Zesty Lemon Bars Recipe

When you need a dessert pick me up that is refreshing, zesty, and boasting bright lemon flavor these Zesty Lemon Bars will be your automatic go-to! Whenever I think of lemon bars I imagine bold, sweet, tangy, and crowd pleasing. My zesty lemon bars add an extra burst of lemony delight with lemon zest in the shortbread crust as well as in the filing that is infused with freshly pressed lemon juice. If you love lemons then you have come to the right place!

Growing up I didn’t love chocolate. I know… I’m ashamed to even admit that! My tastes have drastically changed since then, as you can tell by my pension for all things dark chocolate like my Decadent Dark Chocolate Brownies. However, the one dessert I could eat on a daily basis is a classic lemon bar. In fact, I would still dive head first into a pan of lemon bars for breakfast, snack, dessert, or midnight snack!

The criteria of my perfect lemon bar is as follows. It must have a delicious shortbread crust that has sweetness, flavor, and texture. That slightly gooey filling must be bursting with a strong punch of lemon. I want lemon overload! And I want the crust to be thick, with a ratio of slightly more filling to that kick-ass crust. I admit I’m a gal who wants it all. Do you hear me, universe?! Hmm, just thinking about my Zesty lemon bars has made me a bit zesty! Lemon Bars are a classic dessert that brings joy with first glance. They perk up any picnic, party, or potluck. Expect these Zesty Lemon Bars to be gone in a flash!

Let’s Bake!

These zesty lemon bars are assembled easily then need to be chilled for at least 2 hours before devouring.

The Crust

We begin with baking up a shortbread crust. The crust will take flour, salt, sugar, and a heaping tablespoon of fresh lemon zest.

Lemon bar crust ingredients

Give this a mix before adding in two sticks of salted butter. The butter should be cold. You will cut the butter into small chunks then use a pastry cutter to blend this mixture together. This mixture will then get pressed into a buttered pan.

Press crust into pan

See all that lemon zest throughout! Just making these bars will perk you right up!

Bake this for about 20 minutes, until the crust bubbles up and edges begin to brown.

In the meantime, work on your filling.

The Filling

In a large bowl, whisk a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks.

Whole eggs and egg yolks

Then add in granulated sugar.

Granulated sugar and eggs

Give this a good whisk. Good as in, give it some muscle and dissolve that sugar!

Sugar and eggs

Zest up one of the large lemons you’ll soon be juicing. Remember, these are Zesty Lemon Bars, so we want that lemon flavor to pop, dance, and party in your mouth!

Add lemon zest to lemon bar filling

Then comes the fresh lemon juice.

Notice I have my nails done for once! You’re welcome! Add in your juice.

Sprinkle over some flour and a pinch of sea salt. Any guesses what you do next?

Whisk! I knew you were paying attention! Look how sunny, joyful, and vibrant this Zesty lemon filling is. And it smells so bright and lemony!

You’ll know your crust is ready once it’s puffed up and the edges have browned.

Over this hot crust you will pour over your lemon filling.

Crust and filling of lemon bars

Then bake up these dreamy bars for about 22 minutes.

Baked lemon bars

Now the hard part. You have to let these completely cool and then some. These need to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours.

But then, dust them with powdered sugar and scarf them down!

Powdered sugar on top of lemon bars Cut Zesty lemon bars

Zesty Lemon Bars

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups all- purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 sticks cold salted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender or rosemary, chopped (optional)

Filling:

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon zest. (I use 2, and it packs that lemony punch and tang!)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 pan.
  • In a bowl, add flour, salt, sugar, and grated lemon zest, and mix.
  • Cut up cold butter into small chunks then use a pastry cutter to blend it up into flour mixture until it’s all a pebble-like consistency.
  • Press crust into the pan.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes, until edges are golden and crust has puffed a bit.
  • While baking, make filling. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks.
  • Whisk in sugar.
  • Add lemon zest and juice.
  • Sprinkle over salt and flour, then whisk.
  • Pour lemon filling over hot crust.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

Notes:

  • Use lavender, rosemary, or thyme in the crust for added flavor profiles.
  • Use reserved egg whites to whip up a Swiss meringue topping for the zesty lemon bars.
  • As I noted, I use 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Zest, but feel free to start at 1 Tablespoon and see what you think.
  • To answer that big question, how to store these Zesty Lemon Bars. check out – https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-store-lemon-bars/

Check out these other Ritzy Recipes!

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Orange & Coriander Madeleines

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