Three lemon bars stacked on top of each other sprinkled with powdered sugar sitting on a piece of brown paper on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

How to Make Lemon Bar Dessert Squares

Combine sweet and tangy flavors to make a delicious lemon bar dessert that’s so easy, that even the kids can help create this delectable treat.

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My little chef-in-training, Tyler, was given his own apron and kid’s cookbook for Christmas. We’ve tried a few of the recipes from it so far, including the lemon bar recipe that was absolutely delicious!

Last week, Tyler asked if we could make something from his cookbook, and he wanted to make a dessert. So we looked through the book and found this recipe. He gets so excited to help in the kitchen. He immediately runs to grab his stool, wash his hands, and asks for help putting his apron on. Now and then, Ryan decides he wants to help as well.

I usually am not a fan of lemon-based desserts, but I couldn’t get enough of these. They are some of the best lemon bars I’ve ever had! I can’t believe how simple they are to make, and of course, the boys loved to help with this recipe. According to Tyler, he had to help since it was from his recipe book!

We made these just to have a delicious dessert. But they would be great for bake sales, baby showers or wedding showers, a morning brunch, or anytime you want something with that perfect combination of tart and sweet. 

Young boy in a cooking apron next to a stand mixer on the counter

A Note About the Ingredients

One of the best aspects of this recipe is the ingredient list. Everything required to make the lemon bars are foods I almost always have on hand. The only thing I don’t always have is a lemon, but the zest is just extra. And I do make sure to have lemon juice in the refrigerator at all times.

If you can, using fresh lemons is best for any lemon desserts, including these homemade lemon bars. It adds the right amount of tart flavor to the recipe. I purchase regular lemons, but you can also find Meyer lemons, too, if you want something a bit sweeter. 

Tip: when you separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, pour the yolks into a container. In the morning, make yourself some scrambled eggs or an omelet by adding 1-2 whole eggs. 

Kid-Friendly Lemon Bar Dessert Step by Step

Ingredients

Crust

  • 12 tbsp butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Filling

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

Crust

Start the recipe by making the crust. Use a mixer to blend 3/4 cup of butter in a large bowl until it becomes fluffy, usually about a minute. You can use a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer if you have one.

Then add the flour and powdered sugar, mixing until it forms a soft dough.

Young boy pouring powdered sugar into a stand mixer bowl

Grease a 9×13 baking pan and then press the dough into the pan in an even layer. You can also line the pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove the lemon bars after they have cooked. 

Young boy using his hands to pat down the crust in a large glass baking dish

Bake the buttery shortbread crust for about 15-20 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely before moving on to the filling.

Filling

While the crust bakes, use a mixer to combine the egg and sugar in a medium bowl. Then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.

Young boy cracking an egg over a stainless steel bowl

Blend in the flour until it is all combined, scraping the edges as needed.

Once the crust is cool, pour the filling into the pan over the baked crust. Tilt the pan around to make sure the filling covers the crust all the way to the sides of the pan and then tap the bottom of the pan to remove some of the air bubbles.

Bake the lemon bars for about 25 minutes. The filling needs to be completely set so it no longer jiggles. After 25 minutes, I used an oven mitt and gave the pan a slight shake. The filling wiggled a little too much, so I left it in for another 5 minutes. Allow the bars to cool completely. Use a sharp knife to cut the cooled bars into neat squares. Dust with a bit of confectioners’ sugar and serve. 

Three lemon bars stacked on top of each other sprinkled with powdered sugar sitting on a piece of brown paper on a wooden surface (vertical)

Kid-Friendly Lemon Bar Dessert Leftovers

Storage: The lemon bar leftovers should be stored in an airtight container. For best results, store them in the refrigerator, especially if you live somewhere with high humidity. 

Recipe

Originally Published On: May 8, 2019

Updated On: October 12, 2023

Three lemon bars stacked on top of each other sprinkled with powdered sugar sitting on a piece of brown paper on a wooden surface

Lemon Bars

Combine sweet and tangy flavors to make a delicious lemon bar dessert that’s so easy, even the kids can help create this delectable treat.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course:
Dessert
|
Snack
Cuisine:
American
Keyword:
crust
|
lemon
|
powdered sugar
Servings: 12 bars
4.80 from 10 votes

Ingredients

Crust
  • 12 tbsp butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
Filling
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

Crust
  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Add butter to a medium mixing bowl and blend with an electric mixer for about a minute or until it is fluffy
  • Add the flour and powdered sugar and mix until it forms a soft dough
  • Press the dough into a greased 9×13 baking dish until it covers the bottom of the dish and is mostly flat
  • Bake the crust for about 20 minutes or until it just starts to look golden brown
Filling
  • Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl combine the egg whites and sugar
  • Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract
  • Blend the flour into the mixture, it will still be very runny
  • Pour the filling over the cooled crust, making sure the filling completely covers the crust
  • Bake again for about 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is firm
  • Cut the lemon bars into squares and sift powdered sugar over top
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Nutrition Facts
Lemon Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 288 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 122mg5%
Potassium 54mg2%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 435IU9%
Vitamin C 4.9mg6%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

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54 thoughts on “How to Make Lemon Bar Dessert Squares”

  1. theclutterboxblog

    I love all things lemon and this is definitely one of my favorite ways to have it! Your recipe is different from mine though so I am totally going to have to try it and see which I like better! Love that your let your kids pick and help!

    1. I’d be interested to hear what the difference is! This came from a kids recipe book, so it’s supposed to be something they can easily do and enjoy. And these boys love to be in the kitchen, especially my oldest son!

  2. 5 stars
    It’s great when kids can learn skills and have fun making things. They are adorable, and these lemon bars look amazing! They’d be gone in two seconds in my house!

    1. Even before I knew how much they loved helping in the kitchen, I always said I would make sure to teach them at least the basics of the kitchen so they can feed themselves when they are older! And these lemon bars did not last long here either!!

  3. 5 stars
    The kids did a great job! I’m sure it was a real confidence booster to see you wolf down a lemon-based dessert you wouldn’t normally eat! Teaching kids to cook from a young age is so important. Not only is it an invaluable skill in itself, but it also teaches them to follow directions.

  4. Oooo how delicious!!!! Lemon is a favorite of mine! Especially this time of year. Definitely need to make these lemon bars with my daughter!!

  5. Lemon bars are my favorite dessert! I can’t get enough of the tanginess! It’s awesome that he loves to help you in the kitchen too. I hope when I have kids, they’ll want to help me!

    1. We started them in the kitchen from a young age. First, it was just pouring and a bit of mixing but we’ve started letting my oldest son even use a knife a few times now!

  6. 5 stars
    I am going to have to make these with my daughter whether she ends up liking them or not. I love lemon bars and I love trying to make things with my daughter. This would be fun, and at least I’d enjoy the fruits of our labor. She’d just have fun doing it. 🙂

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