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Shortbread Lemon Bars Recipe

Shortbread Lemon Bars Recipe

I've put together two family cookbooks over the years, and this recipe ranks among my favorites. These special lemon bars have a yummy shortbread crust and a refreshing flavor. I'm never afraid to make this dessert for guests since I know it will be a hit. —Margaret Peterson, Forest City, Iowa
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 15 min. + chilling YIELD:36 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1. In a food processor, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, and lemon and orange peel. Add butter; cover and process until mixture forms a ball.
  • 2. Pat into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until set and the edges are lightly browned.
  • 3. In a large bowl,combine all the filling ingredients. Pour over hot crust. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until set and lightly browned.
  • 4. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Spread over filling.
  • 5. Bake 7-9 minutes longer or until topping is set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into bars just before serving. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3 dozen.

Nutritional Facts

1 bar equals 172 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 51 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein.

Reviews for Shortbread Lemon Bars

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Reviewed Mar. 22, 2015

"I made these today using all fresh ingredients. I added toasted crushed pecans to the shortbread and added a homemade blackberry compote for a topping on top of sour cream. Looks delish and can't wait to taste them after dinner tonight. Wish I could attach a picture."

Reviewed Jul. 9, 2014

"Just finished making this. The sour cream layer has not set and I cooked it for extra time. I hope after cooling and overnight refridgeration it will set. Haven't tasted it yet, so we will see!"

Reviewed May. 16, 2014

"Can I just say these are the best lemon bars I have ever eaten? Fabulous! I put some in the freezer so I can get my fix every few days."

Reviewed Oct. 19, 2013

"This is too delicious for words. My grandchildren absolutely love them and beg for more."

Reviewed Oct. 2, 2013

"Very tasty! Loved the the tangy filling. Used powdered sugar as the topping . Very simple but very appetizing."

Reviewed Sep. 2, 2013

"My husband loves lemon anythings. I used toasted coconut in the crust. I toasted the coconut in a pan on the stove. about a cup (we love coconut) Then I only used about one cup of flour and the coconut. The crust dough was very sticky. I solved the problem by dusting the dough with flour then pressed it in the pan. (I used

parchment paper) I had to also use the old bottled lemon juice (didn't want to go to the store) It was still very good. Will probably make this lots."

Reviewed Sep. 2, 2013


Reviewed Sep. 2, 2013

"These are very good, nice lemon flavor. I did change the base a bit a few times by processing some toasted coconut and replacing half the flour with the fine ground coconut. Adds a great flavor."

Reviewed Sep. 2, 2013

"I haven't made these yet, but will. When baking these, I would be certain to have the sour cream at room temperature before putting it on the hot baked lemon bars. Instead of dumping it right onto the middle of he baked bars, begin putting tablespoons of filling on, starting around the outside edge and working in toward the middle. This is the way I do it to my sour cream topped cheese cake and it works. I really do think this will solve that sinking problem. I hope you try it. Jo"

Reviewed Jun. 2, 2013

"Never made lemon bars in my life, and this was one of the best desserts I've ever made for myself! Gotta watch that you bake it long enough, because part of the center fell a little, because I don't think I baked the second phase quite long enough. But it's out of this world!!!"

Reviewed Oct. 25, 2012

"Very good, but they need to be refrigerated or they are a mess."

Reviewed Sep. 3, 2012

"Actually, I hadn't tried these bars, but they are sure to be delicious!"

Reviewed Mar. 26, 2012

"I am like another viewer, this recipe just doesn't work for me. The bake times seem to be way off (no, there is nothing wrong with my oven!) I baked the filling for an extra 20 minutes, then gently poured on the sour cream topping and all it did was sink....made a real mess. But I continued on and baked it again for.. not 7-9 minutes longer but another 20! These bars are way too gooey for my liking and they definitely don't cut nicely. But hey, each to their own opinion."

Reviewed Sep. 10, 2011

"emaxwell.. i think the only reason your shortbread crust turns hard is because of over working the dough"

Reviewed Jul. 24, 2011

"These bars are absolutely delish and my husband loves them. I am planning on making another batch of them tomorrow."

Reviewed May. 9, 2011

"I think I know what happen. When I baked my filling and took it out and put the topping on, it went on fine except right in the center. I think it wasn't set enough because that is the only place the topping sunk in. I could be wrong but I think that is what happen to mine."

Reviewed Apr. 22, 2011

"I made this receipe for a church function and it got rave reviews. Was one of the first dessert pans to be emptied. The sour cream topping makes for a nice compliment to the sweet lemon filling."

Reviewed Mar. 25, 2011

"Delicious! These bars were a great hit at our bake sale at school. Will be making them again tonight for a meeting tomorrow. I highly recommend these!"

Reviewed Dec. 19, 2010

"This is an easy to make delicious lemon-bar recipe. However I always seem to have a problem with the shortbread crust coming out too hard! Any suggestions?"

Reviewed Oct. 25, 2010

"Mine turned out just like the picture. I am wondering if you used low fat sour cream and that was why yours didn't turn out- Plymouth. I poured the sour cream topping on the hot filling and it worked just fine for me. However, I never use fat free or low fat stuff when baking. I hope the next time you make this it works for you. Good luck! I loved it and so did everyone I shared it with- melted in my mouth delicious!!"

Reviewed May. 21, 2010

"Is there a mistake in the directions? Should you cool after baking the filling? The directions say to spread the topping over the filling. I did that and the topping melted into the hot filling. Then it says to bake again with the sour cream filling on top. Is this correct? Baking it completely melts the cream topping. I think something is wrong. Otherwise, they are delicious. But the picture looks as if there is a cold cream filling on the top. Help, someone!"

Reviewed Apr. 19, 2008

"well worth the time and effort to make these, even better the next day and the next if they last that long!!!"

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Wine Pairings

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.