Lemon Bars

Ultimate Guide to Lemon Bars: Everything You Need to Know

Lemon bars are a classic dessert that perfectly balances tartness and sweetness. This delectable treat consists of a zesty lemon filling atop a buttery shortbread crust. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about lemon bars, including recipes, tips, variations, and common questions.

Table of Contents

  1. What Are Lemon Bars?
  2. History of Lemon Bars
  3. Classic Lemon Bars Recipe
  4. Tips for Perfect Lemon Bars
  5. Lemon Bars Variations
  6. Common Questions About Lemon Bars
  7. Serving and Storing Lemon Bars

What Are Lemon Bars?

Lemon bars are a dessert made with a shortbread crust and a lemon-flavored custard filling. They are often dusted with powdered sugar and cut into squares or rectangles. Lemon bars are known for their vibrant, tangy flavor and smooth, creamy texture.

History of Lemon Bars

The exact origin of lemon bars is unclear, but they gained popularity in the United States during the mid-20th century. These bars quickly became a staple in American baking due to their simple ingredients and delicious taste. Today, lemon bars are beloved worldwide and often featured at parties, picnics, and bake sales.

Classic Lemon Bars Recipe


For the Crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

For the Filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
  • Zest of 2 lemons


  1. Prepare the Crust:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • In a medium bowl, mix the butter, flour, and powdered sugar until well combined.
    • Press the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking pan to form an even layer.
    • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
  2. Make the Filling:
    • In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth.
    • Pour the filling over the hot crust.
  3. Bake:
    • Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is set.
    • Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.
  4. Serve:
    • Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

Nutrient Amount
Calories 220
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 60mg
Sodium 30mg
Total Carbohydrates 32g
Sugars 22g
Protein 2g

Tips for Perfect Lemon Bars

  • Use Fresh Lemons: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest provide the best flavor.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure butter and eggs are at room temperature for a smooth filling.
  • Cool Completely: Allow bars to cool completely before cutting to avoid a runny filling.
  • Sharp Knife: Use a sharp knife for clean cuts. Wipe the blade between cuts to keep edges neat.

Lemon Bars Variations

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Substitute regular flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.

Vegan Lemon Bars

Replace eggs with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water (per egg). Use vegan butter for the crust.

Berry Lemon Bars

Add a layer of fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries) on top of the crust before pouring the lemon filling.

Coconut Lemon Bars

Mix shredded coconut into the crust and sprinkle some on top of the filling before baking.

Lemon-Lime Bars

Combine equal parts lemon juice and lime juice for a unique citrus twist.

Variation Description
Gluten-Free Uses gluten-free flour
Vegan Egg and butter substitutes
Berry Layer of fresh berries
Coconut Shredded coconut in crust and filling
Lemon-Lime Mix of lemon and lime juices

Common Questions About Lemon Bars

How do you store lemon bars?

Lemon bars should be stored in an airtight container. They can be kept at room temperature for up to two days or refrigerated for up to a week. For longer storage, freeze them for up to three months.

Can you freeze lemon bars?

Yes, lemon bars freeze well. After cooling, cut them into squares and place them on a baking sheet to freeze individually. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag.

Why are my lemon bars runny?

If your lemon bars are runny, it may be due to underbaking. Ensure the filling is set and jiggles slightly in the center before removing it from the oven. Allow them to cool completely, as they will firm up more as they cool.

How do you cut lemon bars cleanly?

For clean cuts, use a sharp knife and wipe the blade with a damp cloth between cuts. Cooling the bars completely before cutting also helps maintain clean edges.

Serving and Storing Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are best served chilled. They pair well with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Here are a few serving ideas:

  • Dust with Powdered Sugar: A light dusting of powdered sugar adds a touch of sweetness and enhances presentation.
  • Top with Berries: Fresh raspberries or blueberries provide a burst of color and flavor.
  • Serve with Tea: Lemon bars make an excellent accompaniment to a cup of hot tea.

Storage Tips

Storage Method Duration
Room Temperature Up to 2 days
Refrigerated Up to 1 week
Frozen Up to 3 months


Lemon bars are a delightful dessert that combines a tart lemon filling with a buttery crust. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with variations, these bars are sure to be a hit. Remember to use fresh ingredients, allow the bars to cool completely, and store them properly to enjoy their tangy goodness for days to come.

By following this guide, you’ll master the art of making perfect lemon bars and impress everyone with your baking skills. Enjoy!

Written by Best Food

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