Lemon Bars

If I had to choose a handful of recipes that my family, friends, and co-workers associate me with, these snappy Lemon Bars with the perfect shortbread cookie crust would be a top contender. They have been requested over and over again. And they’ve also been a huge bargaining tool for me. It seems like all I have to do is mention “lemon bars”, and people will magically do as I wish. (I’m quite serious about that!)

I’ve gone through a fair amount of recipes for lemon bars in my life. It seemed like they were all just a bit off in some category – some were just plain eggy and didn’t taste like lemon at all, while others were all crust or a sloppy mess when you tried to cut them. I was left disappointed so many times.

Until I came across Paula Deen’s recipe…

Paula got it right. Except that I might like my lemon bars just a tad more tangy tart than the average, so I added a bit more lemon zest. But by the raves I hear when one takes a bite, I’ve come to realize that serious lemon bar lovers crave that extra liveliness just as much as I do.

If you haven’t yet found that perfect lemon bar recipe you’ve been searching for, and if tangy tart makes your mouth water with delight, I promise you…this will end your longing.

Lemon Bars

Yield: 24 large or 48 small bars


for the crust:

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

for the lemon filling:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 4 T. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour

additional powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.

To make the crust, combine the butter, flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix with a large spoon or your fingers until well combined. Shape dough into a ball and then pat evenly into your prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set and just beginning to turn color.

Prepare the lemon filling while the crust is baking. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour mixture over the baked crust and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Although you don’t want to overbake, you don’t want to underbake either, as the lemon filling will not set up properly. My oven bakes a bit on the light side, and I always bake this for 35 minutes. If you find yours not set up enough the first time around, don’t give up on this recipe. Give it another try and increase the baking time. It will work!

Let cool completely, then sift additional powdered sugar over the top. These keep very well on the kitchen counter for a few days, although I do prefer eating them with a slight chill. So I like to store some in the refrigerator and pull them out about 10 minutes before serving. They also freeze well.

I’m linking up with the following:

Cheryl at TidyMom for I’m Lovin’ It (graduation party ideas)
Allison at Alli ‘n Son for Sweet Tooth Friday (Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Bars)
Robyn at Add a Pinch for Mingle Monday (Cooking Conversion Charts)
Rachel at A Southern Fairytale for Mouthwatering Monday (Chocolate Frosting)


43 Responses to “Lemon Bars”

  1. #
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — May 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    My husband would love these. Correction: will love these. Thank you in advance!

    • farmgirl replied on May 13th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      Wonderful, Lindsay – great to hear from you!

  2. #
    Kat — May 13, 2011 at 7:18 am

    When I saw this post title, I raised an eyebrow, because being a Paula Deen Lemon Bar initiate, I was nervous that you would try to hawk a recipe that could never possibly measure up.

    I Give Thanks because after reading, it’s deadly apparent that we are TOTALLY on the same page as far as lemon bars are concerned. Thank you for sharing the idea of adding extra zest – I’m of the school that More is More, so I’ll definitely be adding that to the mix next time!

    • farmgirl replied on May 13th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Hello, Stranger! Your comment made me laugh – glad to know we share the same lemon bar love!

  3. #
    Amber @ FromTheHeartsOf — May 13, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Don’t you just love Paula Dean! You can’t go wrong following one of her recipes! Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to try this at home!!

    • farmgirl replied on May 13th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      Hello Amber – so nice to hear from you. I hope you like them, too!

  4. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — May 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I love lemon bars and yours look perfect! So moist, bright and full of flavor… I bet they taste amazing. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend! :)

    • farmgirl replied on May 13th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

      Always great to hear from you, Georgia – you have a great weekend, too!

  5. #
    Paula — May 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    These look beautiful and delicious and I’m definitely going to make them. Like you, I like my lemon pies and tarts a little chilled. Glad to know that they freeze well. Thanks for sharing your recipe Brenda.

    • farmgirl replied on May 13th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      I wish we lived a little closer, Paula. We could get together to share our sweets. :)

  6. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — May 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Oh boy! Look at that thick lemon layer, looks good!

    • farmgirl replied on May 13th, 2011 at 9:01 pm

      Oh boy, Sylvie – it sure is! It’s always so nice to hear from you – thanks!

  7. #
    Jenn@eatcakefordinner — May 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I’m so glad you did all the leg-work for us and found us the perfect lemon bar recipe. I have been craving lemon bars for months. I will definitely try out this recipe. You can never go wrong with Paula Deen!

  8. #
    Lauren — May 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    These are so beautiful and look like just the right consistency! I definitely have to make these.

  9. #
    www.StarHughes.com — May 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I have been looking for a lemon bar recipe for past few weeks! I’ve only made lemon bars out of the Barefoot Contessa box mix. These look fantastic though. And Paula Deen is the best!

  10. #
    Kathy @ The Sugar Queen — May 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Hi there ~ I just happened upon your blog, and I really like it! I’ve subscribed to your RSS Feed, and look forward to many great recipes to come. I invite you to check out my blog, if you would like ~

    I love lemon bars, too. I’ve never tried Paula’s recipe before, and it looks like it will be great – I think it has twice the lemon zest as my recipe, so I will definitely have to give this one a try!

    • farmgirl replied on May 17th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Kathy – so nice to meet you!

  11. #
    Liz@HoosierHomemade — May 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    These look heavenly! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  12. #
    sheila @ Elements — May 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Your pictures are making my mouth water. Looks incredibly delicious and I love anything extra tart so I know I’d love these! :)

  13. #
    cheartstrings — May 16, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Those look just sensational. Great pictures. They make my mouth water.

  14. #
    Harriet — May 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Mmmm these look amazing! Is the billing basically lemon curd? Knowing my cooking style I’d probably muck it up and it would taste horrible. If I could use just lemon curd for this then it’d turn out okay.

    • farmgirl replied on May 17th, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Oh Harriet, this recipe is much to easy to muck up! The filling is very similar to lemon curd, but it sets up more, to be able to cut into bars.

  15. #
    Kathleen — May 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

    These do indeed look and sound like the perfect lemon bars! I can’t wait to give them a try!

  16. #
    Agnes — May 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    My oh my don’t these just look splendid. My husband Herb will just love them.

  17. #
    Simply Life — May 19, 2011 at 5:23 am

    oh wow! those look PERFECT!

  18. #
    Martha — May 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Yummmm! They look great!

  19. #
    thepsychobabble — May 27, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Paula Deen is amazing, and these bars look great! Definitely printing this one out.

  20. #
    Megan — June 1, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Just found you from your guest post on…aaaa…whose site was it??? Well, anyhoo, I loved your guest post and had to come over and check your site! You are now in my collection with a heart by your name! The Lemon Bars hooked me in for sure…whenever I have them, I always think of my wonderful Grandma…they lived on a farm where, as you know, it seems simple, but they are the hardest working people out there! Whenever we had a family event, Lemon Bars were there…very sentimental to me :) I’m looking forward to making this perfect recipe since I never got hers…have a great day!

  21. #
    Trisha — September 16, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I made these and loved, loved, loved them. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • farmgirl replied on September 18th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      One of my favorite recipes!! I get requests from co-workers quite often. So glad you liked them – thanks for letting me know, Trisha.

  22. #
    Joanne Harris — February 23, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Hi Brenda
    I made Lemon Squares for a friends birthday during the week and I got a gooey mess. I could only cut the edges into squares,the middle I had to throw away. I found your website and thought I’d try your Lemon Bars-seeing as you said they will definately set. I made them tonight and have just sliced them and they are perfect. Tastes great and presentation is 100 times better than my previous effort.Looks just like the photo-a rare thing for me!!! Thank you so much. I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  23. #
    Emily — September 10, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Do you chill the baked crust at all before pouring the filling or just add and bake immediately? These look great!

  24. #
    LINDY — April 5, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    these were absolutely horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Brenda replied on April 12th, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      Sorry to hear this, Lindy. I often take these lemon bars to potlucks, and always get requests for the recipe.

  25. #
    Janet — July 17, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    This is the best recipe for lemon bars I’ve come across! Most recipes call for 2 T of lemon juice-no lemon flavor! The amount of zest is perfect. I’m always on the lookout for a lemony lemon bar, and this fits the bill! I have made 3 batches in the last couple of weeks for various events, and receive raves every time! Thank you so much!

    • Brenda replied on July 21st, 2015 at 8:17 am

      I’m so glad you agree! I think far too many lemon bars are wimpy on that bright lemon flavor. Enjoy many more tangy lemon bars!


  1. Pingback: Sweet Tooth Favorites

  2. Pingback: Mini Lemon Custard Cups

  3. Pingback: Lemon Bars and the Promise of Spring |

  4. Pingback: Lemon Bars and the Promise of Spring | sweethappiness

  5. Pingback: | Amazing and Unique Lists

  6. Pingback: Triple Berry Coconut Crisp • a farmgirl's dabblesa farmgirl's dabbles

  7. Pingback: Living the Law of Abundance for Healthy Weight Loss | The Gist of Fit

Leave a Comment