These are the best lemon bars with a serious lemon hint. Made with an easy shortbread crust, these bars are suitable for any occasion.
What are lemon bars?
Lemon bars are a type of dessert that originated in the United States. The classic recipes consist of a shortbread crust and a lemon filling made with fresh lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and flour.
The filling is poured onto the crust and baked until set. Once cooled, the bars are cut into squares and served.
These bars are perfect for any occasion, from a fancy dinner party to a casual afternoon snack.
Types of Lemon Bars:
There are several types of lemon bars available, ranging from classic recipes to variations with different crusts, toppings, and fillings. Some popular types of lemon bars include:
- Classic Lemon Bars: These are the traditional lemon bars made with a shortbread crust and a lemon filling. We are making this version today.
- Graham Cracker Crust Lemon Bars: Instead of a shortbread crust, these bars have a graham cracker crust for a slightly sweeter taste. My tangy lemon bars recipe with graham crackers is one of the best.
- Cheesecake Lemon Bars: These bars have a cheesecake-like filling made with cream cheese(or ricotta), lemon juice, and sugar.
- Coconut Lemon Bars: These bars have a coconut crust and a coconut-flavored lemon filling for a tropical twist.
The Charm of This Recipe:
- Delicious and Refreshing Flavor: Lemon bars are known for their tangy, citrusy flavor that is both sweet and refreshing. This combination of sweet and tart flavors makes them a perfect dessert for any occasion, especially during warm weather months.
- Easy to Make: My lemon bars are a simple and easy dessert to make, requiring only a few basic ingredients and minimal prep time. Even novice bakers can successfully make lemon bars.
- Versatile Dessert: Lemon bars can be served in various settings, from casual potlucks to formal dinner parties. They can also be served as a dessert or a sweet snack.
- Make Ahead and Easy to Store: Lemon bars can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months. This makes them a great dessert to prepare in advance for special events or as a quick dessert to have on hand for unexpected guests.
What can be more beautiful than a classic lemon bar dusted with powdered sugar? Lemon bars are also known as "lemon slices" or 'lemon squares".
In some countries, they may also be referred to as lemon tarts or lemon pastries. No matter the name, everyone loves them.
I have to confess that I am a little picky when it comes to lemon bars.
I don't like them very sweet, and I don't like them super tangy. They also need to have a good crust and a creamy filling.
I tried different recipes until this one came to my attention. I had it all: recipes that do not set, a too "healthy" recipe that tastes like nothing, too sweet or overly baked, too tangy or too bland, etc.
In this recipe, the crust is a shortbread base baked first. The lemon topping is just as easy, everything in a bowl, five seconds of whisking, and the most challenging part is waiting for that shortbread base to come out of the oven before baking off the bars.
The filling is poured over the baked crust, and the whole thing returns to the oven for a few more minutes. How easy is that?
A few notes about the lemons
For these Super Easy Lemon Bars to have a nice citrus flavor, you need to use fresh lemon juice, not the one that comes in a bottle. Besides that, you also need lemon zest, so you will need fresh lemons.
Remember, when choosing lemons, look for fragrant ones with bright yellow skins. They should be firm, plump, and heavy for their size.
If you can, buy organic lemons. Their skin should not be waxed.
We will use the lemon rind for this recipe, so we must wash the lemons well with water and soap.
I do this even if they say the fruits or vegetables are already washed. You never know how many hands touched the lemons before and how clean they were, right?
What kind of ingredients go into this recipe
- All-purpose flour
- Fresh lemons
- Unsalted butter
- Large eggs
- Powdered sugar and granulated sugar
- Baking Powder
What kind of pan do you need:
You need a 9x13-inch baking pan.
Also, you do not need a hand mixer unless you really want to use it.
How to make lemon bars:
Make the shortbread crust:
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9x13-inch rectangular baking pan with parchment paper.
Step 2. In a medium bowl, use a pastry blender to combine the flour, cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces, and icing sugar, mixing them into a crumbly mixture. (You can also make the crust in a food processor: add the flour, sugar, and butter cubes and pulse for 20 seconds.)
Step 3. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
Step 4. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust begins to set. Allow the crust to cool for about 10 minutes.
Make the lemon filling:
Step 1. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon juice.
Add the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest and beat until smooth.
Pour over the baked crust and return the baking pan to the oven for another 25 minutes until the topping is set and just beginning to brown around the edges.
Let cool completely, then sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into squares. The recipe makes 24 squares or 35 tiny ones.
How to store lemon bars
Well, if you have enough self-control not to eat the whole pan or want to bake them a few days in advance before you serve them, these bars can be stored at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
It's best to store them in an airtight container or cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
Can you freeze lemon bars?
Yes, lemon bars can be frozen for up to three months. To freeze them, wrap the bars tightly in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Place the lemon bars in an airtight container and separate the bars with wax paper or parchment paper.
If you want to freeze them, let them reach room temperature, wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap, and place them in a resealable freezer bag. For best results, I recommend using them within one month.
How to serve lemon bars
These delicious lemon bars can be served on their own or with a variety of accompaniments. Some popular options include whipped cream, fresh berries, a dusting of powdered sugar, or a dollop of lemon curd.
Conclusion: This is one of the easiest Lemon Bars recipes you will ever find. Elegant and irresistible, these bars are perfect for a cup of tea or coffee.
Think spring, Easter, or summer. Great for potlucks also, picnics, graduation parties, holidays, and even baby showers.
What to do when life gives you lemons? Obviously, make lemon bars or coconut lemon cream cheese cake. Why not?
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Best Lemon Bars With Shortbread Crust
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup cold unsalted butter
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest from about 2 lemons
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch rectangular baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, use a pastry blender to combine the flour, cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces, and icing sugar, mixing them into a crumbly mixture. (You can also make the crust in a food processor: add the flour, sugar, and butter cubes and pulse for 20 seconds.)
- Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the crust begins to set. Allow the crust to cool for about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon juice.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest and beat until smooth.
- Pour over the baked crust and return the baking pan to the oven for another 25 minutes until the topping is set and just beginning to brown around the edges.
- Let cool completely, then sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into squares. The recipe makes 24 squares or 35 tiny ones.
- A 9x13-inch glass pan is the best pan for these lemon bars.
- Use real lemon juice for the best taste.
- Freezing instructions: Lemon bars can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the bars to cool, and cut them into squares, but do not dust them with powdered sugar. Freeze them individually in plastic or aluminum foil and place them in a large freezer bag. Defrost them in the refrigerator and serve them dusted with powdered sugar.