Lemon bars are one of those things like Lost and Oprah that I know, in theory, I should love, but when it comes down to it, there’s something about them that I struggle with.
And it doesn’t totally make sense–shortbread? Good. Lemon? Good. Powdered sugar? Good. But my problem is those stupid eggs. I’ve mentioned it again and again, but I really don’t like anything with any overly eggy flavor and that seems to be why I don’t love most lemon bars (or lemon meringue pie, for that matter). I do love, love, love Sara’s Creamy Lemon Bars because I think the cream cheese helps with the egginess, but regular lemon bars usually just make my throat close up.
Except for this recipe.
I don’t know if it’s the sweet, lemony glaze or if the proportions are just different enough from other lemon bar recipes or if the baking time is just a little shorter (thus avoiding the horror of overcooked eggs–seriously, stuff nightmares are made of!), but these are not only my favorite classic lemon bars, but the only classic lemon bars that I’ll eat. And I will eat way more of them than I need to, so if my local friends and neighbors suddenly find lemon bars on their doorsteps, you know where they came from!
First, you need to preheat the oven to 350. Then, for the shortbread crust, you’ll just need flour, powdered sugar, and butter. You’ll whisk your flour and powdered sugar together and then cut in the butter. A quick shortcut is to use a cheese grater to grate a very cold stick of butter right into your flour. Then it’s super easy to mix it up with your fingers!
And then transfer the mixture to a 9×13″ pan lightly coated with cooking spray.
Gently press the mixture into the pan so it’s even, and then bake it for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is light golden around the edges.
While the crust is in its last few minutes in the oven, use an electric mixer on high speed to mix together the filling ingredients: eggs, sugar, strained lemon juice, a little flour, and some baking powder.
Mix it for about 3 minutes or until it’s very, very pale yellow. Then pour the mixture over the warm crust…
Pop that baby back into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is very light golden brown. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
When the bars are completely cool, whisk together a cup of powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and then spread it over the cooled bars.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, cut into squares, rectangles, or triangles
(or hey, circles, parallelograms, or octagons if you’re feeling adventurous–who am I to stop you?!) You can sprinkle grated lemon zest or additional powdered sugar on top of the bars (although these are quite sweet already and more powdered sugar might be overkill). Prepare yourself for lots of love and compliments, even from people who claim to not love lemon (like my husband) or lemon bars (like me).
Glazed Lemon Bars
Recipe lightly adapted by Our Best Bites from The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking
2 c. all-purpose flour (lightly spooned into the measuring cup and leveled with a knife)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 c. freshly-squeezed lemon juice, strained of pulp and seeds
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. white sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
3 tablespoons strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Whisk together the flour and powdered sugar and then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Lightly press into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden around the edges. Remove from oven.
During the last few minutes of the shortbread’s baking time, mix the eggs, lemon juice, flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for three minutes. The mixture should be frothy and very, very pale yellow. Pour the mixture over the warm crust and then return the pan to the oven for another 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. You might want to check the bars at 17-18 minutes to make sure the top isn’t getting too dark.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely. When the bars are cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and then gently spread over the bars. Refrigerate for at least two hours and then cut into squares before serving. Makes about 36 bars.
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I’ve never commented before but have to say something about Lost. The brilliance of Lost was that rather than just telling us a story they made us a part of it and let us truly experience it. The whole show was a metaphor for life and how in the end we may not have the answers but it was the relationships, the sacrifices and faith that really mattered. They could have just told us that but instead they let us live it by making us care about mysteries and unanswered questions and then in the end didn’t give us the answers. They lured us into caring about the unimportant things and made us forget about what was really important just like real life can. We can get caught up in having the answers or we can love the journey for itself in life and in Lost.
Can’t wait to try the lemon bars!
Umm…where did you get my recipe? haha I’ve been making this recipe for years now and always get compliments. I got it from my MIL when I married her sweet son 14 years ago. The only difference is the glaze at the end. I just sprinkle with the powdered sugar. I think I will try that little touch. Fun!
Totally agree with you on the Lost thing. Thinking about the ending does make me cringe…it started off so well and totally fell flat at the end. But I bet these bars will not. I’ll be trying them this week! Thanks!
Are you two ever thinking of doing a book signing in the Good ol’ town of Rexburg, Idaho 🙂
Check the sidebar of our blog, we’re doing two signings there just a few weeks from now!
I am so excited to try this recipe. I have tried so many different recipes and they NEVER turn out. And I LOVE…LOVE….LOVE…lemon bars. These look wonderful.
this is the recipe my mom always made and the only one I will eat! her directions say to mix it in the blender which I love because it is the easiest clean up ever 🙂 now I guess I need to go make some and think of my cute mom!
You mentioned cream cheese takes care of the eggyness, but I didn’t see it in the recipe. Wasn’t sure if I misunderstood. They look delicious!
Linda, I was referring to Sara’s creamy lemon bars that you can find here: https://ourbestbites.com/2008/04/creamy-lemon-bars/ 🙂
We had an “Our Best Bites” dinner tonight. We had the Asian BBQ Chicken which everyone enjoyed and these lemon bars for dessert. For years I had been looking for the perfect lemon bar recipe with little success. I did find one complicated recipe we liked pretty well, but not as much as these. The only change I made was to add the zest of the lemon to the filling. I thought they had the perfect preportion of crust and filling. I think the problem with most bars is there is too much eggy filling, with an almost acidic tang to it that overpowers the shortbread crust. These are perfect. Thanks! PS: We couldn’t wait for the refrigeration part. Just cooled them and they cut nicely.
Those lemon bars look delicious! And I have to say “amen” to what you said about Lost! (Love the vid!) I started watching it during the second season and eventually my husband and then even later my daughter watched it with me! I was stunned by the ending! I can’t even bring myself to watch the reruns on Netflix! My husband and daughter on the other hand, LOVED it and are competing to see who finishes all of the seasons first! Arrrgggg! But then again, they both loved “Inception”! Figures!
I better go buy some lemons!
Now I want some of those bars!!
I loved loved loved LOST and I was perfectly happy with the ending. I like that they left some questions to be answered in our own way. That made the whole thing more personal.
And the emily….I loved that blog post.
I had no problems with the ending of Lost (I don’t know why, but I was just at peace with it), but that video clip had me cracking up! There are about a billion unanswered questions, aren’t there!
I love lemon bars so I can’t wait to try these!!! 🙂
I love lemon bars and I love LOST. Thank you for posting about both of these things. The season finale was such a huge flop. But these lemon bars look awesome! I don’t like anything lemon except for lemon bars.
I love your website….I look at it all the time! 2 of my sons were just recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance…..I am now learning to alter a lot of recipes. Do you have any great gluten free recipes? Thanks a ton! Shannon Jones
I have never really liked lemon bars either, so I’ll have to see if these are any different. I do have one recipe for “lemon bars” that I LOVE. You get an angel food cake mix and mix in 1 can of lemon pie filling. Seriously, that’s it. 2 ingredients. Mix and mix until it’s all moistened, and it will start to get kinda foamy. Just pour it into a cake pan and bake with the instructions for a regular angel food cake. SOOOO good! It gives you all the loveliness of lemon without the icky texture of regular lemon bars. Might have to head to the store now. 🙂
I have been searching for a good lemon bar recipe for YEARS. This looks like it MAY be the one I have been looking for – so making these this weekend!
Let me express my never-ending love and devotion to you for yet another amazing recipe. How do you DO it?
I never started watching Lost. Glad I didn’t! As for Oprah, I guess I won’t be watching that anymore after today! (I didn’t really watch much as I’m at work when she’s on and I don’t DVR or Tivo.
For some reason, Kate’s recipes never show up! I just see the title and a place to make comments. Help!
Desi, try using another browser (like Firefox or Chrome). If that doesn’t work, let us know!
These are in the oven RIGHT NOW!!
So…I would imagine you are not a fan of flan either??? I hate the stuff…tastes like cold slimy eggs to me. I am so-so on lemon bars…while I love lemonade, lemon candies, etc. I have never been a fan of lemon baked goods. But my husband would most definitely love these! 🙂
I’m a fan of very few flans and creme brulees. Same thing. Every once in awhile, someone totally nails it, but I just don’t love custard.
I feel the EXACT same way about lemon bars as you do! And anything “eggy” for that matter:) thx for posting this. I’m totally making these!
You don’t love Oprah?!?!?!?!
Very mixed feelings about Oprah. 🙂
I am so with you on Oprah. Please don’t lynch me, those who love her–I know she does a lot of good and everything and I don’t *dislike* her–but I “struggle”, as Kate put it, to really get on board that Oprah train…. rather, it’s probably more like an ark probably.
I’ve only seen a few episodes of Lost so I can’t really comment on it.
Anyway, lemon bars! 😀 Never been a fan but I love everything you guys makes so”ll be giving these a try!
I wish there was a “like” button on our blog! 🙂
I was totally lost watching LOST! But I did love me some Josh Holloway! I tried to understand what was going on, but after a while it got so confusing…I did love all the nick-names Freckles, Doc, etc…
I think I am going to try these lemon bars today! They look soooo good!
Love your site by the way.
Funny that you talking about Lost is what got me to comment for the first time.
After about season 3 I started to have my doubts. As it when on and on I just knew in my heart that they had no idea where they were going with this. So so sad . . . Lost went from being my favorite show to being the most senseless thing I’ve ever seen.
Oh and I make your strawberry pie and you Greek Pitas constantly. Best things ever.
A friend of mine at work brought in a version of this recipe with 3 c of coconut added to the lemon filling. It was toasty, lemony, sweet….. totally masks the egg factor. I will definitely try the glaze as well!
I leave the pulp in my lemon bars and add a little zest to the filling. I like the idea of the glaze, I have to try that.
Have you ever tried making lime bars? Oh yum!!!
I’m very picky about lemon desserts but I think I’d really like these. I’m glad you finally found a lemon bar you could enjoy:-)
oh geesh. what a time to be starting weight watchers. maybe these are just a point….or maybe i’ll just have to save up my points so i can eat the whole pan…
I have always felt the same way about lemon bars!!! And it IS the eggs. I usually cannot gag them down, so I am excited to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.