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Lemon Bars


Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Photo © Molly Watson

With more juice and more zest that most lemon bars, these lovelies really pop with bright lemon flavor. The optional hit of almonds in the crust adds richness to balance the lemon flavor beautifully.

You can use Meyer lemons in these bars, but I recommend balancing the sweeter, floral notes of Meyer lemons with at least half Lisbon or Eureka lemon juice to maintain some of the perky, tart flavor.

Note that the directions have a good order for obtaining the needed zest and juice to make these bars while minimizing the prep time.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 9 to 16 Lemon Bars


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. finely grated or minced lemon zest, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), chilled, plus a knob of butter for the pan
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F and generously butter an 8x8-inch baking pan.
  2. Zest a lemon or two to obtain just the 2 tsp. zest for the crust. Put the flour, almonds if using, 2 Tbsp. of the sugar, 2 tsp. of the lemon zest, and the salt in a food processor and whirl until the almonds are ground into the flour or everything is combined. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces, toss them into the flour, and pulse until everything forms a loose, somewhat sandy dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake until the crust is set and just turning a pale golden color, about 15 minutes. Let the crust cool slightly while you make the lemon mixture and reduce the oven to 350°F.
  3. While the crust is in the oven, zest enough lemons to gather the 4 tsp. needed for the filling. Once you've zested the lemons, then juice them. This should all take about the time it takes the crust to bake.
  4. Wipe the food processor out (no need to really wash it), and whirl the remaining ingredients (1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 4 tsp. lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp. baking powder) until it becomes very smooth, about 1 minute. You want the sugar to be completely dissolved into the egg and lemon juice. Pour the filling onto the crust and bake 20 minutes. The filling will finish setting up as it cools, so don't worry if it seems a bit loose (it shouldn't however, still be liquid or runny looking).
  5. Let the bars cool to room temperature and then chill until fully set, at least two hours. Trying to cut these bars before they have set is an exercise in frustration: wait for them to chill fully! Dust with confectioners' sugar, cut into squares, and serve.

Have limes instead of lemons? No problem - check out these delicious Lime Bars!

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