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Easy Old Fashioned Lemon Squares with Shortbread Crust

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These easy Lemon Squares with a Shortbread Crust are a 5-ingredient, old-fashioned treat with 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

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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. 

Lemon Squares Recipe Overview

A simple to make, 5-ingredient, old fashioned recipe you’ll love. With fresh lemon juice and zest and a simple shortbread crust, they are perfect for enjoying this season!

  • Recipe Time: About 10 minutes for prep and 45-50 minutes for baking.
  • Kitchen Tools: 9×13-inch baking pan
  • Servings: 24 servings

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

5 Ingredient Lemon Squares

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: All-purpose flour is used in both layers, giving structure to both. 

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

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

Top view of squares of lemon bars on a green backdrop

How to Make Lemon Squares

This recipe for lemon squares is easy to make the next time you’re craving an old fashioned lemon dessert this season!

Step-by-step instructions are also in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: Make the Shortbread Crust

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Mix together all of the shortbread crust ingredients. Press firmly into a 9×13 inch baking pan (glass is much preferred). Pre-baking the crust firms the base so the lemon filling can set nicely. 

Step 2: Make the Lemon Square Filling

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon zest and juice until well mixed and frothy. Then, pour the filling over the partially baked crust.

Step 3: Bake the Lemon Squares

Bake the lemon squares for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the center is set and not wobbly. Let them cool in the pan or refrigerate until completely cool. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares. 

Side view of lemon bars and shortbread crust
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.
  4. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the center is set and not wobbly. Let cool completely in the pan or refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  5. To Serve: Sift powdered sugar over the top before cutting into squares.

Notes

Storing and Making Ahead: Refrigerate these lemon squares in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Lemons: It's best to use fresh lemon juice in this recipe. A medium-sized lemon usually yields 3-4 tablespoons of fresh juice.

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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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