Easy Lemon Bars (5 Ingredients!)

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Easy Lemon Bars with just 5 Ingredients are a 50 year old recipe that are rich, sweet and tart.

Easy Lemon Bars with just 5 Ingredients are rich, sweet and tart and they taste like they are straight from the bakery. The recipe is from a bakery who has been making them for 50 years.Easy Lemon Bars are one of those desserts that I have loved since I was a kid when most kids were all about chocolate. I think it is just the sour candy lover in me that can’t get enough of the sweet and tart flavors, but lemon bars are pretty much perfection in my eyes. 

*Quick Note* Sorry for the late post today! The last 24 hours has been a huge issue with servers and only 10 minutes ago did I get the go ahead to post.

The best thing about these *truly* Easy Lemon Bars is that the crust, which most people would normally say is the toughest part to make, is made in 20 seconds completely in a food processor. You literally just add the flour, sugar and butter cubes and let it go for 20 seconds. That is it, no scraping, no whipping eggs or adding ingredients in one at a time. It is just the best shortbread base and takes no effort at all.

The filling is just as easy, everything in a bowl, five seconds of whisking and the hardest part is just waiting for that shortbread base to come out of the oven before baking off the bars.

So with a recipe so easy I thought I would also share my favorite versions of this bar with you guys!

  • Add in strawberries! I’ve used both fresh sliced berries and freeze dried strawberries.
  • Swap out 1/4 cup of the lemon juice for lime or orange juice, I’ve even used tangerine juice with awesome results.
  • Add poppy seeds to the top and to the shortbread base for an awesome lemon poppy bar.
  • White chocolate, melted and drizzled on the shortbread base after it comes out of the oven and before the lemon layer.
  • Jam! I’ve added berry, orange, and even pineapple jam to these bars before. Just little spoonfuls after adding the lemon layer. Easiest hack ever and I normally do it when I’ve got 1/3 of a bottle left and need the refrigerator door space. 🙂

Easy Lemon Bars with just 5 Ingredients are rich, sweet and tart and they taste like they are straight from the bakery. The recipe is from a bakery who has been making them for 50 years.


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Easy Lemon Bars (5 Ingredients!)

  • Yield: 16 bars
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Dinner, then Dessert
Easy Lemon Bars with just 5 Ingredients are rich, sweet and tart and they taste like they are straight from the bakery. The recipe is from a bakery who has been making them for 50 years.


For the crust:

  • 12 tablespoons cold butter , cut in small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the butter, sugar and flour to a food processor and let process for 20-30 seconds or until the dough comes together into a ball
  3. Press into an 8x8 inch pan that you have lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake the crust for 22-25 minutes.
  5. Combine the 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 4 eggs, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl and whisk well.
  6. Let sit at least 15 minutes while the crust is baking.
  7. Whisk again just before pouring it onto the crust in case any sugar settled at the bottom.
  8. Put the pan back in the oven for 20-22 minutes.
  9. You don't want the tops to brown, just to set.
  10. The beauty of lemon bars is the beautiful, vibrant yellow color of them.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 16 bars, Amount per serving: calories

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

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Easy Lemon Bars with just 5 Ingredients are rich, sweet and tart and they taste like they are straight from the bakery. The recipe is from a bakery who has been making them for 50 years.

Easy Lemon Bars with just 5 Ingredients are rich, sweet and tart and they taste like they are straight from the bakery. The recipe is from a bakery who has been making them for 50 years.
Easy Lemon Bars with just 5 Ingredients are rich, sweet and tart and they taste like they are straight from the bakery. The recipe is from a bakery who has been making them for 50 years.

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  1. First of all, I love all things lemon and citrus, so right off the bat I’m a fan of this recipe. But I love the ideas for adaptations you provide, too! I mean, switching things up can be a delicious way to approach recipes! Yum.

  2. I love lemon bars– it’s one of my favorite treats! The tangy lemons, sweet powdered sugar and butter crust is the seriously addicting! I can’t wait to try these!

  3. I followed the recipe to the letter, and mine did not turn out, anything like yours. 🙁 I am kind of disappointed. Maybe I made the filling wrong? I am going to try again, and see if I get a better outcome. Thank you for sharing this quick and easy recipe.

    1. Me, too. I put them in the fridge. I day later they were a little better. Definitely not like the ones you buy. Tastes good, though. 🙂

  4. Wow! These lemon bars are A-mazing! 😀 I used limes instead of lemons and it turned out wonderfully! The lemon bars (or lime bars) were deliciously tart, with a perfect balance of sweetness. Thank you for this scrumdiddlyumtious recipe!

    1. So sorry this message got snagged in my spam filter! What size pan did you use? Would be happy to troubleshoot via email, media @ dinnerthendessert . com

  5. I messed up this recipe because I was working top-to-bottom… Ingredients list very clearly says how much sugar is needed for the crust, than omits it from what is needed for the filling. Something to double check for next time

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry. The recipe plug in must have had a glitch. I know it doesn’t help now, but I edited it. Thanks for letting me know.

    1. Definitely! My suggestion would be to keep them in a sealed container in the refrigerator and the take them out a few hours before serving. I would also wait to dust them with powdered sugar until before serving.

    1. Yes but make sure that you’re using 2 8×8 pans so ensure that the thickness stays the same and then you won’t have to adjust bake time. Enjoy!

  6. Made these tonight. Turned out delicious. They were a little soupy at first, but a few extra minutes in the oven fixed that. Looking back at the recipe, I think I know why. The recipe doesn’t specify what size eggs to use. Mine were extra large. Bumped the oven temperature up to 375 and put them back in for an extra 15 minutes, and they turned out fabulous!

  7. This might be a dumb question, but how do I go about measuring 12 tablespoons of ‘cold butter?!?! If we were dealing with melted butter that would be easy to do. But how does one measure cold butter in tablespoons? I would love to try this recipe but can’t get my head around this.

  8. Hi,
    I have a few questions.
    1. Should the crust be pricked with a fork before baking?
    2. Should be mixture be left to sit at room temp or in the fridge?


    1. Sorry it took me so long to respond. Your questions were snagged in my spam filter.

      Yes, you can prick the crust with a fork before baking. The mixture can be left on the counter before baking.
      Thanks for your patience!

  9. I just made these and had the same problem as another person – the middle is not firming and staying very liquidy. I am super bummed. I followed the recipe to a T and I am using a 8×8 pan.

    1. I’m so sorry you’re having issues with it. If it’s not firming up, it sounds like it needs to cook longer.

    1. Just until they’re cooled….10-15 minutes, maybe. It’s easier to cut once it’s been refrigerated as well. Enjoy!

  10. LOVED these! However, nowhere ion your recipe to you say to use powdered sugar. I just took it as obvious from looking at them.
    They were PERFECT! and Oh, so easy!

  11. I have made these twice now and both times they turned out delicious! My lemons come from my own backyard so these bars are now a regular treat in my home.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Absolutely the best lemon bars I have ever made. Super easy to follow instructions. Thank you for sharing your recipe, it’s a keeper. I will be making these again next week for a get together.

  13. It’s great absolutely love it ! Also made as a double mixture as the first time it disappeared too quick! Cooked the base and then with the filling in for five mins extra each. Also added twice as much lemon zest and served with whipped cream. Yum thank you for the recipe !

  14. Super easy and wonderful! I have made these several times with gluten free flour for my gluten free friends and they rave about them. I’m in Florence, SC and we are waiting on Hurricane Florence at this very moment. I am making these to go in Hurricane prep kits for friends! Great recipe. I always use fresh lemons. You just can’t beat fresh lemons. Thank you for a great recipe.

  15. How thick should the crust be? How high up should the sides of the crust go? Do you roll out the crust or just press it into the pan? Thanks.

  16. I’m confused – do you mean a mixer & not a food processor for the crust? My food processor is not breaking down the butter.

    1. Nope, I meant food processor. Sounds like maybe you need a new one but luckily they aren’t expensive, around $30 for a good one. The be-all and end-all of a good pie crust or even shortbread is the crust and it takes about 15 seconds to do it in a food processor. If you like to bake, it’s worth it to invest in a new one. I recommend this one: http://amzn.to/2abJciK Feel free to email me if you’d like other recommendations. 🙂 contact @ dinnerthendessert .com

  17. My filling was really liquidy rather than curd-like. This was a major concern for me. They finished baking with a nice crust, golden around the edges, but the filling is still somewhat loose. Wish I could attach pictures for you to see to get your feedback & suggestions for assistance.

    1. Oh no, sounds like it needed to be baked longer. If you decide to try again and notice the same issue, protect the crust by wrapping foil around it and bake longer to ensure the middle is done. Hope this helps!

  18. I tried the recipe and I followed it exactly but after I poured the filling in and put it back in the oven, I pulled it out at the end only to see that the crust rose to the top with the parchment paper between crust and filling. The whole thing was ruined, I don’t understand why it happened?

    1. Oh no! I’m not sure why this would’ve happened. Let’s troubleshoot together and try and figure it out. Email me at contact @ dinnerthendessert .com

  19. Made these lemon bars for one of our Xmas desserts as we have so many things chocolate & thought this would be a refreshing choice!
    The recipe was very easy to follow & quick to make. I did have to bake for an additional 10 min. & then firmed it up & came out beautifully! Thank you!

  20. Hello Dessert Luvers????
    I fancied my family this holiday season w/those delish lemon ? bars… they were the highlight of the holiday dessert menu. We all wanted something different aside from the mundane sweet potatoe pies… so wala “lemon bars” made simple & everyone enjoyed a square. Thanks this will be our family’s new featured dessert “Lemon ?bars”.