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Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

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 Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes." />Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes." /> Makes sixteen 2" bars Servings

Baked lemon bars will be stable and set at room temperature. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.



  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)

Filling and assembly

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Powdered sugar (for serving)

Recipe Preparation


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl until butter is almost completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and beat until butter is creamy, about 2 minutes more. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add flour and poppy seeds, if using, and mix until no dry spots remain.

  • Firmly press dough into an 8x8" baking dish, working about ½" up the sides (the firmer you press, the easier it will be to cut the baked crust). Bake until golden brown on bottom and a shade or two darker at the edges, 25−35 minutes. Let cool completely if making unbaked lemon bars. If you are baking lemon bars, start the curd just before the crust is finished baking so that both are warm when you assemble.

Filling and Assembly

  • Combine lemon juice, salt, and ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add pod. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

  • Whisk egg yolks, egg, and remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl until no longer grainy and slightly lightened in color, about 2 minutes.

  • Whisking constantly, gradually stream hot lemon mixture into eggs, then transfer mixture back to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and marks from whisk are just visible, 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until smooth, adding a couple of pieces at a time and whisking until incorporated before adding more.

  • For unbaked lemon bars, strain warm curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium nonreactive bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly against surface. Chill until cold, about 1 hour. Stir curd to loosen and scrape into cooled crust; smooth top. Chill until curd has re-set, at least 1 hour.

  • Just before serving, cut lemon bars into squares and dust with powdered sugar.

  • For baked lemon bars, reduce oven temperature to 300˚. Strain warm curd through a fine-mesh sieve into warm crust and bake until curd is set around the edges (filling should still wobble when dish is jiggled; it will set completely as it cools), 12−15 minutes. Do not overbake or filling may curdle. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool, about 2 hours, then chill until cold, at least 1 hour.

  • Just before serving, cut lemon bars into squares and dust with powdered sugar.

  • Do ahead: Lemon bars (without powdered sugar) can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Reviews SectionSooooo delicious. Used GF flour for the crust and vanilla extract in the lemon part and all turned out well still. Just beware that these aren't the traditional lemon bars with a substantial height like in bakeries, it ends up being very flat... I'd say the lemon part isn't more than 1/2 an inch high, about the same as the crust ends up being. I'd recommend an 8x4 pan instead of 8x8 if you want more height. Would totally make again.AnonymousToronto, Canada06/09/20Holy moly. These are delicious. I used 3 tsp. vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean (because it was $18, big yikes) and it turned out wonderful. I did the baked version, and ended up baking slightly longer, probably 20 minutes total. May just be my oven, but it took a bit of time before the edges set. I will absolutely be making these again!AnonymousCambridge, MA06/06/20These were delicious and approachable to make. The poppyseed is a must in my opinion and adds a lot. I have found that this recipe is one of the most fool proof ways to make a citrus curd, and plan on borrowing these precise instructions for future projects.That said, these did not keep so well in the fridge for even a day. Maybe our humidity settings are off? We have everything set at the default. While they set and cooled perfectly and cut neatly, they were a bit of a softer pudding consistency the day after. As far as I know we followed instructions to the letter. Still delicious. I like these so much I can’t bring myself to deduct a star.I absolutely recommend these, but I would say eat them all day of if you can!MojieAlberta, Canada06/02/20I love this recipe, it tastes delicious. Maybe I'm dumb, but make sure you grease the pan beforehand. I completely messed up one of the bars in order to save the rest in the pan.cinnamonpizza8Boston, MA05/06/20

Easy Lemon Bars with Buttery Crust

My favorite lemon bars recipe! These classic lemon bars have a crisp shortbread crust and a creamy delicious tart lemon topping. These bars need to be made in your kitchen, ASAP. Jump to the Lemon Bars Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.

Lemon Bars!

Easy Five Ingredient Lemon Bars – Soft Delicious Buttery Shortbread, Smooth Sharp Lemon Curd Topping!

I will say from the very first sentence now, that I am completely and utterly obsessed with these. They are the dreamiest of dreamy and I love them. If you like lemon, you will be obsessed!

Lemon Bars are something that I have had so many requests for over the years, but I just generally never got round to posting them.. finally, when I had a craving myself, I thought I would actually write up the recipe!

I know it sounds like it’s easy, but once you add on the photography, writing, editing etc… it does take a while to write up a recipe post! Also, I have to make sure not to eat all of the Lemon Bars before I’ve got the camera out. They’re too yummy.

So Lemon Bars have been around for a very long time – there are lots of yummy recipes out there such as from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and Once Upon a Chef – and they are definitely amazing inspiration for these.

The base, is the same as for my Millionaires Shortbread – a simple shortbread of unsalted butter, sugar, and flour. I like to use block butter for the best result, caster sugar for the best sweetness, and plain flour.. obviously.

I use an easy ratio of 2:1:3 when I make my shortbread these days, and I find it works wonders. 200g butter, 100g sugar, 300g flour! Mix them together as per the recipe, and you have a lovely crumbly shortbread. Press them into your 9࡯″ square tin – and bake! So simple.

The topping for this, you can make whilst it’s baking. It doesn’t take long, and you are making a sort of lemon curd, lemon meringue pie style lemon filling – that you will bake straight on top of the shortbread. It can end up making the shortbread look under baked, but it’s not – it’s just soaked up the delicious lemon goodness.

I like to use the lemon zest and lemon juice from the lemons for the most flavour – but you can leave the lemon zest out if you want. Bottled lemon juice works fine too! There is definitely nothing wrong with buying bottled lemon juice in my books.

Make sure to zest your lemons first, and then juice them – the amount of lemons may vary because of the sizing – but it’s about 5 lemons you use. I grate my lemon zest on the fine one so the pieces aren’t too large!

I add in my sugar and plain flour to a bowl and whisk until combined. Then, I add in the lemon juice, zest and eggs mix until smooth. It really doesn’t take long at all which is why it’s so good!

Once the shortbread has baked, take it out, pour the lemon mixture straight on – and put back into the oven. It really is that simple! I like to call this five ingredients as you have the sugar, butter, flour, eggs and lemon. You could argue the zest and juice is two, but as it’s from one lemon…

For an optional end, you can dust the top with icing sugar – but it’s not essential. I just think it looks pretty!! I hope you love these delicious Lemon Bars as much as I do! Feel free to try this with other citrus fruits too – like lemon and orange! x

Zesty Lemon Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center of oven. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

To make crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt process to combine. Add butter to processor and process until mixture is pale yellow and resembles a coarse meal, about 10 seconds. If you don't have a food processor, whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and work into flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingers.

Pour crust mixture into prepared baking dish, pressing down with your fingers to create a 1/4-inch-thick layer along the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides, pressing firmly at the edges to seal. Transfer pan to freezer and freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake, rotating pan once during baking, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping: In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and flour stir in lemon juice, milk, and salt until well combined.

Remove baking pan from oven. Stir topping and pour into warm crust. Return pan to oven and continue baking until topping is just set but not browned, about 20 minutes.

Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 20 squares. Serve immediately or wrap each bar tightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

We made the Reddit-famous lemon bars — and completely understand the hype

When Redditor Megan Hood (u/justhood) shared her Grandma Caroline's lemon bar recipe in the r/Old_Recipes subreddit last year, she had no idea the it would develop a cult following of thousands.

Hood, who lives in Illinois, says it's a mystery where Grandma Caroline, who has since passed away, got the wildly popular recipe.

"I'm betting that like a lot of baking housewives of her time, it was on the side of a package or given by a friend," Hood told TODAY Food. "The lemon squares were her no-fuss treat … she used a very specific deep aluminum pan that my sister has since inherited, and always brought the powdered sugar in an old-fashioned sifter to dust on just before serving."

Hood says she shared the recipe in r/Old_Recipes after following the subreddit for a while, but had no idea it would become a viral hit within the group. Since posting a photo of the typed recipe, a separate subreddit, r/JustHoodsLemonBars, was then established, where more than 12,000 members share photos of their lemon bar creations.

The bars have been tweaked by some fans, with strawberries pressed into the surface or orange zest added to the lemon filling. But Hood says Grandma Caroline was a purist when it came to her lemon bars.

"Caroline would not have approved of changes people have made," said Hood. "She disapproved whenever her grandkids messed with her recipes.

"But I think she would have been secretly pleased by how much people love them."

How to make a Lemon Bar Shortbread Crust

  1. Prepare a 9吉″ pan. Lightly spray the pan with cooking spray and then cover the pan with parchment paper vertically. Spray the parchment paper and then cover that piece with another piece of parchment paper horizontally.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, powdered sugar and corn starch.
  3. Cube the cold butter and add to bowl.
  4. With your hands or a pastry blender combine the dry ingredients until the dough in crumbly.
  5. Pour the crust mixture into the pan and press down evenly.
  6. Bake crust in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  7. While the crust is in the oven, make the lemon filling.

We Tested 4 Famous Lemon Bar Recipes and Found a Clear Winner

For me, lemon bars are deeply personal. Every time I eat one, I am transported back to my childhood: I’m sitting next to the glittering pool wrapped in a damp towel, hair still wet from my swim. My friend’s mom brings out a dish of lemon bars and tells us to dig in. Six sets of tiny, prune-y hands rush toward the tray, and we ravenously shove the bars into our mouths at warp speed, crumbs flying. One piece is certainly not enough, so I make my way back into the kitchen for one more. This time, I savor the bright lemon custard as it dances its way across my palate. I am satiated and utterly happy.

Back then, I didn’t know much about texture or technique I just knew that I loved this gooey lemon thing with its beguiling lemon custard, and that I would take any chance I got to devour one. So when given the opportunity to make four kinds of lemon bars for Kitchn’s celebrity recipe showdown series, I was more than happy to oblige.

These days, I’m a bit more discerning. When it comes to the perfect lemon bar, I’m looking for three things: A sturdy-yet-tender crust that holds up texturally to the custard, a bright lemony filling that strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet, and a clear distinction between the two layers. It should also be easy to make and not require any fancy ingredients or equipment, so that I don’t have to wait long to dig in.

Lemon Bars Biscuit Base

For me, a key element of these Lemon Bars is the shortbread base. I really love using a classic Scottish shortbread recipe. Because the Scots claim shortbread as theirs, and there’s no denying they know a dang good one!

In my pre-appliance days (read: when I was a poor uni student), I used to make shortbread using my fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients. These days, I’m lazy and use my mini food processor. 4 or 5 quick pulses, and it’s done. How easy is that??

Pour the buttery “sand” into the tin, pat down, bake for 15 minutes. While it’s baking, whisk together the very simple lemon curd (eggs, sugar, lemon and flour), pour it in, bake again. Then cool to let it set.

Lemon Bars

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Copyright 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved

Meyer Lemon Bars

Prepare your favorite lemon bars using Meyer lemons and you may sway those that aren't fans of this typically tart dessert. Meyer lemons are a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange with a smoother, deeper colored skin and a dark yellow pulp. They are also sweeter than regular lemons and are less acidic, so the flavor is less tart than a typical lemon, making these lemon bars a bit more approachable.

In this recipe, a buttery crust is blind-baked and topped with easy, flavorful lemon curd and then baked until set. The cooled bars are then dusted with powdered sugar and cut into squares. Lemon bars are a perfect mix of crisp, sweet crust and smooth, creamy, and lightly tart filling. Plus, they're surprisingly easy to make—just allow enough time to let them cool completely.

You're more likely to find Meyer lemons when they're in season, roughly December through May. Look for them at farmers' markets and supermarkets with an impressive produce section. Make a batch of Meyer lemon bars for your next potluck, shower, or gathering.