bars & brownies

Super Easy Lemon Bars

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 citrus-y treat to enjoy with family, friends, or coworkers all year round!

Recipe updated including fresh new photos! 1.16.2020

Angled image of super easy lemon bars dusted with confectioners sugar | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC
Overhead image super easy lemon bars dusted with confectioners sugar | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC
Overhead closeup image of super easy lemon bars sliced into squares | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC

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!

Overhead closeup image of super easy lemon bars with half cut lemon | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC
Angled image of super easy lemon bars dusted with confectioners sugar | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC

how to make easy lemon bars from scratch

This is a pretty straight forward easy recipe to make and takes roughly a total of 45 minutes to bake. The lemon bars do require some time for chilling, however. I’ve broken out the recipe below into two parts and in the order in which I made them. I’ve also included the required ingredients, suggested baking tools, and how it all comes together!

shortbread crust

ingredients needed: unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, confectioners sugar

suggested baking tools: food processor, stand mixer, or hand-held mixer for mixing the dough together, 8″ x 8″ baking pan, spatula, flour based baking spray, and (optional) parchment paper).

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.

You’ll then press the shortbread dough into the bottom of your prepared baking pan. You can level and flatten the top using a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup. Then you’ll chill the dough in the pan for about 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator or freezer. When ready, bake for 12-15 minutes at 350ºF or until you get a lightly golden brown top.

After you’ve baked the shortbread crust, let it sit at room temperature to cool slightly while you make the lemon curd filling.

lemon curd filling

ingredients needed: lemon for fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and confectioners 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

The lemon curd filling doesn’t take much time to make once you have your lemons prepped and ready! I also suggest having your all-purpose flour sifted as well.

When ready, you can simply put all of the ingredients into the mixing bowl and whisk on medium speed until it’s well blended. That’s it! Then you pour it into the slightly cooled shortbread crust and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes at 350ºF.

Cooling the lemon bars to room temperature after they’re done baking can take up to approximately 2 hours. Then I highly suggest chilling them (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!


helpful baking tools for making super easy lemon bars

KITCHENAID KP26M1XFL Professional 600 Stand Mixers, 6 quart, Matte Fresh Linen
KitchenAid KHM926CA 9-Speed Digital Hand Mixer with Turbo Beater II Accessories and Pro Whisk
Microplane Classic Grater
KitchenAid Citrus Juicer
WÜSTHOF 4582-7/20 Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
OXO Good Grips 11 Pound Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display
KitchenAid KFP1133CU 11-Cup Food Processor with ExactSlice System – Contour Silver
Nordic Ware Freshly Baked Square Cake Pan, 9″, Metallic
USA Pan Bakeware Square Cake Pan, 8 inch, Nonstick & Quick Release Coating, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel
GIR: Get It Right All Silicone Mini, Skinny & Ultimate Spatula 3 Pc Set
Anchor Hocking 10pc Glass Mixing Bowl Set
Joseph Joseph Shake-It Self-Tapping Sieve, Large
Fox Run 4254 Kitchen Timer with Magnet 55-Minute
Baker’s Joy Cake Pan Spray

Overhead image of just sliced lemon bars with knife and lemons | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC
Overhead closeup image of super easy lemon bars sliced into squares | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC

quick tips for making the best lemon bars

general prep tips

  • 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!

shortbread crust tips

  • In addition to using either the hand-held 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 tips

  • 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.
Overhead image of just sliced lemon bars with knife | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC
Print
Angled image of super easy lemon bars dusted with confectioners sugar | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC

Super Easy Lemon Bars

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 16 squares 1x
  • Category: Bars and Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Description

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 citrus-y treat to enjoy with family, friends, or coworkers all year round!


Scale

Ingredients

shortbread crust

lemon curd filling

  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice (23 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest, finely grated
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (319 grams) Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup (72 grams) All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • Confectioners Sugar (for dusting)

Instructions

shortbread crust

  1. Lightly spray an 8” x 8” baking pan with a flour-based baking spray. See notes for using a parchment paper sling for easier cutting later. Set to the side.
  2. Using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, flour, and confectioners 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.
  3. While the shortbread dough chills, adjust the oven rack to the 2nd level position and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  4. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350ºF or until it’s light golden brown.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Using a hand-held 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Then cover and place into the refrigerator to chill for about 1 hour (more time is always okay as well). When ready to serve, dust with confectioners sugar and cut using a well-sharpened knife.
  5. Keep lemon bars stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for  up to 5 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from my Grammy’s lemon bars recipe.

Keywords: super easy lemon bars, lemon bars, lemons, lemon, lemon desserts, shortbread crust

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Pinterest image of super easy lemon bars from scratch | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Christiane Pschierer
    January 25, 2020 at 12:03 PM

    love these easy to make, fresh & fruity and soft bars. YUM! will definitely make them again and am looking forward to trying out the next recipe ♥️

    • Reply
      Jennifer
      February 2, 2020 at 3:07 PM

      Thank you so much for making them!❤️

  • Reply
    Tiani Beeming
    April 2, 2020 at 2:14 PM

    Amazing!!! So easy to make and a real hit with the whole family. Make these! You won’t regret it

    • Reply
      Jennifer
      April 2, 2020 at 3:08 PM

      Thank you for taking the time to make one of my recipes! It makes me happy to hear you and the family loved them!

  • Reply
    Maggie
    April 7, 2020 at 2:06 PM

    Made these today as the sun was coming out and wanted a summer treat, the recipe is very straight forward, helpful and they came out great. Thank you so much for sharing!! 🍋

    • Reply
      Jennifer
      April 13, 2020 at 4:02 PM

      Maggie this made my day to read this, thank you so much for making them!💛

  • Reply
    Lucie
    April 22, 2020 at 6:12 PM

    These bars are pure joy! They taste so good! Easy to bake and they impresed my family! My kids loooooooove them! They remind me of my aunt Diane’s family recipe! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Reply
      Jennifer
      April 22, 2020 at 6:48 PM

      I’m so happy you and your family loved these lemon bars! I especially love that these remind you of your Aunt’s family recipe!❤️ Thank you again for making them and for sharing your picture over on Instagram!

  • Reply
    Tanya
    May 6, 2020 at 3:42 PM

    These lemon bars were absolutely delicious. Super tangy and creamy! I’ve always liked lemon bars (some more than others) but this was my first attempt at making them. And boy were they good! I was worried about being able to get them out of the pan so I used the tip about putting parchment paper underneath. Unfortunately I somehow got some of the lemon underneath the paper (under the crust and everything), so some pieces were not as pretty as others. Next time I will try it without the paper. I think the shortbread crust has enough butter in it that it will still come out of my pan easily enough. Just thinking about them is making my mouth water…

  • Reply
    Jilly Lindsay
    May 20, 2020 at 3:16 AM

    I think I must be useless, the taste was fabulous but I think something went wrong. I got a crust on the top. Also how long do you let the base to cool for? I want to try again and get it right. Any help will be appreciated. Jilly

    • Reply
      Jennifer
      May 20, 2020 at 12:19 PM

      You’re definitely not useless! The crust has happened to be before and it’s because I simply let them in too long. You want the center to still have some jiggle when you take it out. You can also check what oven rack level you’re baking them on. I usually bake on the 2nd mark, the one just above center. For the base, you just need it to cool slightly. I usually let it cool while I make the rest of the recipe. Hope this helps! Don’t hesitate to reach out with more questions either here or through Facebook/Instagram!

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