This easy lemon bar recipe calls for extra lemon and all the curd. I love a very curd filled lemon bar. I think the more lemony the bar the better. I like a 2/3 lemon curd to 1/3...or 1/4 shortbread bar base ratio.
Lemon bars are the perfect spring treat. The firm shortbread and soft lemon curd topping…just perfect! I love my lemon bars extra lemony so that’s why I add in zest. But if you’re looking for a subtler flavor, then zest isn’t necessary. If you don’t have a zester, you can also use a fine cheese grater or slice off the skin and cut into very small pieces. Also, this recipe can be made with any citrus…limes or grapefruit would be delicious too! My recipe makes a thicker layer of lemon curd on top, which I love. If your bars get browned on the top or edges, no worries! You will cover with powdered sugar anyways.
I serve them chilled and keep them in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or you can keep or serve them at room temp, but only for about 2-3 days.
I made this recipe for The Little Market. You can go to their website to see the links to these products in the photos.
Tips on Ingredients:
Usually the better the ingredients, the better your food will taste. However, I do like to go over which ingredients that you should have the best quality for and the others are those that I think don’t need to be the highest quality. But again, if you don’t have access to high quality, it will still be delicious! I also let you know if a certain type or style is best.
These are the items that I have notes for, whether it’s to buy the best quality or if there are specific notes about that ingredients.
- Butter: I always suggest using a good quality when it comes to your dairy. This always helps the texture and flavor profile. I personally am a big fan of butter like Kerrygold or Tillamook butter. Unsalted always!
- Flour: this can be a little controversial for SURE, but I am always a believer in a good all-purpose flour. Some just don't hold up the same. You will notice a change in flavor if you're using a good quality...or even just one that hasn't expired/been sitting in an open bag. Always be sure that once you open a bag of flour that you seal it back up thoroughly or that you place it into sealed jars.
- Lemons or citrus: I suggest using regular or Meyer lemons for this recipe. I’ve tested it with both and loved it. However, you could definitely try this with limes, grapefruit, or oranges. I haven’t tested them, but if you want to, go for it!
Best Tips and Knowledge to make the best lemon bars:
These tips are helpful for when you are making the recipe. Outside of the tips for ingredients above, these are tips on how to do something or why what I’ve listed in the recipe is necessary.
- Stand Mixer: I make my dough from scratch and I use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. You could do this with a handheld mixer or even potentially a food processor or blender.
- Bake Time: Now, this is the difference of a very gooey top or set top. You 100% need to be keeping your eyes on the oven to make sure they don’t overcook. But again, if they brown a little, no worries, you can coat in powdered sugar! It may jiggle just the slightest and that’s okay.
- Cooling: You definitely need to cool them outside the fridge first for at least 1 hour. Then move to the fridge for about 1-2 hours to chill. I personally love to keep mine in the fridge so they are nice and cool when I go to eat them! I serve them chilled and keep them in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or you can keep or serve them at room temp, but only for about 2-3 days.
Yields 16 square pieces
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
- 1 tsp lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- lemons for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line the bottom of an 8x8” pan with parchment paper. Make sure the paper hangs over the sides so you can pull up the bars from the pan later, making it easier to cut the bars.
2. In your stand mixer with a paddle attachment mix together the sugar, flour, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Add in the butter and vanilla and mix. It will be thick and crumbly. Press into the pan using a bottom of a measuring cup or flat-bottomed drinking glass. You want this to be packed in tight and even.
3. Prick with fork about 10-15 times across the crust. Bake for 16-18 mins should not be browned yet.
4. Make the filling while the crust bakes. In a large bowl or stand mixer, sift together your flour and sugar together. Then in whisk the eggs, lemon juice and zest, and whisk until smooth.
5. Pour the lemon mixture over warm crust and bake for another 20-22 mins, the middle should no longer jiggle (maybe just the slightest of jiggles).
6. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature, about 1-2 hours.
7. When the bars are cooled, you can move them to the refrigerator another 1-2 hours until chilled.
8. Once they are completely chilled, you will lift from the parchment paper and put bars on a cutting surface. Cut into squares (or rectangles or triangles). Sift powdered sugar on top or even add lemon slices for decoration.