easy to make, but this is the BEST Lemon Bars Recipe, bar none. The buttery shortbread crust is topped with a thick, luscious layer of citrus for a sublime treat!
The Best Lemon Bars Recipe
The first time I made this spectacular lemon bars recipe was for a gathering of my volunteer friends. We spend hours and hours cleaning and manning a spectacular home that is decorated to the hilt by Indianapolis’ top interior designers. Needless to say, when the two weeks it’s open to the public comes to a close, we have reason to celebrate.
Back in 2010, my co-director and I treated the gals who helped organize and work the events we planned to an evening at a spa. My contribution was a savory brie appetizer and my best lemon bars!
What Makes These Lemon Bars the BEST???
- Starting from the bottom up, these bars begin with a simple, buttery shortbread crust. Nothing funky, just 3 ingredients pulsed in the food processor to make a perfect base.
- Next, the combination of both lemon juice and lemon zest gives a bold citrus flavor. Note that fresh juice and zest is a must. None of the jarred lemon juice or off the rack dried lemon zest.
- Adding flour to the lemon mixture thickens the filling perfectly without compromising the texture.
- Having the perfect ration of crust to filling is key, too. You need just enough crust so you can pick up these bars with your fingers as needed and a thicker layer of the lemon custard to give you that zesty lemon flavor you love!
How Should I Slice and Store Lemon Bars?
- For the cleanest slices, chill (or even freeze briefly) your bars first. Then use a warm knife (I run mine under hot water, then dry it) to help the knife glide through the bars easily.
- Lining the baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment allows you to easily remove a whole batch to a cutting board for easier slicing.
- If you want all the bars to be the same size, use a ruler to make marks at 2-inch intervals along each side to guide you.
- Lemon bars can be stored on the counter top, but to extend their lifespan, refrigerate them. They will be good for 4, maybe even 5 days kept in the fridge.
Lemon Ranks High
There is no doubt that chocolate is the gold standard for decadent desserts at our house. Fruit pies rate near the top, too. Though he snubs lime sweets, the hubby always raves when I whip up a lemon dessert. Lemon bars are about the easiest way to experience the sweet-tart nirvana of a lemon dessert! And just to feel virtuous, top each with half a ripe strawberry! Double the fruit for a nice dose of vitamin C. This Best Lemon Bars Recipe is a must make!!!
Lemon Meringue Pie is another family favorite with its mile high, billowy meringue topping as is this dense, delicious Lemon Pound Cake. I’ve also had my eye on this spectacular Lemon Meringue Cheesecake, Lemon Zucchini Cake and these Blueberry Lemon Crumble Bars.
Useful kitchen tools to make the best lemon bars recipe:
The Best Lemon Bars Recipe
Luscious lemon bars with a shortbread crust.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 16 bars
- Category: Dessert, Bar Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter cold butter, diced
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Powdered Sugar
- Fresh strawberries, cut in half, optional
- Preheat oven to 350º. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with non-stick foil or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse the crust ingredients until the butter is in very small pieces . Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake about 15 minutes or until the crust just starts to brown.
- To make the filling, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, zest, flour, and salt. Immediately pour over hot crust when it comes out of the oven.
- Bake for 30-35 more minutes or until topping is firm and lightly browned.
- Cool, then cut a sliver off all sides before sprinkling with powdered sugar and cutting into bars. Garnish with berries if desired.
You may double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13-inch pan or triple and bake in a jelly roll pan.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten