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Lemon Bars

I’ve mentioned my Cousin Patty before, that old Texas gal, bless-her-heart. This is her recipe for lemon bars. It’s different than any other recipe I’ve found in that the crust is put together more like a cookie than a pie crust, and the filling has baking powder in it. S’weird, I know.

Lemon Bar Recipe


The end result though is really delicious and my favorite. Of course that could be because I grew up with these and everyone in the family raved about them, but it could also be that they really are the best in all the land.


Update! January, 2013: I just made these again with some Meyer lemons I got from my friend Kristina at GirlGoneGrits and they were (obviously) the most delicious things on the planet. She’s got several recipes using Meyers, those gems of the citrus family, if you’re so lucky to find some.

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Lemon Bars

4.5 from 10 reviews

  • Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • Oil for greasing the pan
  • Crust:
  • 1 cup (1/2 pound) butter, softened
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For serving: powdered sugar (about 1/2 cup) and a sifter

Instructions

  1. Turn oven to 350ΒΊF and grease a 9×13″ pan.
  2. Combine crust ingredients with a stand mixer and paddle attachment, or with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a stiff dough.
  3. Pat out evenly into a greased 9×13 pan.
  4. Bake 20 minutes.
  5. While it’s baking, whisk the eggs in a large bowl.
  6. Add the zest and juice from both lemons.
  7. Add all other ingredients and whisk to mix well.
  8. Pour filling into hot baked crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  9. Bake another 20 minutes.
  10. Cool completely. You can refrigerate these to cool faster.
  11. Cut into 24 small squares and dust with powdered sugar.

 

If you liked this recipe, try my fruit tart recipe!

51 Comments

  1. margaret christine @ notes from maggie's farm on September 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    There is something magical about lemon bars. EVERYone loves lemon bars! Just say the words ‘lemon bars’ and see if people don’t just swooooooon. I’ma hafta try these, Hilah, just because they are your faves. I trust you like that.

    • Hilah on January 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      How did I miss this comment!? I hope you made them. I’m sure you got some Meyer lemons, too. Try it with those. πŸ™‚

      • Elizabeth on March 2, 2013 at 11:06 pm

        Hello Hilah! I was looking for a Lemon Bar recipe this week and found you. This is my 13 year old granddaughter’s favorite thing to eat. I really enjoyed your video and they are in the oven right now! Can’t wait to try them. You do a great job instructing and you have a great sense of humor. Will keep coming back to learn more. Love trying new recipes!! Thank you!

        • Hilah on March 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

          Thanks, Elizabeth! I hope they turned out to her liking! I appreciate your feedback and encouragement. Hope you try some other recipes, too!

  2. Mother Effingby on September 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I wish my husband liked lemons, because I would cook with them more often. You can’t see me crying, can you?

    • Great Stone Face on September 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Make orange bars!

    • Hilah on September 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Boohoo, I am crying with you! One of my BFFs also hates lemon (and lime!) in desserts. No key lime pie, no lemon bars, so sad.
      But yes, like GSF said, how about orange bars or grapefruit even?

      • Great Stone Face on September 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

        You even could get exotic and use pomelos, blood oranges, ugli fruits, honeybells, or tangerines. If he doesn’t like lemons or limes, I’d avoid citrons.

        • Calli on June 14, 2014 at 9:44 pm

          Now I want to make bars in all these flavors! I need to have/be invited to more parties, so I have an excuse. πŸ™‚

          • Maria on January 29, 2016 at 5:00 am

            Or just for fun



  3. Great Stone Face on September 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    These look terrific! With all the fall and winter get-togethers coming up, I expect to make a batch to bring to friends’ houses. We even could stack them on a three-level cookie tray with your Mexican Wedding Cookies and my cocoa version of your cookies and serve them to our euchre group or my wife’s mah jongg group. Thanks for sharing the recipes!

    • Hilah on September 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      That would be a beautiful cookie plate indeed, GSF! Man those chocolate powdered ones look so good. Great idea!

      • Megan on October 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        I made these last week, and they were perfection! I ate the whole pan in a matter of a few days! As always, another excellent recipe from this site!

        • Hilah on October 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

          Hooray! πŸ™‚

  4. Drew M. on September 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Oh, these look so yummy!

    • Hilah on September 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Oh they are, Drew! Have I ever told you how much I love Mandy Patinkin, by the way? πŸ™‚

      • Drew M. on September 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm

        πŸ˜€

  5. Hila fan on September 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    These look super easy to make definitely writing this recipe down and trying it! c:
    -your 13 year old fan <3

    • Hilah on October 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Good! Hope you and your family likes them! Glad to see you young people cooking. πŸ™‚

  6. improvisingfood on September 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    looks so creamy

  7. Julia on September 16, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Love lemons. I have a lemon tree in my backyard with lots of lemons, still green though.

    • Hilah on September 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Lucky, Julia! πŸ™‚ Meyer lemons?

  8. carol on September 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    This is a great dessert after eating the Spatchcock Chicken with salad. I absolutely loved making both recipes. On the lemon bars recipe I made a few changes. I used brown sugar and instead of butter I used organic coconut oil. The combination was amazing. The bottom part tasted like coconut and the top part like lemon.

    • Hilah on September 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you, Carol! That brown sugar idea sounds marvelous! And so does the coconut, actually. πŸ™‚ I really like using coconut oil in baking.
      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed not only the finished products, but also the process of making them. Thanks!

    • travis on September 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

      i tried substituting the butter for the butter 1 for 1 and i knew something was wrong after i mixed in way to runny baked it anyways for laughs it made the house smell good but thats it. what the ratio?

      • Hilah on September 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

        Hi Travis!
        I generally recommend reducing the measure by about 1/4 since coconut oil is 100% fat and butter is only about 80% fat, so 3/4 cup coconut oil instead of 1 cup. Also, was your coconut oil liquid or solid? If it was room temperature and liquid, try it again putting in the fridge first to firm it up a little before mixing.
        Hopefully that helps!

  9. Susanne on October 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I never made lemon bars before but was inspired by this recipe. After a stupid blunder (misread amount of butter as ‘1 lb’…despite thinking, ‘@#$% that’s a lot of butter!’)–which I was able to correct by adding more dry ingredients–they turned out great. I think next up will be the key lime pie which I’ve also never made but love.

    BTW, we also made the Chik-fil-Gay sandwich and Spatchcock Chicken with success.

    Love the site!

    • Hilah on October 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Ha! You truly turned a potential “lemon” into lemonade, Susanne! πŸ˜‰
      I’m really happy you’ve enjoyed all those recipes. Hope you like the key lime pie just as well! Thanks for writing.

  10. Andrew on November 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I tried this recipe, but I’m from Europe, and don’t know how much is a cup πŸ™‚
    Google said 1 cup = 230ml, but the lemon bar became way too sweet. Please tell me Hilah how much is your cup in milliliter.
    Recently made spatchcock duck, it was moist and tasty, awesome recipe.
    Thx, Andrew

    • Hilah on November 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Andrew!
      A US cup is 8 ounces, which is about 230 ml. These are quite sweet, especially compared to many European desserts.
      I’m glad to hear the spatchcock chicken worked out well for you, though!

  11. Midori on December 14, 2012 at 2:09 am

    i had a question what if i did 1 cup of sugar instead of two? or 1cup 1/2 o.O? i hope thats ok ^ ^

  12. Midori on December 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    another question can i use vegan butter? since im lactose intolerant ?

    • Hilah on December 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Yes! Margarine was actually what the original recipe called for!

  13. Annie on March 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Dear Hilah,

    I have never crafted anything of culinary worth until I tried your lemon bar recipe. It has NEVER failed me. Because of you I have one quality dish in my cooking repertoire. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    -Annie

    • Hilah on March 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Thanks, Annie! Great to hear that. πŸ™‚

  14. Carrie on March 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Hey Hilah! Just put mine in the oven, I was wondering if its normal for it to be kind of foamy? My mixture turned out to be thick and bubbly/foamy like…

    • Hilah on March 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Carrie!
      Yes, it’s a little bit foamy from the baking soda. Should bake off and then be kind of creamy like lemon curd. Hope you like em!

  15. meredith on April 14, 2013 at 6:01 am

    hi from luxembourg!
    just made a batch and they are huge hit – thank you so much for sharing your aunt’s recipe.
    quick question – the filling is quite gooey should it be firmer?
    – meredith

    • Hilah on April 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Hi Meredith! So glad you all enjoyed them. Thanks for writing!

  16. Kim in the Kitchen on May 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Hi Hilah, Amazing lemon bars. I am having trouble getting the lemon flavor perfect. Does 1/2 cup of juice sound about right? Thank you for the recipe!

    • Hilah on May 10, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Hi Kim!
      One lemon yields about 2 tablespoons of juice in my experience, so I’d say more like 1/4 cup of juice for the recipe. I find most of the lemon flavor really comes through with the zest! You will get about 2 teaspoons of zest from 2 lemons. Hope that helps!

  17. Paws on July 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Hi.
    Could you tell me is the flour plain or self raising?
    Also another reviewer (Carol) commented that she used coconut oil instead of the butter. I was wondering if you knew the conversion amounts to do this?
    Definitely going to try this recipe πŸ™‚
    Thanks

    • Hilah on July 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Paws!
      It’s plain flour. πŸ™‚
      For coconut oil, start with 3/4 cup, since butter is only 80% fat and coconut is 100% fat. You might need to add a teaspoon or two of water to get the dough to stick together. Hope you enjoy!

  18. SphnxMom on November 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    My husband and I are making these (right now) for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. We live in Dallas and have a Meyer lemon tree. Thank goodness we still have the tree in a container – made it through the freeze this past week by pulling it and our mandarin orange into the garage. Whew!

    Now on to a shot of Tuaca and making the lemon bars for my folks for the holiday. Looking forward to the treats!

    • Hilah on November 27, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      Awesome! You are seriously lucky! Dallas has had crazy weather lately. Sheesh! πŸ˜› I LOVE Meyer lemons in these. They’re gonna be a hit tomorrow.
      Now I’m off for a hot toddy! Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. Rob on December 30, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    These are amazing tasting and even taste good the next day. My family said this is the best dessert I have ever made.

    • Hilah on December 31, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Excellent to hear, Rob!

  20. Anis on August 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Hilah! These are wonderful! The very best lemon bars I’ve ever had! Thank you for the awesome recipe. I halved the recipe but I will never do that again! Why deprive my family from all this deliciousness!! Thanks again!

  21. Jesse on November 22, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Hey, Hilah! Straight up I gotta say…I fucking love these lemon bars. The tastiest lemon bars i’ve ever had by far. I’mma dude trying to get more into baking for all my family members. Alot of them bake and cook when it comes to family gatherings and sometimes I feel a little left out. But now, I can show them what i’m all about with these lemon bars. So, thank you Hilah! They are delish!

    • Hilah on November 23, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Whee! So so happy to hear this, Jesse!

  22. Jennifer Bonilla on January 24, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Giving it a 5 because something tells me this won’t disappoint. I’ve watched a ton of your videos (creepy

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