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Tangy Lemon Squares

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With their crisp, buttery crust and creamy lemon filling, these little squares taste of spring. Have some with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.

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

Source: Everyday Food, April 2004

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sifting
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Lemon Filling

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; line pan with two crisscrossed rectangles of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

  2. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse flour with confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

  3. Bake until crust is lightly browned 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.

  4. Meanwhile, make the lemon filling: In a bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until thick. Beat in granulated sugar, lemon juice, flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour over warm crust. Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate about 1 hour.

  5. Using paper overhang as an aid, lift square from pan. Sift remaining tablespoon confectioners' sugar over the top. Cut into 16 squares.

Cook's Notes

If you don't have a food processor, you can make the crust by mixing together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and then rubbing in the butter with your fingers.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MirToni
    9 SEP, 2014
    Followed the directions exactly but had the same problem as another reviewer. The lemon filling went under the crust during baking. Have made other lemon bar recipes without this problem. Will not make this again.
    Reply
  • MS10806441
    12 AUG, 2014
    I made the lemon squares yesterday for our weekly family dinner. One of my family members celebrated her birthday yesterday, and she loves lemon pie. The squares were delicious and easy to make, but the 1/2 t salt printed in the recipe was a little too much. According to Sarah's video recipe, she used 1/4 t salt. Also, the next time I make them (later this week) I will bake the crust a little longer for a crunchier base and add the zest of a lemon to the filling for a stronger lemon flavor.
    Reply
  • bethofspring
    8 AUG, 2014
    the baking time is affected by the size pan. Compare the two pictures. One bar is taller than the other, since it was baked in a smaller pan. The flatter square was baked in a larger pan and would have baked more quickly. I suggest cutting them smaller so when you crave another, like NOW, there might be one left.
    Reply
  • Jennifer Carr-Toms
    19 MAY, 2014
    The lemon squares were delicious and easy to make. They took much longer to bake (almost 15 minutes more) because the center was still very liquid so I just kept watch until they were finished, which was easy because the baked areas were very distinctive visually . Everyone enjoyed them so I'll be making them again! And yes, the cornstarch goes in the crust mixture, just like many cookie recipes.
    Reply
  • faithina
    3 MAR, 2014
    There is no typo in the recipe. Do follow it as written. The corn starch does, indeed, go in the crust, and the filling will absolutely set just the way it should if you follow the recipe as it is written. Corn starch is often used in many crust recipes. This is not uncommon. This is, without a doubt, the best lemon squares recipe. I have tried many (far too many) and found several others that were ok, but this one blows them all away. The crust is perfect, the filling is heavenly. To die for!
    Reply
  • Elizabeth Anderson
    18 JAN, 2014
    I have made these time and time again ,love them the lady who said there was a typo on the cornstarch -recipe is correct cornstarch in the crust makes for a tender crust that's why it is used in shortbread cookies , they come out perfect for me , as for being gooey make sure you're adding your flour to your filling and do sift it into the wet so it does not clump up
    Reply
  • elliepetersshedd
    27 NOV, 2013
    ATTENTION ALL! THERE IS A TYPO IN THE RECIPE! THE CORNSTARCH SHOULD NOT GO IN THE CRUST, IT SHOULD GO IN THE FILLING!! IF YOU PUT THE CORNSTARCH IN THE CRUST INSTEAD OF THE FILLING IT MAKES THE FILLING FAR TOO LIQUID-Y.
    Reply
  • J3ANA
    5 JUL, 2012
    The flavor of these lemon squares was on par with what I had in mind, however, the consistency was a bit less set than other recipes and left the squares a bit extra "gooey." Maybe I'm just too picky, though.
    Reply
  • J3ANA
    5 JUL, 2012
    The flavor of these lemon squares was on par with what I had in mind, however, the consistency was a bit less set than other recipes and left the squares a bit extra "gooey." Maybe I'm just too picky, though.
    Reply
  • Kat3719
    29 JUN, 2012
    These are in the oven right now. The recipe is very similar, if not the same to one I used to make years ago. I think this one calls for more lemon juice than the old one and I added the zest of a lemon because I like lots of flavor. I didn't have any parchment so greased the pan instead. I'm taking them to a luncheon tomorrow and as long as I don't burn them, I think they'll be a hit.
    Reply