Six-ingredients are all you need for these easy lemon bars. Bursting with great sweet-tart lemon taste and a buttery shortbread base, they are everything a lemon bar should be. Perfect for every day or a special occasion.
This is a super easy recipe that we frequently make for small groups like coffee meetups, bake sales, or special family meals. I usually will make a half recipe but for larger groups, do the full recipe.
This is not a recipe from my childhood, but I always loved lemon bars. It was time to make my own. I searched for various cookbooks, but nothing worth discussing—so online time.
I started at Cooks Illustrated as usual, but the recipe went on and on and on and on. I got some hints, but I wasn't jumping through all those hoops.
I finally zeroed in on All Recipes - The Best Lemon Bars. With a 4.5 star rating, simple instructions, and not too many ingredients, it was for me. I read several hundred of the reviews and had my plan with modifications from comment land.
A 4 or 5, depending on if you're a "lemon bar person" or not. But even the "not" will enjoy this. Better than any lemon bar I have tasted.
♨️The Baking Dish
The full recipe needs a 9X13 baking dish like a cake pan. A half recipe, which is what I usually will make, uses an 8X8 or 6X9 dish. I suggest glass and not metal due to sticking issues.
I also suggest parchment on the bottom and grease sides. You will still need to use a knife around the outside to remove it.
The model recipe suggested ungreased, while Cooks Illustrated goes with two crossed sheets of parchment paper. Other recipes greased the pan and some just the sides—quite some variation. Do not follow the "ungreased" recommendation.
A medium lemon will have 2 ½ to 3 tablespoons of juice, so for the ⅔ cup of juice, use 4 medium lemons.
Add some lemon zest for more taste–about 2 tablespoons will do.
The bars should be refrigerated for storage and should be good for 3-4 days. You may also freeze them for three months.
Preheat oven to 350°. Prep a 9 by 13 baking dish. Give it a light brush of butter, then cover the bottom with parchment paper. You may also use crossed sheets of parchment paper.
Soften 1 cup (two sticks) of butter in the microwave. Mix the softened butter, 2 cups flour, and ½ cup sugar. If unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon salt. It will look crumbly.
Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until firm and lightly brown.
Whisk together 1 ½ cups sugar and ⅓ cup flour. Add 4 eggs and the juice of 4 medium lemons (or ⅔ cup lemon juice.) Mix well.
Pour the lemon/egg mixture over the baked crust—Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar.
Cool in the refrigerator before cutting into about 2-inch squares.
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Editors Note: Originally published February 7, 2017. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.