New This Month

Creamy Lemon Squares


The lemon bars of your dreams take just 15 minutes of prep: Stir together a mere three ingredients to create a sunny, puckery filling for a buttery shortbread crust.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 16

Source: Everyday Food, June 2008


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

  2. Make crust: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add flour, and mix on low just until combined. Press dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Make filling: In a large bowl, whisk together yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over hot crust in pan; return to oven, and bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

  4. Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 2 hours or up to 3 days. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares, and dust with confectioners sugar.

Reviews Add a comment

  • mngiavasisgmai
    3 APR, 2016
    I've made these twice, and they are delicious! I think those finding that the filling won't set would see that it will firm up nicely in the fridge after baking. As a side note, a friend of mine commented on the first batch, "I want to eat an entire pan, but they're so tart." For my second batch, I used 1/2 a cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup pineapple juice. This cut down on the tartness a bit. The nice lemon flavor is there, but if you find these a little too tart, give the pineapple juice a go!
  • saralynn830
    21 AUG, 2015
    Just finished and it doesn't look set. Saw some of the comments about this and it would be really helpful to see a picture of what is is supposed to look like as set inside the oven or if it just needs to cool in the fridge. Cranked up the oven a bit and will cook a few minutes longer with my eye on it to see if that helps.
  • Liebelle
    30 JUL, 2015
    This are DELICIOUS! My husband didn't like them that much, but I love them. More for me to eat. :)
  • JuliaFalk
    6 JUN, 2015
    I made these yesterday, followed the recipe exactly, and they were perfect, taste, texture, colour, everything. Ignore all negative comments, just follow the directions, no deviating! I recommend using free-range eggs ( darker yolks will produce desired lemon yellow colour) and if you can find meyer lemons ( I'm lucky to have a tree ) they are much juicier, you'll probably need less then 3 ( I used 2 1/2 for the 3/4 cup )
  • MS12114374
    15 MAY, 2015
    Baked these tonight - just devoured 3 melt in your mouth rich, shortbread lemon oozing bars. Anyone who says these are less than scrumptious perfection . . . didn't follow the recipe properly! High 5s Martha. xxx
  • grammy22
    16 SEP, 2014
    After reading reviews, I can't help but wonder if some didn't inadvertently use evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk, or the wrong size can?
  • taleeya
    13 SEP, 2014
    I have made these a lot! From the very 1st time, they came out perfect. As long as you follow the recipe, you can't go wrong. I've never had a problem with the custard setting. In fact, I just doubled the recipe, again came out just as it should. Nice lemon flavor, creamy texture, and super tasty. Always a big hit!!!!
  • WriterToronto
    20 SEP, 2013
    These squares were a big hit in my household. They turned out perfectly. For an added lemony flavour, I added the zest from two of the lemons. Delicious!
  • Heady_Anne
    2 AUG, 2013
    I just took these out of the fridge, dusted them with confectioners' sugar, cut them and tasted one. Delicious! I am so glad that I made these before I read the reviews, otherwise I might have looked elsewhere. I am an amateur baker and usually stick with cookies. These are simple, the directions are clear, the smell in the house as they bake is heavenly and they taste great. I'm bringing these to a party tonight and will be proud to say they're mine (and Martha's).
  • MS12114374
    2 JUN, 2013
    Firstly, let me say that I've no doubt that Martha's version was delish! I'm posting this out of puzzlement not criticism as to why several of us couldn't get the filling to set in the oven? At first I thought I'd mis-measured etc. Checked everything and not that. Then I read other's comments who had the same problem so I felt better in that I wasn't alone! The centre wld bubble but not set properly. What could be the factor causing this when all of us are using the same ingredients?