Lemon Bars

Sweet, tangy lemon filling on top of a sweet shortbread crust, all finished off with a swirl of sweet cream cheese frosting.

This recipe could not be more simple to whip together. 

I like to add a little swirl of cream cheese frosting on top, because I love the combination of lemon and this smooth cream cheese frosting. Plus it adds a cute little something extra special to this classic dessert and looks adorable with a little sprinkle on top.

Lemon Bars


Shortbread Crust:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Lemon Filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, about 1 1/2 large lemons
  • 2-3 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (outer skin of the lemon, avoiding bitter white layer), about 1 1/2 large lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • powdered sugar, for topping

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional): 
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1oz (from a brick) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar), sifted 


Shortbread Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with nonstick spray. Mix together the butter, flour and powdered sugar until a soft dough forms and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Lemon Filling:
Beat all of ingredients together until light and frothy. Pour onto the hot crust and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until slightly golden on top. Let cool completely to set up. Top with powdered sugar before serving and slice into bars. 

Cream Cheese Frosting:
With an electric mixer, beat the softened butter on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in cream cheese and vanilla until smooth (make sure it is at room temperature so you don't get any lumps in your frosting). Add powdered sugar, on low speed, until fully incorporated. Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl. Increase to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.