Lemon Heaven Bars
Lemon Heaven Bars are dense and soft and chewy. Loaded with fresh lemon flavor and covered with a thin, sweet glaze, these easy lemon bars are completely irresistible!
Lemon Heaven Bars
You know that my heart will always belong to chocolate when it comes to dessert. But when I need something comforting with a jolt of puckery freshness, I can’t resist a homemade lemon bar.
My favorite lemon bar recipe has always been the kind that consists of a buttery shortbread crust topped by a bright layer of thickened lemon custard. When baked, the top of the bars take on a thin, crackly texture. And then they get a pretty sifting of powdered sugar. It’s one of the recipes people ask me for the most. Here’s that Lemon Bars recipe.
But now, after many, many years, there’s a new lemon bar contender vying for my attention. These Lemon Heaven Bars are out of this world good, with more of a chewy brownie-like texture. The bars are packed with an extra dose of fresh and puckery lemon flavor – I just can’t help but love them!
How to Make Lemon Heaven Bars
These lemony bars are incredibly easy to make. All you need are some common baking ingredients, a few lemons, and a 9″ x 13″ pan.
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper or simply spray the pan lightly with a non-stick spray.
- Whisk dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon zest (my favorite zester!) and whisk again.
- Whisk wet ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- Combine: Stir wet and dry ingredients together and then spread evenly in prepared pan.
- Bake: Bake for 20 minutes, and then let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Prepare glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest.
- Spread glaze: Drizzle glaze over top of cooled lemon heaven bars and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the bars.
What’s Different About These Lemon Heaven Bars?
Comparing my original Lemon Bars recipe to this new one for Lemon Heaven Bars, I want to clearly spell out the differences. While they are both loaded with lemon goodness, they are quite different.
(Original) Lemon Bars:
- Shortbread crust – This simple, buttery crust is perfection!
- Lemon curd filling – A very lemony, easy-to-make curd. It is layered over the crust and bakes up firm, yet soft. The top of the lemon curd takes on a thin layer of crispness when baked.
- Simple powdered sugar sprinkle – The bars are finished with a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar over the top, for an extra layer of playful, pretty sweetness!
(New) Lemon Heaven Bars:
- No crust – Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. No layers to these bars!
- Bars – The texture of these bars is much like a really dense, soft, and chewy moist cake or brownie.
- Lemony powdered sugar glaze – A simple glaze of powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice and zest adds another element of sweetness and citrus tang.
Tip for you! Try these cold. They’re extra dense and chewy, so fun!
Where Does the Name “Heaven” Come From?
I took a plate of these beauties into work a few years ago, asking for help in naming the recipe. Because I couldn’t name them “lemon bars”, as this new recipe needed to be distinguishable from the lemon bars recipe I was already known for.
I pondered this new name with my friends/co-workers Ann and Tim. When Tim took his first bite, he immediately smiled and said, “lemon heaven”. And that, my friends, is how these came to be known as Lemon Heaven Bars.
How to Store these Dessert Bars
I recommend storing these lemon bars in the fridge. Store the cooled bars in the baking dish, covered with saran wrap, for up to 4 days. You can also serve the cut lemon bars in airtight containers for the same amount of time.
Lemon Heaven Bars
for the lemon bars:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh lemon zest from 2 large lemons
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 4 large eggs
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the lemon glaze:
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- fresh lemon zest from 1 large lemon
For the lemon bars:
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment paper so that two opposite sides have an overhang. This will allow you to lift the bars out once they are cooled, to make clean cuts. If ultra clean cuts are not a big thing for you, simply spray the pan lightly with a non-stick spray. Set pan aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon zest (my favorite zester!) and whisk again to separate and coat all the little pieces of zest. Set bowl aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The lemon bars should spring back lightly when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the lemon glaze:
- In a small bowl, whisk together all glaze ingredients until smooth.
- Drizzle glaze over top of cooled lemon bars and then use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread glaze evenly over the bars.
- Place pan in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Run knife around the perimeter of the pan where there is no parchment paper and then lift the bars from the pan using the parchment paper overhangs. Cut into squares. I think these bars are best enjoyed when chilled, but feel free to serve them at room temperature also.
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This post was previously published in 2016. I updated some of the photographs and some of the text in 2019.