Luscious Lemon Bars

Lemons are nostalgic for me. I grew up with beautiful lemon trees in my California backyard. We used to use our lemons in everything. Salmon with lemon squeezed on top. Pitchers of homemade lemonade every summer. Lemon squeezed into water. Lemon pound cake, cookies and these amazing luscious lemon bars. 

Fourteen years ago my husband and I were married far away from my hometown. My mom hand-carried lemons from my family’s lemon tree to put around my wedding cake. Nostalgia at its finest.

Tart Lemon Filling on top of a buttery shortbread crust

These lemon bars are the perfect ode to my love for lemons. They are quite tart and full of lemon flavor but also sweet and creamy with a buttery, shortbread crust underneath. I don’t like to skimp on the shortbread, so these have a thick layer of shortbread base with an equally thick lemon top layer.

Use Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice for best results

I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice to give the tart and beautiful lemony flavor. If you can get your hand on Meyer lemons, they would be even better. Lemon bars are the perfect summer treat: tart, sweet and full of lemony flavor.

Refrigerate and Chill before serving for best results

These lemon bars bake up quickly for a crowd and can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, making this the perfect dessert to bring to any small gathering. You can even halve the recipe to make them for a smaller group and bake in an 8 by 8 pan. If you can’t get enough of the sweet, tartness of a delicious lemon bar, make these! You won’t regret it. I promise.

Luscious Lemon Bars

Time: 20 minute mix, 40 minute bake, 1-2 hour chill

Yield: One, 9 by 13 pan of lemon bars


Bottom Layer:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

Top Layer:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Make the bottom layer: Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, cream together the unsalted butter and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla extract, salt and all purpose flour. The mixture will come together and may be a little crumbly.
  3. Line a 9 by 13 pan with parchment paper. Press the mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the bottom layer is baking, mix together the ingredients for the top layer.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, milk and salt. Set aside.
  6. Once the bottom layer has baked for 20 minutes, pull it out of the oven and using a fork, poke holes all over the crust. Pour the lemon mixture on top of the hot crust. Immediately put back in the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the middle is set and no longer jiggles.
  7. Let lemon bars cool completely and then store in the fridge. Top with powdered sugar and serve chilled.

Recipe Notes: This recipe can be easily halved. Use 3 eggs for the filling and bake in an 8 by 8 pan.

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  1. Lemony Deliciousness!! And equal to the yum factor are the “lemon memories” you described. Somehow those lemons around your wedding cake were the perfect accent to a most wonderful day! 🍋🍋🍋