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Lemon Squares

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  • Prep 10 min
  • Total 2 hr 0 min
  • Servings 25
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Betty Crocker published the first lemon bars recipe in 1963, in Betty Crocker's™ Cooky Book. The recipe was an instant success, and within just a few short years, lemon bars had become a cookie tray classic. Once you’ve had these lemon bars, you’ll be hard pressed to eat any others as good as these. What’s not to love? Lemon lovers have met their match with these amazing sweet-tart bars. A flaky shortbread-type crust is filled with a sweetened lemon curd filling you can really sink your teeth into—sooo luscious! With just the right ratio of sweet to tart, it’s no wonder these bars get a 5-star rating from hundreds of fans. Because lemons are available the year around, you can make these drool-worthy bars any time of year. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a lemon tree in your yard, use them to make these delicious treats. Wondering how many lemons you’ll need for this recipe? Usually, 1 large lemon will be enough for the juice as well as the zest.
Updated Feb 21, 2024
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What Are the Ingredients Used for Lemon Bars?

Our lemon bar dessert squares start with a flaky crust made with flour, butter, and powdered sugar.
Butter: The butter gets the credit for making the crust so deliciously tender.
Powdered Sugar: The powdered sugar adds just a hint of sweetness to pair well with the filling. Then the remaining powdered sugar gets sprinkled over the bars for a bakery-like finish!
Fresh Lemon: Fresh lemon zest and juice give the bars fresh lemony flavor and zing.
Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar provides the balance of sweetness to the tartness of the lemon ingredients.
Eggs: Eggs add structure to the filling, making it lemon curd-like, while baking powder allows the filling to rise when baked.
Salt: A tiny amount of salt is added to balance all the flavors.

What is the Best Time to Make Lemon Bars?

Lemon squares are like a great pair of jeans…you can take them anywhere! From the paper bag lunch to a PTO meeting, an afternoon tea party or a holiday spread, lemon bars are welcomed at any event from casual to fancy. You can serve them straight out of the pan for a casual event or place them on a plate or tray.
Fancy Events: To serve lemon bars for a fancy event, consider placing individual bars in colorful paper baking cups used for muffins or cupcakes on a tray.
School Lunches: For lunch boxes, simply wrap a bar or two in plastic wrap and place on top of the other lunch items, so they will not get damaged in transit. What a yummy lunchtime treat!
Holiday Gatherings: If you’re serving lemon dessert squares for the holidays, you can serve them on their own (on a holiday tray or plate) or as part of a variety of bars on a tray.
Their sweet-tart flavor is a nice complement to other sweeter, heavier bars or cookies, like brownies or frosted sugar cookies. Need a gluten-free lemon bar option? Try our amazing gluten-free lemon squares. Want more great bar recipes? Try these recipes next.

How Should I Store Lemon Bars?

These amazing, fresh lemony bars are always a hit. If you have any leftovers, here’s how to store them, to enjoy their deliciousness another day! Fridge: Since lemon bar recipes are made with eggs, it is important to cover them in a single layer and refrigerate any remaining bars. You can eat them cold, right out of the fridge, if you like. Or, if you don’t like to eat cold bars, take them out about 15 minutes before serving. Bars can be stored up to 5 days, however the crust will become moist and less flaky over time. The flavor will still be as yummy, but the crust will just be softer.
Freezer: Lemon dessert squares should not be frozen, as the lemon curd-like filling will become watery and the crust will not be flaky when thawed .


  • 1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar
Make With
Gold Medal Flour


  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix flour, butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar with spoon until well mixed. Press in ungreased 8- or 9-inch square pan, building up 1/2-inch edges.
  • 2
    Bake crust 20 minutes; remove from oven. In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients except additional powdered sugar with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.
  • 3
    Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into 5 rows by 5 rows.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Line your baking pan with heavy-duty foil for easy removal and cutting. Turn the pan over and form the foil over it, then turn the pan upright and drop the foil in, gently pressing it into the corners. Fold the foil overhang over the top edges of the pan.
  • tip 2
    One medium lemon should give you just enough peel and juice to make these refreshing lemon bars.
  • tip 3
    The bar crust is considered “short” because of the ratio of flour, butter and sugar—making it extraordinarily tender and crumbly.
  • tip 4
    To give your lemon squares a bright lemon color, add 4 to 6 drops of yellow food color with the eggs and sugar mixture.
  • tip 5
    Bold Lemon Bars: If you enjoy a lemon square with a little extra zing, try doubling the amount of lemon zest and lemon juice. The editors tried it and loved this version!

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know when lemon bars are set?

Our lemon bar recipe gives you both a baking time range and doneness cue (as do most of our recipes), so that you will know exactly when the bars are done to perfection. Set your timer to the minimum time, then test the bars to see if no indentation remains when touched lightly in center with your finger. If an indentation remains, set your timer for an additional minute or two and test again. If there is no indentation, your bars are done baking!
If you would like a little powdered sugar over the top, wait until the bars are cooled and then put a spoonful of powdered sugar into a fine mesh strainer. Tap the handle of the strainer over the bars as you move it, for just the right amount! Cut the bars once they are completely cooled, so they have the best shape.

What are other variations of this recipe?

Add Food Coloring For kids, you could add a few drops of liquid food color to the filling mixture in Step 2. Tint them to match the holiday, their team colors or their favorite color!
Fun Shapes: Cut the cooled bars into fun shapes with small, simple-shaped cookie cutters, such as a circle, daisy, or diamond. Enjoy the scraps over ice cream!
Extra Toppings Top them with fun, colorful sprinkles or sweet-and-tart gummy candy on each instead of powdered sugar.
If you really love lemon, try our Bold Lemon Bars variation above, doubling the lemon zest and juice for pucker up lemon bars! Or for another yummy lemon bar recipe, try the Oatmeal-Lemon Crème Bars recipe next! You can also skip the powdered sugar on top of the bars, topping them with whipped cream and a sprig of mint, if you like.

How do I grate lemons?

Grating lemons is a quick process. The easiest way to grate lemons is to use a microplane grater or the small holes of a box grater. Rub the microplane grater over the lemon with the open side up (to catch all of the peels) or place the box grater on a plate and rub the lemon over the holes. Grate just the lemony-yellow part of the lemon skin—the zest, which contains the essential flavor oils of the fruit. Do not continue to grate through the underlying white part, called the pith, because it is bitter tasting.
Wrap the “bald” lemons tightly with plastic wrap; store them in the refrigerator to use in recipes that call for lemon juice or squeeze them when making a smoothie to add brightness to the flavor.


100 Calories, 4g Total Fat, 1g Protein, 13g Total Carbohydrate, 10g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Square
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
2 1/2g
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • The sunshiny lemony look and taste of these amazing lemon bars makes them a natural for your Easter menu, because they remind us of spring when everything is new again! For even more memory-making desserts for Easter brunch or dinner, check out these other scrumptious Easter desserts.
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