Easy Lemon Bars with Zested Shortbread Crust

These easy Lemon Bars with Zested Shortbread Crust are a perfect balance of tangy and sweet. The lemon curd-like filling is creamy and smooth, tasting like sunshine in every bite. The zested shortbread crust is simply irresistible.

Top view of Lemon Bars on White Plates

Here’s the best news of all. They’re super simple to whip together using only 5 ingredients. And… they make perfect treats for parties, holidays, and get-togethers. Or… when you’re craving something sweet with a distinct citrusy tang. 

What I Love About These Lemon Bars

  • Fresh lemon is both sweet and tangy — and utterly perfect for spring
  • Squares of lemon bars are beautiful for desserts and even tea
  • Custard-like filling is incredibly delicious
  • A zested shortbread crust absolutely makes these lemon bars
  • Classic and timeless treat

Top view of uncut lemon bars with powered sugar

Only 5 Ingredients in these Lemon Bars

Lemons:
Fresh lemons are what make these lemon bars incredibly delicious! You’ll use both the juice and zest in both the filling and shortbread crust. 

Butter:
Softened butter brings delicious flavor to the zested shortbread crust.

Sugar:
Sugar both sweetens the shortbread crust and the lemon filling. Plus, it works together with the eggs to set the filling. Reducing the sugar will make the filling too wet. 

Flour:
Flour is used in both layers giving structure to both. 

Salt:
The salt helps balance the sugar in the crust. 

Eggs:
Eggs provide the necessary structure the lemon filling requires. 

Top view of squares of lemon bars on a green backdrop

How to Bake the Lemon Bars in 5 Steps

Prepare the crust:
Mix together all of the shortbread crust ingredients. Press firmly into a 9×13 inch baking pan (glass is much preferred).

Pre-bake the crust:
Pre-baking the crust firms the base so the lemon filling can set nicely. 

Prepare the filling:
Whisk together all of the filling ingredients. Simple, simple, simple. 

Bake the bars:
Pour the lemon filling over the warm pre-baked crust. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the center is just set. 

Cool:
The lemon bars will firm and set up as they cool, about 1 hour at room temperature. I then like to refrigerate for another couple of hours until the bars are completely set and chilled. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. 

 

Side view of lemon bars and shortbread crust

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Top view of Lemon Bars on White Plates

Easy Lemon Bars with Zested Shortbread Crust

Yield: 36 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

These easy Lemon Bars with Zested Shortbread Crust are a perfect balance of tangy and sweet. The lemon curd-like filling is creamy and smooth, tasting like sunshine in every bite. The zested shortbread crust is simply irresistible.

Ingredients

Zested Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar, zest, flour, and salt. Once fully mixed, press into a 13 x 9-inch pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm and lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
  3. For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until beaten. Then add the sugar, flour, lemon zest, juice, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly and pour over the partially baked crust. Bake for 20 minutes or more until lightly browned on the edges and the center is set. Bars will continue to firm as they cool. To fully set, refrigerate a couple of hours before cutting into squares.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g

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