With the combination of a buttery crust and a fresh, tangy lemon filling, this recipe for Old Fashioned Lemon Bars is refreshing and slightly indulgent! This simple dessert is a family favorite, with a burst of citrus in every sweet square.
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The Story Behind This Recipe…
There’s nothing quite like sharing something special with a friend. So, here’s one of those unexpected treasures in my life. I have a dear friend that I love whole heartily. He’s a great father, singer, writer, and coach and is an inspiration to many young people in our community. Now comes the interesting part of our friendship…it’s these lemon bars.
About twice a year, I get a phone call or text message from my friend asking if I could make some of these lemon bars for a co-worker of his. Every time he reaches out, I tell him the same thing – yes, I’ll make them, and no, I don’t want any money. Because what’s a few lemon squares between friends?
Ingredients For Old Fashioned Lemon Squares
- Unsalted Butter – softened
- All-purpose Flour
- Confectioners Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Fresh Lemon Juice – for the best lemon flavor
- Lemon Zest
Scroll Down For Measurements And Instructions
Steps For This Easy Lemon Bars Recipe
- Prep by heating the oven, then grease and line the pan with parchment.
- Make the buttery shortbread crust and bake until golden around the edges.
- Zest and juice the lemons.
- Make the sweet lemon custard filling and bake again.
- Cool, dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.
Make sure to ZEST the lemons before juicing!
How Do I Know When Lemon Bars Are Done?
After baking for an additional 20–25 minutes, the filling should be set, the edges lightly golden, and a slight jiggle in the center when you shake the pan.
It’s important not to over bake the lemon bars, as they may become dry and lose their luscious texture. Remember that the bars will continue to firm up as they cool, so it’s better to err on the side of slight under-baking rather than over-baking.
Tips For Making The Best Lemon Bars
- For the best flavor and bright taste, use fresh lemons and squeeze the juice yourself.
- Allow your butter and eggs to come to room temperature before using them. This ensures easier mixing and better incorporation of ingredients.
- Press the crust firmly and evenly in the baking pan to create a solid base. This will prevent the crust from crumbling when cutting the bars later.
- Do not over bake.
- Allow the lemon bars to cool completely before cutting.
How To Cut Old Fashioned Lemon Squares
It’s easy to make clean cuts when cutting the lemon bars. Here’s how:
- Use a sharp knife with a thin blade.
- Gently lift the chilled bars from the baking pan using the overhanging parchment paper or by running a butter knife around the edges to loosen them. Dust with confectioners sugar before cutting.
- Mark the cutting lines. Lightly score the top of the bars with a knife to mark where you want to make your cuts. This will help you achieve evenly sized squares.
- After each cut, wipe the knife with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel. This ensures clean and precise cuts without dragging or smudging the filling.
Frequently Asked Questions With Answers
Yes, they do. Store them in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap or an airtight container for up to a week.
You bet! Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 2–3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before serving.
Yes. You can substitute a 1-to-1 ratio of gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour.
What To Serve With Sweet And Tangy Lemon Bars
If you are a lemon lover like me, then you’ll find any excuse to make these yummy bars. The tartness of the lemon curd filling and the cookie crust makes these squares perfect for serving as a light dessert after dinner. They are also great with coffee as an afternoon treat. And, of course, I love wrapping them up and sharing them with friends, neighbors, or someone who needs a little TLC.
More Of My Favorite Lemon Desserts
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and butter.
- Whisk flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with fork or use your fingers to make a crumbly dough.
- Press into the prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool slightly.
- Mix eggs, sugar, and flour in a bowl with a whisk.
- Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Pour filling over crust and bake 25 minutes.
- Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Using parchment paper, lift from baking pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares.
- Store them in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap or an airtight container for up to a week.
- Place the lemon bars in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 2–3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before serving.
This post was originally published in August, 2016 and updated in June, 2023.