Best Lemon Bars

Best Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are all about contrast: sour lemon and sweet sugar, crumbly base and creamy topping, buttery crust and tart filling. Two common ingredients lift this recipe above the pack: baking powder for a fluffy filling and shredded coconut for a rich, round-tasting crust. (Once baked, the coconut flavor almost disappears.) Bakers who avoid preservatives will find an easy version of homemade sweetened coconut in the tip below the recipe.) For thicker lemon squares, use the square baking pan; for thinner ones, the large rectangle. For an easy lemon tart, simply cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8-inch round tart pan, pressing the crust up the sides.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 2 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch or 9-by-9-inch baking pan, preferably nonstick.
  2. Step 2

    In a stand mixer or food processor, combine crust ingredients. Mix or pulse until well combined and moist clumps form. Using your hands, press mixture evenly but gently into prepared pan.
  3. Step 3

    Bake crust until edges and top are light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate once for even browning.
  4. Step 4

    Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.
  5. Step 5

    Pour filling over hot parbaked crust and return to the oven. Bake until filling is almost set, about 20 minutes more. (Thicker squares, baked in the 9-by-9-inch pan, will take longer.) Start checking after 15 minutes; when you give the pan a gentle shake, filling should be lightly set all over and still quivery in the very center.
  6. Step 6

    Let lemon bars cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle the top lightly and evenly with confectioners' sugar.
  7. Step 7

    Cut into squares, diamonds or rectangles and remove from pan. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. If desired, sprinkle again with confectioners' sugar just before serving.