Lemon Butter Bars are a fantastic lemon bar recipe with a twist! Three layers of buttery lemon goodness: a shortbread crust, topped with bright lemon filling & a sweet & tart creamy layer.
After you try these, don’t miss this collection of our BEST SPRING RECIPES!
Lemon Butter Bars is a unique recipe I simply had to try when I discovered it – I adore lemon recipes! They’re absolutely wonderful! I adore the bright lemony, sweet flavor and the triple layers add perfect texture. They taste better if made a day in advance, so plan accordingly! Like a combination of a fudgy brownie texture and that of a traditional lemon bar, you find this dessert standing alone in its unique texture and flavors. You’re going to want a second piece, so set it aside before offering this dessert to family and friends.
What are lemon butter bars?
Packed with a rich tangy sweetness in every moist and wonderful bite you will find these lemon bars. They’re the perfect summertime dessert and are sure to bring smiles and sunshine indoors even on a cloudy day. Made easy with basic ingredients, this tart-like dessert is one everyone will rave about for years to come.
Lemon Butter Bars Ingredients
For the Crust, You Will Need:
-Flour: The base of our crust recipe is 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.
-Powdered sugar: We want a sweeter crust so 1/2 cup of powdered sugar will give us a sweet crust with a smoother texture.
-Salt: With 1/2 teaspoon of salt we can enhance the crust flavors and make it taste incredible.
-Lemon zest: 2 teaspoons of lemon zest will flavor our crust so that the lemon flavor is in every bite.
-Butter: You will want to use 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) of cold butter that has been cut into pieces.
For the Filling, You Will Need:
-Eggs: We want 4 eggs for the filling.
-Sugar: 2 cups of granulated sugar will give us a sweetness that pairs well with tangy lemons.
-Flour: We need 1./4 cup of all-purpose flour for the filling to help it to thicken.
-Baking powder: With a teaspoon of baking powder we can help the filling to leaven a bit as it bakes, making it lighter and fluffier.
-Lemon juice: We want 1/3 cup of lemon juice to give our filling a wonderful lemon taste.
-Lemon zest: Adding in a heaping tablespoon of lemon zest will help our flavor and make the filling taste fresher.
For the Topping, You Will Need:
-Sour cream: We need to use 2 cups of sour cream for the topping. This is the amount found inside a 16 ounce container.
-Sugar: We want a sweeter topping so adding 1/3 cups of granulated sugar will do just that.
-Vanilla: 1 teaspoon of vanilla will help to make the topping taste incredible.
-Lemon Zest and Sugar: Optionally you can choose to mix 1 tablespoon of lemon zest with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and then sprinkle it over the top of the bars once baked for a nice garnish.
How to make lemon butter bars
Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Scrub 2 lemons to wash them clean before zesting both. Slice the lemons in half and then reserve the juice and lemon halves.
Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix well for about 5 minutes. You want to combine past the point of crumbs and to the point where the dough comes together into a ball. Press the dough into the bottom of your prepared baking dish.
Bake the crust in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
While the crust is baking, whisk together the filling ingredients and then pour them into the hot baked crust. Return to oven for 16-18 minutes or until the mixture is lightly browned around the edges and lightly set in the middle.
Stir the topping ingredients together and then spread it out over the top of the lemon bars, covering the surface. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Stir together 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle on top of the baked bars once removed from the oven.
Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably 24 hours.
Cut into squares and serve chilled. Enjoy!
LEMON BUTTER BARS
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 3/4 cup cold butter cut into pieces
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 heaping TBSP lemon zest
- 2 cups sour cream 16 oz
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 TBSP lemon zest + 1 TBSP sugar optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Scrub 2 lemons and pat dry. Zest both lemon rinds, then slice in half and juice lemon halves.
- Combine all ingredients for the crust in a large bowl. Mix for about 5 minutes. Initially the mixture will resemble coarse crumbs, but if you continue to mix, it comes together and forms a ball. Press dough evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- While crust is baking, whisk together ingredients for the filling. Pour onto hot crust and return to the oven for 20 minutes, until mixture is lightly browned around the edges and is lightly set in the middle. See note below about extending baking time.
- Stir the topping ingredients together and spread on top of lemon bars, covering the entire surface. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
- Stir together 1 TBSP lemon zest + 1 TBSP sugar and sprinkle on top of baked bars once they come out of the oven. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably 24 hours. Cut into squares & serve chilled. Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.
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How long are lemon butter bars good for?
These lemon bars are good for up to a week if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. You could also choose to slice them into serving sized pieces, individually wrap in plastic wrap, and store them in the freezer for a longer storage, then simply take one out at a time to eat after it thaws. Perfect for a lunch box dessert!
Can I use Greek Yogurt?
If you’d like to use a plain Greek Yogurt in place of the sour cream then go for it! The two can easily be interchanged but I have not personally tried the Greek yogurt option yet. If you try it, let me know in the comments below how it goes!
Enjoy lemon desserts? So do we! Here are more you can try:
- Lemon Lush recipe
- Easy Lemon Quick Bread
- Lemon Poke Cake
- Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake
- Lemon Ice Box Pie
- Glazed Mini Lemon Cupcakes
- Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Lemon Raspberry Muffins
- Lemon Buttermilk Bread
- Lemon Pudding Cookies
- Lemon Ice Box Pie Recipe
- Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Lemon Poke Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Quick Bread Recipe
- Lemon Raspberry Fruit Pizza
You’re going to love these tasty and fabulous lemon bars. With such a wonderful lemon butter bars recipe handy you’ll always have the perfect dessert for a party!
Make sure those bars are SET, not “lightly set” before you pour the topping on. I poured my topping on and the middle was like soup! And I baked the middle for 18 minutes. The topping fell in the middle of the middle layer! Disaster!
Agreed, the set in the middle was too soft, mine started to collapse. I would say 25 minutes and then the topping for ten. I am now baking it longer with the topping on. Lets hope it works, it is for my daughters 33rd birthday on the 4th.
2 stars for procedure: I made these exactly as described and the cooking time was way too short, my oven temperature was right on when I checked with a thermometer. I actually put them back in the oven after the topping was done but I realized we were in trouble. I cooked them an additional 15 minutes with the toppings all on. After 24 hours in the fridge the layers are JUST barely set. The flavour is great and we are enjoying them, but I wish I read the reviews before I baked so that I could have adjusted the middle layer time accordingly.
your instructions state 375 degree oven while your recipe states 350 degree oven. Which is correct and could that be the cause of the center not setting, if the temp. should be 375 and you are using 350?
Can full fat Greek yogurt be used instead of sour cream?
I think that’d work just fine!!
Are the 2 lemons described in the instructions (but not the ingredients) to be the total amount of juice/ zest for the recipe?
It depends on the size of your lemons. I made the entire recipe- all the zest and all the juice- from 2 lemons.
Mine is in the oven for the final 10 minutes, that doesn’t seem long enough! It smells amazing tho….
They fully set as they chill in the fridge. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed them!
Can you freeze these bars?
Josh Tenold says
is this Irene Walton?
same as carol, make sure the center is set. Mine turned to mush in the center and never set after 24 hours.
How did cooking it longer work? I just made it following the directions and it was an epic fail.
Diana Johnson says
Love the three layers. Lemon bars don’t last long in our house!
Shannah Coe says
These are absolutely amazing. They taste like summer in dessert form.
What a fabulous description Shannah! Thank you and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed them!
Julie @ Back To My Southern Roots says
I think I could eat an entire pan of these! I love lemon bars. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday!
April J Harris says
Oh how I love lemon desserts, and these look SO good! Shared on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page Thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!
Thank you April!
Will these bars freeze well?
They do freeze well Kelly!
this turned out a huge mess. There is way too much butter it makes a soupy crust when you bake it. I poured the second layer on and it caused the bottom layer to float to the top and just mix all together. No amount of cooking will thicken any of it. I didn’t bother with the third layer but let it all chill and will try to put the top on then. makes me sad to spend money on am these ingredients for this outcome.
Hi Susan, I think perhaps you missed a step or two? What you’re describing is nothing like I’ve ever heard. 🙁
Do you use unsalted butter or do you use butter with salt?
I always use salted but you can use either one!
which is correct, the 375 degree oven as stated in your instructions or the 350 degree oven as stated in the recipe? this applies to the lemon butter bars recipoe
It’s 350°F- thank you, I fixed it!