Desserts

Original Lemon Bars

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Original Lemon Bars are a light, tart, tangy, and delicious dessert recipe. Made with a shortbread layer of crust and topped with a sweet lemon filling. The perfect treat.

overhead view original lemon bars in a baking dish with napkin, knife, and lemon slices

Lemon bars one of those recipes that is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy. It is also a great way to use a single lemon. That’s right, this recipe uses a single lemon, the juice and zest.

It is also a quick to make treat that feels like it took hours to create when in reality it only takes minutes and a single bowl. If your pantry is anything like mine, then you probably already have all of the other ingredients needed for this recipe on hand already. I love when that happens.

Be sure to save this recipe and give it a try!

What ingredients for this recipe for lemon bars?

ingredients for original lemon bars on counter

  1. All-purpose flour
  2. Butter
  3. Powdered sugar
  4. Vanilla extract
  5. Salt
  6. Eggs
  7. Granulated sugar
  8. Lemon, juice and zest

How to make this lemon bar recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly spray an 8×8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In mixing bowl combine flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. It is best to mash the ingredients together until they resemble cookie dough.

ingredients for lemon bar crust in white mixing bowl with spoon

Once fully combined, place the dough into the prepared baking dish, and press down evenly flat into the pan, you may your wet hands/fingers to prevent sticking.

hand pressing lemon bar crust dough into square baking dish unbaked lemon bar crust in baking dish

With a fork, prick the dough all over completely. This will help the dough to cook evenly and not bubble up.

lemon bar crust pricked with fork in baking dish

Place crust into the preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 to 22 minutes, until light golden brown.

baked lemon bar crust in baking dish

While crust is baking, begin preparing the lemon layer. In mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel until smooth, about 2 minutes.

filling for lemon bars in white mixing bowl with whisk

Pour the lemon layer on top of cooked shortbread dough (you do not have to let it cool). It will be very liquidy.

lemon bar filling poured over crust in baking dish before baking

Place the lemon bars back into the oven and bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes.

original lemon bars baked in square baking dish

Once fully cooked the lemon bars will come out completely set with a thin sugary surface, moist tangy-sweet lemon layer, and light buttery shortbread crust. Allow the lemon bars to cool completely before cutting them.

Tips to make the best lemon bars:

  • When pressing the crust into the pan, wet your hands a little to prevent sticking.
  • Use a single lemon for the measurements the recipe calls for, the juice and zest of one lemon.
  • For some tasty shortbread cookies, simply use a cookie cutter, omit the lemon layer, and leave the dough in the oven about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
  • Allow the lemon bars to cool completely before cutting.
  • You may also garnish the cooked and cooled lemon bars with powdered sugar or top with meringue (the extra egg white whipped into soft peaks with 1 tablespoon of sugar).
  • May use a mixer or a mixing bowl with a spoon, either is fine.

cut lemon bars next to knife

close up view of lemon bars in baking dish

Original Lemon Bars

Original Lemon Bars are a light, tart, tangy, and delicious dessert recipe. Made with a shortbread layer of crust and topped with a sweet lemon filling. The perfect treat.
5 from 12 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 204kcal

Ingredients

  • For the Crust:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), diced
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • For Lemon Layer:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. and set aside an 8x8-inch square baking pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, combine together the flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt using a spoon until it begins to come together and then gently knead it by hand until all of the dough sticks together.
  • Form into a ball and place into the prepared baking pan and press down in the bottom of the pan evenly. Wet your hands a little to prevent sticking.
  • Using a fork, prick the dough all over to help the dough cook evenly and so no bubbles will form.
  • Place the crust into the preheated oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is light golden brown and then remove from the oven.
  • While the crust is baking, in the same bowl the dough was in whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest until it is fully combined and pour over top of the finished baking crust. It is fine if the crust is still warm from baking.
  • The lemon mixture will be liquidy, but it will firm up so place back into the oven and continue to bake the lemon bars for 20 to 25 minutes until the edge of the bars is golden brown and the center is set.
  • Remove the lemon bars from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the dish on a cooling rack before you slice into small squares.

Video

Notes

Tips to make the best lemon bars: 
  • When pressing the crust into the pan, wet your hands a little to prevent sticking. 
  • Use a single lemon for the measurements the recipe calls for, the juice and zest of one lemon.
  • For some tasty shortbread cookies, simply use a cookie cutter, omit the lemon layer, and leave the dough in the oven about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
  • Allow the lemon bars to cool completely before cutting.
  • You may also garnish the cooked and cooled lemon bars with powdered sugar or top with meringue (the extra egg white whipped into soft peaks with 1 tablespoon of sugar).
  • May use a mixer or a mixing bowl with a spoon, either is fine. 

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @simplylakita on Instagram and hashtag it #simplylakita!

hand holding lemon bar

Need a few more easy dessert recipes? Try these:

Have any comments, questions, or other delicious ways to use these Original Lemon Bars? Please share them in the comments below!


16 Comments

  • Reply
    Marta
    April 15, 2020 at 5:46 PM

    5 stars
    I have an irrational obsession with all things lemon, so this recipe is everything I can ask for.

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 17, 2020 at 2:04 PM

      So do I!! I’m into all the lemon recipes at the moment.

  • Reply
    Capri
    April 16, 2020 at 1:23 PM

    5 stars
    This is such a light, refreshing dessert! And your step by step photos make it very easy to make!

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 17, 2020 at 2:05 PM

      Thank you so much Capri!

  • Reply
    Desirée
    April 17, 2020 at 9:08 PM

    5 stars
    Omg I looooooove lemon bars! These look LEGIT!

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 20, 2020 at 9:41 AM

      Thank you! They are so good!

  • Reply
    Tamara J
    April 19, 2020 at 11:13 AM

    5 stars
    These are just how I remember my granny making them! So happy you were able to bring that memory back into our home. These were AMAZING! Not too sweet, and the perfect tartness.

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 20, 2020 at 9:42 AM

      Thank you! Definitely the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

  • Reply
    Christy Hoover
    April 20, 2020 at 10:26 AM

    5 stars
    This lemon bar is like heaven. My family loves it and appreciated it being made from scratch and not the box. Great recipe!

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 21, 2020 at 10:46 AM

      Thank you so much! From scratch is so much better than the box version.

  • Reply
    Katrina Adams
    April 20, 2020 at 8:30 PM

    5 stars
    These lemon bars look delicious!! I have to try your recipe!!

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 21, 2020 at 10:46 AM

      Thank you, please do!

  • Reply
    Kaluhi
    April 21, 2020 at 11:01 AM

    5 stars
    I love zesty treats and this i must make! I appreciate the tips you’ve shared to make tge baking breezy too!

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 21, 2020 at 1:00 PM

      Thank you Kaluhi!!

  • Reply
    Jazz
    April 22, 2020 at 12:46 AM

    5 stars
    Love the simplicity of this recipe. Such a classic and always good!

    • Reply
      LaKita
      April 22, 2020 at 10:39 AM

      Thank you Jazz!

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating