The Classic Lemon Bar

The Classic Lemon Bar

Perfectly tart & sweet. There’s a reason why the classics are classic. Lemon Bars hit the scene in the mid-1960’s and I’ve been making these since the mid-70’s…about 4 decades. What can I say? They’re perfect to bring for a party, or work, or to have sitting out on the kitchen counter for a quick grab & go.  A lovely sweet bite any time of day. 

Lemon bars on a white plate on a white table cloth

The Classic Lemon Bar

The classic lemon bar - an icon of desserts. A lovely sweet bite of bright and zesty lemon filling on top of a flaky buttery crust, and a simple dusting of powdered sugar. Perfection.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Servings 16
Calories 148 kcal



  • 1 cup flour all purpose
  • ½ cup butter unsalted, softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Lemon Layer

  • 2 eggs large
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar white, granulated
  • 2 tbsp flour all purpose
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice fresh squeezed (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest finely grated
  • 2 tsp powdered sugar to dust the top after baked and cooled


  • Heat oven to 350F (175C)
  • Spray or butter an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking dish, then line with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to lift out the lemon bars after baking. (see notes)


  • In a mixing bowl add the flour and soft butter, roughly combine then add the remaining crust ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Press evenly into the bottom of your lined baking pan (if needed, lightly wetting your fingers with water to prevent sticking) then dock holes in the crust with a fork, pricking all over about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake in preheated oven until crust is barely a golden blond color on the edges - about 20 minutes. While baking, prepare the lemon layer.

Lemon Layer

  • In a bowl beat the eggs plus egg yolk and the sugar until smooth, add the flour and whisk again until thoroughly combined.
  • Add remaining ingredients (holding back the 2 tsp of powdered sugar) and whisk to thoroughly combine.
  • Pour the filling over the crust, letting it settle evenly, then bake until there is a thin crispy layer on the surface. The crusty surface may color slightly. At the 15 mark, monitor for color and doneness (the crispy surface) and possibly bake another 5-8 minutes depending on your oven and elevation.
  • Cool completely


  • When completely cooled, remove from pan using the parchment to carefully lift up the block. Using a knife with a long blade, cut into squares. Between each cut, wipe the knife blade off to prevent sticking.
  • Dust with the reserved powdered sugar and serve. (see note)


If you use a 9x9 pan rather than the 8x8, the bars will cook a bit more quickly and will be thinner.
I usually add an additional tbsp of lemon juice and a bit more zest for a brighter lemony taste. With adding this extra liquid, I add 1 more tbsp of flour, as well. 
It's important to completely cool the bars before dusting with the powdered sugar, or the sugar will melt and disappear. 


Calories: 148kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 105mgPotassium: 16mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 208IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipe credit & adapted from Food Wishes.


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