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classic lemon bars
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4.33 from 40 votes

Classic Lemon Bars

"Creamy, sweet & tart lemon filling on top of a lemon shortbread cookie crust. Garnished with powdered sugar and lemon zest! A pure classic!"
Course bars, cookies, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, southern
Keyword bars, brownie cookies, cookie crust, lemon
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 44 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 4 minutes
Servings 16 bars



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened (do not melt)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour


  • powdered sugar
  • lemon zest


  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • Line a glass 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper (leaving enough overhang to be able to lift the bars out of the pan). Set aside.
  • To make the crust, in a bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar until creamy and combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest.
  • Stir in the flour and salt, stirring until the mixture turns into a dough.
  • Gather dough into a ball.
  • Press the dough evenly and firmly into the prepared pan. (see note)
  • Bake for 18 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and prepare the filling.
  • To prepare the filling combine the egg and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Whisk in lemon juice, zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk in flour until flour is dissolved.
  • Pour filling into prepare pie crust.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until middle is set and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Once cool, refrigerate for about 1 hour (optional but creates an amazing firm texture)
  • When ready to cut, lift bars from pan with parchment paper. (remove parchment before cutting)
  • Cut bar in half and then fourths. Cut each fourths into fourths.
  • Using a sifter, dust bars with powdered sugar and garnish with lemon zest.
  • Serve cold or room temperature.


Be sure to really press the corners and sides of the crust tightly against  the parchment paper. This will prevent the filling from running underneath. Also do not pull the parchment away from the sides of the bars until they are cooked and set.
Like more lemon filling? Double the filling recipe! (Be be warned, a little goes a long way! I prefer an even crust to filling ratio so I never double)