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Lemon Bars

Nothing says sunshine like sweet & tangy lemon bars! Spring is here and citrus is abundant, what better time to whip up a pan of these bright and sunny beauties?

Lemon bars are my absolute FAVE! The tangy curd balanced with a bit of sweet all atop a flaky crust make these irresistible. You could also try Perfect Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, & Lemon Sugar Cookies to tickle that lemon fancy.

Classic Lemon Bars

The BEST Lemon Bars

The tart smell of juicing and zesting lemons just sends my senses abuzz. But, you know what smells even more amazing?! The finished product. Sweet Lemon Bar perfection!

Not only did the bars themselves smell heavenly, but they made our whole house smell divine too. So let’s talk about what makes these so delicious.

To start, the crust uses both powdered sugar and brown sugar. I’ve found that brown sugar gives the crust the best flavor and texture. Plus a generous amount of cornstarch helps keep it thick and crisp, almost shortbread-like – a flaky masterpiece.

Easy Lemon Bars

How to Make Lemon Bars


  1. Whisk dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and salt.
  2. Blend in cubed butter (using two knives or a pastry blender) until pea sized crumbs form.
  3. Press mixture firmly in an even layer on bottom of a parchment lined and buttered 9×13 inch baking dish. Make sure there are no cracks
  4. Bake crust for about 12-15 minutes until light golden brown


The filling is a little more intricate and calls for more ingredients than a traditional lemon bar, but the filling is sweet, tangy and perfectly custard-like. I love using zest for more flavor and a tad bit more sugar for sweetness. Heavy cream and vanilla extract help keep things in balance too. You’d be surprised by what a difference they both make! 

  1. Whisk dry ingredients: granulated sugar, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl
  2. Slowly incorporate wet ingredients: lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream, and vanilla (if using)
  3. Whisk until smooth and slightly foamy
  4. Pour over hot crust
  5. Bake at 325 for about 20-25 minutes until filling is set 
    • filling will not jiggle and may be slightly brown
  6. Cool for 1 hour, then chill for 2-3 hours. 
  7. Dust with powder sugar

Pre-made crust shortcut: The best crust is obviously a homemade shortbread crust. Some recipes use sugar cookie cookie dough as the crust. I haven’t personally tried this before but it does seem like an interesting and delicious idea. 

Variations: You can swap out ¼ c. of lemon juice for orange juice, lime juice, strawberry or raspberry puree

Lemon bars recipe

How to Store + Tips

Storing / freezing

You can freeze these bars for 3-4 months. You can cut the bars and then place them on a baking sheet and freeze uncovered for an hour to fully set them. Then wrap each individual bar in plastic wrap and place all of them in a large freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge and then dust with powdered sugar before eating. You can/should store these in the fridge because they are basically a custard. They will last up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.

Make Ahead of Time

Yes you can make them up to 2 days in advance. Just let them sit at room temperature until completely cool and then cover them with plastic wrap and store them in the fridge.

I hope you’ll give these lovely classic lemon bars a try- they’re always a huge hit with everyone who tries them! Enjoy & happy baking! 

For more treats, check out:

  • Key Lime Pie Bars
  • Lemon Sugar Cookies
  • Peach Pie Bars
  • Blueberry Lemon Crumb Bars
  • Lemon Cream Pie
    Classic Lemon Bars

    Lemon Bars Recipe

    These classic lemon bars are tangy and sweet! They're extra refreshing and perfect for any time of the year!
    5 from 10 votes
    Pin Rate
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Prep Time: 15 mins
    Cook Time: 35 mins
    Total Time: 50 mins
    Servings: 12 bars
    Calories: 414kcal
    Print Recipe


    • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar - plus more for dusting
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 12 tbsp unsalted butter - 1 ½ sticks, cubed
    • 2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp lemon zest
    • 1 cup fresh lemon juice - 4-5 large lemons
    • 4 large eggs
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract - or vanilla bean paste (optional)


    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line with parchment or foil and butter a 9x13-inch baking dish, set aside.
    • In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, brown sugar and salt. Add cubed butter and blend (using a pastry blender) until the mixture begins to form pea-size crumbles. You can also do this in a food processor if you have one. Firmly press the mixture into an even layer on bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of the prepared baking dish. Make sure you don't have any cracks in the crust. Place in the oven and bake until lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour and salt. Slowly incorporate the lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream and vanilla (if using). Whisk vigorously until smooth (the mixture may be slightly foamy, that's ok). Pour over the hot crust, turn oven temperature down to 325 and return to oven to bake until the filling is set, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour, then place uncovered in the refrigerator to chill for 2-3 hours before dusting with powdered sugar, cutting and serving.


    -You can swap out ¼ c. of lemon juice for orange juice, lime juice, strawberry or raspberry puree!
    Nutrition Facts
    Lemon Bars Recipe
    Serving Size
    12 serving
    Amount per Serving
    % Daily Value*
    Saturated Fat
    Vitamin A
    Vitamin C
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Did you make this recipe?Take a picture and tag @lmadesimple on Instagram or tag #LMSBakes! We can't wait to see your version!

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  1. 5 stars
    OhMyGoodnes, these are so good! I’ve tried other lemon bars & they just weren’t what I was looking for. Your amount of lemon filling is perfect! I did have to bake mine a few minutes longer. I will keep making them. Can’t wait to share them with everyone!!!!

  2. 5 stars
    One of my favorite things about spring-all things lemon! These are no exception; looking forward to enjoying these all season long!

  3. 5 stars
    Lemon bars are one of my very favorite desserts. I loved this recipe. The flavor and texture are spot on!