How To Make Lemon Bars


I like lemon bars. Always have. But they’re usually made with Jello, or some other pre-packaged stuff that I really don’t want to pay attention to or I won’t want to eat it.

But these … oh my goodness. All good ingredients, and the most perfect flavor ever. Not too tart, not cloyingly sweet. Just, well … perfect.


1 fruit bar crust
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons lemon rind (about 1 lemon)


This one’s easy. Combine the sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs and flour.

Squeeze the lemon, strain out the seeds, and measure out what you need.

I usually don’t recommend new hardware unless it really makes a difference, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of recipes that use citrus rind, get yourself a good microplane. I don’t have one, and this took forever to get the two teaspoons of rind I needed.

Make sure you don’t get down into the white pulp. It’s very bitter.

UPDATE: Down in the comments, Stephanie pointed out something blindingly obvious … if I had bothered to think about what I was doing. Get the rind before squeezing the lemon. Otherwise you’re rubbing a floppy, empty lemon peel against the grater/microplane.

Mix everything until it’s well combined, but don’t beat it. You don’t want to fluff up the eggs. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until it just starts browning on top.

This will puff up while cooking, then deflate while it cools.

When you cut the lemon bars out, keep a towel handy to wipe the knife after every cut. This is very sticky. If you let it build up on the knife you’ll end up just mashing it to bits.

You can dust them with powdered sugar, or just serve plain.

And that’s it.

Oh, be sure to refrigerate any leftovers. And cut them before refrigerating; the crust gets pretty crunchy when it cools.

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars


  • 1 fruit bar crust
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind (about 1 lemon)


Combine all ingredients and mix until combined, but don't beat. You don't want to whip the eggs and make them fluffy.

Pour into a 9x13 dish with a prepared crust in it.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until it just starts browning on top.

Let cool before slicing. And wipe the knife after every slice or it will build up and you'll mash instead of slicing.


  1. onlinepastrychef says:

    Yum and yum. Lots of lemon bars taste like Pledge to me. These look great! And get yourself a Microplane, stat. You will wonder how you ever lived without one.

  2. Really, Drew? Have you made it your mission to see how much weight you can make me gain this summer?! Gahhh….I love lemon.

  3. Oh, I'm sorry. Too many desserts? Shall I return to more rib variations? And maybe that potato salad I just had with the hunks of feta in it? Yes, I think that's just what I'll do.

  4. mmmm – Ribs, potato salad, and lemon bars for dessert. I have no willpower…LOL

    The other day, I was at a barbecue and saw some store bought potato salad and thought "I bet Drew would have a stroke looking at that potato salad….." hee hee….man, store bought potato salad is gross….

  5. Stephanie says:

    Microplanes are fabulous. My best tip for them is to get the zest off the lemon THEN juice them. I did it the other way and boy was it hard.

    Off topic…I don't think my grandmother would have made them, but I made potstickers (Chinese Dumplings) with my 6 year old tonight. He got the cool job of sealing the wrapper around the filling. I got to enjoy watching him make his first meal with out cereal or peanut butter. :)

  6. Stephanie, you know what? That's exactly what I did. I'm going to go update this one to mention that.

  7. Hubby saw that picture and said he'd go get me a lemon tomorrow. LOL Now he's adding a lot more input – actually said we should add some ground red pepper to the potato salad for tomorrow after trying it at a local resturant. You've made him try new things – thank you! They look FANTASTIC – but everything you make does!I've always used a grater but going to find one of those Micoplanes!

  8. Carole, that's awesome. As far as I'm concerned it's not really about the particular recipe. Once you're willing to try something new then there's just so many things out there to choose from.

  9. redchair says:

    Oh yes! Another recipe to print out and put in my 'Drew's Cook Like your Grandma!' folder. I LOVE lemon anything.

    What is a microplane?

    Vikki North

  10. Vikki, I linked the word "microplane" to an example of one on Amazon. It's a food grater, but with much finer holes than what you'd normally use for cheese.

  11. onlinepastrychef says:

    For any die-hard food geeks out there, Microplanes started their lives as woodworking rasps, available at HD or Lowe's or any hardware store. Chefs got ahold of them, and the rest is newly-minted culinary history!

  12. Drew – I have some of these in the oven, and they look amazing. I have a question, though. My cousin and aunt can't eat gluten (or eggs, I think…). Could these translate to gluten-free? They're always looking for good recipes.

  13. Sarah, with only four tablespoons of flour you could probably use rice flour without changing it too much. The eggs would be more of a problem. You could probably get something pretty good, but it would be trial and error.

  14. Thank you. I'll have to let them know. What about the crust?

  15. Ooh, I forgot about the crust. That one I don't know about. Gluten intolerance (celiac) is really hard to deal with. Best I can do is point you to someone who knows gluten free baking really well.

  16. Shabs.. says:

    u have a beautiful blog here…added u to my fave list…:)…yummy….

  17. Anonymous says:

    I make a very yummy gluten free crust for my lemon bars.
    1 cup rice flour
    1/2 cup cornstarch
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    3/4 cup butter.

    For the filling I use 2 tablespoons rice flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

  18. Thanks so much for that recipe! I'll make guesses sometimes based on basic principles, but I always prefer to hear from someone who's actually made it.

  19. Oooh these are so good! I made them today, and my husband (who passionately loathes and despises pretty much anything lemon or lime) not only tried them, but said, "Hmm, they're not bad." You don't know my husband, so maybe you don't know what a huge concession this is…but it is probably the equivalent of you or I saying the same of a plate of dog poop, haha!

    I, however, think they are way better than "not bad." Without question, the best lemon bars I've ever had, beat my mom's hands down! They definitely don't taste like Pledge, haha. I really like that the recipe is so quick and easy; while the crust was baking, I put together the lemon part, and I would have been done with it when I pulled the crust out if grating the zest hadn't taken so long! I'm definitely thinking a microplane will be a good addition to my kitchen. I'm always on the prowl for new toys :)

    Thanks for yet another excellent recipe, Drew…I don't know how I'm ever going to lose any weight with you around, but I'm also not sure I have a problem with that if we can keep eating like this!

  20. Tamara, all I did was tell you how to make them. I didn't tell you how many to eat. So I'm not feeling any guilt for ruining anyone's diet. (I have to tell myself this every time I post a dessert.)

  21. Jeanne Foerch says:

    Drew: I have celiac also so must cook gluten-free. I change any recipe that I want to prepare to make it gluten-free. Thanks for all the delicious recipes you post.
    Love this site.

  22. This is the second receipe ive tried for this lemon bar. I did EXACTLY everything but it didnt turn out right. Some the lemon filling was wet and sticky and some was set like custard. I just cant cook deserts! im such a failure…i hang my head inshame.

  23. Sheryl, did it puff up as you cooked it? What kind of pan did you use? (Metal, glass or stoneware? What size?) Was it lightly browned in the middle when you took it out, or did you go strictly by time? Remember, time is always an estimate.

  24. Drew, love this site! Found it while looking for a lemon bar recipe and made them. Can’t wait to try more of your stuff.
    I used a 9×13 Pyrex dish and found 25 minutes wasn’t enough time. Did I use the correct size, as your notes don’t mention anything. It did puff up and go golden at the edges. I have a thermometer at the back of the oven (gas) so I know it was at 350.
    The middle was similar to someone else’s results: gooey and somewhat custardy. I did use about 1 tsp. more lemon juice since I love the stuff….

    • We used a 9×13, but the time is always an estimate. It could have been colder in the room when you made it (it was July when I posted this recipe). It could have been more humid and the flour absorbed more moisture from the air. Or yes, it could have been the extra lemon juice … though I don’t really think an extra teaspoon would have done it.

      Bottom line is baking times are always an estimate. Hopefully the next time it works out better. (But I’ll bet the edges were still pretty fantastic, weren’t they?)

  25. Hi Drew,
    Thanks for the recipe. I’d really like to try it.
    I’ve got one question, though. Since I’ve never had lemon bars before in my life, I’m not sure what to do with the fruit bar crust. Do I just put the mixed ingredients on top of the fruit bar crust in the baking dish and everything goes into the oven (again)? Or do I just bake the mixed ingredients and afterwards I put the fruit bar crust on it?
    Sorry if it’s a silly question.

    • If I wasn’t clear enough then it’s not a silly question.

      Follow the directions for the fruit bar crust — follow the link in the ingredients for that full recipe. Once that is baked, start following this recipe. You’ll pour the mixed ingredients onto the baked crust and put the whole thing in the oven according to the directions on this page.

  26. I made these for a friend, I used the GF crust that was in the comments. They were AWESOME!

    I made them for a church party, 6 dozen of them, and they were a hit! I was asked for the recipe by 15 people! I did make a few changes, I use a but more lemon, and cooked longer so I changed the recipe to reflect that. I did give you credit for the original recipe along with a link to your site.

  27. i need to make lemon bars they look good

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