Buttery shortbread crust and bright lemon filling are the perfect mixture of tart & sweet in these easy to make and OMG delicious classic lemon bars!
I'm majorly in love with these lemon bars, they're seriously SO GOOD. They are classic and just perfect; the shortbread crust is rich and buttery and the lemon filling is bright, creamy and refreshing. They are such a great combination of tart & sweet and decadent & refreshing.
One side effect of being pregnant that has been in full force for me is a MAJOR sweet tooth. I'm usually not the biggest dessert person but seriously, I have been such a sugar monster lately. When I had these classic lemon bars a few weeks ago I kind of couldn't get them out of my head and I knew I had to make them at home and share the deliciousness with you!
Something special I really love about this recipe is where it came from! A close family friend of ours got the recipe from her friend's 94-year-old grandmother, Irma, who is from East Prussia. She even has the original handwritten recipe, complete with the little splotches on the page that are so indicative of a well-loved and often used recipe!
We originally thought the list of ingredients at the top was the recipe for lemon bars in German - so cool, right?! But after a quick search on Google translate we realized that those words mean mutton, water, white cabbage, potatoes, onion, salt and pepper. Soooo I think it's safe to say that that's a different recipe! Or these would be some really weird lemon bars.
I did make a couple very tiny adjustments to the ingredients in the original recipe. Adding just a tiny bit of salt to the crust really balances the flavor, and adding lemon zest to the filling in addition to the lemon juice amps up the lemon taste in such a fantastic way. Plus if you're using the juice you might as well be using the zest because there is SO much great citrus flavor in there!
Grandma Irma - I thank you for your delicious recipe for these Classic Lemon Bars. You nailed it, girl!
If you like citrusy desserts, you'll love this recipe for key lime cheesecake bars!
Yummy noises await you!
This classic lemon bar recipe is easy to make and OMG delicious! The buttery shortbread crust and bright lemon filling is the perfect mixture of tart & sweet.
- 2 sticks butter, softened (1/2 lb or 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
- about 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer), add the softened butter and powdered sugar and cream together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and salt and mix again on low until just combined.
Line a 9x13 baking dish with 2 sheets of parchment paper laid perpendicular so that a couple inches of paper drape over each edge of the pan. Dump the dough into the pan and use your hands to spread out and press into an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly but leave oven on.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer), add all filling ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. Pour evenly over the baked crust and return to the oven. Bake for about 20-25 more minutes, until the top is mostly dry and the filling is just set and doesn't jiggle when you shake the pan. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely; cool for 1-2 hours at room temperature and then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for another 1-2 hours.
Use parchment paper to remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Trim the edges if desired and cut into 24 squares (6 pieces by 4 pieces), wiping the knife with a damp towel as needed. Dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with lemon zest. Enjoy!
You need about 2 large lemons total for this recipe, using both the zest and the juice. Zest both lemons before juicing, you will need the zest of 1 lemon for the filling and the zest of the other lemon for the garnish, and all of the juice from both lemons for the filling.
*It's very important that you don't try to take the bars out of the pan before they have cooled because they will break apart. I like them served cold!
Cheers to Irma! Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe. It is a beautiful tribute to the late Grandma Irma. Her family will be touched. Thank you Rachel!
Thank you for sharing the recipe with me! I love it so much and am very happy to share!
That photograph is stunning!
So very delicious!!!! Just the right combination of sweet and tart!