lovely lemon bars

Last week as I was browsing some of my favorite food blogs, I came across this post for lemon shortbread bars from La Fuji Mama. Then I discovered this lemon bar post by Smitten Kitchen. You see, I have a thing for lemon bars. You may have guessed that.

lemon shortbread bars

So, after a tough week, I thought making a nice batch of these tart but sweet treats might lift my spirits and brighten the weekend.

lemons for lemon bars

I wanted to use Meyer lemons, but my impatience got the better of me. I sent my husband to the closest grocery store to see what he could find, and regular ol’ lemons it was. No Meyers.


I used a blend of recipes for these lemon bars. I slightly modified La Fuji Mama’s recipe for the shortbread crust by adding a half teaspoon of Kosher salt. For the filling, I used this recipe from Gourmet magazine, but I added a teaspoon of lemon zest and half teaspoon of good vanilla.

shortbread crust, ready to bake


freshly dusted

I loved the thickness of the shortbread. The ratio of lemon filling to shortbread was essentially one to one, and this helped cut down on the tartness of the lemon in each bite. The best thing? Watching my family devour them. It worked — my spirits were lifted.

lemon shortbread bars

lemon shortbread bars

Lemon Shortbread Bars


Ingredients for Shortbread Base:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cup confectioner's sugar (plus 3 tbsp for dusting the top of the bars)
1-1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Ingredients for Lemon Filling:

4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish.

Make the shortbread base: Using a food processor, combine the flour, confectioner's sugar, butter, and salt. Pat dough into greased baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes (crust will be slightly golden-colored).

While shortbread base is baking, make the lemon filling: Whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until combined well. Stir in lemon juice, flour, vanilla, and lemon zest.

Pour lemon filling into baking dish, over the hot shortbread filling. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until filling is set.

Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Sift confectioner's sugar over bars prior to serving.

Adapted from recipes by La Fuji Mama & Gourmet.

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25 Responses to “lovely lemon bars”

  1. 1
    Cooking Rookie — March 7, 2010 @ 12:11 am

    Certainly “lovely” ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 2
    Liren — March 7, 2010 @ 2:14 am

    Wow, they came out beautifully!

  3. 3
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — March 7, 2010 @ 7:59 am

    I absolutely LOVE lemon bars – they remind me of my childhood. Now that spring is here (kinda sorta!) I think I will make a batch of these too!

    • 3.1
      merrygourmet — March 7, 2010 @ 8:34 am

      Cooking Rookie & Liren – thanks so much! I was really happy with how they turned out. Nice to have something work out the way it’s supposed to. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Mardi – I’ve only discovered lemon bars in the last five years, and I’m so glad I did! Yes, they do seem to usher in springtime. Just wish the weather would follow suit!

  4. 4
    tina — March 7, 2010 @ 8:33 am

    Lemon Bars – I love them too, and yours are perfect!

    You may have just given me a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

  5. 5
    chefgwen — March 7, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

    Think I like that half cookie/half filling combo. Nice post! A good thing to read on this dreary, rainy day.

    • 5.1
      merrygourmet — March 7, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

      The one-to-one ratio of shortbread to lemon filling really is more my preference too. Turns out they’re pretty addictive. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 6
    Belinda — March 7, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

    Looks great, MJ! Thanks for posting the recipes too!

  7. 7

    I love lemon bars, my grandmother always made them for me! So delicious. Her recipe was a little different so I am excited to try this one out.

  8. 8
    Lucy — March 14, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

    I am such a fan of utterly anything lemon, so can never resist lemon bars. Love the thick shortbread layer – delicious and beautiful.

    • 8.1
      merrygourmet — March 14, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

      Thanks, Lucy. These were definitely hard to resist.

  9. 9
    Fuji Mama — March 14, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

    We never get sick of lemon bars at my house! I have to be careful about when I make them though, because if I don’t have enough people around to eat them, I end up eating way too many myself.

    • 9.1
      merrygourmet — March 14, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

      Lemon bars can definitely be dangerous! I know what you mean about eating too many — a hazard of the job, I find. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 10
    Rachel Winter — March 29, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

    LOVE THESE BARS!! can’t stop eating them
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. 11
    merrygourmet — March 29, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

    Rachel – Yay! I’m so glad you liked them.

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  15. 12
    Julia — October 14, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    I made these this morning, they’re PERFECT! I highly recommend them!

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  17. 13
    Alana — July 6, 2013 @ 7:22 am

    Just made this – turned out amazing! Very very yummy. We actually ate it hot with vanilla ice cream and strawberries. A bit like a warm lemon tart. Thanks for a great recipe!

  18. 14
    Jan Beaumont — November 5, 2013 @ 3:35 am

    Can you please tell me the difference between kosher salt and ordinary salt? Thanks so much!

    • 14.1
      Merry-Jennifer — November 5, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

      Essentially kosher salt crystals are larger than ordinary, table salt. If you prefer to use table salt, feel free.

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