Lemon Bars Recipe

Indulging in a sweet treat is one of life's simple pleasures. This luscious lemon bars recipe will certainly tickle your taste buds with its sweet, tangy, and slightly tart flavors. This dessert is perfect for any occasion, whether it's a relaxed afternoon tea or a celebratory gathering. The crumbly, buttery crust paired with the rich, citrusy filling makes for an irresistible combination.

Lemon Bars Recipe

The ingredients for this recipe are mostly pantry staples, such as butter, sugar, and flour. However, a few might require a trip to the store. Firstly, superfine sugar, known for its fine texture and quick dissolving nature, will provide the filling with a smooth consistency. Secondly, unsweetened apple sauce is included to add moisture to the crust without extra fat. Lastly, fresh lemons would be ideal for the required lemon zest and juice, which gives these bars their distinctive flavor.

Ingredients for Luscious Lemon Bars

Butter: This gives the crust its rich and crumbly texture.

Unsweetened apple sauce: This adds moisture to the crust without extra fat.

Sugar: Used in both crust and filling, it adds sweetness to the recipe.

Flour: This is the main structural ingredient of the crust.

Cornstarch: It gives the crust a tender texture.

Lemon zest: This provides a concentrated lemon flavor.

Eggs: These help to set the filling.

Superfine sugar: This gives the filling a smooth consistency.

Lemon juice: This gives the filling its tangy flavor.

Powdered sugar: This is used for dusting the finished bars.

One reader, Ken Murillo says:

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The luscious lemon bars recipe is a game-changer! The buttery crust perfectly complements the tangy, zesty filling. It's a burst of sunshine in every bite. The balance of sweet and tart is just divine. I can't get enough of these heavenly treats!

Ken Murillo

Techniques Required for Making Luscious Lemon Bars

How to prepare the crust: Combine the butter, apple sauce, powdered sugar, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and lemon zest until sandy in consistency. Press the mixture into a lined pan and bake until firm and slightly golden.

How to make the filling: Whisk together the eggs, superfine sugar, lemon juice, and all-purpose flour until well combined. Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake until just set.

How to dust with powdered sugar: Once the lemon bars have cooled and been refrigerated, dust the top with powdered sugar using a fine-mesh sieve or sifter.

How To Make Lemon Bars

If sunshine comes in bar forms, it would be lemon bars. Their gooey, custard-like lemon curd on soft, buttery shortbread crust will brighten your day.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes



For The Crust:

  • 4tbsplight butteror reduced fat, room temperature
  • 2tbspunsweetened apple sauce
  • ¼cuppowdered sugaror powdered sweetener
  • 1cupall-purpose flourplain flour
  • 2tbspcornstarchcorn flour
  • 1tbsplemon zest

For The Filling:

  • 3eggsextra large
  • 1cupsuperfine sugaror caster, or powdered sweetener
  • cuplemon juicefresh squeezed, from 2-3 lemons
  • 2tbspall-purpose flour

For The Topping:

  • 3tbsppowdered sugaror powdered sweetener


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine together the butter, apple sauce, sugar (or sweetener), flour and cornstarch. Using a fork or your hands, blend ingredients together until sandy in consistency.

  3. Pour into lined pan and press down evenly to form a base. Bake for 20 minutes, or until firm and slightly golden.

  4. While the base is baking, whisk the filling ingredients until well combined. As soon as the base comes out of the oven, give the filling one more whisk and pour the filling over the base.

  5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until just set.

  6. Allow to cool for an hour before refrigerating for about 2 hours. Dust with confectioners, powdered, or icing sugar (or powdered sweetener).

  7. Cut into 20 squares and serve.


  • Calories: 101.17kcal
  • Fat: 2.24g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.18g
  • Trans Fat: 0.00g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.69g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.21g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.93g
  • Fiber: 0.26g
  • Sugar: 12.52g
  • Protein: 1.65g
  • Cholesterol: 26.96mg
  • Sodium: 10.62mg
  • Calcium: 6.86mg
  • Potassium: 24.48mg
  • Iron: 0.49mg
  • Vitamin A: 23.36µg
  • Vitamin C: 2.28mg

Essential Technique Tip for Perfect Lemon Bars

When zesting the lemon for this recipe, make sure to only grate the outermost, yellow layer of the peel. The white pith underneath is bitter and can negatively affect the flavor of your lemon bars. Also, to get the most juice out of your lemon, roll it on the counter before cutting and squeezing. This breaks down some of the fibers inside the fruit, making it easier to extract the juice.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Lemon Bars

Prep ahead: Prepare the crust and filling the night before and refrigerate separately. This will save time on the day of baking.

Use a food processor: Use a food processor to quickly combine the crust ingredients, saving time and effort compared to mixing by hand.

Room temperature eggs: Allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using them in the filling. This will help them incorporate more easily and save time during mixing.

Chill the crust: While the crust is baking, place the filling ingredients in the refrigerator to keep them cold and ready for use.

Sharp knife: Use a sharp knife to cut the lemon bars into clean, neat squares, saving time and ensuring a professional presentation.

Bake multiple batches: If making multiple batches, bake them simultaneously to save time and energy.

Substitute Ingredients For Lemon Bars Recipe

  • light butter – Substitute with coconut oil: Coconut oil can provide a similar richness and flavor to the crust while also adding a hint of coconut flavor.

  • unsweetened apple sauce – Substitute with mashed banana: Mashed banana can provide natural sweetness and moisture to the crust, similar to unsweetened applesauce.

  • powdered sugar – Substitute with granulated sugar: Granulated sugar can be used as a substitute for powdered sugar in the crust, although the texture may be slightly different.

  • all-purpose flour – Substitute with whole wheat flour: Whole wheat flour can be used as a healthier alternative to all-purpose flour, adding a nutty flavor and extra nutrients to the crust.

  • cornstarch – Substitute with arrowroot powder: Arrowroot powder can be used as a substitute for cornstarch to help thicken the crust, providing a similar texture and consistency.

  • lemon zest – Substitute with orange zest: Orange zest can be used as a substitute for lemon zest, providing a similar citrusy flavor and aroma to the crust.

  • eggs – Substitute with flax eggs: Flax eggs can be used as a vegan alternative to eggs in the filling, providing binding properties and a similar texture.

  • superfine sugar – Substitute with granulated sugar: Granulated sugar can be used as a substitute for superfine sugar in the filling, although the texture of the filling may be slightly different.

  • lemon juice – Substitute with lime juice: Lime juice can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in the filling, providing a similar tangy and citrusy flavor.

  • powdered sugar – Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar can be used as a substitute for powdered sugar in the topping, providing a natural sweetness and a hint of caramel flavor.

Presenting Luscious Lemon Bars for Maximum Appeal

  1. Elevate the lemon bars: Arrange the lemon bars on a pristine white plate, ensuring they are evenly spaced and presented with precision.
  2. Garnish with fresh berries: Place a few vibrant raspberries and blueberries on the plate to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
  3. Dust with powdered sugar: Lightly dust the lemon bars with a fine, even layer of powdered sugar using a fine-mesh sieve for a touch of elegance.
  4. Add a citrus twist: Garnish the plate with delicate curls of lemon zest to enhance the citrus aroma and add a visually appealing element.
  5. Drizzle with lemon coulis: Create a beautiful design on the plate using a tangy lemon coulis to add a burst of flavor and artistic flair.
  6. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream: Place a small quenelle of freshly whipped cream on the plate to complement the tangy lemon flavor with a touch of richness.

Essential Tools for Making Lemon Bars

  • Mixing bowls: Essential for combining ingredients and mixing batters or doughs.

  • Whisk: Used for blending, whipping, and incorporating air into ingredients.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: For accurately measuring dry and liquid ingredients.

  • Zester or grater: To extract the flavorful zest from lemons.

  • 8×8-inch baking pan: For baking the lemon bars.

  • Parchment paper: Used to line the baking pan to prevent sticking.

  • Fork: For blending the crust ingredients together until sandy in consistency.

  • Spatula: To evenly press the crust into the baking pan.

  • Citrus juicer: For extracting fresh lemon juice.

  • Oven: To bake the lemon bars.

  • Refrigerator: For chilling the lemon bars before serving.

Storing and Freezing Luscious Lemon Bars

  • Once the lemon bars have cooled completely, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The flavors will intensify and the bars will become even more delightful over time.

  • If you want to freeze the lemon bars, cut them into squares and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 2 hours, or until solid. Transfer the frozen bars to an airtight container or freezer bag, separating each layer with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Freeze for up to 3 months.

  • To thaw the frozen lemon bars, remove them from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

  • For optimal texture and flavor, it's best to consume the lemon bars within a month of freezing. However, they will still be safe to eat beyond that time frame, although the quality may slightly diminish.

  • If you notice any condensation forming on the surface of the lemon bars after thawing, gently blot it away with a paper towel before dusting with powdered sugar. This will help maintain their appealing appearance and prevent sogginess.

How To Reheat Leftover Lemon Bars

Here are the best methods for reheating leftover luscious lemon bars:

  • Oven method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the lemon bars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the bars loosely with aluminum foil to prevent them from browning too much. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. The foil will help keep the lemon filling moist and prevent it from drying out.

  • Microwave method: Place a single lemon bar on a microwave-safe plate. Heat on high power for 15-20 seconds, or until just warm. Be careful not to overheat, as the filling can become very hot and may burn your mouth. If you're reheating multiple bars, heat them individually to ensure even warming.

  • Air fryer method: Preheat your air fryer to 320°F (160°C). Place the lemon bars in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they don't overlap. Heat for 3-4 minutes, or until warmed through. This method will help crisp up the crust while keeping the filling soft and gooey.

  • Toaster oven method: Preheat your toaster oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the lemon bars on a small baking sheet or toaster oven tray. Heat for 5-7 minutes, or until warmed through. Keep an eye on them to prevent the crust from burning.

  • Room temperature: If you prefer a softer texture, you can also let the lemon bars come to room temperature naturally. This method works well if you have time and don't need them to be warm. Simply remove the bars from the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Random Fact about Luscious Lemon Bars

The luscious lemon bars recipe is a delightful treat that combines the zesty flavor of lemons with a buttery crust and a sweet, tangy filling. These bars are perfect for any occasion, from picnics to potlucks, and are sure to be a hit with anyone who loves citrus desserts. With a simple yet delicious combination of ingredients, these luscious lemon bars are a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Is Making Lemon Bars at Home Cost-Effective?

This luscious lemon bars recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients are commonly found in most kitchens, and the recipe yields a generous amount of delicious lemon bars. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $10-15, making it an affordable dessert option. The luscious lemon bars receive a solid 9/10 rating for their delightful flavor and budget-friendly nature.

Are Luscious Lemon Bars Healthy or Unhealthy?

The luscious lemon bars recipe is a healthier twist on the classic dessert. By using light butter, unsweetened applesauce, and reducing the amount of sugar, the recipe aims to cut down on calories and fat. The use of superfine sugar in the filling helps to keep the bars sweet without adding excessive amounts of sugar. Additionally, the recipe incorporates lemon zest and juice, which provide a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants.

However, it's important to note that while this recipe is a healthier version, it still contains a significant amount of sugar and flour, which can contribute to high calorie and carbohydrate intake. The bars are also relatively low in fiber and protein, which are essential for a balanced diet.

To further improve the nutritional value of these lemon bars, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace a portion of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or almond flour to increase the fiber content and add a nutty flavor
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in the filling by using a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup, or experiment with sugar substitutes
  • Incorporate a protein-rich ingredient, such as Greek yogurt, into the filling to make the bars more satiating
  • Top the bars with fresh berries or a sprinkle of chopped nuts to add more nutrients and texture

By making these adjustments, you can create a more balanced and nutritious treat that still satisfies your sweet tooth. Remember, moderation is key when enjoying desserts, even healthier versions like these lemon bars.

Editor's Opinion on This Luscious Lemon Bars Recipe

The luscious lemon bars recipe is a delightful combination of zesty lemon flavor and a buttery, crumbly crust. The use of applesauce as a healthier alternative in the crust adds a subtle sweetness and moistness, while the tangy lemon filling provides a refreshing and vibrant taste. The texture is perfectly balanced, with a firm yet tender base and a smooth, velvety filling. The dusting of powdered sugar on top adds a touch of elegance and sweetness. Overall, this recipe offers a delightful treat that is sure to please any lemon dessert lover.

Enhance Your Lemon Bars Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Asparagus: Try serving the luscious lemon bars with a side of roasted garlic parmesan asparagus for a savory and flavorful contrast.
Honey Glazed Carrots: For a touch of sweetness, pair the luscious lemon bars with honey glazed carrots to balance out the tartness of the dessert.
Grilled Pineapple Skewers: Add a tropical twist to your dessert spread by serving grilled pineapple skewers alongside the luscious lemon bars for a refreshing and juicy accompaniment.

Delightful Alternative Recipes Similar to Lemon Bars

Savory Stuffed Bell Peppers: These savory stuffed bell peppers are filled with a delicious mixture of ground turkey, quinoa, and a variety of vegetables, making for a healthy and satisfying meal.
Mouthwatering Beef Stir Fry: This mouthwatering beef stir fry is packed with tender strips of beef, colorful vegetables, and a flavorful sauce that will have your taste buds dancing with delight.
Decadent Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in the decadent goodness of this chocolate lava cake, with its rich and gooey center that oozes out with every heavenly bite.

Appetizers and Main Courses That Perfectly Accompany Luscious Lemon Bars

Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Impress your guests with a creamy and flavorful spinach and artichoke dip. The combination of melted cheese, tender spinach, and tangy artichokes will have everyone coming back for more. Serve with crispy tortilla chips or toasted bread for a delicious appetizer.
Stuffed Mushrooms: Elevate your appetizer game with these delectable stuffed mushrooms. Filled with a savory mixture of breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs, these bite-sized treats are perfect for any gathering. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms pairs perfectly with the rich filling, making them a crowd-pleasing option for any occasion.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Indulge in a creamy and savory pasta dish that combines tender chicken with a rich and velvety Alfredo sauce. This classic Italian favorite is sure to satisfy your cravings for a comforting and satisfying meal.
Beef Stir Fry: Tantalize your taste buds with a flavorful and colorful stir-fry featuring tender strips of beef and a vibrant assortment of crisp vegetables. This quick and easy dish is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

Why trust this Lemon Bars Recipe:

This luscious lemon bars recipe is a delightful treat that will tantalize your taste buds with its zesty lemon flavor and buttery crust. The use of freshly squeezed lemon juice ensures a burst of citrus in every bite, while the addition of apple sauce in the crust provides a healthier twist. The careful balance of sweetness and tartness in the filling creates a harmonious blend of flavors. With a golden, crumbly base and a dusting of powdered sugar on top, these lemon bars are a perfect combination of sweet and tangy that will surely win the trust of any discerning dessert enthusiast.

Share your thoughts on this delicious Lemon Bars Recipe in the Baking and Desserts forum section and let us know if you have any tips or variations to share!
Can I use regular butter instead of light butter for the crust?
Yes, you can use regular butter instead of light butter for the crust. The light butter is used to reduce the overall fat content, but regular butter will work just as well.
Can I substitute the unsweetened applesauce with something else?
Yes, you can substitute the unsweetened applesauce with an equal amount of melted coconut oil or vegetable oil for a similar texture in the crust.
Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice for the filling?
Yes, you can use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice for the filling. However, fresh lemon juice will provide a more vibrant and fresh flavor to the lemon bars.
Can I make these lemon bars ahead of time?
Yes, you can make these lemon bars ahead of time. They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Can I freeze the lemon bars?
Yes, you can freeze the lemon bars. Once they are completely cooled, you can wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

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