These super easy lemon bars require one bowl and one pan to make! And the lemon flavor is out of this world! No mixer required or double boiler for making the curd. Pure magic! 

Pucker up, Buttercup! These gorgeous lemon bars are going to bring you to your knees. They are super easy, super tart and utterly delicious! The thing that I love most about these is that they require no special equipment, just a bowl, a saucepan and a baking dish. Simple as that.

A couple weeks ago I had a work barbeque to go to and couldn’t decide between bringing a salad or dessert. So I brought both. It gave me something to bake with Harry while Ben was at work for his weekend shifts. 

This recipe will cover all of the easy how to knows on making super refreshing, tart and delightful lemon bar recipe for summer. The buttery shortbread crust is simple to make in just one bowl, with lots of melted butter. My youngest and I had a blast putting these together. He loved pressing the dough into the pan with me. 

Ingredients for Lemon Bars

Shortbread Crust

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter

Lemon Curd Filling

  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Salt
  • Eggs + Egg Yolks
  • Lemon Zest + Lemon Juice
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Powdered Sugar

How to Make Lemon Curd

Making this lemon bar recipe in two parts, the short crust and then the lemon curd, then baking them together makes these stout while remaining tender to eat. The lemon curd is simple to make combining the sugar, flour, cream of tartar, and salt together in a bowl.

Next, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks, followed by the lemon zest and lemon juice. 

Pour this mixture into a round bottomed saucepan and cook over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly to ensure that none of it curdles at the bottom of the pan. When the mixture thicken and registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer you can remove it from the pan and pour the lemon filling over the partially cooked shortbread crust. 

If you are concerned that you have curdled your lemon curd you can pour it through a mesh strainer to ensure that it is smooth and no chunks have developed from the egg. This is a good insurance policy if you are new to making curds. 

Should I use fresh or bottled lemon juice for lemon bars?

FRESH lemon juice! If you’re going to go through the effort of making the best lemon bars ever, definitely use fresh lemons. Smaller lemons can pack a much more lemony punch, but you will need more of them to get the required 2/3 cup of lemon juice for the recipe below. 

Bottled lemon juice can taste rather stale in comparison to fresh. This recipe also requires lemon zest which is only available on fresh lemons. Dried lemon peel does not have the same flavor profile as fresh lemon zest. Do not substitute dried lemon peel for zest. 

What kind of crust is used on lemon bars?

A simple shortbread crust is used in these super easy lemon bars. This recipe uses a few simple ingredients, flour, sugar, salt, and butter. The melted butter makes it very malleable and easy to press right into the bottom of the pan. When baked it holds up and is sturdy to cut and then hold the soft lemon curd on top. 

This shortbread crust only requires one bowl and spoon. No electric mixer is required! 

The crust for these super easy lemon bars is also baked ahead of time as well so that it is sturdy and can withstand the soft lemon curd on top of the bars. Pouring a liquid lemon curd on top of a soft crust wouldn’t allow them to set or bake properly. Do not skip baking the crust while you make the lemon filling. 

Is it better to use aluminum foil or parchment for baking? 

When baking, using parchment paper is a better choice as it doesn’t prevent or retain heat to baked goods like aluminum can. Parchment is used best here in the bottom of the baking dish, because it can be used as a sling to lift out the lemon bars from the baking dish and transfer them to a cutting board for easier cutting. 

Using aluminum foil can inhibit baking and not bake them accurately according to the baking time in the recipe. 

Should I refrigerate or chill my lemon bars?

Yes! They are cool and refreshing when chilled, and they slice much easier when cold as well. Prior to placing them in the fridge, ensure they are cooled on a wire rack to room temperature before covering them with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and placing them into the refrigerator so that no moisture or condensation is kept on the bars. If some is trapped, gently blot them off with a paper towel before cutting them and dusting them with powdered sugar.

Try More Inspired Homemade Recipes

Key Lime Curd

Fresh Berry Tart with Lemon Curd

Easy Lemon Dill Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Babka

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Super Easy Lemon Bars

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Megan Keno
  • Prep Time: 20 MInutes
  • Cook Time: 45 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 16 Bars 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


The easiest lemon bar recipe that is absolutely fail proof!


Units Scale

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 1 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Cream of TarTar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 4 Eggs + 3 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 2/3 cup Fresh Lemon Juice – do not use bottled lemon juice
  • 5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, cut into 1 Tbsp pats.
  • Powdered Sugar for topping, optional


For the Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a parchment sling with two pieces of 9-inch wide by 13-inch long parchment, into a non-stick sprayed 9×9 inch square baking dish. Use clips if needed to secure the ends of the parchment, so the parchment doesn’t move when you are pressing the shortbread into the pan later.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the melted butter until a dough forms. Press the dough into the parchment lined baking pan evenly.
  3. Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating halfway through to ensure it is baked evenly. Remove when it is golden brown and place on wire rack until ready to fill with lemon curd. Keep the oven on. 

For Lemon Curd

  1. Using the same bowl from the shortbread crust – no need to clean the bowl – whisk together the sugar, flour, cream of tartar, and salt.
  2. Then whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, whisking until no white streaks from the eggs or sugar and flour remain. Continue to whisk in the lemon zest and the lemon juice.
  3. Pour the mixture into a round bottomed sauce pan, and turn the stove on to medium heat. Stirring constantly, heat the mixture until it registers 160 degrees and thickens. This will ensure that the eggs are cooked through.
  4. Turn off the heat, and add in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly until each one melts before adding the other.
  5. Pour the lemon curd on top of the still warm shortbread crust. Spread the curd evenly if needed with the back of a spoon.

Bake The Bars

  1. Bake the bars for another 10-12 minutes, or until they jiggle just slightly when shaken.
  2. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Then refrigerate to cool completely before slicing.
  3. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Serve.


Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Best Lemon Bars.