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Bake-Sale Lemon Bars Recipe

Bake-Sale Lemon Bars Recipe

The recipe for these tangy lemon bars comes from my cousin Bernice, a farmer's wife famous for cooking up feasts. — Mildred Keller, Rockford, Illinois
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling YIELD:48 servings


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Additional confectioners' sugar


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until blended. Gradually beat in 1-1/2 cups flour. Press onto bottom of a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • 2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice and remaining flour until frothy; pour over hot crust.
  • 3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lemon mixture is set and lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar. Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 4 dozen.

Recipe Note

Test Kitchen Tips

  • Bottled lemon juice works here, but for the most lemony lemonness, squeeze your own, fresh. Better yet, zest that lemon before squeezing, then add 1 teaspoon of the grated peel to the filling.
  • Line the pan with nonstick foil before baking, and the bars will come out easily when they're done. No cleanup needed!
  • Nutritional Facts

    1 bar: 77 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

    Reviews for Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

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    ChrisD1717 User ID: 8325994 271729
    Reviewed Aug. 14, 2017

    "These were excellent. Took them to work and everyone raved. I did use zest of one lemon, gave it a great lemon flavor. Will make again. Great job Mildred. Thank you...I am also from Rockford. Nice to see a fellow neighbor in print."

    Heather User ID: 9213356 269032
    Reviewed Jul. 5, 2017

    "Made these today. easy, fast and delicious. I did use some lemon ?? rind in my recipe as per the tips. Spot on. I can see why so many people love this recipe. Thank you to all who rated and Made comments, it sure helps in selecting what you are willing to try. This will go in my keepers list of recipes. I will be sharing it with my family. Yum."

    amsm User ID: 8302234 268943
    Reviewed Jul. 3, 2017

    "These are delicious and easy to make! My daughter and I just ate two a piece! The best part is that these are made with ingredients that I had on hand.The crust was a perfect crunchy texture and the filling set up nice!"

    homemadewithlove User ID: 4311884 267649
    Reviewed Jun. 5, 2017

    "Love lemon bars! Always enjoyed at Easter and spring get togethers."

    Doris User ID: 4412419 264481
    Reviewed Apr. 9, 2017


    Nonnok User ID: 6085138 264463
    Reviewed Apr. 8, 2017 Edited Apr. 13, 2017

    "I have used this exact recipe ever since I found it on the box of Minute Maid frozen lemon juice in the 1970's. The crust is delicious but will crumble easily, so serve on a plate. Best lemon bars ever!!"

    Mary User ID: 9133286 264442
    Reviewed Apr. 7, 2017

    "Have made this recipe from Taste of Home for over 20 years, it is absolutely The Best. Even better with fresh lemon juice & zest."

    gramcayo User ID: 5095727 264433
    Reviewed Apr. 7, 2017

    "Does anyone know if these can be frozen or how long they will last? Thanks!"

    SecretarialSue User ID: 8125024 262004
    Reviewed Mar. 3, 2017

    "Everyone loves them!"

    Susan User ID: 7886094 260928
    Reviewed Feb. 7, 2017

    "Very easy and fast to put together. I thought I had fresh lemons and was wrong. Used the bottled kind I had in fridge and was still very yummy. Now I use the bottled as back up when I am out of fresh or when lemons are higher priced. Fresh was better of course. I use this recipe a lot."

    nicki1966 User ID: 8116565 257084
    Reviewed Nov. 21, 2016

    "These were super easy, delicious and the crust was buttery and the filling was so creamy. My friend gave me the receipe, I'm so glad she ever!"

    delowenstein User ID: 3766053 256293
    Reviewed Nov. 2, 2016

    "I made these bars back on 9/16/16. I took them to our Chapel picnic and they went over very well! Thank you, Mildred Keller, for this recipe! The bars were very simple to make and if I recall, I had also prepared them way back in 1997. Lemon is a favorite flavor with a number of people and these bars are NO exception! delowenstein"

    dmkinsey User ID: 5897555 251813
    Reviewed Jul. 24, 2016

    "I thought these bars were really good and very easy to make. My family likes them, and I'll make them again."

    PrplMonky5 User ID: 6612040 248810
    Reviewed May. 30, 2016

    "I made these for my dad and he really liked them. I thought they needed a bit more lemon. I didn't read the reviews until well after I started. I used fresh squeezed lemon and added some lemon zest but I still didn't think it was enough. I also baked it less than it called for and the edges burnt. Next time I'll lower the baking time even more and add in more lemon juice like others suggested."

    tinarm User ID: 163179 246279
    Reviewed Mar. 29, 2016

    "Made for Easter, delicious! Very refreshing with all the other rich foods we had. I happen to have a bunch of Meyer lemons that were on sale. I used about 1/3 cup juice and a heaping teaspoon of zest in the filling."

    Jeraljt User ID: 8003578 245624
    Reviewed Mar. 18, 2016

    "easy to make. Big flavor. Used real lemon's. Made it for treat day and co-workers requested the recipe."

    nhcoco User ID: 8668341 243702
    Reviewed Feb. 12, 2016

    "very good as is, I used fresh lemon and zest. Next time I will use less sugar and double lemon topping, I like it tart."

    karilinden User ID: 3118161 242988
    Reviewed Feb. 1, 2016

    "I have used this recipe for years! Always turns out great and everyone loves them. I HIGHLY recommend using fresh lemon juice. It makes all the difference!"

    sherrylzinke User ID: 8487996 237901
    Reviewed Nov. 22, 2015


    nbc92168 User ID: 3146393 231957
    Reviewed Aug. 29, 2015

    "My granddaughter & I loved the taste & she took some to work & everyone raved about them & said I could bring more anytime."

    papa60 User ID: 2543625 231206
    Reviewed Aug. 14, 2015

    "Love , love these lemon bars taste is great my family loves them I will b making them again !!"

    whoknew? User ID: 3643851 230111
    Reviewed Jul. 24, 2015

    "Made these for a golf cookout...used fresh squeezed juice, 1/3 C and grated peel from 2 lemons, as suggested by another reviewer. People were crazy about these! Now, they want them at the next cookout. Super easy and tasty recipe!"

    CookABunch User ID: 8389522 227803
    Reviewed Jun. 12, 2015

    "Absolutely delicious. I've made them three times in as many weeks, and can't seem to have enough! So quick and easy to make. I needed them non-dairy, and I don't use margarine, so I substituted oil. It came out great!"

    Sue Zappa User ID: 1094741 227395
    Reviewed Jun. 3, 2015 Edited Feb. 22, 2016

    "Absolutely THE BEST lemon bars I've ever had! I incorporated some of the suggestions made by reviewers, & used the juice of fresh lemons, added the grated peel from one of them to the filling, & cut the sugar in the filling to 1 1/4 cups! Terrific & will make often!"

    robin hodge User ID: 1994219 225497
    Reviewed Apr. 27, 2015

    "Wonderful recipe! easy to make and tastes great!"

    antiqueroselover User ID: 8341753 225015
    Reviewed Apr. 18, 2015

    "Excellent bars. I pressed the crust in the pan just enough to hold it together and it turned out light and fluffy. I used Meyer lemons which are a little mild so I added 2 t of grated rind. I would make them exactly like this again."

    dschultz01 User ID: 1076910 224236
    Reviewed Apr. 5, 2015

    "These were pretty good. The crust was a little thicker than I would prefer (was about half crust and half filling), and was a little too firm. Not sure if that was because I over-baked or over-mixed it. I did use juice from real lemons (two of them), and it definitely made them taste great."

    [email protected] User ID: 3572716 223722
    Reviewed Mar. 28, 2015

    "Best lemon bars ever!!"

    143200 User ID: 8288158 222555
    Reviewed Mar. 11, 2015

    "Be sure to use SALTED butter. If you use UNSALTED you will not get the flavor. Makes a big difference. It should state in the recipe to use SALTED butter."

    mommayor User ID: 6425768 222271
    Reviewed Mar. 7, 2015 Edited Sep. 24, 2015

    "I took these lemon bars to work and everyone loved them. Thought the bottom crust was going to be too hard but it wasn't. Turned out perfectly!"

    abby_girl User ID: 4821627 221665
    Reviewed Mar. 1, 2015

    "Made these many years family & I definitely approve of them!"

    funny2 User ID: 6096325 217816
    Reviewed Jan. 14, 2015

    "I have made these several times. They always turn out great. People really enjoy them."

    GrandMawMaw User ID: 7998381 216840
    Reviewed Jan. 4, 2015

    "Very Good Lemon Bars, soft lemon taste. My baking times were less than indicated in recipe. However, I always watch what I am baking because oven temperatures vary. Also, your baking pans also impact baking time. With regard to the filling, it should be whisked for about 5 minutes. Will definitely bake these bars again!"

    [email protected] User ID: 2926608 215783
    Reviewed Dec. 24, 2014

    "This is my go to recipe for lemon bars. I have had many compliments on this recipe. Have made it numerous times with perfect results. The shortbread crust is very different from the usual lemon bars."

    ienon User ID: 7344420 6287
    Reviewed Sep. 21, 2014

    "I just made this. The crust did not spread so the lemon mix did not work on top. Will not make again as did not think it was vey lemon either."

    wantabepastrychef User ID: 1882553 200914
    Reviewed Aug. 26, 2014

    "This is in response to nramsey's post. To added more lemon flavor to these bars I zested one lemon in addition to the juice in the recipes. This added a refreshing tartness."

    eyeball4 User ID: 2602555 19814
    Reviewed Aug. 21, 2014

    "most lemon bars call for lots of eggs which i cannot have, so glad to get this recipe. Can you substitute lime juice?"

    treyso User ID: 6682730 11487
    Reviewed Jul. 19, 2014

    "good but not great.. bottom was crusty, top was runny."

    Ponygirl1014 User ID: 1584755 9851
    Reviewed Jul. 18, 2014

    "I just made a batch of these partly because I had all the ingredients on hand. I squeezed in one lemon which was 1/4 cup juice. Tasted it and added another half a lemon. My bars were had a really nice lemon flavor. No need to add zest. I did over bake the crust just a bit which made them a bit hard to cut in places but they taste delicious. Bars popped out of pan no problem. I did make a mistake on the crust and used regular sugar. Crust still turned out quite nicely anyway,"

    jsgoldn User ID: 6355243 9850
    Reviewed Jun. 20, 2014


    nramsey User ID: 3436141 11485
    Reviewed May. 28, 2014

    "I made these for Easter and was disappointed. I used fresh lemons as suggested and they still were not very lemony. They were just okay...not worth the time of effort in my opinion. Will continue to search for a lemon bar recipe..."

    Aabcrash User ID: 4680244 3751
    Reviewed Apr. 8, 2014

    "I am not a HUGE lemon fan, so this was perfect for me! A nice amount of flavor, and my kids devoured it! I did add about a 1/4 cup of crushed pecan to the crust. Amazing! Thanks for the recipe. It's my go-to now. In fact, I'm making another batch right now!"

    wht5rose User ID: 7310415 25374
    Reviewed Mar. 26, 2014 Edited Apr. 27, 2014

    "Every time I make these lemon bars people go crazy. They are so easy and so good. The trick is to use sweet butter and not margarine."

    rinshin User ID: 1384577 6246
    Reviewed Mar. 21, 2014

    "This was quite good but would have been even better with lemon zest added and perhaps a bit more lemon juice. I agree too that parchment paper really helps with ease of removing from the pan. My tree is always loaded with Meyer lemons throughout the year so that's what I used."

    AdieEve User ID: 2904159 3750
    Reviewed Mar. 14, 2014

    "I've made these at least a dozen times, and I feel I have perfected them! They are amazing and my husband's most frequent request!

    My alterations:
    Add 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract to crust mixture
    Grate zest off two fresh lemons (about 2 tbsps) and add to lemon mixture
    Use 1/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (instead of 1/4 C)"

    janetmyoung User ID: 1516815 25248
    Reviewed Feb. 26, 2014

    "I've made these so many times and they always get rave reviews. Using fresh lemons is key. Don't use the nasty bottled lemon juice."

    schade User ID: 905719 9401
    Reviewed Aug. 14, 2013

    "I made these for a summer party and everyone loved them and are asking me for the recipe. Very light and refreshing in the summer."

    AMANDALEEANN User ID: 6377446 11083
    Reviewed Aug. 7, 2013

    "These were SOOOO good! I love lemon, but even my Aunt, who really does not like lemon enjoyed these and went for seconds. Wonderful!"

    trixier User ID: 4684272 14511
    Reviewed Aug. 2, 2013

    "I love the flavor of the bars! My crust was thin and did not cover the 13 x 9 pan very well. They fell apart trying to remove them from the pan. Next time I think I will use a smaller pan and line it with parchment as some have suggested. I think I would like them thicker!"

    momtomatt User ID: 1197551 11480
    Reviewed Jul. 31, 2013

    "BTW, these do not make 4 dozen bars in my house! I cut our squares much bigger! :)"

    momtomatt User ID: 1197551 9849
    Reviewed Jul. 31, 2013

    "Lemon bars are my favorite! These are amazing! Line the pan with parchment paper so the bars are easier to remove from the pan."

    Allie1996 User ID: 4259918 7724
    Reviewed Jul. 9, 2013

    "Yummy! I will line my pan next time with parchment paper to make it easier to get them out of the pan."

    knollbrookcook User ID: 4057123 10249
    Reviewed Jul. 8, 2013

    "Delicious. Be sure not to over bake them."

    pharmkayla User ID: 6480447 23713
    Reviewed May. 8, 2013

    "Excellent, I did burn the crusts a little cause it looked too light! Don't burn the crust!"

    motochick179 User ID: 5555951 3747
    Reviewed Apr. 8, 2013

    "This is one of my favorite lemon bar recipes! I added lemon zest to both the crust and filling as well as some lemon extract to the filling. They have a nice lemon flavor. The crust does kind of fall apart and the lemon topping is thin. Next time I will try making them in a smaller pan to get more of the lemon filling or double the filling part."

    bitzee User ID: 6238972 25237
    Reviewed Apr. 2, 2013

    "These were great! I think the reader's need to READ! she SAID Beatrice was a farmer's wife. They are wonderful cook's,and part of the foundation of this country! And most do not have a lemon tree on the property! Most are miles from a grocery store,so they have to rely on having supplies. Amongst the hundred of things they have to do for the day! This magazine has farmer's wives, house wives and good home cook's! Maybe the critical viewer's should look at the higher end magazines, which they also want all the wierd ingredients that are not on hand! I made these and see why they are a known best seller's. Thanks for sharing :)"

    puglady16 User ID: 7077906 200913
    Reviewed Feb. 28, 2013

    "It took me a while to find the right lemon bar recipe. This is the perfect recipe!!!! So delicious. I add an extra squeeze of lemon juice to give it a little extra tang. So Good!"

    Chef tell User ID: 6877214 10221
    Reviewed Feb. 5, 2013


    Chef tell User ID: 6877214 19813
    Reviewed Feb. 5, 2013

    "Best lemon squares"

    Mel4boy User ID: 6239775 14805
    Reviewed Feb. 2, 2013

    "awesome! fantastic, used fresh squeezed lemon juice."

    annaf27 User ID: 5217952 200912
    Reviewed Feb. 1, 2013

    "Are these supposed to be really thin? I felt like the filling should have been double or triple the size. But the flavor really is excellent. I added crushed walnuts to the crust and it added a nice flavor. I also cut the recipe in half for a smaller portion. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest (according to the other reviews) and I added a little more lemon juice (from fresh lemons) to make sure the lemon flavor would pop. Because they came out so thin, I'll be serving these with strawberries & vanilla ice-cream. The crust has a great flavor and a great little crunch."

    dollargirl User ID: 939213 23643
    Reviewed Jan. 30, 2013

    "These are delicious! Fresh lemon juice is best."

    tiggerbell User ID: 939019 11463
    Reviewed Jan. 29, 2013

    "My family loves the sweet-tangy taste of this recipe. I used home grown Meyer Lemons, and they were awesome. quick and easy to make, I do give this recipe 5 stars. Yummy......"

    Kaffaroni User ID: 5915192 23552
    Reviewed Jan. 29, 2013

    "Same as my usual lemon bar recipe except the grated lemon zest is missing. Fresh lemon juice + the zest makes for a tangy, lemon flavour. Not so good made with bottled juice and no zest."

    zucchinilady User ID: 3149814 10969
    Reviewed Jan. 29, 2013

    "I added chopped pecans to my bottom layer/ very good/ will be making quite often as I have a Myer lemon tree."

    fgilbreth User ID: 1409073 23531
    Reviewed Dec. 27, 2012

    "These are THE best lemon bars ever!!! My family loves the tangy flavor and crunchy crust!"

    pambosley User ID: 5777182 9400
    Reviewed Sep. 8, 2012

    "These turnd out very good. I added lemon zest to the mixture. Without the zest the lemon flavor wouldn't of been as strong. The crust didn't get crumbly as the directions describe. It was more of a batter and I would of preferred a different crust. Still a good recipe."

    becky66 User ID: 1915904 11082
    Reviewed Jul. 12, 2012

    "Absolutely delicious...melt-in-your-mouth good! I have made these many times for various events."

    grandmagogof8 User ID: 5358827 6245
    Reviewed Jul. 6, 2012

    "I made these today to take on a family 4th of July picnic. Like one had said, not a lot of lemon flavor, although the adults and children ate them anyway. I used the lemon juice from the bottle but am wondering if the juice from real lemons wouldn't be stronger or would just add more from the bottle next time, as I would make them again."

    grandmagogof8 User ID: 5358827 10776
    Reviewed Jul. 6, 2012

    "I made these today to take on a family 4th of July picnic. Like one had said, not a lot of lemon flavor, although the adults and children ate them anyway. I used the lemon juice from the bottle but am wondering if the juice from real lemons wouldn't be stronger or would just add more from the bottle next time, as I would make them again. Otherwise followed the recipe."

    grandmagogof8 User ID: 5358827 11460
    Reviewed Jul. 6, 2012

    "I made these today to take on a family 4th of July picnic. Like one had said, not a lot of lemon flavor, although the adults and children ate them anyway. I used the lemon juice from the bottle but am wondering if the juice from real lemons wouldn't be stronger or would just add more from the bottle next time, as I would make them again. Otherwise followed the recipe."

    RendiB User ID: 6619601 7723
    Reviewed Apr. 9, 2012

    "Great taste."

    Raygina User ID: 5647626 11479
    Reviewed Mar. 27, 2012

    "I was disappointed that they didn't have a real lemon flavor. They were good as a sweet but not a lemon bar. I took them to a food swap and they weren't well received. I'll make them again but will try adding some lemon extract to enhance the flavor."

    terilee User ID: 3137818 10219
    Reviewed Mar. 18, 2012

    "Yummy! Double recipe and bake in jelly roll pan."

    littlecook4u User ID: 5141872 25236
    Reviewed Oct. 1, 2011

    "I made this recipe once and it was so delicious! I did substitute about half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for the crust and also brown sugar instead of confectioners sugar for a healthier version. For the filling, I used some brown sugar as well. They turned out darker, not the beautiful yellow, but still very tasty and everybody loved them!"

    janalamar User ID: 5849756 3746
    Reviewed Sep. 10, 2011

    "i made this recipe tens of times and they are my picky eater daughter favourate and my comes over whenever she knows that i'm backing them"

    grandmanonnie User ID: 1113345 25227
    Reviewed Aug. 11, 2011

    "I have made these bars so many times I should probably be embarrassed! They are the ONLY lemon bar your recipe box needs!"

    krisjeffery1 User ID: 5468624 25174
    Reviewed Mar. 27, 2011

    "Hands down the best lemon bar recipe anywhere. If you want a real treat...double the recipe and keep it in the 9x13 pan. Just increase the cooking time a bit. Always many compliments when we take this one to any kind of event."

    [email protected] User ID: 1510 3744
    Reviewed Jun. 30, 2010

    "very good. I made a glaze using powdered suger and lemon juice. everyone asked for more. my husband said really you only made one pan...."

    craigsuem User ID: 992681 200911
    Reviewed Jun. 2, 2010

    "To the person who wanted to know what issue this recipe is in, it is in the Taste of Home June/July 96 issue."

    ko08251 User ID: 170584 14804
    Reviewed May. 17, 2010

    "I will definitely make these lemon bars again. They were easy to pack and stack for the bake sale, and everyone loved them."

    wmt User ID: 520118 14494
    Reviewed Jan. 26, 2010

    "This is great any day or for bake sales. I also use it in my x-mas candy trays."

    wmt User ID: 520118 200910
    Reviewed Jan. 26, 2010

    "This is great for bake sales. I also use it in my x-mas candy trays."

    shellybug7654 User ID: 3998026 10966
    Reviewed Aug. 16, 2009

    "I made these bars for my family and they were very good. I will be making these again soon. I had all of the ingredients except the confectioners sugar so this cost me very little."

    veckels User ID: 2169688 14461
    Reviewed Aug. 15, 2009

    "these bars are great!!!!!!!!!!could anyone tell me what tast of home issue they were in ...i forget but there were other good items in that book."

    JLayer User ID: 4033133 11459
    Reviewed Jul. 10, 2009

    "Does the powdered sugar or the granulated sugar go with the flour and butter to make the crust? I assume the powdered because it is listed first, but I just want to make sure!"

    Meredith1975 User ID: 3486009 14409
    Reviewed Jun. 25, 2009

    "These are so good and easy to make! I substituted crushed 'Nilla Wafers instead of the flour and sugar for the crust. Turned out great!"

    abonnylass User ID: 2088909 10770
    Reviewed Nov. 15, 2008

    "Of all the lemon bar recipes that I have tried this one is by far the best tasting and easiest to make. They have ALOT of lemon flavor!!"

    juliegrochowski User ID: 2156382 10964
    Reviewed Oct. 19, 2008

    "These bars are very easy to make and really delicious!!"

    saw-whet User ID: 2849135 7722
    Reviewed Jul. 5, 2008

    " Good recipe.

    lisar099 User ID: 3199060 7721
    Reviewed Jun. 23, 2008

    "I made this and they were so good.  "

    JennyTaylor User ID: 2874618 14714
    Reviewed Jun. 22, 2008

    "Not only are these bars delicious, they use ingredients most people keep in their kitchen, so it's easy to make them anytime!"

    msblueribbon User ID: 2682099 11458
    Reviewed Mar. 11, 2008

    "Splenda is a recipe "killer"....  that is why I never use it for my baking,  only in my coffee."

    Carol Kyte User ID: 2918796 14387
    Reviewed Mar. 10, 2008

    "This recipe was the bomb. I made it and took it to work and now, I've got numerous people asking me for the recipe. I've made it several times. The comment I got the most was that this recipe does not leave that awful aftertaste that is common with many lemon bar recipes. It's a crowd pleaser for sure and extremely simple to make and especially in a pinch.

    My friend who gives me lemons from her lemon tree, and for which I first used this recipe, thought it was great as well.
    As far as using Splanda is concerned. Splenda is not good for many recipies, so I wouldn't discourage anyone from making this recipe just as the recipe directs.
    Carol K. in CA"

    nanatex1 User ID: 2790227 25171
    Reviewed Feb. 27, 2008

    "I made these and used Splenda in place of the 1 1/2C sugar and they were a disaster! I was so dissapointed in them I threw them out."

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