Super Easy Lemon Bars – 5 ingredients

Posted on Mar 30 2011 - 9:21am by Barry C. Parsons

Super Easy Lemon Bars. With only 5 simple ingredients and an incredibly easy recipe you can bake these luscious lemon bars that all who try,  just rave about!

Super Easy Lemon Bars using only 5 simple ingredients

Super Easy Lemon Bars using only 5 simple ingredients


Great lemon bars are an absolute baking classic and when I came home from school yesterday I found the house filled with the scent of these easy-to-make yet simply irresistible cookie bars.

Easy is the operative word in this recipe with a simple 3 ingredient crispy shortbread bottom and a simple whisked together lemon custard top. By the end of the day, the entire batch had disappeared.

With only 5 simple ingredients, these lemon bars are sure to become a new stand by recipe in your house like it did in mine. Once you see how fast and easy it is to throw together a batch of these incredibly tangy and delicious lemon bars, you’ll never waste another lemon again.

Super Easy Lemon Bars using only 5 simple ingredients 

For lime lovers check out the Lime Bars version of this fantastic, easy recipe.

Super Easy Lime Bars

Super Easy Lime Bars

Like this lemon bars recipe?

We have over 200 more great recipes like this in our Cookies Category and for other sweet ideas browse through hundreds of recipes in our Desserts Category.

Super Easy Lemon Bars using only 5 simple ingredients
Super Easy Lemon Bars
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
Using only 5 simple ingredients & a very quick preparation time, this is the easiest & best lemon bar recipe I've ever tried in almost 40 years of baking.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Author: Barry C. Parsons
For the pastry base
  • 1 cup cold butter cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
For the lemon layer
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of two lemons very finely chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons about 2/3 to 3/4 cup juice
To make the pastry base
  1. Using a pastry cutter or in a food processor blend together the butter sugar and flour.
  2. Press evenly into the bottom of a greased and parchment paper lined 9Γ—13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake for 20 to minutes at 350 degrees F ( 325 degrees F if you are using glass bake-ware) The bottom should just be beginning to brown slightly at the top edges.
For the lemon topping
  1. Simply whisk together the sugar flour, eggs, zest and lemon juice until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Allow the topping to sit for about 10 minutes before whisking together well again and pouring over the baked shortbread base.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for about another 20- 25 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the custard appears to be set. Cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar when cool or try adding a meringue topping.

92 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Leslie Edwardson March 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Lemon squares are one of my ultimate favourites and I’ve been craving them for awhile – I’ll try this recipe tonight!

  2. Jenn April 3, 2011 at 3:25 am - Reply

    I have been craving lemon bars – yours look delicious!

  3. Leslie Edwardson May 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    FINALLY got around to making these over the weekend – BEST LEMON SQUARES EVER!! They were breakfast, lunch and dinner at our house – love them!!

  4. Sou'wester Soul August 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Sou'wester Soul August 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    These are going to be my “go-to” Lemon Bars… what am I saying, all your recipes are becoming my “go-to” recipes. Wonderful!!!

  6. Anonymous August 14, 2012 at 1:16 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness Barry, these are phenomenal!!! Holy cow. Just made these today and I think I screwed up a little bit – disnt let filling sit for 10 BEFORE I mixed it and I think I overtakes them a tad. I have a 3yo and 14 month old twins do I am lucky I even got to make these!! They are SO good though!! Thank you do much for sharing πŸ™‚

  7. Katie October 14, 2012 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Just made these tonight as a thank you present for a friend who helped me move and loves lemons. Of course I taste tested, and they are great! So lemon-y! He will love them!

  8. karen August 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    This recipe is dangerous! It’s so delicious and easy to make, I’ve just made my second batch. I made the first one a week ago.

  9. Nicole August 8, 2014 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Gave this recipe a try (I had never made lemon bars before) and as I took the crust out of the oven, it was bubbly and oily :/ maybe I let the butter get too soft? Next time I’ll freeze the butter

    • Barry C. Parsons August 8, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Double check your measurements too. I have never had that happen. Did you use real dairy butter?

  10. Lisbeth August 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    These are delicious! But I have to ask. How is the crust supposed to be? Hard or soft? Mine turned out quite hard.

    • Barry C. Parsons August 14, 2014 at 7:24 am - Reply

      Crisp but not hard. Your oven may be a little hotter than mine. Try baking the bottom for a little less time next time.

  11. Reline September 7, 2014 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Just made these as part of my rainy Sunday cooking marathon (I love rainy/snowy Sundays)….wow… Easy and Yummy.. Definitely a keeper!

  12. Gigs October 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Are these freezable?

    • Barry C. Parsons October 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      I find they do freeze for short times. Add the powdered sugar after defrosting though.

  13. Norwegian Grandaughter November 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    THANK-YOU! I’ve been looking for a simple lemon bar recipe to make for 200 at an upcoming Christmas community event. Should I chill them before cutting? Also, if I make them a day or two ahead of time would it be best to keep them in the fridge or at room temp? Thanks again! πŸ™‚

    • Barry C. Parsons November 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      Best in the fridge I think. I’d keep them in the parchment lined pans, then dust them with the icing sugar and cut before transporting or on-site.

  14. Kat November 28, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    When you say whisk, you mean with a hand beater, stand mixer or by hand?

  15. Vanessa keller December 8, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    omg! Delicious, easy and oh soo good!

  16. lisa December 14, 2014 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Baking right now…smells heavenly!

  17. anne December 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    What if I do not have parchment paper? Is this a necessary requirement?

    • Barry C. Parsons December 24, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

      Not necessary but it makes them super easy to lift from the pan and cut.

  18. Kathy January 4, 2015 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Have a question I am making them and how should the crust look.. Mine looks powder.. I use the right amount of flour and butter and food processor.

    • Barry C. Parsons January 7, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

      It should be fne as long as you press it well into the pan.

  19. Maria January 4, 2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Okay i don’t cook much but could’t help but try this recipe! Question, I used an electric mixer to mix the crust part. (which was kinda a mess) – i don’t have a food proccessor.
    it was really powdery. once i got it to the pan though i just used my fingers and got it together? and also is the filling suppose to be kinda runny before adding it to the crust?

    • Barry C. Parsons January 7, 2015 at 11:43 am - Reply

      A mixer must have been quite a mess! You may have also over measured the flour but as long as you pressed it firmly into the pan it should have worked pretty well. The topping will be quite runny before baking.

  20. Dena Newman January 16, 2015 at 2:47 am - Reply

    can you suggest a good Gluten free flour mix to use for this recipe

    • Barry C. Parsons January 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      Never made them gluten free I’m afraid.

      • Kathi March 7, 2017 at 3:47 pm - Reply

        I just made these gluten free using coconut and almond flour and using palm of coconut sugar. They are really quite tasty!

  21. Robyn January 17, 2015 at 7:22 am - Reply

    Hi just checking when you say flour, do you mean self raising or plain flour? Having a family dinner and would love to make these. Thank you!!

    • Barry C. Parsons January 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      plain flour. We don’t use self rising flour at all here.

  22. Rachel Page January 18, 2015 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Oooh that looks fabulous!

  23. Robert January 18, 2015 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    This recipe is the best! I made them at Christmas and they never made it to the dessert table. After the first person tried one everyone wanted one and they were gone 10 minutes after I walked in the door. I’m an inexperienced baker and all the Rock recipes I’ve tried (about 6 now) have turned out great – I love this site!! The strawberry chiffon bars are another huge hit with my family. Thanks so very much for sharing!

  24. Karina January 23, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Baking these for the first time for my husband who loves anything lemon. Curious if the crust is to be cooled before pouring topping over?? Or just pour ready topping right after you take crust out of oven after it’s prebake?? I’m going to go ahead and pour topping over the hot crust………

    Looking forward to seeing how these turn out. πŸ™‚

  25. Jean Dzyuba January 26, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Hello, do you know how many calories are in this dessert?

    • Barry C. Parsons January 28, 2015 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      No idea. There are online calculators for that sort of thing.

  26. stacey beach January 29, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    I made these over the holidays and this recipe is a keeper!

  27. Francie Kline February 11, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    I’ve got these in the oven right now; I can’t wait to try them! Only change I made was that I ended up needing four lemons instead of two in order to get 3/4 of a cup of juice. Maybe my lemons weren’t as juicy! πŸ™‚

  28. Lori Williamson February 26, 2015 at 1:15 am - Reply

    I just pulled these from my oven! They went together fast , easy. They smell and look awesome. ( I added alittle spash of homemade limoncello) and I happened to have fresh meyer lemons β™‘ YUM! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Cloe March 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Just tried baking these! They’re amazing!!!

  30. Lizzie April 29, 2015 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Absolutely love! So easy and fast to make! They taste wonderful!

  31. Louis June 1, 2015 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Can I just check that the lemon layer is quite watery when unbaked? I’m not too confident about pouring this liquid layer above my pastry!

  32. teena July 15, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    love it…instead of using the lemon though I use the 2 tsp lemon extract and it still came out great. Thanks.

  33. Tammie September 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Can you make these the night before? If I do, do they need to be refrigerated?

  34. Taylor September 22, 2015 at 12:55 am - Reply

    They look delicious but I definitely would not consider it a “super easy” recipe.

    • Barry C. Parsons October 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      I actually laughed at that comment. If this isn’t easy, I don’t know what is.

  35. Lindsay September 23, 2015 at 12:09 am - Reply

    Best lemon bars ever! and so easy to make. Thank you!

  36. Angie October 5, 2015 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Just made these for dessert. Super easy and super delicious!! Everyone loved them!

  37. sharon October 8, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    I made these Lemon Bars for my brother for his Birthday. I took the whole pan to him and did not cut them. He tasted them and said they were delicious but he wanted to know why they had paper under them. I reread the recipe and did not see any instructions for removing the paper.
    did miss something. Overall a great easy recipe and delicious too.

    • Barry C. Parsons October 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      I truly mean no disrespect and I hope you are not offended but that really did make me chuckle out loud. My blog has been visited by millions of people and I have written hundreds of recipes that use parchment paper to line pans and never in the past 8 years has anyone ever mentioned this. Your brother must have been pretty hungry! πŸ˜‰ I’ve never seen parchment paper stick to anything baked ever before either. I’m afraid that comes under the umbrella of self explanatory. My wife just said you never have to tell someone to remove the paper liner from a cupcake before eating it. LOL! Sorry, I’m counting on your sense of humor here. πŸ™‚

  38. sue November 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    That was hilarious about the parchment paper! No disrepect either, but I needed that laugh!!!

  39. Jennifer W. November 24, 2015 at 10:12 am - Reply

    These lemon bars were super easy and extremely delicious. My son went crazy over them. My crust wasn’t as firm as I wanted it, so I’ll bake it a little longer the next time.

  40. Arleen November 25, 2015 at 9:28 am - Reply

    How much is 1 cup of butter? Is it 1 pound?

    • susan July 10, 2016 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      One cup of butter is 1/2 pound of butter.

  41. Crystal March 14, 2016 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    These look amazing. Lemon bars are my fav. I’m so glad this recipe doesn’t call for lemon pudding. I love raw ingredients and not anything boxed. I’m going to be making this tomorrow. I have something to look forward to tomorrow evening. Thanks! πŸ™‚

    P.s. Arlene, I saw no one answered your question. 1/4 cup of butter is half the stick of butter πŸ™‚

  42. Emma March 20, 2016 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Hi, these look lovely! What type of sugar did you use?

  43. Kris April 3, 2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Can you use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice?

  44. Mercil April 3, 2016 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Hi, Barry. I was wondering if oranges could be substituted in for lemons to make “orange bars” instead? Just wanted to get your opinion before trying πŸ™‚

  45. Neesa May 24, 2016 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I can’t wait to try making these! Quick question: salted or unsalted butter?

    • Barry C. Parsons August 19, 2016 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Either really. Your preference. I mostly bake with salted butter and omit any salt tin the recipe.

  46. Jo-Anne June 5, 2016 at 11:15 am - Reply

    When you say whisk the custard….i assume you were making a lemon curd and I wished over the stove…I think now . Should not have…

  47. Jacqueline O. June 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    This recipe is my go to recipe. It’s the simplest dessert recipe I have, yet it’s my husband’s and my sister’s favorite.

  48. Arleen October 2, 2016 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    For glass pans, you recommend baking the pastry bottom at 325. After you pour in the filling, do you still bake it at 325 or bring up the heat to 350?

    • Barry C. Parsons October 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      No you can continue to bake at 325 for glass bakeware.

  49. Melina October 31, 2016 at 12:04 am - Reply

    First time making lemon bars, thank you for sharing this easy recipe they came out delicious!!

  50. Amy November 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Do these freeze ok? Trying to get the rest of my christmas baking done and want to make these and hoping they can be frozen. I have all 3 of the Rock Recipe cook books and love trying the recipes. Great gift for people how live away like myself!

    • Barry C. Parsons December 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm - Reply

      They do freeze okay but freeze them on a cookie sheet before freezing them in airtight containers with parchment paper between the layers.

  51. Annmarie December 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Twice I have made these, first time with a gluten free flour replacement. Worked out fine, a little more dense base than with flour. The lemon seem to be overpowering. as I used the zest and juice of two lemons. Having to top up the lemon juice to 2/3 cup with real lemon concentrate. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome. It was worth a try.
    Second attempt I used a little less lemon zest, zest of 1 1/2 lemons. Juice of 4 smaller lemons. Regular flour. I have yet to try them as they are in the cooling process. Smelling, looking awesome. Am a huge fan of your recipes Barry.

    Thanks So Very Much For Sharing a piece of the “ROCK”

  52. Kim December 15, 2016 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Made these last Christmas and have this Christmas’ in the oven. My favourite and will always be on my annual Christmas baking list! Delicious and simple.

  53. Colleen December 24, 2016 at 1:41 am - Reply

    I don’t have a food processor, I have a bullet, kitchen aide and a food chopper. Suggestions on what to use to make crust?

    • Barry C. Parsons December 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm - Reply

      Just cut the butter in with 2 butter knives held between your fingers if you don’t own a pastry cutter.

  54. Dawn January 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    This is my new go-to recipe. They are literally fool proof!

    The only thing I do differently, at the advise from a fellow baker, is I melt the butter and mix in the flour/sugar for the crust and pat down in pan and bake per instructions. I would have never thought this was a good idea–now I don’t know if I will ever use my pastry cutter again. I have made these 3 times this way and the crust is awesome this way and what a time saver!!!!

    Still laughing about the paper on the bottom and when to remove. And great analogy about a cupcake!

    Anyway, thank you for such a great recipe using more than a lousy tablespoon or two of lemon juice!

  55. Durlinda February 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Anybody know the serving size and calories per serving?

  56. Wanda March 17, 2017 at 1:44 am - Reply

    Is the amount of lemon juice a whole cup or 2 lemons? I’ve never seen 2 lemons that would produce 1 cup of juice. They would need to be the size of oranges. Just want to be sure. They look divine.

    • Barry C. Parsons March 17, 2017 at 8:16 am - Reply

      There was an error in the word order with recent the new recipe format software. It is now fixed.

  57. Robin March 22, 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    I made these at Christmas and gave to neighbors with other cookie treats and I am asked to make more!!!! My truly favorite part is the crust! I’ve never been able to make pie crust but you’re instructions made it easy and perfect! Thank you!

  58. Melodie Bourque-Melanson March 28, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I am a little worried about the lemon zest part. What do you mean by “finely chopped”? I have never zested a lemon, but I know I would need a zester. Right? Would it be necessary to chop the zest?

    • Barry C. Parsons March 28, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      I actually use the fine side of a box grater to zest lemons. The goal is to avoid as much of the bitter white part of the peel as possible. I then put the grated zest on a cutting board and finely mince it into specks using a chefs knife.

  59. Juanita Jane April 2, 2017 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Just wanted to say that this recipe was a real “find”… am presently in Mexico and wanted a recipe for lemon bars that used ingredients I have on hand… which was everything except the confectioners sugar. So I looked up online how to make confectioners sugar from regular sugar. I used my blender and just blended it into powdered sugar… for the sprinkle of powdered sugar topping. I may never buy powdered sugar again.
    I also want to say it’s a good idea to let these set a little while after cooking before serving them. But then they are perfect! Thank YOU!

  60. Jackie April 17, 2017 at 1:52 am - Reply

    Follow the recipe exactly and you will NOT be disappointed. They dough may look like it won’t fill out the bottom of a 9×13-don’t worry, it will and the lemon topping will be watery when you place it in the oven-don’t worry, it will stiffen up.

    Never made before tonight, will make again for sure! Big hit and super easy.

    Recipe made about 15 bars (appx 2in by 2in) but you can get more out of it easier by cutting differently.

  61. silke April 21, 2017 at 6:14 am - Reply

    I would love to make this but ‘cups’ aren’t commonly used here and I was wondering if you have the recipe for the metric system?

    I know i can look up how to convert but I’m scared the quantities won’t be the same then….

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