Classic Lemon Bars Recipe

A classic, no fail lemon bars recipe that gives the most perfect lemon filled bars every single time. They are quick and easy and make really perfect dessert for any occasion. 

Lemon Bars RecipeLemon Bars Recipe

These lemon bars are definitely one of my favorites. I love all lemon desserts and these lemon bar just my kind of dessert. I love them for 2 reasons - firstly because they taste so good, like really so good with a layer of thick lemon filling sandwiched between a layer of buttery shortcrust pastry at the bottom and a sweet layer of icing sugar on top. My mouth waters even as I am writing this.... 

Secondly, these bars are so quick and easy to make. With only 5 ingredients that can be easily found at home (except for lemons which are easy to obtain too albeit being seasonal), this dessert can be whipped up in no time at all. Good, isn't it?

Lemon Bars Recipe - My Notes

Ingredients for Lemon Bars

  • Plain flour - this is used in both the pastry as well as the filling. While it is no surprise to see plain flour used for pastries, it is also used in making the lemon filling albeit in very small quantity. The flour helps in filling to thicken and set well that makes it easy for cutting and serving. 
  • Sugar - I used 2 types of sugar in this recipe - icing sugar and granulated sugar. Icing sugar is for the pastry, I find that icing sugar is more easily incorporated into the pastry mix and so prefer to use it for the pastry. For the lemon filling, I used granulated sugar. Since the lemon filling is in liquid form, the sugar has no problem dissolving. If you do not have icing sugar for the pasty, simply measure granulated sugar to the amount provided for icing sugar in the recipe and run it in your food processor for a few seconds. The other point about icing sugar is that it is often lumpy, so it is best that you sieve it first so that you do not end up with sugar lumps in the baked pastry.
  • Eggs - Eggs are used only for the filling and they play a big role in the color of your lemon filling. For the batch that I baked in my lemon bars images on this page, the eggs I used had an orangy color to them rather than the more common yellow color. And so, as you can see in the images on this page, the color of the filling is not as yellow as they should be. There is no difference to the taste though, so if you want a more lemon-like yellow, make sure the egg yolks in the eggs you use are of a lighter yellow color.
  • Lemons - These are the star ingredients of this lemon bars recipe. I used their rind in my pastry and the juice in the filling. For the amount of rind I used, you would need the rind of about half a lemon. Add the rind into the pastry gives it the lovely hint of lemon and it works perfectly well with the lemon filling. As for the juice, for the amount used in the recipe, I had to juice 1 full lemon and another 2/3 of a lemon. And I made sure I strained the lemon juice before measuring it for 2 reasons. Firstly, I did not want any pulp or seeds in my lemon filling and secondly, leaving the pulp and seeds out can reduce the amount of lemon juice notably and so I chose to measure the juice after all the pulp and seeds have been strained out. 
  • Butter - The butter I used for the pastry is salted. I use salted butter in all my cakes and cookies. If you prefer unsalted butter, you can always use it, but be sure to increase the amount of salt that you add separately into the pastry. When ( mixing butter into the flour and sugar mix as indicated in the recipe below, you can always use a cake mixer as it makes the entire mixing process so much faster. But if you prefer the good old way of using your fingers to rub the butter into the flour and sugar, it is perfectly fine too.
  • Salt - I only use a pinch of salt in my pastry. And that is because of the salted butter I prefer to use in all my recipes. And when I say a pinch, I literally mean just a pinch so that the pastry does not end up too salty. 

A slice of lemon barLemon bars recipe

  • I baked my lemon bars in a normal 8 inches square cake tin . And it is always important to remember to line your tins well. You are literally unable to turn the pastry out of the tin once it's baked, so the only option you have is to lift it up from the tray, which I can assure you is not an easy task, unless you cut it up into pieces before taking them out of the tray. So the best way is to lift it out of the tin by the parchment paper extras on the sides.

Shortbread pastry for the lemon barsShortbread pastry pressed into an 8 inches square cake tin. See how the sides are slightly taller all around the sides.

  • Since I used a 2 inches high cake tin, I used 2 pieces of rectangle parchment paper to line by tin. One placed horizontally and the other placed vertically. And I made sure the pieces were long enough that I had them showing up a good 2 inches from the sides of the cake tin. The other important thing to note is to grease the tin and the papers. This helps making sure any lemon filling that flows to the sides of the pastry does not cause it to stick to the cake tin.
Baked lemon barsAll baked and out of the cake tin.

And that is pretty much how all the tips I have  for this lemon bars recipe.

Lemon Bars Recipe

Here is the full, printable version of the classic lemon bars recipe:

Lemon Bars Recipe

By , Sep 04, 2019

Lemon Bars Recipe

A classic, no fail lemon bars recipe that gives the most perfect lemon filled bars every single time. They are quick and easy and make really perfect dessert for any occasion.


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 Minutes
Yield: 8 inches square block
Keyword: Lemon Bars Recipe
Category: Dessert



  • 125 g plain flour
  • 125 g icing sugar
  • 115 g butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon rind


  • 3 eggs
  • 125 ml lemon juice (strained)
  • 375 g castor sugar
  • 125 g plain flour


  • Icing sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line an 8 inches square cake tin with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add icing sugar, lemon rind and butter and beat until the mixture comes together.
  3. Press into the prepared cake tin, with the sides slightly higher.
  4. Bake the crust at 160 degrees Celsius for 25 to 30 minutes until it turns golden brown. Remove from oven and leave aside.
  5. To make the filling, whisk the eggs and castor sugar until foamy. Add lemon juice and flour and beat until smooth.
  6. Pour the filling into the baked crust and return it to the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes until the filling is set.
  7. Remove the cake from oven and let it cool in tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Cut the block into bars and dredge with icing sugar before serving.

Happy baking :) 

Lemon bars on a plateLemon Bars Recipe

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