Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

This Easy Lemon Bars Recipe has the perfect combination of tart and sweet. Made with a vanilla crust and a smooth lemon filling, these are easily the best lemon bars ever!

Collage of Easy Lemon Bars

Easy Homemade Lemon Bars

This recipe has the most wonderful ratio of crust to lemon filling – they compliment each other without overpowering one another. The crust is seriously so good. It has just the right amount of sweetness to offset the tart lemon filling.

I played with the crust recipe until it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. The amount of flour in this recipe will ensure that the crust isn’t too soft or too firm. It has the perfect amount of vanilla extract to give it that sweet flavor. The powdered sugar sprinkled on top of the bars also adds a sweet touch that’s not too much.

I’m so happy with how the filling for these lemon bars came out! It has the best texture and flavor and it won’t crack when you bake it. I decided not to use lemon zest in the final recipe, because it made the filling taste a bit too strong, which threw off the balance of this dessert.

Lemon Bars on a Cake Stand with Sliced Lemons

Recipe Ingredients

I tested every possible combination of lemon bar ingredients, and this is the recipe that came out on top! It’s an easy dessert that uses super simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make the best lemon bars you’ve ever tasted:

For the Crust

  • All-Purpose Flour: Don’t change the amount of flour called for in this recipe – it will give your crust the perfect consistency.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract will give your crust an amazing flavor to compliment the filling.
  • Unsalted Butter

For the Filling

  • Granulated Sugar: Aside from giving your bars a touch of sweetness so they’re not too tart, the sugar will add moisture so the bars won’t crack when you bake them!
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Large Eggs
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Bring on the lemon daydream with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. So good!
  • Salt

A Stack of The Best Lemon BarsLemon Bars Dusted with Powdered Sugar

How to Make Lemon Bars

  1. Prepare Pan for Baking: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper that sticks up above the sides of the pan. This will help you remove the bars later for easy cutting. Set the pan aside.
  2. Make Your Crust: Combine the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter & vanilla extract and stir to combine completely.
  3. Assemble Crust: Crumble and distribute your crust over the bottom of the pan and press it evenly into the bottom.
  4. Bake: Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are just getting lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. Make Your Filling: Combine the sugar and flour in a bowl. Add the eggs, lemon juice & salt and whisk together to combine. Don’t over mix.
  6. Bake & Let Cool: Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until relatively set. Remove from the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes on the counter, then refrigerate until cold and firm.
  7. Assemble Your Dessert: Remove bars from the pan and dust with powdered sugar, then cut into squares and serve!

Tips for the Best Lemon Bars

  • Don’t Reduce the Sugar: I know it may be tempting for those who are trying to cut back on sugar, but sugar not only adds sweetness (which helps reduce how tart the filling could be), but it also adds moisture. That moisture helps to keep these bars from cracking.
  • Use Fresh Lemon Juice: Definitely opt for fresh lemon juice rather than bottled – the flavor is very different, and the fresh lemon juice will make these bars SO much better. Trust me.
  • Don’t Over Mix Your Filling: If you notice some air bubbles or even a little white layer of air bubbles on top of your baked bars, it’s ok. It’s just the air from the filling rising while the bars bake! To help avoid too much of that, just be sure not to over mix your filling.

A Stack of Perfect Lemon Bars

How to Get Lemon Bars Out of the Pan

In order to get your lemon bars out of the pan easily, be sure to use plenty of parchment paper to line the pan. It should cover the entire bottom of the pan as well as the sides, and you should even have the paper sticking up above the sides to make sure nothing sticks to the pan.

This extra bit of parchment paper doubles as a handle to remove the bars with! Simply run a thin, sharp knife along the sides, lift your dessert right out with the parchment paper “handles,” and transfer it to a cutting board.

If your bars have been chilled enough, you should be able to cut into them with no problem. But if you’re having trouble, running your knife under hot water before each cut will make your job even easier!

Easy Lemon Bars Lined Up on a Table

How to Store Lemon Bars

These lemon bars are an amazing make-ahead dessert, because they’ll last for nearly a week if stored properly! Be sure to put them in a covered container in the refrigerator. They’ll stay good for up to 6 days!

More Great Lemon Treats

Lemon Curd
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
Lemon Poppyseed Cake
Lemon Mascarpone Cream Pie

Read Transcript

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A Stack of The Best Lemon Bars

Easy Lemon Bars Recipe

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 20-24
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Easy Lemon Bars Recipe has the perfect combination of tart and sweet. Made with a vanilla crust and a smooth lemon filling, these are easily the best lemon bars ever!



  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp (276g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, melted


  • 2 1/2 cups (518g) granulated sugar* 
  • 1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
  • Pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper that sticks up above the sides of the pan, so that you can remove the bars later for easy cutting. Set pan aside.
  2. To make the crust, combine the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract and stir to combine completely.
  4. Crumble and distribute over the bottom of the pan and press evenly into the bottom so that it’s even.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are just getting lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. To make the filling, combine the sugar and flour. Add the eggs, lemon juice and salt and whisk together to combine. Don’t over mix. 
  7. Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake for 18-22 minutes or until relatively set. Remove from the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes on the counter, then refrigerate until cold and firm.
  8. Remove bars from pan and dust with powdered sugar, then cut into squares. Bars are best when stored well covered, and they’ll last for 5-6 days.


Don’t reduce the sugar. It not only adds sweetness (which helps reduce how tart the filling could be), but it also adds moisture. That moisture helps keep these bars from cracking.

Keywords: easy lemon bars, lemon bars, lemon bars recipe, best lemon bars, recipe for lemon bars, how to make lemon bars, lemon dessert recipe

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Recipe rating

  1. Shannon

    I followed to recipe to a tee, and it came out so weird. 7 eggs, just made it like scrambled eggs on the top while I baked it. I had to scrape off a 1/4” layer of what resembled scrambled eggs on the top and then it left it looking super messy underneath. Was that a typo, or is there legitimately 7 eggs in the filling?

    1. Lindsay

      The eggs are correct and not an unusual amount. I’ve seen anywhere from 4 to 8 eggs used in lemon bars. Sometimes white film does form on top of lemon bars. Try not to over mix everything prior to baking because it forms air bubbles that rise to the top during baking (which I talk about in the post above). I hope that helps!

  2. Reginald Drake

    This was the first time I ever made lemon bars. Recipe was very easy and tasty 😋. All of my friends gave 5 star compliments. What a great experience. 😉

  3. Rebecca H

    One of the best if not best Lemon Bar recipes Ive come across. It is easy to make and my husband who loves anything Lemon was very pleased.

  4. Geannine

    This recipe is Awesome!! I added a drop or two of yellow food coloring to enhance the appearance of lemon color! I left the bars in the oven for an extra five minutes to minutes because the middle was not set. I included pulp in mine. Overall, this was a great recipe!! Can you substitute almond flour and sweetener in the recipe?

  5. Kari

    I made this for my family and coworkers. Let’s just say it didn’t take long before they were completely devoured.

  6. Lindsey

    So I’m not sure what I did wrong here but I followed the instructions/ingredients and the crust came out almost impenetrable. I had to take several hard rounds to it with a pizza cutter and it was difficult to bite into. I only baked it for the initial 15 mins and then 18 with the filling.

    1. Lindsay

      I honestly don’t know. I’d double check your ingredients next time to be sure that everything is measured correctly.

    2. JMac

      I’m wondering if the people having problems with their filling or crust are using granulated sugar made from beets rather than cane? I learned my lessons years ago when following a recipe to the letter and my efforts to melt sugar resulted in little rocks. I’m not going to include a link for obvious reasons but look up this article at sfgate.com – SUGAR, SUGAR / Cane and beet share the same chemistry but act differently in the kitchen

  7. LKF

    Our batch was a huge FLOP! We followed the recipe to the letter. Our batch did not have the nice lemon color as shown in your photos, and the top had such a hard crust the guests had to jab them with forks to cut through them.

  8. May May

    Best lemon bars ever! I’m getting ready to make them for the third time tomorrow! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe! God loves you! John 3:16

  9. Ilona

    It was so good! I followed the recipe exactly, except I added a little bit of lemon zest to the filling. After the baking was done, I tasted a piece and decided not to sprinkle the bars with the sugar powder – that’s how great they turned out! From now on this is my #1 go to dessert. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Joan

    These are the most perfect, delicious lemon bars that I have ever had!
    Thank you for this amazing recipe.

  11. Marlene

    Thank You for the best no fail lemon bar recipe! I have tried many but this is the best. I added the zest of one lemon to the filling as was suggested by one of the reviewers.

  12. Joan Hawley

    Hi Lindsay, I made this yesterday and the bars are delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I have a question. The lemon filling layer isn’t solid. The top half of the filling seems more solid and unified and it pulled away from the bar when I picked up a bar this morning, leaving part of the lemon filling on the shortbread base. I’m wondering if I didn’t bake it long enough or if this is normal. Thanks for your time and help.

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, strange. I think it’s best to pick up the bars from the base/crust since the topping is a little softer.

      1. Joan Hawley

        Lindsay that reply doesn’t address the issue I raised. Let me ask a different way. The lemon portion of the bars in your images look like the same consistency throughout the lemon filling layer. Mine were not consistent, with the top portion of the filling more firm and the lower portion less firm. Did my batch of bars not bake enough or is the consistency I described normal? Thanks again.

    2. Elizabeth Beatty

      The taste us amazing, but the filling did NOT SET even tho I know I followed the recipe exactly and left it on longer a but. I wish I knew why.

  13. Leslie

    These are delicious! The lemon part is very tart, but the crust is so buttery that it balances it nicely! 👌

  14. Anthony Distefano

    Easy and awesome recipe with a professional delicious end result lemon square. Follow the helpful hits. I did and it appears they are wort it.

  15. Anthony Distefano

    This recipe was off the charts easy and produced top shelf lemon bars. Couldn’t cool them fast enough. Thank you

  16. Linda Fox

    Made exactly EXCEPT, added a tbsp of zest from my lemons. Because never waste good lemon zest! Delicious!

  17. Sam

    I am wondering what type of pan should be used since it is not specified other than size (metal vs glass/ceramic) and should the oven just be set to regular temp or on convect?
    I used a glass 9×13 and it definitely was not set in 18 minutes. I had it in for over 30 minutes to get them to be set.

  18. Anastasia

    I’ve made this twice and both times have gotten RAVE reviews. Thank you so much for sharing such a straightforward and delightful recipe. I resisted the temptation to tinker with the ratios (right call) – you’ve nailed the proportions. Agree, i think adding zest would disturb the balance. My most recent batch (made for 2 households separated by COVID precautions) was for Easter so i doubled recipe. Made one batch in 9×13 pan, and was able to stretch the balance into three 8×8 disposable alum pans. If the crust was a bit thin no one seemed to notice. Got credit for baking punching well above my weight class 😘 Thanks again, i’ll subscribe to follow your fantastic recipes.

    1. Lindsay

      They will still be jiggly, but set. You don’t want to under bake the filling and have it still moving around, but you don’t want it to look as set as it’ll be after it cools, because they’ll be over baked and crack. Hopefully that helps!

  19. Savannah j

    My grandma used to make lemon bars all the time but unfortunately died two weeks ago and brought the recipe to her grave. My family baked around 13 different recipes and although these didn’t taste exactly like hers they were definitely the best!

  20. Tiffany

    I made this AWESOME lemon bar recipe for a dinner party last night and it got EXCEPTIONAL reviews from everyone in attendance. Thank you for sharing your baking gift with the world! 

  21. Trish Castle

    This recipe is so easy and is so good that you can’t stop eating them. I’ve made this recipe two days in a row!!! Love it

  22. Angelina Howell

    What is “relatively” set?? That really isn’t clear. And your video doesn’t even show that part! Do you know how frustrating this is? Seriously… I have no idea what texture I’m looking for.

    1. Joslyn

      That was honestly pretty rude but what she meant was almost set so still giggly but not a hard consistency when its cooled down

  23. Bernadette

    Just made these today! They are simply DIVINE <3. I'm amazed at how much lemon is present throughout the dessert with only the juice used, hits you right in the back of the throat haha!

    This was my first time making them, thank you so much for this recipe!

  24. Ebrar Oruc

    I have always struggled with lemon pies, tarts, bars… you name it! These look so great and like the perfect summer dessert! I would really love to succeed with these delicious looking bars! Any tips you have to make them as delectable as they look in the pictures? I would really appreciate that.

    Love all the recipes you provide!!

    Much love!! <3

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad to hear you enjoy everything! There are a few tips within the post. The only other thing I could add would be to not over bake them. I hope you enjoy them!

  25. Suzy-q

    Yum! Refreshing lemon is the perfect finish to any meal. The bars look incredibly moist and mouth-watering. Way to go, Lindsay! Definitely on the list! Thanks!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12