Lemon Bars

by Jun 6, 2024

This lemon bar recipe is similar to the one my mom made in the 70’s, but with 6 or 7 lemons instead of 1 or 2, lemon is the pronounced flavor instead of just sugar. These are sweet, no doubt about it, but delicious and so satisfying that one is enough. Thank you to Noelle Johnson for sharing the Studio Coffee Roasters “secret” recipe with Edible Bozeman a couple seasons back. I reduced the sugar a tad and used a shortbread-style method for the crust, just like mom’s. Enjoy!

Lemon Bars

makes one pan, 9- by 13-inches, about 18 pieces; adapted from Noelle Johnson's recipe



  • 8 ounces unsalted butter 2 sticks, cold from the fridge for shortbread crust, room temperature for softer, cookie crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar powdered sugar a fine substitute, mom's recipe called for it and it does make a fine shortbread
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Lemon Filling

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 6–8 lemons
  • lemon zest from the lemons, optional
  • cups granulated sugar reduce by ¼ cup if you like them more tart
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Shortbread or Cookie Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. The same ingredients can make a press-in crumbly shortbread crust or if the butter is room temperature, you can cream the ingredients into a dough and spread that into the pan. I find the shortbread to be both easier to deal with and tastier because it makes a crisp bottom crust.

  2. For best results, use a glass Pyrex dish, 9- by 13-inches, and line it with a piece of parchment—leave a couple inch overhang on the long edges so that you can lift out the slab after baking and chilling. It's ok that the short ends are unlined.

  3. For shortbread: Cut butter into the flour, sugar, and salt using a pastry blender or your fingers. Keep at it until the dough clumps together when you squeeze it between your fingers. Press into parchment-lined dish.

  4. For cookie crust: Cream butter, sugar, and salt then add the flour and mix until combined. Spread and press into parchment-lined dish (this is challenging but it will eventually work).

  5. Parbake crust for 20–25 minutes, until the aroma wafts and the top begins to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly while you make the filling.

Lemon Filling

  1. Zest lemons if you want zest in the filling, otherwise get right to work squeezing and straining the juice into a glass measuring cup.

  2. Whisk eggs, sugar, and flour until combined then slowly add the lemon juice and optional zest, whisking until smooth. Pour over the crust and bake for 35 minutes, or until it’s not too jiggly in the middle. Allow to cool, overnight in the refrigerator is best.

  3. Run a blade along the short edges of the dish then gently lift the slap from the dish using the parchment edges. If it is being difficult, use a blade or spatula to encourage the edges to release from the pan. Use a sharp knife to trim edges (if desired) and cut into serving-size bars. Wipe knife blade between cuts for a nice, clean look.


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