Easy Lemon Bars

Homemade Lemon Bars are a crowd-pleasing dessert and perfect for sharing! This easy lemon bar recipe is bright, tart-sweet and perfectly balanced with a crisp shortbread crust. They’re quick to bake and ready in less than an hour! Makes 18 bars.

Love bar desserts? Be sure to try out Lemon Tea Cakes and Lemon Drop Cookies!

A lemon bar sits on a metal grate with other lemon bars

Today’s the day—it’s Freaky Friday Spring 2021! And I’m thrilled to be sharing a recipe from my friend, Chrissie from Off the Eaten Path.

Fun fact: Chrissie and I met through our mutual friend, Susannah, and hung out at Susannah’s wedding. Once the reception was over, we hiked with friends over to a speakeasy and chatted the entire walk there.

So I’m really excited to be making a recipe from Chrissie’s site today!

Fun fact: I have her cookbook and love it (and shared her Watermelon Frose from it last summer, too!)

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    Chrissie, like me, loves a good cocktail and easy entertaining. So I had quite the decision to make when perusing her site.

    Should I mix up a drink like a Peach Whiskey Smash or a Raspberry Gin Seltzer? Maybe I should make a Bagels and Lox Brunch Board to celebrate the spring? Or maybe make her Pimento Cheese Jalapeno Poppers for funsies?

    Or maybe I should go in a different direction and make dessert?

    I stumbled upon Chrissie’s recipe for Lemon Bars while perusing, and my sweet teeth said this was the recipe.

    We’ve since made it three times. Y’all better believe this recipe will be a mainstay this spring and summer, too.

    Why I love this recipe:

    Homemade lemon bars are an utter delight and are such a Southern treat.

    This lemon bar recipe in particular is perfectly balanced. I mean, how could we not love its crisp, buttery shortbread crust, luscious lemon curd filling and sweet powdered sugar topping?

    These flavors are all the reasons why I love a lemon bar.

    Honestly, this dessert is perfect for spring and summer entertaining. It’s also wonderful just because… because who doesn’t love a lemon bar?

    More easy desserts to make for the springtime: Chex Mix Puppy Chow | Dessert Nachos | No Bake Scotcheroo Cookies | Blueberry Strawberry Pound Cake | Fresh Cherry Bread | Lemon Cooler Cookies

    Does your sweet tooth need a pick-me-up? Head over to my Dessert Recipe Index for inspiration.

    A lemon bar stands on its side next to other lemon bars

    Let me tell you about Chrissie and Off the Eaten Path

    Chrissie and I met online through mutual friends and then eventually met in person. I don’t think it’s an inaccurate description to say we get along like a house on fire. We have a lot of overlapping interests!

    Chrissie lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, though she’s originally from Wisconsin. She’s a public defender. I love hearing about her work, particularly when she shares her perspective about social issues (and justice reform) on Instagram.

    She and her husband, AJ, live with a menagerie of pets and several wild animal friends, including deer and bees. (Just recently, Chrissie shared about bottling honey from their bees—isn’t that cool?!?)

    Chrissie is all about easy entertaining, too. In fact, she wrote a cookbook about it, called Stunning Spreads: Easy Entertaining with Cheese, Charcuterie, Fondue & Other Shared Fare.

    Chrissie started her blog as a way to explore Charlotte. She has written so much about food in the city, including the top 9 wing spots in CLT and 11 of the Best Patios in Charlotte, NC for Outdoor Dining and Drinking. In addition to this, she shares travel advice and guides about exploring North Carolina, too.

    So… What Is Freaky Friday?

    It’s an old-fashioned blog hop.

    A blog hop is a collaboration between bloggers where everyone shares a post on the same day. You also you link to one another in your posts.

    Michaela, from An Affair from the Heart, founded this quarterly collaboration. She secretly assigns everyone another blogger, who we will choose and make a recipe from.

    We make their recipe and photograph it as if it were our own. Then we write a post about it and share our posts on the same Friday. Today is that day!

    We hope that this collaboration helps you discover some amazing new recipes, as well as find new bloggers to follow!

    Here are some recipes I’ve made for previous Freaky Friday exchanges:

    Check out all of our 2021 Freaky Friday Spring Recipe Exchange Recipes:

  • A Dish of Daily Life – Smoky Chicken Street Tacos
  • An Affair from the Heart – Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas with Cilantro Lime Butter
  • An Affair from the Heart – Blueberry Mojitos
  • Aunt Bee’s Recipes – Easy Chile Relleno Casserole
  • The Carefree Kitchen – Glazed Lemon Cookies
  • The Culinary Compass – Easy Candied Pecan Recipe
  • Devour Dinner – Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf
  • The Foodie Affair – Keto Broccoli Salad
  • The Fresh Cooky – Bowtie Pasta Recipe
  • Hostess at Heart – No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake 
  • House of Nash Eats – Roast Beef Sliders
  • Lemon Blossoms – Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars
  • Lemoine Family Kitchen – Lemon Blueberry Bread
  • Life, Love & Good Food – Sandwich Cubano
  • Off the Eaten Path – Grilled Vegan Guacamole
  • Or Whatever You Do – Blackstone Mexican Style Street Corn
  • Take Two Tapas – Pepperoni Pizza Pinwheels
  • Dessert ingredients sit in bowls before mixing together

    What you’ll need to make Easy Lemon Bars

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    In addition to these tools, you’re going to need a few ingredients to make these Easy Lemon Bars, too:

    • All-purpose flour—we use this in both the crust and in the lemon filling. The flour gives the shortbread crust shape, and it also offers up a bit of structure to the lemon filling.
    • Powdered sugar—as a little sweetness for the shortbread crust and to top these beauties!
    • Unsalted butter—to hold our shortbread crust together
    • Eggs—these are integral to the lemon curd. They not only give color and flavor, but also offer structure as the bars bake.
    • Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar. This balances out the tartness.
    • Lemon juice—it’s really important to use freshly squeezed lemon juice here. (The shelf-stable, bottled lemon juice you can find at the store won’t give as much flavor.) Squeeze your own lemons for this or purchase cold press fresh lemon juice from the refrigerated section of the store. It’s a splurge, but it’s a worthwhile one if it makes making this dessert easier.
    • Baking powder—this is our leavener (along with the eggs.) It’ll not only help the lemon bars, causing a little rise, but also lightening up the curd filling.
    • Lemon zest—to punch up that lemon flavor even more!

    Fun variations on this lemon bar recipe:

    You can transform this recipe to incorporate other citruses! Swap the lemon juice and zest for the juice and zest of another citrus fruit.

    Here are a few ideas I think would be delicious:

    • Key Lime Pie Bars or regular ‘ol Lime Bars
    • Orange Bars
    • Grapefruit Bars
    A collage of how to make shortbread crust for easy lemon bars

    How do you make lemon bars from scratch?

    Make the shortbread crust

    Preheat the oven and line a 9”x13” baking dish with parchment paper. You can spritz the pan with nonstick baking spray, too. Set it aside.

    Mix the powdered sugar and flour in a large bowl.

    Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. You can use your hands or a rubber spatula.

    Shape the crust. Use your hands to press the shortbread into the prepared pan. It’ll be a little messy and sticky, so prepare yourself. You can spray your hands with nonstick baking spray to keep them from getting too sticky, if necessary.

    Bake the crust in the preheated oven. We want it to be lightly browned whenever it’s done, so keep an eye on it.

    Once it comes out, let it cool slightly before proceeding.

    A collage of how to make lemon curd filling for the lemon bars

    Make the lemon curd filling and the lemon bars

    In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar and lemon juice together with a hand mixer or a whisk.

    Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture, and stir until combined with a rubber spatula.

    Pour the lemon layer on top of the slightly cooled shortbread crust.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center isn’t jiggly. We want the bars to hold their shape, so keep an eye on them as you bake ‘em. If you leave them in too long, they can overbake, and that’s not a good thing.

    Cool the lemon bars until they are at room temperature, then lift them out of the pan with the parchment paper. Dust with powdered sugar and slice into bars with a sharp knife. 

    A collage of lemon bars before and after baking

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    Lemon Bars are a staple at Southern get-togethers, and you’ll find ‘em at baby showers, bridal showers, etc.

    However, these Easy Lemon Bars are really excellent for any occasion. They’re great for sharing because this dessert bar recipe makes more than a few servings.

    Here are a few ideas to making this lemon dessert for a crowd:

    • Make ‘em a day ahead of time. Once they’ve cooled, slice and store in the fridge. When it’s time to serve, dust with a little extra powdered sugar.
    • If you’re stressing about squeezing lemons (or don’t have the tools), purchase cold pressed lemon juice. It will be in the refrigerated section of the grocery near pre-sliced fruit. It’s a major timesaver.
    • Slice them into bite-sized pieces. A full-sized lemon bar can be messy, so slices the bars into bite-sized pieces to prevent messiness. Not only can guests enjoy one without a mess, but you’ll have more bites for everyone!
    Stacked lemon bars in a metal pan

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What can I make with 10 lemons?

    Lemon Bars are a great recipe if you’ve got a lot of lemons on hand. While you won’t use all of them, you’ll definitely make a dent!

    Should lemon bars be served cold?

    You can serve them slightly warm and gooey or cold or room temperature. I’m a fan of the cooler variety of lemon bar, but you do you.

    Can you overcook lemon bars?

    Yes, you can. I accidentally overbaked my first batch and the top browned. Oops. While I was enjoyed their taste, they weren’t nearly as photogenic.

    How many cups is 2 lemons juiced?

    You get about 3 tablespoons of juice per lemon, on average. So two lemons would yield about 6 tablespoons of lemon juice, which is a little more than 1/3 cup.

    How do you cut lemon bars cleanly?

    Use a very sharp knife and clean it between cuts with a damp paper towel (or a damp tea towel.) 

     Five lemon bars sit on a metal cooling rack next to a tray of bars

    Quick tips and tricks to the best lemon bars:

    • Juice your own lemons! This fresh juice will make a huge difference in the flavor. You can also splurge on the cold pressed fresh lemon juice at the store.
    • Use room temperature lemons. Did you know that you get more juice from a room temperature lemon? If you keep lemons in the fridge, let them come to room temperature. You can also warm them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
    • Store the lemon bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
    • Freeze lemon bars on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to a storage baggie when frozen solid. This will take 4-6 hours. Keep frozen for 1-2 months, then let thaw in the refrigerator before enjoying.
    A lemon bar sits on a metal grate with other lemon bars

    Easy Lemon Bars

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Homemade Lemon Bars are a crowd-pleasing dessert and perfect for sharing! This easy lemon bar recipe is bright, tart-sweet and perfectly balanced with a crisp shortbread crust. They’re a quick recipe to bake, too, and are ready in less than an hour!
    4.86 from 14 votes
    Servings 18 bars
    Calories 262 kcal
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Total Time 55 minutes



    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup powdered sugar
    • 1 cup unsalted butter melted

    Lemon Curd Filling

    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice from 3-4 lemons
    • ¼ all-purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon lemon zest from 1 lemon

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


    • Make the shortbread crust
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9”x13” baking dish with parchment paper, and spray with nonstick baking spray. Set it aside.
    • Measure the flour and sugar into a large bowl.
    • Pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. You can use your hands or a rubber spatula.
    • Press the shortbread crust into your prepared baking dish, then transfer to the preheated oven.
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
    • Let cool slightly while you make the lemon curd filling.
    • Make the lemon curd filling
    • In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and lemon juice with a hand mixer or a whisk.
    • Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture, and stir until combined.
    • Pour this mixture over the slightly cooled shortbread crust.
    • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center isn’t jiggly.
    • Let the lemon bars cool until they are almost at room temperature, then lift them out of the pan with the parchment paper.
    • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and slice into bars with a sharp knife.
    • Enjoy immediately.


    This recipe first appeared on Off the Eaten Path.
    How to store: Store Lemon Bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
    How to freeze: Place baked, sliced lemon bars on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, and freeze for 4-6 hours. Transfer to a storage baggie. They’ll keep for 1-2 months. Let them thaw in the fridge before enjoying.


    Serving: 1barCalories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 33mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25g
    Keyword baking recipe, bar dessert, dessert, lemon bar, lemon dessert
    Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    1. Lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts and I love being able to make them at home!

    2. I love that you picked this recipe Erin because I am so not a baker but I love making these at home…lemon flavored anything is my jam! What a wonderful post and your tips and tricks are spot on (ovens can be so finicky so sometimes this recipe can be a total fail, after we moved I had to change the cooking time because our oven was so different). Thank you again for your kind words my friend!

      1. I chuckled about this as I made this recipe a few times, Chrissie, because I remember you mentioning that you’re not much of a baker. 😉 Like you, lemon-flavored anything is my jam, and I just couldn’t NOT make these beauties for this spring blog hop. Thank YOU for the great recipe and for the sweet words! I’m so happy to know you!

      1. Thanks so much, Sheila! They are totally luscious. And yes–check out Chrissie’s cookbook. It is SO GOOD and inspiring.

    3. Lemon bar perfection! These have the perfect balance of filling to crust ratio, which I have been having trouble achieving with lemon bars! So delicious!

      1. Thanks, Amy! The balance is so important for a lemon bar, and I’m so pleased these ones turned out like they did. 🙂 I hope you can bake them sometime soon!

    4. I love shortbread and I love lemony desserts. I think I need to make these bars asap! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

      1. I love that you make these in the dead of winter to brighten your days. The shortbread crust comes in clutch for these, and it just pairs so nicely with that tart lemon!

    5. Lemon is my absolutely favorite and my mom made these often growing up, a must make this week, they taste like springtime in cookie form!

      1. Lemon desserts are just the best! I love that your mom made these when you were growing up. I agree that they taste like springtime in cookie form!

    6. Making them this week for my MIL birthday! I just love all your recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    7. Just the right amount of sweet and tart. These are the perfect dessert for a bridal shower and yes, to the small bitesize pieces.

    8. What a lovely post, Erin. Thank you for introducing me to Chrissie. I poured myself some coffee and just checked out her site. Keeping these lemon bars bookmarked for a bridal shower for my daughter.

    9. Lemon Bars are addicting! I always want one more. Your recipe is perfect with a great balance of crust to bar and the right amount of sweet to tart. Yum!

    10. Lemon Bars are addicting! I always want one more. Your recipe is perfect with a great balance of crust to bar and the right amount of sweet to tart. Yum!

    11. This is one of my absolute favorite desserts. So lemony and delicious. I will be making it again for sure!

    12. We absolutely loved these bars! Lemon is one of our favorites and the tart lemon was a great contrast with their sweetness.

    13. Hands down one of my FAVORITE desserts on earth!! I cannot be trusted around anything lemon in general, and these beautiful bars wouldn’t stand a chance around me! LOL Thanks for always sharing so many amazing tips with your recipes, Erin!

    14. Lemon desserts are one of my favorites…I always have a hard time resisting them! Can’t wait to try these!

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