Mom’s Lemon Bars

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We’ve all eaten many lemon bars and I’m sure that many of you have baked dozens of them. The recipe I’m sharing today, however, is my mom’s recipe, and it is spectacular.

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Her recipe calls for powdered sugar in the base layer. I did not understand the significance of this seemingly small difference until I grew old and wise and realized I should always trust my mother.  It does something magical and wondrous to the texture of the bars and I will always make them this way from this point forward, forever, and ever, amen.

Mom always used regular lemons but I highly recommend using Meyer lemons if you can get your hands on them. They are naturally sweeter and far juicier than the regular variety. Thanks to our mild California weather, my little Meyer lemon tree produces pretty much year round, so I can bake up a batch of these whenever the desire strikes.

This is a dangerous thing.

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The grocery list is sweet and simple – All-purpose flour, granulated sugar, butter, salt, powdered sugar, lemons, and eggs.

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Using an electric hand mixer, blend together the softened butter, 2 cups flour, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

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Press the mixture down into an ungreased 13″ x 9″ baking pan. I’m using a rimmed baking sheet here but any standard 13 “x 9” pan will work just fine.  Pop the pan in a 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or till lightly golden brown around the edges.

While the base layer is baking, let’s get working on the ooey gooey lemon topping.

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Mom’s original recipe does not call for lemon zest but when I’m using Meyer lemons, I love to use some of the zest. Just like the juice of the Meyer, the zest is sweet and deelicious! This microplane does the job fast and easy.

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Grab a mixing bowl and whisk together the 4 eggs. Add the granulated sugar and salt and whisk again.

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I’m using my handy, dandy citrus squeezer to get every last bit of juice from my lemons. Keep squeezing till you 1/2 cup of juice, or very close to it.

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Add the lemon juice to the egg mixture.

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In order to add some texture to the topping, we will add some flour. Add 1/4 cup flour to the mixture and whisk to combine.

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The lemon topping is happy and complete.

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Pour the lemon topping over the pre-baked base layer while it is still warm from the oven.

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Place the pan back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

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Pull it out of the oven when the topping appears to be set and it is just beginning to lightly brown. See that little blemish there? We don’t need to worry about it because once it has cooled completely, we’re going to cover the whole thing with powdered sugar.

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See? Problem solved.

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Slice into serving sized pieces…

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…and consume!

Mom’s Lemon Bars
Servings: 24 bars
Base Layer:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lemons, juiced (approximately 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice - use Meyer lemons if available)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, optional
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, use an electric hand mixer to blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix for about 3 minutes until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9" x 13" inch pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or till lightly golden at edges.
  3. While base layer is baking prepare the topping. In medium sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs well. Add 2 cups granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk to combine. Whisk in lemon juice and lemon zest (if using). Finally, whisk in 1/4 cup flour until well incorporated. Pour over the warm, baked crust. Return to the oven for an additional 20 to 23 minutes at 350 degrees until topping appears to be set and is just beginning to lightly brown.
  4. Allow to cool completely then sprinkle surface liberally with powdered sugar. Cut into serving sized pieces and store in an airtight container.


  1. Laura says

    First my neighbor tells me to come over and take some lemons from his tree this morning and now this! What a coincidence! It was meant to be. Thanks for sharing Valerie. :)

  2. says

    I’ve always loved lemon bars, and yes, have eaten quite a few; however, I’ve never made them. My mother never made them so I don’t have a recipe from her; however, now that I have your mom’s recipe, I have one that I’m sure I will love!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    Ahaha, don`t argue with your Mom, right? Since my own mom doesn`t have a lemon bar recipe stashed anyways, I`ll be sure to make these on my own! I just love love lemon flavored desserts!

  4. says

    I haven’t had a lemon bar in forever. But they sound so good! I’m sorry I haven’t been around much to be supportive lately – it’s been a heck of a year in my house. I hope you have been well though!

  5. Gotsomelemons says

    Just bought a tubof Meyer lemons at Costco and did a google search for Meyer lemon bars. Your website came up, and boy am I glad it did! I made these for us tonight. They were amazing! I think I took them out of the oven too early as they were very gooey, but they tasted wonderful. Thank you for sharing a family favorite! I hope to build up family-tradition recipes as my husband and I are just starting our little family. Maybe this will be one of them. Thank you!

    • says

      I’m so happy to hear you loved them. It warms my heart to think that my mom’s recipe could become a tradition for your family :) Best of luck to you!

      • NC says

        I had EXACTLY the same experience: Tub of Meyer lemons from Costco! Found your recipe! Made them! Thought I took them out of the oven at exactly the right time, but mine were also gooey!! The flavor is great, but any suggestions about how to “fix” them now?!

  6. Tasia says

    I found your blog last night when I was looking for a really good lemon bar recipe. I’ve made them before with other recipes. Even though they were good I wasn’t wowed by them. I’m over the moon with your mom’s recipe and my family couldn’t get enough :). My search is over, it will be my go to recipe now. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. tina says

    Wow their exactly like my recipe except I use 1 cup juice andsix eggs.I just made them 2 weeks ago.I’m sure there just as deliscious.I use the powdered sugar in the base also and some zest.Its almost like a shortbread base.yummy

  8. dteresa says

    An excellent recipe! We were gifted with some Meyer lemons and this was the first thing we made with them. A big hit with everyone in the family (except for the baker because she keeps getting requests for MORE batches!) Thanks for sharing!


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