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The BEST Lemon Bars

The ultimate lemon bar with tons of tangy lemon flavor and a simple shortbread crust. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon bars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 1 (9 x 13 inch) pan
Calories 221kcal
Author Chelsea


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar, separated
  • 2 cups + 3 tablespoons white flour, separated*
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt, separated
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ~4-5 small lemons
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract, optional
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar


  • Line a GLASS or CERAMIC 9 x 13 pan (metal pans tend to make the bars taste metallic) with parchment and lightly spray just the bottom with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, beat together the softened butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 cups of flour, almond extract, vanilla extract, and 3/4 teaspoon salt until well combined.
  • Press down evenly on the bottom of the pan and up the sides 1/2 inch and then place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown at the edges.
  • Meanwhile, place your lemons in the microwave for 15 seconds. Remove, and knead against the counter with your hand. (These two steps help to get your lemons super juicy.)
  • Very finely zest a lemon to get 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Be careful to avoid the white pith of the lemons as that will make your bars bitter. Juice the lemons until you have 2/3rds cup of lemon juice. Pulse the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar with the 2 teaspoons lemon zest in a food processor or blender -- just a few times to break down the zest and get it incorporated with the sugar.
  • Juice the lemons. Remove 3 tablespoons lemon juice and whisk it in a small separate bowl with the flour until smooth (this will make sure you don't have flour lumps in the mixture!). In another large bowl, lightly beat the 4 large eggs together. Add in the lemon juice along with the lemon juice + flour slurry. Add the sugar and zest mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon extract, and heavy whipping cream. Whisk until well combined. 
  • Pour evenly over the HOT crust through a fine mesh sieve (right out of the oven) and bake for another 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool and then chill in the fridge until the lemon layer is firm.
  • In my opinion these are best made the night before, stored in the fridge overnight, and enjoyed the next day!
  • Before enjoying, sprinkle the top of the bars with powdered sugar (through a fine mesh sieve). Slice and enjoy!



*Make sure to spoon the flour into your measuring cup instead of pushing a measuring cup into a bag of flour. By spooning the flour in and then leveling your measurement you're getting the correct amount of flour. Pushing a measuring cup into flour is going to pack in way too much flour.


Calories: 221kcal