If you are in the mood for something light, this dessert is perfect for you! Every bite of classic lemon bars is a zesty treat. Tart lemon juice, buttery crust, and airy powdered sugar are combined to create a fresh rustic recipe to share with your friends and family. This classic recipe is one that has been passed down through generations. No matter how you make them, they are sure to be a hit!
If you bought a bag of lemons and don’t want them to go to waste, or you’re just in the mood for a classic dessert, then this recipe is perfect for you! All you need are a few simple ingredients, and you’ll have a delicious dessert in no time.
Everyone will love these classic bars!
What are classic lemon bars?
Lemon bars are a vintage, classic dessert. The flaky homemade crust is topped with a sweet and tart lemon custard. Then, it’s sprinkled with a generous amount of powdered sugar.
The result is something that is both incredibly sweet and powerfully tart, with a smooth texture that melts in your mouth.
They are the perfect things to serve for breakfast, dessert, or as a treat with some hot tea or coffee.
Why do my lemon bars look like scrambled eggs?
If your lemon bars look like scrambled eggs, it’s because you’ve overcooked them. The key to perfect lemon bars is to cook them until the filling is set, but not too long. You want the filling to be firm but still have a little bit of jiggle to it when you shake the pan.
If you cook them too long, the filling will become dry and crumbly.
How can I make my lemon bars extra lemony?
If you want your lemon bars to be extra lemony, add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice to the filling. You can also add a teaspoon of grated lemon zest to the filling for extra flavor.
What is the best way to store lemon bars?
Lemon bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also store them in the fridge for up to 1 week. If you want to freeze them, place them in a freezer-safe container, and they will keep for up to 3 months.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these easy lemon bars:
There are two parts to classic lemon bars – the crust and the lemon custard topping. I’ve gone ahead and divided everything you need to keep it as easy as possible for you.
- unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- granulated sugar
- all-purpose flour
- a pinch of salt
Lemon curd filling
- eggs to hold it all together
- granulated sugar to sweeten the lemon flavors
- fresh lemon zest
- all-purpose flour
- fresh lemon juice for even more lemon taste
How to make the best lemon bars
It might shock you just how simple it is to make homemade lemon bars. The recipe is straightforward and easy to understand! Here are a few of my baking tips to make sure your classic lemon bars turn out perfectly.
Lemon bars emerge from the oven in two parts. First, there’s the buttery shortbread crust. On top of the baked shortbread crust goes a sweet egg and lemon custard.
No rolling pin. No double boiler or candy thermometer. We are keeping it really simple!
It’s an easy recipe in a manageable 8×8-inch pan. I’m trying to get you to make these along with me. Can you tell?
1. Make the crust
Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, and a pinch of salt. Once crumbly (yea… crumbly), press it into a baking pan. I recommend using an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch pan. Then bake the crust for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
2. Make the lemon filling
The filling is pretty simple too! Just whisk the eggs with sugar and lemon. There are definitely a few seeds hiding in that unbaked filling – I’m not going to lie. It happens to the best of us!
Then, add the flour, lemon juice, and zest and keep whisking it together until it is completely blended.
Just do your best to strain the mixture before you pour it over the baked crust.
3. Bake the bars
Pour the lemon filling over the pre-baked crust and bake the whole shebang once again. The filling will firm up and brown around the edges in no time. It really is supreme!
Personally, the edges are my favorite – they’re perfectly caramelized and chewy, like brownies. The center is for suckers!
4. Serve and enjoy!
After you bake them, let them cool to room temperature. Then, sprinkle them generously with lots of powdered sugar. Like, don’t hold back. Coat those babies!
There is no wrong time or incorrect way to serve these lemon bars. They might fit in best with a baby or bridal shower, but they are also delicious for breakfast too!
If you are going to enjoy them in the winter, make some winter lemonade with ginger and cloves to go with them. Or, serve these light desserts with a filling smoked andouille sausage and cream cheese roll for breakfast.
Recipe adapted from my first cookbook: The Joy the Baker Cookbook.