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close up view of lemon bars in baking dish
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5 from 12 votes

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.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon bars
Servings: 12
Calories: 204kcal


  • For the Crust:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), diced
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • For Lemon Layer:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  • 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.



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. 


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