Perfect Lemon Bars

Perfect Lemon Bars will be the best lemon bars that you ever make. The shortbread crust topped with a tart and rich lemon center and finished off with a sprinkling of powder sugar.

Perfect Lemon Bar close up.


The Best Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are a love or hate relationship. You either love them or you don’t. I for one, LOVE lemon bars. Like I am obsessed with them! I am the first to grab a lemon bar at any gathering. They are so dang good with that shortbread crust and that tangy tart lemon center. My hubby, on the other hand, hates lemon bars. So I make them any opportunity that I can to feed a crowd.

You will not find a better lemon bar recipe than this one. I have tried several and these are my requirements. A buttery shortbread crust with enough custardy lemon filling on top. I like the perfect ratio of shortbread with the lemon filling. And these are everything you have ever wanted in a lemon bar! I can even get my lemon hating husband to eat these bars.

Lemon bars cut into squares.


How do you make lemon bars?

You start by making the shortbread crust. Then while the crust is baking you make the lemon filling. You pour the filling over the hot crust and continue to bake until set. Once they are cooled, you sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.

How do you cool lemon bars?

Once you remove the lemon bars from the oven, let cool to room temperature for at least two hours.

Do you put lemon bars in the fridge?

You can store lemon bars tightly covered at room temperature or in the fridge. But the flavor of the bars improves with refrigeration.

Close up of lemon bars.


Picture update 3/18

Perfect Lemon Bars

4.58 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers


Perfectly baked tangy and sweet lemon bars!

Course Dessert


Shortbread Crust:

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour divided

Lemon Filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest from about 2 large lemons
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Additional confectioners' sugar for sprinkling on top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until blended. Slowly beat in 1 1/2 cups flour.
  3. Press into the bottom of a greased 13x9 pan and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
  4. While baking, in a small bowl whisk eggs, sugar, zest, lemon juice, milk and remaining 3 T flour until frothy. Pour over the hot crust.
  5. Turn oven to 325 degrees and bake an additional 18-20 minutes until the top is lightly brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust the top with additional confectioners' sugar. Cut into bars and refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Facts


All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic



More delicious lemon bar recipes:

Ooey Gooey Lemon Coconut Bars 

Lemon Cheesecake Bars 

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars 

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

Read More Posts by Alyssa

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  1. 5 stars
    OMG!!! Just made these and I can not believe how simple and delicious this recipe is. Lemon bars are my favorite dessert and I have never found a simple recipe I could do on my own. Thank you so much for posting this and I look forward to trying some of your other recipes soon!

  2. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude but, you never mentioned how much this recipe yields. Or does that all depend on the person cooking it. I presume it is the later one, but I just want to be sure. . .


  3. 4 stars
    I reduced the sugar to 1.5 cups and added the zest of one lemon. I also poured the lemon / egg / sugar mixture over the crust while it was still hot and reduced the second baking time to 20 minutes. They came out perfect. I’d been looking for a recipe similar to my grandma’s (no cream cheese, baking powder, melted butter) and this was spot on.

  4. I’m just curious but is there a recipe for the lemon bars that just calls for the lemon pudding and pie filling instead of the zest and lemon juice? Thank you

  5. What would the recipe be if you just used the lemon pudding and pie filling? It would take less time and fewer ingredients. What do you think?

  6. 5 stars
    Oh my, wow! These lemon bars were named “Perfect Lemon Bars” for a reason, they have the perfect amount of lemon flavor. I cut them into small squares. They were gone in an instant!!

    1. Yes, these actually freeze really well. Simply layer them using parchment paper and layering them on top of each other in a ziplock or airtight container. If you have extra time I will first freeze them on a sheet pan in one layer and then add them to the storage container when freezing. When ready to serve, place in the refrigerator over night or let thaw at room temperature for a few hours. Hope that helps!

  7. 3 stars
    The shortbread crust is not thick enough ,and unfortunately I missed divided flour and so the three extra tbsp was added to the shortbread mixture making it dry
    It took much energy for poor results

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