Chef John's Lemon Bars

116 Reviews 15 Pics
  • Prep

    20 m
  • Cook

    50 m
  • Ready In

    1 h 40 m
Chef John
Recipe by  Chef John

“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.”

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings

Original recipe yields 1 8x8-inch pan

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Directions

  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.

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Reviews (116)

Rate This Recipe
Mary Elizabeth
60

Mary Elizabeth

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). I love how Chef John gives us those excellent tips, such as beating the filling for 2 minutes, and wetting the knife before cutting the bars. Just follow the recipe exactly, and you will get your prize-winning lemon bars (I mean, lemon SQUARES!). Expect lots of complements!

Marianne
39

Marianne

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 this version turned out and will replace my old recipe with this one. I did double it because I have to gift at least half of it to someone else, and I knew my family would be very sad if they didn't get any. I wish I had a kitchen torch so I could have tried the meringue option! (I do not need another kitchen tool!) Thanks, Chef John, for another winner!

luvgoodfood
20

luvgoodfood

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 might add a bit more zest next time to make it even more spunky. This one is replacing all my other recipes.

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Nutrition

Amount Per Serving (16 total)

  • Calories
  • 153 cal
  • 8%
  • Fat
  • 6.7 g
  • 10%
  • Carbs
  • 21.8 g
  • 7%
  • Protein
  • 1.9 g
  • 4%
  • Cholesterol
  • 54 mg
  • 18%
  • Sodium
  • 47 mg
  • 2%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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