These easy lemon bars are a refreshing, sweet and slightly tart lemon square treat. Often known as lemon squares, or sunshine lemon bars, the bars combine the wonderful flavor of freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest. The ingredients for this recipe are simple as well as the procedure. They are easy to make!
The standard lemon bar recipe begins with an easy to make shortbread crust and then an easy lemon curd style filling is added before baking. The whole thing then sets in the refrigerator. You can also make different styles of lemon bars, such as raspberry lemon bars or blueberry lemon bars by adding items to the mix or as a garnish.
How to Make Easy Lemon Bars
The easy lemon bars recipe starts with a shortbread crust. This is made simple by using a food processor or mixer to pulse together all-purpose flour, sugar, butter, and salt to create a crumb shortbread for the crust. No food processor? Just use a hand mixer! The crust is then pressed into a pan and baked for 20 minutes until it is nice golden brown. While it is baking, you can make the lemon bar filling.
Easy Lemon Curd Filling
The lemon filling is similar to lemon curd, but so much easier to make. Instead of having to cook the curd, simply mix lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, and flour. Everything thickens as it bakes and it fully sets in the refrigerator.
If you are unfamiliar with how to zest a lemon, using a lemon zester or fine grater, remove just the yellow part of the lemon skin. Avoid removing any of the white, as that is quite bitter.
To best juice a lemon, I like to use a hand juicer. But you can juice a lemon by cutting it in half and squeezing or turning a fork in it. You can use prepackaged lemon juice for this recipe too, but fresh squeezed really yields the best results.
Lemon Bar Garnishes and Flavors
Traditional lemon bars are garnished with powdered sugar. I like to add a sprig of mint to mine or put raspberries or blueberries on top.
Try some of these variations:
- Raspberry Lemon Bars: Add raspberries to the filling and bake for 8-10 more minutes.
- Blueberry Lemon Bars: Add blueberries to the filling and bake for 8-10 more minutes.
- Strawberry Lemon Bars: Add cut strawberries to the filling mixture and bake 8-10 more minutes.
- Meyer Lemon Bars: Use Meyer lemons and 2 tablespoons less sugar.
- Lime Lemon Bars: Exchange 1/4 cup lime juice (key lime juice highly recommended) instead of lemon juice and add the zest of 1 lime to the filling.
- Grapefruit Lemon Bars: Exchange 1/4 cup ruby red grapefruit juice instead of lemon juice and add one teaspoon of grapefruit zest to the filling.
- Orange Lemon Bars: Exchange 1/4 cup orange juice instead of lemon juice and add one teaspoon of orange zest to the filling.
- Mint Garnish: Add sprigs of mint to garnish
- Fruit garnish: Add berries or other fruit on top as garnish.
Easy Lemon Bar Storage
Store your lemon bars in an airtight container. I prefer to keep them in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Lemon Curd Layer
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed preferred)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (grated)
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Heat the oven up to 350 degrees F and grease a baking dish (8 x 8)
In a food processor or mixing bowl, pulse or mix together 1 cup of flour, butter, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. The mix may be crumbling or chunky.
Press the mixture into the base of your dish to make the crust. Poke with a fork all over.
Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
In another mixing bowl, beat your eggs and yolks together.
Add the granulated sugar and flour and stir until smooth.
Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.
Pour the lemon layer onto the crust.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
Cool completely, preferably in the refrigerator and then slice into bars.
Top with powdered sugar.
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Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153 Total Fat: 7 gg Cholesterol: 54 mgmg Sodium: 47 mgmg Carbohydrates: 22 gg Fiber: 3 gg Sugar: 15 gg Protein: 2 gg