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Tangy Lemon Bars: The Ultimate Treat

These tangy lemon bars are the ultimate treat for any dessert lover. With a simple shortbread crust, fresh lemon curd filling, and a dusting of powdered sugar, they provide the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess. This classic American dessert is easy to make and sure to impress. Follow this step-by-step recipe to create the perfect lemon bars for any occasion.

Lemon Bars Recipe


Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Lemon Filling:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the Oven:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper, ensuring the paper extends over the edges for easy removal later.
  1. Prepare the Shortbread Crust:
  • In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and salt until well combined.
  • Add the flour to the butter mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the crust is very lightly browned.
  1. Make the Lemon Filling:
  • While the crust is baking, prepare the lemon filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and flour.
  • Add the eggs, lemon zest, and fresh lemon juice to the sugar mixture, whisking until smooth and well combined.
  1. Assemble and Bake:
  • Pour the lemon filling over the warm shortbread crust.
  • Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the dish from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking.
  • The filling should be set but still slightly jiggly in the center when done.
  1. Cool and Chill:
  • Let the lemon bars cool in the baking dish for a while at room temperature.
  • Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow the filling to set completely.
  1. Cut and Serve:
  • Before slicing, run a sharp knife under warm water and dry it. This helps in making clean cuts.
  • Slice the bars into squares or rectangles as desired.
  • Dust the top with powdered sugar before serving for an extra touch of sweetness.
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  • Use Fresh Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice provides the best flavor. One regular lemon yields about 2-3 tablespoons of juice.
  • Parchment Paper: Lining the baking dish with parchment paper makes it easier to lift the bars out of the dish without breaking.
  • Warm Crust: Always pour the lemon filling over a warm crust. If the crust cools, the filling might flip, resulting in a messy final product.
  • Adequate Chilling: Allow the bars to chill for at least 2 hours, but overnight chilling is preferred for best results.
  • Sharp Knife: Use a sharp knife for cutting the bars. For clean cuts, rinse the knife with hot water and dry it between each cut.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Freeze Lemon Bars?

Yes, you can freeze lemon bars. To freeze, let them cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Do Lemon Bars Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, lemon bars should be refrigerated. After baking and cooling, cover and refrigerate them to keep the filling set and fresh. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How to Make Lemon Bars?

Making lemon bars involves two main steps: preparing the shortbread crust and making the lemon filling. The crust is baked first, then topped with the lemon filling and baked again until set. Detailed instructions can be found above.

Tips for Perfect Lemon Bars

  • Fresh Lemon Juice: For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Warm Crust: Pour the filling over a warm crust to prevent the layers from flipping.
  • Chill Properly: Ensure the bars are well-chilled before cutting to get neat slices.
  • Sharp Knife: Use a sharp knife and rinse it in warm water between cuts for clean edges.

Enjoy these tangy, delightful lemon bars as a refreshing dessert that’s sure to please any crowd!