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Classic Lemon Bars Recipe (VIDEO)

Thick and gooey Lemon Bars with shortbread crust and vibrant lemon flavor are the perfect dessert. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to bake homemade lemon bars.

Lemon bars stacked on a blue plate

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Fresh lemons make everything better from Lemon Blueberry Cake to Homemade Lemonade. If you are a fan of lemon, this Lemon Bar Recipe is a must-try!

Lemon Bar Video Tutorial:

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Why You Will Love These Lemon Bars

Take one bite and you will fall in love. The lemon custard filling is brimming with satisfying tangy lemon flavor, and it’s balanced in sweetness.

I learned how to make Lemon Bars years ago from one of Ina Garten’s early cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa Parties (I literally have all 12 of her cookbooks because I admire her very much and her recipes are sound). This is very close to the original recipe except we add vanilla to the crust and you’ll love the tip for making the crust even easier to mold.

lemon bar dusted with powdered sugar

The Best Lemons for Lemon Bars?

I always use regular lemons because they have tons of tang and lemon flavor. Since lemons are the star ingredient, you should avoid using bottled lemon juice or concentrate. Also, use no more than 1 cup of lemon juice or the custard won’t set properly and if your lemons are refrigerated, bring them to room temperature first. P.S. Here’s my favorite citrus squeezer.

Ingredients for making lemon bars with lemons, eggs, flour, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt

Can I use Meyer Lemons: Meyer lemons aren’t quite as tart as regular lemon so you’ll want to reduce the sugar in the filling to about 2 cups.

How to Make Lemon Bars

  1. Crust – Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add vanilla extract, flour and salt and mix until crumbly. Press mixture into a parchment-lined 9×13 casserole dish. Bake at 350˚F for 18-20 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack.
  2. Lemon Filling – In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Add flour and whisk until completely blended.
  3. Add filling and Bake – pour filling over the warm crust and bake at 350˚F for 30-35 minutes until the center is set and no longer wobbly.
  4. Chill– cool at room temperature on a wire rack for at least 1 hour then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  5. Serve – Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar to serve.
Baked lemon bars cut into squares with lemons

Pro Slicing Tip: Just like with a cheesecake, for clean and pretty slices, wipe the knife blade clean with a damp paper towel between slices.

Common Questions:

How to tell when lemon bars are done?

The center of the lemon bars should be fully set. If you give the pan a jolt, it should not wobble in the center.

How long do lemon bars last?

Lemon bars can be kept at room temperature for a few hours but should be refrigerated after that. Refrigerate up to a week or freeze for 3-4 months (see make-ahead instructions below).

Seeing air bubbles and brown spots?

The air bubbles that rise to the surface while baking is normal. These are bubbles from whisking the eggs. Since the bubbles rise above the surface, they tend to brown which causes the brown spots. They are easy to cover up with powdered sugar.

Can I substitute a different citrus juice?

You can substitute with grapefruit, orange juice, or lime to change up the flavor of your bars, but use less sugar when using sweeter citrus.

Can I bake this in a different dish?

A glass or ceramic 9×13 pan works great for lemon bars. Note that a glass pan will bake faster and darker than a metal pan so check for doneness a little earlier.

Up close lemon bar with lemon custard filling

Make-Ahead

  • Refrigerating: If baking the bars ahead, cool to room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
  • To Freeze: Once lemon bars are fully chilled in the refrigerator, cover the baking dish with a couple of layers of plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 months. You can also transfer leftover pieces to a freezer-safe zip bag for easier storage. The lemon custard doesn’t fully solidify in the freezer so there’s no need to thaw. They’re so good right out of the freezer. 
Lemon bars baked and ready for freezing

When life gives you lemons, put them in lemon bars! This recipe will become your go-to for potlucks, parties, and holidays like Easter or Christmas. It’s a keeper of a recipe.

Have Extra Lemons?

If you end up with a bumper crop of lemons or just a big bag from the grocery store, we have you covered. Check out our post on all the genius Ways to use Lemons, from zesting to juicing and freezing then try some of our favorite sweet and savory Lemony recipes.

Classic Lemon Bars Recipe

5 from 12 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Lemon bars stacked

Lemon Bars with intense lemon flavor and a buttery shortbread crust. This recipe is so simple, can be made ahead and even frozen.

Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $10-$14
Keyword: lemon bar recipe, lemon bars
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Calories: 314 kcal
Servings: 20 people

Ingredients

For the Shortbread Crust:

For the Lemon Filling:

  • 7 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest from 4 to 5 lemons
  • 1 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed (from 5 large or 8 medium lemons)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Confectioners sugar to dust

Instructions

  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 13x9x2” baking pan with parchment paper (it should go most of the way up the sides so filling doesn’t spill over.

  2. CRUST: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Continue mixing until mixture is crumbly and no dry flour remains. Spread the dough evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Press it with your fingertips to flatten and even out the dough. Bake crust at 350˚F for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

  3. FILLING: While the crust is baking, zest then squeeze the lemons and prepare your filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until blended. Add Lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk to combine. Add 1 cup flour and whisk until smooth and very well blended and no traces of flour remain.

  4. BAKING: Pour filling over the warm crust and bake in the center of a preheated oven at 350˚F for 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set. As soon as the filling is no longer wobbly in the center, remove from the oven so you don’t over-bake. Cool in the pan at room temperature for at least 1 hour then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

  5. TO SERVE: Pull the parchment paper up slightly to loosen from the pan then transfer to a cutting board and cut into 18-20 squares then dust the tops with powdered sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Classic Lemon Bars Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 314 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 53mg2%
Potassium 59mg2%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 36g40%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 368IU7%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Mary
    April 8, 2021

    Hi Natasha I tried the lemon bars but the crust didn’t go crumbly I’m just wondering how long should I have beaten it maybe I didn’t do it long enough.I have also done the chicken pot pie,egg rolls, cupcakes and also lasagna all were gorgeous.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 8, 2021

      Hi Mary, It’s better to overmix than to undermix with this one – you don’t want to see any of the dry flour in the mixture. Also, make sure not to change any of the proportions of ingredients for the right blend of wet to dry ingredients that form the dough.

      Reply

  • Lise Rozmus
    April 8, 2021

    Hi Natasha
    Love both Ina Garten’s and your recipes… this is a win win !!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 8, 2021

      Aww, that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’m all smiles

      Reply

  • Carmine
    April 8, 2021

    Hi Natasha! Love your recipes and your videos – WAYYY better than FoodNetwork, etc. Made these bars and followed recipe EXACTLY, but when I took them out of the oven and let them cool, the cake was on the TOP and the filling on the BOTTOM! Any ideas as to why this happened? Or do I have a magic oven??
    Either way, they were AWESOME!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 8, 2021

      Hi Carmine, did you pre-bake your crust? If you skip that step, I could see something like that happening.

      Reply

      • Carmine
        April 8, 2021

        Thanks for responding… yes, I did pre-bake the crust… it must be my magic oven, then… we’re going to try again and see if it does it again.. I’ll let you know

        Reply

  • Ali Ann Stramilov
    April 8, 2021

    My kids are licking their plates. Zesty lemony flavor. Best recipe for this that I’ve ever found!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 8, 2021

      That is the best when kids love what we moms make. That’s so great!

      Reply

  • Yuri Clingerman
    April 7, 2021

    These bars are delicious. I must say they are extremely rich and dense. So I think the big piece Natasha had in the video is probably way too filling. Also it took about 45-50 min. for filling to set, much longer than the recipe.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 7, 2021

      Hello Yuri, so nice to hear from you. Thanks for your good comments and feedback on this recipe. Good to know that you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Ida
    April 7, 2021

    Hi,
    Have tried this recipe and they are very tasty. Now I am searching for a great butter cookie recipe, do you have any video. I follow you, your recipes are very easy and because of you, I have become a great cook jaja.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 7, 2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Ida. I do not at this time but thank you for that suggestion; you can find our favorite cookie recipes HERE.

      Reply

  • Lynda
    April 6, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I have just discovered your blog and recipes. Everything looks delicious and I have saved several recipes. Looking forward to trying them and I am signing up for more! My kind of cooking and eating—yum!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 6, 2021

      I’m so glad you discovered our blog! Welcome! I hope you try and love our recipes soon!

      Reply

  • Dawn Ward
    April 6, 2021

    Hi Natasha! Can you tell me what brand of baking pan you used? All mine have rounded off corners.

    Reply

  • Natalya
    April 5, 2021

    Natasha!

    Just wanted to let you know that your tutorial and recipe is truly easy to follow!

    My 15 year old daughter had no trouble making these and they turned out scrumptious 🙂 🙂

    Thanks for a great one!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 6, 2021

      You’re welcome, Natalya. Thank you so much for sharing your great feedback with us!

      Reply

  • Theresa
    April 5, 2021

    Thank you for the lemon recipes I made lemon bars it was a hit

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 5, 2021

      You are very welcome, Theresa. Glad it was a hit!

      Reply

  • yvette
    April 5, 2021

    these are awesome.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 5, 2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Sarah
    April 4, 2021

    I just made these for the first time today. They are perfect. The recipe is so easy. Thank you Natasha.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 5, 2021

      You are very welcome, Sarah. I hope you’ll love every recipe that you will try!

      Reply

  • Anna P
    April 4, 2021

    We made these yesterday and seriously all were devoured! Loved them!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 5, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!

      Reply

  • Faith
    April 4, 2021

    Can I halve the recipe and use 9×9 pan?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 4, 2021

      Hi Faith, that should work well, but they will be a little thinner and spread out so they might bake a little faster.

      Reply

  • Susan
    April 4, 2021

    I made these yesterday and they were a huge hit! Loved the parchment tip–worked perfectly 🙂 I’ve made many, many lemon bars in search of the perfect recipe, and this one made it into my box of favorites (reserved for only the best!).

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 4, 2021

      Love it! So happy to know that you enjoyed this recipe, Susan. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply

  • Susan
    April 4, 2021

    I made these yesterday and they were a huge hit! Loved the parchment tip–worked perfectly 🙂 I’ve made many, many lemon bars in search of the perfect recipe, and this one made it into my box of favorites (reserved for only the best!).

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 4, 2021

      That sounds perfect! Thank you for your wonderful comments and review, Susan.

      Reply

  • Elektra Michael
    April 4, 2021

    Hi Natasha,

    I’m from the UK and love your recipes but we don’t have sticks of butter, our butter comes in 250g blocks. My question is how many grams is a stick of butter.
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 4, 2021

      Hi Elektra, you can convert the ingredients to grams just click Jump to recipe and click Metric to do that. I hope that helps!

      Reply

      • Elektra
        April 5, 2021

        Thank you so much Natasha, can’t wait to make these. X

        Reply

  • Judy Graham
    April 4, 2021

    Which powdered sugar duster do you use? Can’t wait to try!

    Reply

  • Nida Blanco
    April 3, 2021

    Hi,will surely make this lemon bars.My mouth got watery when watching your video.I’m # 1 fan of yours.
    I would also want to know the brand of your refrigerator (in the background)
    Thank you!

    Reply

  • Sylvia Newnam
    April 3, 2021

    I really appreciated your tip on getting parchment paper to easily fit the pan. The lemon bar recipe looks yummy and I am a lemon fanatic. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 4, 2021

      I’m so glad that was helpful! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Michelle R
    April 3, 2021

    Lemon Bar Recipe.
    Made it, delicious! 1st time making this dessert buy not the last.
    My cookie, 1st bake, took 30 in glass baking dish.
    Using parchment paper all the way to the top of the pan was a must great tip.
    Enjoy!
    I took pictures and will try and post on IG. Happy Easter Natasha

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 3, 2021

      I’m so happy you loved it so much you’d make it again! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review.

      Reply

  • Elle
    April 3, 2021

    Yum!! Lemons and their versatility are simply delicious.
    What a fabulous recipe!
    Natasha. We appreciate you!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 3, 2021

      I’m so glad you love the recipe and thank you for your encouraging comment. I really appreciate you!

      Reply

  • Jules
    April 3, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I do not own a stand mixer, so I don’t have that large paddle. would a hand held one electric mixer work ok for this recipe ?

    Reply

  • Charlene
    April 3, 2021

    Looking forward to making this recipe! Would love to know about freezing them.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 3, 2021

      Hi Charlene, please see this section in the recipe: How long do lemon bars last?. It reads, “Lemon bars can be kept at room temperature for a few hours but should be refrigerated after that. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for 3-4 months (see make-ahead instructions below).” I hope this helps.

      Reply

  • Oli
    April 3, 2021

    Delicious lemon bars! Excellent texture and taste.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 3, 2021

      One of my favorite Spring treats! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Karen
    April 3, 2021

    I love Ina Garten and her recipes and have made this recipe. Thanks for the tip with the parchment paper for lining the baking pan. Always love your recipes Natasha, thanks!

    Happy blessed Easter to you and your family!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 3, 2021

      I’m so happy you’re enjoying my recipes, Karen! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Alona
    April 3, 2021

    Hi, Natasha. Can you please add in recipes grammes and oven temperature in ° C, thanks a lot

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 3, 2021

      Hi Alona, since we’re in America, we use Fahrenheit, but I recommend using a conversion chart or a quick online search for the conversation. If you scroll down to our printable recipe card, most of our recipes have a metric conversion option on the printable recipe card. We are currently working on adding metric measurements to all of our recipes, but it is taking some time to add them one at a time. Thank you so much for being patient! In the meantime, check out our post on measuring which should help.

      Reply

  • Bob
    April 2, 2021

    Love your recipes but 3-1/2 cups of sugar????? Trying to kill us Natashia.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 3, 2021

      Hi Bob, divided into 20 servings, it’s not bad for a dessert – everything in moderation. The overall flavor is very well balanced. I don’t like overly sweet desserts either.

      Reply

  • Charlene Read
    April 2, 2021

    Can I use white parchment paper?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 2, 2021

      Hi, yes either one will work. The brown-colored one is just more photogenic for certain recipes but they can be used interchangeably.

      Reply

  • Carol J Peters
    April 2, 2021

    Could you possibly use key lime juice instead of the lemon juice?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 2, 2021

      Hi Carol, yes that would work, please see the common questions section above.

      Reply

  • Eli
    April 2, 2021

    Hi Natasha. Can i replace the lemons with oranges .And from the ingredients should i have to cut down as quantity (ex sugar) or everything stays the same .

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 2, 2021

      Hi Eli, yes that would work, but you would want to cut down the sugar. See the Common questions section above.

      Reply

  • Sara Welch
    April 2, 2021

    Such an amazingly delicious recipe and perfect for spring! Looking forward to enjoying these again for Easter; they do not disappoint!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 2, 2021

      The perfect treat for springtime! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

      • Tish
        April 3, 2021

        Can this be cut in half and bake in an 8×8 glass pyrex dish?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          April 3, 2021

          Hi Tish, yes, you can halve the recipe.

          Reply

  • Irina
    April 2, 2021

    Hi Natasha. Is it possible to make these Keto friendly?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 2, 2021

      Hi Irina, I haven’t tested that to give advice on making these keto lemon bars. If you experiment, please let me know how it goes.

      Reply

  • Natalie
    April 2, 2021

    Lemon bars are always a hit with my family!! They are my favorite lemon dessert. So creamy & delicious!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 2, 2021

      Aren’t they so good and refreshing!! Perfect for a spring time treat!

      Reply

  • Andrea Thueson
    April 2, 2021

    These were a huge hit, the perfect spring dessert!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 2, 2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Joy
    April 2, 2021

    I love watching you and your recipes are so good. Do you have to use 7 eggs? I’m not a fan of eggs is there a partial substitute I could use? I love anything lemon 😋 thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 2, 2021

      Hi Joy, these don’t taste like eggs, but the egg is crucial to forming the custard otherwise it won’t thicken properly or have that silky custard consistency.

      Reply

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