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FoodBest Lemon Squares Recipe - Erren's Kitchen

Best Lemon Squares Recipe – Erren’s Kitchen

This Best Lemon Squares Recipe brings the perfect combination of tangy and sweet. They’re a lemon lover’s dream dessert.

Close up view of a stack of lemon squares with powdered sugar being sprinkled on top.Close up view of a stack of lemon squares with powdered sugar being sprinkled on top.

You only need a handful of ingredients to make the Best Lemon Squares Recipe. They are a wonderful citrus treat! Buttery shortcrust pastry base with a tart lemon filling and finished off with a dusting of confectioners sugar, and you will be licking your fingers clean after each one!

Why This Recipe Works

  • A touch of vanilla bean paste adds subtle flavor to the buttery shortbread base.
  • Lemon juice and zest ensure a wonderfully tangy element to the lemon filling.
  • A dusting of confectioners’ sugar finishes off these lemon bars perfectly.

I adore baking with lemon. From Lemon Pound Cake to Lemon Blueberry Scones, I love the tart sweetness you get in each bake. This lemon squares recipe is a tangy, not too sweet treat the whole family will love. 

How To Make Lemon Squares

  1. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Sift flour and salt, combine with butter mixture.
  3. Press dough into a pan and bake for around 40 minutes.
  4. Make the lemon filling.
  5. Pour the filling over the warm crust and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool, then dust with confectioners sugar and cut into squares.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient Notes

lemons, eggs, sugar and butterlemons, eggs, sugar and butter
  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour (plain flour) for the shortbread style base.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar or superfine sugar (caster sugar) is perfect for this recipe.
  • Butter: I like to use salted butter in my baking, but I always use the same brand and know the salt levels. You may want to use unsalted butter as different manufacturers add varying amounts of salt to their butter, resulting in a salty lemon bar. The best way to have consistent results from a recipe is to use unsalted butter, then add however much salt you need separately. If you don’t have unsalted butter, use salted and omit the extra salt.
  • Lemon Juice: I highly recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice as opposed to bottled for the best possible flavor.
  • Vanilla: I use vanilla bean paste. You can use vanilla extract or vanilla flavoring, whatever you have to hand.
  • Eggs: Always bake with ingredients at room temperature. If your eggs are in the fridge, take them out an hour before you begin to bake.

Step By Step Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F/160°C and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Leave an overhang on the sides so it’s easy to lift the bars out of the pan. Set the pan aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a food processor), beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and sugar vigorously until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. It’s essential to beat the butter and sugar well when making shortbread, ensuring it will be light, crisp, and hold together.

sugar and flour mixedsugar and flour mixed

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Add it to the butter mixture and mix until blended (forming large clumps)

dough in a bowldough in a bowl

Add the batter to the prepared pan, and using floured hands, press evenly into the prepared pan (including the sides). Dock the dough by pricking the top all over with a fork.

a fork pricking shortbread dough in a pana fork pricking shortbread dough in a pan

Bake until the base is light golden (about 30 minutes). If you like a crisper base, add an extra five minutes to the baking time, but it’s all a personal choice. Just be sure to check after 25 minutes and go from there. Once done, set aside to cool.

cooked lemon square basecooked lemon square base

Beat eggs and yolks together in a bowl; whisk in the sugar and flour until smooth. If you’re concerned about lumps, you can sift the flour and sugar together. Add lemon zest and lemon juice, then give it a good whisk. You want to ensure the flour and sugar are thoroughly combined with the eggs, lemon juice, and zest.

a whisk in a bowl of lemon fillinga whisk in a bowl of lemon filling

Pour the filling onto the warm shortbread base.

batter being poured into a panbatter being poured into a pan

I like to place the pan on a baking sheet so it’s easier to put in the oven.

Bake for around 25 minutes at 350°F/160°C or until the center is set (the center is set when it no longer jiggles when the pan is gently shaken). Rotate the pan halfway through for an even bake.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely at room temperature for 2 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill (about 1-2 hours).

batter in a panbatter in a pan

Once cool, lift the bars out of the pan with the parchment paper overhang on the sides. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares before serving.

Use a moist, sharp knife for neat squares and wipe the blade clean between each cut.

Tangy lemon squares with icing sugar on rackTangy lemon squares with icing sugar on rack

Make ahead and Freezing Instructions

  • Lemon squares are a great make-ahead dessert. They can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Just cut without dusting with sugar, then freeze on a baking tray for individual bars. Then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container and freezer for three months—Thaw and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Erren’s Top Tips

  • Use fresh lemons, not juice from a bottle, for a natural flavor.
  • Swap lemons with other citrus fruit (like for like) for a whole new dessert.
  • Please don’t rush the chill time you need for the lemon bars to set completely.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the bars. Moisten the blade with warm water, shake off the excess, clean the knife after each cut, and re-moisten for the neatest cuts.
  • Don’t worry if you’re unsure if the lemon bars are firm enough when you remove them from the oven. They will continue to set as they cool.
  • The powdered sugar is optional – It’s only used for a visual contrast in colors and added sweetness, but not required for a good batch of lemon squares.
a pile of lemon squaresa pile of lemon squares


Let’s Make
Best Lemon Squares Recipe

Luscious lemon filling, rich, buttery shortbread crust, and a dusting of powdered sugar make these lemon squares as delectable as dessert can get.

Prep20 minutes

Cook50 minutes

Total2 hours 10 minutes

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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/160°C

  • Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out of the pan. Set aside.

  • Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a food processor) beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla vigorously until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. It’s an important step to beat the butter and sugar well together when making shortbread as this ensures the shortbread is light, crisp and will hold together.

  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt. Add it to the butter mixture and mix until blended (forming large clumps).

  • Add to the prepared pan and using floured hands, press evenly into the prepared pan (including the sides).

  • Dock the dough by pricking the top all with a fork and bake until just golden, around 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  • Beat eggs and yolks together in a bowl; whisk in the sugar and flour until smooth. Add lemon zest and lemon juice; whisk well. Pour lemon filling over the crust.

  • Pour filling over the warm crust. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes or until the center is set and no longer jiggles when gently shaken. Remove bars from the oven and cool completely at room temperature for 2 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill until chilled (about 1-2 hours).

  • Once cool, lift the bars out of the pan by lifting with the parchment overhang on the sides.

  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares before serving.

  • For neat squares, wipe the knife clean between each cut.Cover and store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Tips + Notes

  • Use fresh lemons, not juice from a bottle, for a natural flavor.
  • Swap lemons with other citrus fruit (like for like) for a whole new dessert.
  • Please don’t rush the chill time you need for the lemon bars to set completely.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the bars. Moisten the blade with warm water, shake off the excess, clean the knife after each cut, and re-moisten for the neatest cuts.
  • Don’t worry if you’re unsure if the lemon bars are firm enough when you remove them from the oven. They will continue to set as they cool.
  • The powdered sugar is optional – It’s only used for a visual contrast in colors and added sweetness, but not required for a good batch of lemon squares.

 

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 262 (13%)| Carbohydrates: 42g (14%)| Protein: 3g (6%)| Fat: 9g (14%)| Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)| Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g| Monounsaturated Fat: 3g| Trans Fat: 1g| Cholesterol: 78mg (26%)| Sodium: 133mg (6%)| Potassium: 48mg (1%)| Fiber: 1g (4%)| Sugar: 30g (33%)| Vitamin A: 318IU (6%)| Vitamin C: 5mg (6%)| Calcium: 14mg (1%)| Iron: 1mg (6%)

Nutritional Data Disclaimer

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