These Super Easy Lemon Bars combine a tart and tangy lemon curd filling with a buttery, shortbread crust. Made in an 8" x 8" baking pan, they make the perfect citrusy treat to enjoy with family, friends, or coworkers all year round!
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About the Recipe
Just like the Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs I've shared with you, this Super Easy Lemon Bar recipe is another family favorite because it comes, slightly adapted, from the recipe box of my late Grammy!
If you're ever craving a lip smackingly good dessert, this tart and tangy treat is definitely your answer!
How to Make Super Easy Lemon Bars from Scratch
This is a pretty straight forward easy lemon bar recipe to prep and takes roughly a total of 45 minutes to bake. The lemon bars do require some time for chilling, however.
Ingredients needed: unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, powdered sugar
Suggested baking tools: food chopper (or small food processor), stand mixer, or hand mixer for mixing the dough together, and 8" x 8" baking pan, spatula, flour based baking spray, and (optional) parchment paper).
Prepare the shortbread crust. The shortbread crust comes together very quickly with the help of using either a food processor, stand mixer, or hand-held mixer. My preference is the food processor, but any of these will get the job done.
See my general prep tips below for adding a parchment paper sleeve before adding the shortbread dough to the pan!
Press the shortbread crust into the bottom of the baking pan. You can level and flatten the top of the crust using a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup.
Chill the crust. Place the prepared shortbread crust into the refrigerator or freezer for about 10-15 minutes. My preference is the freezer, but if using a glass pan, I would stick to the refrigerator.
Bake the crust. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350ºF or until you get a lightly golden brown top. Let it sit at room temperature to cool slightly while you make the lemon curd filling.
It does not need to be cooled completely before adding the lemon curd filling.
Lemon Curd Filling
Ingredients needed: lemon for fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and powdered sugar (for dusting the top of the lemon bars).
Suggested baking tools: lemon juicer, fine grater, hand-held mixer, stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, sifter, and spatula.
Prep your ingredients before starting. I cannot recommend this enough! This includes prepping the lemon juice, lemon zest, and I also suggest sifting the all-purpose flour as well. It's a small amount to sift, but it keeps any lumps out.
Mix the ingredients together. Place all of the ingredients into the mixing bowl and whisk on medium speed until it's well blended. That's it!
Pour then bake. Pour the lemon curd filling into the slightly cooled shortbread crust and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes at 350ºF. Be careful not to over bake the lemon bars. You still want the center to have some jiggle to it when it comes out.
Cool to room temperature then chill. Cooling the lemon bars to room temperature after they're done baking can take up to approximately 2 hours. After cooling to room temperature, I highly suggest chilling the lemon bars (covered) for a minimum of 1 hour in the refrigerator.
This allows the lemon curd filling to become firm. It makes for an easier, less messier time of cutting them as well.
Plus, if I'm being honest, they just taste really good chilled!
Recommended Baking Tools
Helpful Tips for Making the Best Lemon Bars
- I used an 8" x 8" baking pan for this lemon bars recipe, but you can also use a 9" x 9" pan. For the latter size, adjust your recommended baking times to 30-35 minutes at 350ºF.
- The recommended baking times noted below do not include the cooling or chilling times.
- Chilling the lemon bars gives them a nice firm texture. It helps make them easier to cut, and they just taste really good chilled!
- For easier cutting, you can place a parchment paper sling into the bottom of your baking pan. Remember to spray the top of the parchment paper with the flour-based baking spray!
- In addition to using either the hand mixer or stand mixer for making the shortbread crust, you can also use a food processor.
- I used my KitchenAid food processor for this part of the recipe. It did a great job of mixing the dough together!
Lemon Curd Filling
- I used this KitchenAid lemon juicer for the lemon juice. It's inexpensive and does a good job of separating the seeds and pulp from the juice. It also has a measuring cup on the side!
- To get the lemon zest, I used my Microplane grater.
- I prefer to use the whisk attachment for this part of the recipe. I feel like it does a much better job of mixing all the ingredients together.
- Make sure to sift the all-purpose flour. If not, it may not fully mix with the other ingredients, leaving little lumps.
Freezing Lemon Bars
Make the lemon bars following the recipe instructions then let them cool completely. Skip adding the powdered sugar.
Once cooled, cut them into squares and freeze them until solid. Then wrap each bar 2-3 times in plastic wrap and place back into the freezer in a freezer bag or tightly sealed container. They can also be frozen whole wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Lemon bars will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To defrost, place them in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance. If frozen whole, cut them into squares. You can sprinkle them with the powdered sugar before serving.
Enjoy these Other Beyond the Butter Dessert Recipes
Super Easy Lemon BarsAuthor:
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter , room temperature
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
lemon curd filling
- ½ cup Lemon Juice, 2-3 lemons
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest, finely grated
- 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup All-Purpose Flour, sifted
- Powdered Sugar, for dusting
- Lightly spray an 8” x 8” baking pan with a flour-based baking spray. See notes for using an optional parchment paper sling for easier cutting later. Set to the side.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, flour, and powdered sugar until the shortbread dough forms. Pat the dough into the bottom of the prepared 8″ x 8″ pan. Then place in the freezer or refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to chill.
- While the shortbread dough chills, adjust the oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350ºF or until it's light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the lemon curd filling. You can choose to leave the oven on or you can turn it off while you make the lemon curd filling. If you turn it off, remember to preheat it again to 350ºF.
lemon curd filling
- Grate a lemon with a fine grater, adding the zest to a small bowl. Then cut each lemon in half and with a lemon juicer, squeeze out the lemon juice from each lemon. Sift the all-purpose flour into a small bowl.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, granulated sugar, and all-purpose flour on medium-high speed until well blended.
- Pour the lemon curd filling into the slightly cooled crust, then place back into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes at 350ºF or until the top is almost set and the center jiggles just a little.
- Remove from the oven and allow lemon bars to cool completely. Then cover and place into the refrigerator to chill and set for a minimum of 1 hour (more time may be needed). When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar and cut using a well-sharpened knife.
- Keep lemon bars stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.