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    Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

    These lemon bars are wonderfully tart and not-too-sweet, with a crisp, buttery crust on the bottom and a luscious lemon filling on top. The shortbread crust provides a sturdy base, while the lemon curd topping offers a burst of citrusy goodness in every bite. Best part is – they’re super easy to make!

    lemon bars recipe

    Tips for Making Perfect Lemon Bars

    Lemon bars are a super easy dessert to make, but before we get into the recipe there are a few tips I’d like to share so you get them perfect on the first go!

    Firstly, don’t skimp on the lemon (or lemon zest) in this recipe. The lemon adds a wonderful tangy flavor to the lemon bars, and helps with making sure your lemon bars do not taste eggy. Also make sure you’re using fresh lemon juice (not the type from a bottle) for the best lemon flavor.

    Secondly, be careful not to under or overbake the lemon curd topping. To know if your lemon bars are done, gently shake the baking pan and if the curd is set (it doesn’t jiggle in the middle), then it’s done. As soon as it’s done, take the pan out of the oven. This will ensure that the lemon curd is baked enough so that it holds it’s shape, but not overbaked – otherwise your lemon bars will be rubbery and can taste more eggy too.

    Thirdly, this recipe uses a traditional shortbread crust for the base of the lemon bars. For a richer base, bake the shortbread crust until it starts to lightly brown. If the crust is underbaked it’ll still taste great – but a bit of browning (in my opinion) makes for a richer and more complex tasting crust!

    How to make lemon bars

    Shortbread Crust

    Being by preheating your oven to 180 °C (350°F) conventional (reduce temperature to 160C/320F if using a fan-forced oven) and line a 9×13 inch cake pan with parchment paper. If using a metal baking pan, make sure the entire tin is covered, as the acidity in the lemons can sometimes react with metal – given your lemon bars a metallic taste. Alternatively, you can use glass or ceramic baking pans.

    To make the shortbread crust, to a food processer add in all purpose flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar and salt. Mix that for about 5 seconds to allow all the dry ingredients to combine well. Next add in cold unsalted butter that’s been cut into small cubes and mix together until your mixture resembles a sand like consistency.

     

    lemon bars

    Transfer the mixture to the lined baking pan and evenly spread the mixture out, using your hands (or something with a flat bottom) to press the crumbs into the base of the tin. Once done, the base should look well combined and not loose.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. While the crust is baking, make the lemon curd filling.

    lemon bars recipe

    Lemon Curd Topping

    To a large bowl add in sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar has a light yellow tinge.

    Add in eggs, fresh lemon juice and sifted flour, and using a whisk, mix until well combined and no lumps of flour remain.

    lemon bars recipe

    Once the crust is done, pour the lemon curd filling over the top of the warm base (don’t wait for the crust to cool), and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top layer is set (gently shake the tin and if the centre doesn’t jiggle then it’s done). Avoid overbaking so as soon as it sets take it out.

    lemon bars recipe

    Allow the lemon bar to cool on the counter (about an hour), before trasnferring it to a refrigerator for 2 hours to fully set. Once set, lift the bar out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into small lemon bars using a sharp knife (for a clean cut, wipe the knife clean after every slice), and dust with powdered sugar before serving (see note 4).

    lemon bars recipe

    Commonly Asked Questions

    Why can’t I use a metal pan for lemon bars?

    It’s often advised not to use metal pans for lemon bars because the acidity in the lemons can react with the metal, giving your lemon bars a metallic taste. Now technically you can use a metal pan (like I have in this recipe), as long as it has a coating or is fully covered in parchment paper. If in doubt, use a glass or ceramic baking dish instead 🙂

    Why are my lemon bars gooey and not set?

    If your lemon bars don’t hold their shape after they’ve been refrigerated, it’s most likely due to the lemon curd being underbaked. To check if your lemon bar is done baking, shake the pan a little and if the centre doesn’t jiggle then it’s done.

    Do lemon bars need to be refrigerated?

    Lemon bars are best served chilled (in my opinion), but they can be left out at room temperature for a few hours. It’s best to keep them chilled to maintain their taste/freshness.

    Why do my lemon bars taste eggy?

    If your lemon bars have a strong eggy taste/smell, it’s likely due to the lemon curd being overbaked. Be sure to take the lemon bars out of the oven as soon as they’re done. Your oven may also be running a little hot. If you think this is the case, then reduce the temperature slightly when baking to allow the lemon curd to bake a little slower, and therefore less likely to overbake.

    Due to the topping being a variation of a traditional lemon curd, it does have a slightly eggy/custardy nature to it – but it should be inviting and not repelling! If you are particularly sensitive to the smell/taste of curds or egg based baked goods, add a bit of extra lemon juice.

    lemon bars recipe

    Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

    These lemon bars are wonderfully tart and not-too-sweet, with a crisp, buttery crust on the bottom and a luscious lemon filling on top. The shortbread crust provides a sturdy base, while the lemon curd topping offers a burst of citrusy goodness in every bite. Best part is - they're super easy to make!
    5 from 5 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes
    Cooling Time: 2 hours
    Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
    Servings: 24 bars

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Shortbread Crust

    • 2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour
    • ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
    • ½ tsp salt - omit if using salted butter
    • 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar - also known as icing/confectioners sugar
    • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter - cold and cut into cubes

    Lemon Curd Topping

    • 2 cups (400 g) white granulated sugar
    • 2 tbsp lemon zest
    • 6 large eggs - room temperature
    • ¾ cup (172 g) lemon juice - freshly squeezed - do not use bottled lemon juice. Zest the lemons before juicing them. Can increase up to 1 cup for a more tangy topping.
    • cup (40 g) all purpose flour

    Instructions

    Shortbread Crust

    • Preheat oven to 180 °C (350°F) conventional (see note 1 if using a convection oven with a fan) and line a 9x13 inch cake pan with parchment paper. If using a metal baking pan, make sure the entire tin is covered (see note 2).
    • To a food processer add in all purpose flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar and salt. Mix that for about 5 seconds to allow all the dry ingredients to combine well. Next add in cold unsalted butter that's been cut into small cubes and mix together until your mixture resembles a sand like consistency (see note 3 if doing this step by hand).
    • Transfer the mixture to the lined baking pan and evenly spread the mixture out, using your hands (or something with a flat bottom) to press the crumbs into the base of the tin. Once done, the base should look well combined and not loose.
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. The browning will give the crust more flavor so don't take the crust out too early (I like mine lightly browned on the top and edges). While the crust is baking, make the lemon curd filling.

    Lemon Curd Filling

    • To a large bowl add in sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar has a light yellow tinge.
    • Add in eggs, lemon juice and sifted flour, and using a whisk, mix until well combined and no lumps of flour remain.
    • Once the crust is done, pour the lemon curd filling over the top of the warm base (don't wait for the crust to cool), and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is set (gently shake the tin and if the centre doesn't jiggle then it's done). Avoid overbaking so as soon as it sets take it out.
    • Allow the lemon bar to cool on the counter (about an hour), before refrigerating for 2 hours to fully set. Once set, lift the bar out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into small lemon bars using a sharp knife (for a clean cut, wipe the knife clean after every slice), and dust with powdered sugar before serving (see note 4). To store, place the bars in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. Best served chilled!

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. If using a convection oven that has a fan function, bake at 160 °C (320°F) as the fan function bakes food faster.
    Note 2. Metal can react with the acidity in the lemon juice, so to prevent a metallic taste in your lemon bars, ensure the cake tin is competely covered with parchment paper, or you can use a glass or ceramic dish too. Still line it though, as parchment paper will make it easier to take the lemon bars out once they're done.
    Note 3. If you have a food processor I would highly recommend using it for making the base, but if you need to do this step by hand, then simply rub the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles a crumb like consistency - similar to when making scones. 
    Note 4. If you notice the tops of the lemon bars are slightly wet, use a clean paper towel to dab the tops before dusting with powdered sugar. 
    Note 5. If you notice your lemon bars are eggy once baked, see the troubleshooting tips in the blog post above. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 318IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: best lemon bars, easy lemon bars, homemade lemon bars, lemon bars recipe, lemon bars recipes
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

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    4 Comments

    • Amanda

      5 stars
      It was wonderful!! Such a bright lemon flavour and very easy to throw together. Thank you!

      • Cakes by MK

        Awesome! So glad to hear you enjoyed the lemon bars Amanda 😀

    • Yvrose

      5 stars
      Your tutorial is so great I will definitely make it.

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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