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Lemon Bars on a blue dessert stand.

Lemon Bars with Tender Shortbread Crust

  • Author: Cindy Gibbs
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 55
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Bars/Brownies
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


These Lemon Bars have a perfect tender, buttery, yet stable shortbread crust, and the lemon curd filling is perfectly balanced between tangy and sweet.  Not bitter!!  They also have the perfect proportion of crust versus filling.  This is the ultimate perfect lemon bar recipe!


Units Scale


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, about 5 large lemons
  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the long sides of the pan by at least one inch for easy removal of the bars later.
  2. Add butter, flour, cornstarch, salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a large bowl.  Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the ingredients until they are thoroughly combined.
  3. Using your hands, pat the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Once I pat the dough into the bottom of the pan, I use a flat metal spatula to flatten the dough and make it even and smooth.
  4. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the edges of the crust are just slightly browned.
  5. Remove from the oven and let it slightly cool while you prepare the filling.


  1. Zest the lemons, making sure to not zest any of the white pith. Juice enough lemons to have one full cup of juice.
  2. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed for about a minute. Add the flour and mix for about 30 seconds just to incorporate the flour.
  3. Spread the filling over the shortbread crust and spread evenly. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until the center of filling is set.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.
  5. Cut into 2″ x 2″ squares and place in an airtight container with wax paper between layers.
  6. Lemon bars keep better if refrigerated until ready to serve and will stay fresh for up to three days if refrigerated.
  7. Dust with additional powdered sugar just before serving.

Keywords: lemon bars, bars, lemon recipes,