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Shortbread Lemon Bars

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 never hesitate 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
  • Makes
    3 dozen


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a food processor, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, and lemon and orange zest. Add butter; cover and process until mixture forms a ball.
  • Pat into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° until set and the edges are lightly browned, 12-14 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients. Pour over hot crust. Bake until set and lightly browned, 14-16 minutes. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Spread over filling.
  • Bake until topping is set, 7-9 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into bars just before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
1 bar: 172 calories, 9g fat (5g saturated fat), 51mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (15g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.
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Average Rating:
  • klazarrus
    Aug 22, 2019

    These lemon bars are THE BEST! Nice crust, tangy lemon filling balanced out with the sour cream topping!!

  • D.
    Jun 14, 2019

    I haven't made these yet but I'm wondering how important the zest is? I don't have a place to buy zest and I don't have the right "tool" in my kitchen supply to make zest. Help!!

  • slmacbeth
    Jan 14, 2019

    Very good. A big hit at church.

  • joyce.morse
    Oct 18, 2018

    I made these lemon bars for my church's coffee hour after service, and were they ever good! they tasted just like a lemon meringue pie without the meringue. Many people told me they loved them and asked for the recipe. These will be on my "regulars" list now for sure!

  • 2124arizona
    May 9, 2017

    These were a hit at our Christmas dinner!

  • MizzMarr
    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.

  • rebhallberg
    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!

  • hoover1030
    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.

  • dkk1234
    Oct 19, 2013

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

  • jellydoll
    Oct 2, 2013

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