Chef John's Lemon Bars

Chef John's Lemon Bars

231
Chef John 22044

"This is one of my favorite cookies of all time, although technically they're closer to a pie than a cookie. Nothing prepares you for that intense, awesome sweet-tart lemon flavor and custard, perfectly contrasted against that crisp, sweet buttery shortbread cookie."

Ingredients

1 h 40 m servings 153 cals
Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 16 servings

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Nutrition

  • Calories:
  • 153 kcal
  • 8%
  • Fat:
  • 6.7 g
  • 10%
  • Carbs:
  • 21.8g
  • 7%
  • Protein:
  • 1.9 g
  • 4%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 51 mg
  • 17%
  • Sodium:
  • 47 mg
  • 2%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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Directions

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  1. Place an oven rack into middle position in oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil an 8x8-inch baking dish.
  2. Place 1 cup flour and butter in a mixing bowl and mash with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Mix in 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, and salt; mash mixture together until mixture looks like a slightly crumbly cookie dough.
  3. Moisten your fingers with a little water and press dough into bottom of prepared baking dish. Use a fork to prick holes all over the crust.
  4. Bake crust on center rack in the preheated oven until crust edges are barely golden brown, 22 minutes.
  5. Beat eggs and egg yolks together in a bowl; whisk in white sugar and 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Add lemon juice and lemon zest; whisk for 2 minutes. Pour lemon custard over crust.
  6. Bake on center rack until custard is set and top has a thin white sugary crust, 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Dip knife into very hot water, run around the edge, and cut into 16 squares. Dust cookies with 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar.

Footnotes

  • Cook's Note:
  • To add a meringue topping, whisk 1 egg white in a bowl until it forms a ribbon, add 1 tablespoon of white sugar, and whisk until mixture holds soft peaks. Spoon meringue into a resealable plastic bag, cut a corner off the bag, and squeeze meringue on top of cut bars in a decorative pattern. Brown meringue lightly with a kitchen torch.
  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Reviews

231
  1. 294 Ratings

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Most helpful

This is definitely the best lemon bar (square) I have ever tasted! I like to add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder to both the crust and the filling. It will help to get those tall, chewy bars (squares...

Most helpful critical

The flavor of these bars is excellent, and I love that they filled my kitchen with the aroma of lemon pie as they were baking. However, the baking times listed were much too long for my oven. ...

This is definitely the best lemon bar (square) I have ever tasted! I like to add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder to both the crust and the filling. It will help to get those tall, chewy bars (squares...

This recipe is almost like the one I've made for many years with three exceptions: no vanilla in the crust, only two eggs, and baking soda in the custard. I have to say that I really like how ...

I have made many lemon bars in my time. For some reason this one is the best. The crust is flaky like my English grandma's tarts and pies. The custard filling delicious and slightly tart. I migh...

Thanks, Chef John! Oh boy, these are goooood. I've made some pretty good lemon bars in my life, but hubby and I both agree these are the best. The filling is very lemony, with a perfect balance ...

I craved lemon bars my entire pregnancy and the day i finally made this recipe...i went into labor! Im not saying these bars are magic, but im not saying these bars arent magic either. Either wa...

The flavor of these bars is excellent, and I love that they filled my kitchen with the aroma of lemon pie as they were baking. However, the baking times listed were much too long for my oven. ...

Fantastic. For one thing, the timing instructions were dead on for both the crust and final product, which is rare in a baking recipe. One more minute would have been too long. The crust makes t...

I've made this recipe as is many many times. That is what the 5 stars are for. However, now I add 2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest to the crust before I finish blending it. I also inc...

My favorite dessert is lemon meringue pie, so when I saw this quick and easy treat that could possibly give me my lemon fix without all the work of a pie, I was all over it! I actually had my 3...