Brown butter adds a nutty flavor to the crust of these pleasantly tart lemon bars.



For the Crust
For Serving
For the Filling


Instructions Checklist
  • Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan; line baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 3-inch overhang on all sides.

  • Make the crust: In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until barely browned in color. Remove pan from heat and pour butter into the bowl of an electric mixer, leaving any burned sediment behind. Transfer butter to refrigerator until solidified. When solidified, remove from refrigerator and let soften slightly.

  • Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until butter is smooth. Sift flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt into bowl; mix on low speed until combined.

  • Transfer dough to prepared pan and press evenly into bottom of the pan using the back of a measuring cup; it should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to refrigerator; chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Transfer baking pan to oven and bake until crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. If crust appears to be browning unevenly, rotate pan.

  • Make the filling: Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Add lemon juice and zest; whisk to dissolve granulated sugar. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk until well combined.

  • When the crust is golden brown, pull out oven rack and evenly pour filling mixture directly over hot crust (if crust has finished baking before filling has been made, return crust to oven for a few minutes so that it is hot). If air bubbles appear on the surface, remove them using a kitchen torch held 4 to 5 inches from the surface, moving in a slow even motion. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake until center is set, 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Remove baking pan from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Let lemon bars cool completely before covering and transferring to refrigerator until chilled.

  • Using a sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry, cut lemon bars into twenty-four 2-inch squares and dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Lemon bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Reviews (8)

248 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 86
  • 4 star values: 74
  • 3 star values: 54
  • 2 star values: 26
  • 1 star values: 8
Rating: 5 stars
Any user saying they used burnt butter in this recipe didn't read the instructions or never made the recipe. Also anyone who complains this recipe is too lemony clearly used either a heaping cup of lemon juice, or used bottled lemon juice, or used lemons that were over ripe and or were going bad. Fresh squeezed lemon juice from fresh picked lemons have a beautiful lemony citrus flavor. Old lemons or bottled lemon juice is very acidic and overpowers any recipe. My daughter and I followed this recipe to the letter and the results were wonderful. And as someone who has grown up in the South eating Lemon Meringue Pie by the truck load.... this recipe is delectable for lemon lovers. And for all yall foodie trolls.... go back to your hot pocket pizza and leave the cooking to people who actually cook and bake.
Rating: 2 stars
I made the recipe for the burned butter shortbread part! And I followed the recipe closely. The lemon flavor was so strong that no one of my family who tested the finished product could really taste the crust, so I was disappointed. I remember thinking when I was putting together the lemon custard that a whole lot of lemon juice was called for. I have used the burned butter, though, in a shortbread-type crust for a caramel pecan tart that I'll be serving later today. Just love the taste of butter, and the burned butter enhances that flavor, IMHO.
Rating: Unrated
I have made this twice and I must say it is very good. The extra steps browning the butter is well worth the trouble. The family gives rave reviews.
Rating: Unrated
My family and I Loved this recipe! The brown butter shortbread is definitely worth the extra step! This recipe will be well used
Rating: Unrated
My family and I Loved this recipe! The brown butter shortbread is definitely worth the extra step! This recipe will be well used
Rating: 5 stars
I too did not brown the butter, but just used softened butter. I used Meyer lemons, only 1 cup of lemon juice... Very tangy, but the right balance of sweet! I highly recommend using this recipe. Next time I will be sure to leave in for the full forty minutes, as they could have used it.
Rating: Unrated
Delicious! Don't let all the steps keep you from making these cookie bars. I didn't melt the butter and all of that. My butter was super soft at room temperature so I just went from there. I'm sure it would be better if I followed the directions. But these cookie bars were a hit!
Rating: Unrated
it was just okay. The lemon part should not hit the back of your mouth, like a bad bottle of wine. A lemon bar should be smooth with just the right amount of lemon and by velvety smooth.