Creamy, Tangy, and Irresistible: These Are Our Favorite Lemon Bar Recipes
It's a truth universally acknowledged that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemon bars. One of Martha's favorite desserts, lemon bars are a great make-ahead recipe that's suited to just about any occasion. Whether you're looking for a traditional lemon bar or one with a twist, we've got you covered with these luscious recipes.
A classic bar cookie, a crowd pleaser, a dessert that's just right for all kinds of occasions from afternoon tea to after school to after dinner, lemon bars are one of our favorite desserts. Our founder loves them, too. Martha has developed a number of melt-in-the-mouth and downright dreamy lemon bar recipes over the year, including the gorgeous Atlantic-Beach Tart-Bars that you see right here here. This recipe is a bit of an outlier—its lemon top is made with sweetened condensed milk and its crust with saltine crackers, so it's really a hybrid of the classic lemon bar and Key lime pie.
Just what is a classic lemon bar? Most of the bar cookies that have this name sport buttery shortbread crust that mellows the tart citrus top. And that topping always includes lemon, but there can be variations. In most traditional recipes, the filling is a thick lemon curd, which is a slow-cooked mixture of butter, eggs, and lemon. This isn't the only option, though. In other recipes, the filling is more like a custard or a cheesecake. Other flavors even enter the game from time to time, as evidenced by our delicious Cranberry-Lemon Squares. Another incredible option? Our Lemon-Date Bars, which showcases a truly sublime flavor combination.
Despite the fact that they are generally called lemon bars, we see this dessert most often cut into squares (which explains why they're also often called lemon squares). That said, we're not here to prescribe what shape—or size—portions should be. That's totally up to you. Ready to make a delicious dessert? However you like them—creamy, tangy, topped with meringue—we have a recipe here for delicious, decadent lemon bars that you're sure to love.
Creamy Lemon Squares
Tangy Lemon Squares
Lemon Meringue Bars
This recipe teams up a tender, lemon zest-inflected crust with the fluffiest meringue topping for a lemon bar you'll want to eat all night long. Plus, they're easier to make and serve than pie, but just as delectable.
Shaker Lemon Bars
Shaker lemon bars are sweet and pleasantly bitter at the same time thanks to the fact that they use the whole lemon, peel included. Paper-thin lemon slices are macerated in sugar overnight for the filling, a technique that comes courtesy of the Shakers, an early 19th century New England religious group.
Lemon-Coconut Tofu Squares
Lemon Cheesecake Squares
Lemon bars and cheesecake are two of our favorite desserts. This recipe pairs a creamy lemony filling with a buttery graham cracker crust so we no longer have to choose.
Adding cranberries transforms the look and taste of the lemon bar. This recipe calls for dried cranberries not fresh, so you can make these sweet treats any time you please.
Tart lime juice and zest in the filling takes these citrus bars to the next level and the crunchy wheat germ in the crust takes them over the top.