This simple yet classic Lemon Bars recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and tart and the homemade shortbread crust just melts in your mouth.
I’m not a huge fan of really tart lemon desserts so this one is absolutely perfect. So the fact that these bars have a subtle tartness that is not overwhelming is perfect. This Lemonade Cake and this Blueberry Lemon Bread are two other favorite lemony desserts that we love.
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Easy Lemon Squares Recipe
With the presence of warmer weather on its way, I can’t help but embrace all the light, fresh and simple flavor of an easy citrus dessert. That’s why these lemon squares are one of my favorites! If I need a quick and easy dessert to serve a crowd in a pinch, this recipe is definitely my go-to easy recipe.
These homemade lemon bars, aka Lemon Squares, have that famous buttery shortbread crust that consists of just 3 simple ingredients, then they are topped with a luscious slightly tangy lemon filling that has the best flavor. Then it’s sprinkled with a dusting of powder sugar and what really are simple desserts are transformed into beautiful delicious recipe that are ready to be sliced and served.
You can slice them into smaller pieces as part of an assortment of mini desserts on a table when hosting garden parties, brunches, wedding or baby showers. They’re always a hit with lemon lovers and those who just love sweet treats of all kinds!
Why we love this recipe
· Quick and easy and done in 1 hour.
· Not too tart thanks to the subtle lemon flavor which balances the sweetness.
· Can cut any size to as little or big as you’d like which works great for serving crowds or serving your hungry family.
· Freezes well so if you do have leftovers they’ll keep until you’re ready to serve them again.
· Basic ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
· One of the best ways to use up extra lemons.
Sugar: Used in the crust and the filling. Makes for a sweet crust, but nicely balances out the lemon.
Butter: Melted in order to blend well with the ingredients of the crust. I like to use unsalted butter.
Large Eggs: Helps the filling to set, otherwise you’d have a liquid pudding!
Lemon juice and lemon zest: The star of the show! You’ll need just 3 tablespoon for this recipe to give it a citrus burst without overwhelming you. Use fresh lemons squeezed if you can.
All purpose flour: Can also use gluten-free all purpose flour. Used in both the filling and the crust.
Baking soda: Gives the flour a little extra bounce.
Salt: Is meant to bring out all of the flavors of other ingredients and balances out the sweet.
Powdered sugar: An option to finish it off with a little dusting. Adds a little something extra to an already beautiful presentation.
How to Make this Recipe
This recipe requires 4 steps. Mixing and baking the crust and then the filling. That’s it! It’s perfect for beginners and anyone who needs a quick dessert for unexpected guests!
Step 1: In a medium, bowl, blend ingredients for the crust using an electric mixer, (you can also use a food processor)
Step 2: Transfer mixture to a 11×7 baking dish lined with parchment paper or greased with spray oil and press into the bottom of the pan. Then bake until crust is lightly golden brown.
Step 3: While crust bakes, combine ingredients for the lemon filling in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend on high speed. Remove the crust from the oven and spread filling across entire surface of the warm crust.
Step 4: Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and allow cooling in the pan. Slice and serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
1: Add a little vanilla into your shortbread crust. It adds a little extra familiar flavor.
2: Alternative citrus flavors such as lime and orange are a different flavor that would work just as well in this recipe.
Chill before serving. Allow it to set completely before serving, it makes for easy slicing.
Use a sharp knife for clean edges.
You may find using a metal baking tin leaves a bit of a metallic taste when mixing with the lemon. It is recommended that you use a glass pan instead.
Use a square baking pan or a 9 x 13-inch pan if desired.
Freshly squeezed lemon gives a different flavor than lemon juice from a bottle. Avoid the store bought stuff if you can.
It’s definitely not a must, but sifting the flour and sugar together before adding to the mixture is a sure way to avoid flour lumps in your lemon topping.
How to Store?
Keep these bars in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to serve you can do so chilled right from the fridge or bring to room temperature first.
If you’ve got leftovers or you’ve made an extra batch, these lemon squares are very freezer friendly. Once they’re completely cooled, wrap in aluminum foil and place in a plastic sealed bag or airtight container. They will keep fresh for up to 3 months.
How do I know my lemon squares are done?
If you’re unsure whether your squares have baked long enough, carefully give the dish a little shake. If the filling is no longer jiggly, it means it has set and you’re good to take it out.
Classic Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup all purpose flour or gluten free flour if desired
- ½ cup butter 1 stick
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 2 tablespoon all purpose flour or gluten free flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar optional
- Blend ingredients together and press unto an 11 x 7 baking dish
- Bake at 325 F for about 20 minutes or until lightly brown.
- Combine ingredients in a bowl and beat until well blended.
- Spread over the hot baked crust
- Bake at 325 F for 25 minutes.
- Cool in pan.
- Cut into squares.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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