If you have a lemon lover in your life, you are going to want to add these lemon bars to your baking list pronto! A lemon curd filling tops a perfectly baked shortbread crust, making the most delicious lemony dessert you will ever taste!
Lemons are so funny! I mean, they don’t actually make me laugh unless I’m watching my dog lick one. I’m just in awe of what an anomaly they are. They are really quite intolerable as a standalone food, but when you add that tart, sour juice to baked goods? Oh my glorious perfection. There is nothing better than a good lemon dessert. It’s that sugar-lemon magic!
I have created many lemony desserts in my life (keep reading for more ideas!), but very few of them rival these bars. The shortbread crust is PERFECT and we’re basically making lemon curd to sit atop it. And guys. NOTHING is better than lemon curd. Nothing. I’m convinced that there are pools and pools of it in heaven.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE LEMON BARS
STEP 1 – MAKE THE CRUST
Grab some pretty yellow fresh lemons. You’ll need about 4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the egg, butter and sugar. Mix until creamy.
Add flour and salt and stir until combined. Using your fingers (flour them, if needed), press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
STEP 2 – MAKE THE FILLING
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, eggs, fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk until lumps are gone. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for an additional 20 minutes to 25 minutes, or until the outer edges are lightly golden.
Once the bars cool to room temperature, dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares. Store covered in the refrigerator.
HOW TO STORE LEMON BARS
Store lemon bars covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
CAN YOU FREEZE LEMON BARS
Yes! Wrap the container tightly in foil and freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to enjoy them, allow them do thaw in the fridge overnight, cut into squares and enjoy!
HOW TO TELL IF A LEMON IS RIPE
I have lemons on hand all the time because we never know when we’ll want to make our favorite citrus cocktail. Plus its magical juice just goes great in so many recipes. When picking them out at the grocery store, look for these attributes to make sure you are getting the juiciest, ripest ones:
First, give it a smell. Go ahead, put it right up to your nose and smell for a strong lemony scent. The stronger the scent, the riper the fruit will be.
The deeper yellow in color they are, the juicier they are, as well.
The heavier it feels in your hands, the more juice is hiding inside!
Gently squeeze it in your hands. The more give it has, the juicier it’ll be. If it is too squishy it may be past its prime, so be sure it doesn’t give too much.
SALTED BUTTER VS UNSALTED BUTTER
Ahh, the great baking debate. Many bakers use unsalted butter in their baked goods in order to avoid over-salting. I, however, believe that there is no such thing as “over-salting.” I always use salted butter in my baked goods (and for everything else under the sun) because it gives everything I make an extra touch of salty deliciousness. If you go the unsalted route, keep in mind that you may need to add a bit extra salt to the recipe!
WHY DO SOME RECIPES CALL FOR EGGS TO BE USED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
Allowing your eggs to come to room temperature is important for a couple of reasons. One, they will mix better with your batter, and then let the cake mix raise better as it bakes. Also, the cake will take a little longer to bake if room temperature eggs are used but creates a perfect cake that has a great texture. If a cake has a high fat content, adding cold eggs could affect re-hardening the fat. Finally, eggs that are needed to be created into a foam for a recipe will have better volume if warmed to room temperature.
BEST LEMON DESSERT RECIPES
Don’t limit yourself to lemon squares! If you or anyone in your life loves lemon desserts as much as I do, consider making one or more of these delicious sugary concoctions:
Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream – This Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting will knock your socks off, from the blueberry- and lemon-infused cake, through the succulent lemon curd and straight to the lemony buttercream frosting. It’s a show-stopper, both in taste and appearance!
Lemon Curd – Lemon Curd is a fresh, light and lemony filling or topping that goes great on cakes, cookies, cupcakes or any baked treat!
Lemon Refrigerator Pie – The perfect compliment to the zest of lemon is the graham cracker crust. A citrus flavored cream pie is delightful and so delicious. A small slice goes a long way in flavor, it’s the perfect summer treat!
Lemon Ball Cookies – Lemon Drops candies inside of cookies = insanely fabulous. Great dessert option for your next holiday baking tray!
Candied Lemon Slices – Candied Lemon Slices are EASY to make! They make beautiful edible garnishes for baked goods and can be enjoyed as a treat, as well. Such a great way to use up lemons!
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars – Simplify cheesecake and pack it full of two delicious types of fruit!
OTHER GREAT FRUIT DESSERT RECIPES
No Bake Strawberry Pie – This no-bake, FRESH Strawberry Pie is a great dessert for gatherings of any kind. It is super easy to prepare and it is packed with delicious strawberry flavor!
Easy Apple Pie – Here’s a little secret…this is the cheater version of Apple Pie! But no one will ever know. The crust is buttery-crispy and the insides are weak-in-the-knees delicious.
Berry Slab Pie – Make pie the EASY way by piling delicious pie filling into puff pastry sheets! Use any kind of berry filling for this recipe. Apples and cherries work great, too! This yummy Slab Pie is done in under 30 minutes and you can cut shapes of your choice into the dough to match the occasion.
Fruit Pizza – the classic, crowd-pleasing Fruit Pizza has a cookie dough crust, dreamy cream cheese frosting and a colorful top layer of fruit and a tasty glaze. Let your creative side shine while decorating your pizza and enjoy popping a bite of fresh fruit into your mouth.
Apricot Cheesecake Pockets – These apricot gems are fruity, cheesy and super yummy! Bring these to your next party for a bit of a cookie twist!
Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust
- 1 egg
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 6 eggs
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
MAKE THE CRUST
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the egg, butter and sugar. Mix until creamy.
- Add flour and salt and stir until combined. Using your fingers (flour them, if needed), press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
MAKE THE FILLING
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk until lumps are gone. Pour over the crust and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the outer edges are lightly golden.
- Once the bars have cooled, dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares. Store covered in the refrigerator.