A small batch of Lemon Bars recipe baked using a 6x6 square glass dish makes 9 small lemon bars — a perfect dessert for two sweet-toothed souls for two days. 😍
These Lemon Bars are sweet and tart with luscious lemon filling on a buttery shortbread crust. Not to forget, the dusting of powdered sugar makes these lemon bars deliciously dreamy! You only need a few simple ingredients to make a small batch of lemon bars recipe from scratch. Trust me, you'll love these bright sunshine bars and they are so easy to make!
My love for lemony desserts was fuelled by UmmHamza's love for lemons! The first lemon dessert I ever made was Lemon Curd which we ate off the jar and used some to make a lemony Tiramisu. I haven't shared those recipes here because it is been more than a couple of years since I made them. I didn't want that to happen to these Lemon Bars, therefore sharing them here as my first pure lemon-based dessert on the blog. 😊
This small batch of lemon bars happened because F ordered a lot of lemons when I asked him for just a couple for baking Persian Love Cake for my birthday. The lemons were so fresh and juicy that I forgave him and immediately made a mental note to make lemon curd again. But destiny always takes its course! Those lemons were destined to become lemon bars. 😄
Most of the lemon bars recipes out there are almost the same except for the amount of sugar. But what surprised me was that the lemon bars recipe in my Betty Crocker book — uses sweetened condensed milk and only egg yolks! 😲I was sceptical to try that and so went with the most trusted bakers. I adapted Stephanie Jaworski of Joy of Baking's lemon bars recipe that she made in a 9x13 baking pan and used Sally's technique of poking the baked crust. Adapted to make a small batch of lemon bars recipe in my 6x6 glass dish.
Ingredients used in these Lemon Bars
- Butter: You may use salted or unsalted but make sure to melt the butter and adjust the salt if using salted butter.
- Sugar: I have used regular granulated sugar in both the crust and the filling. You may use powdered sugar for the crust. Do not reduce the sugar in the filling because it helps in setting the curd.
- Vanilla extract: I would suggest adding a good amount to tone down the eggy flavour and let the lemon flavour shine.
- All-purpose flour: Gives structure to both crust and filling. This flour is plain flour or maida.
- Eggs: You have to use them for the lemon curd filling.
- Lemon juice: All the lemon bar recipes swear on using freshly squeezed so please listen to them and use freshly squeezed! I would have added a dash of lemon zest but thought otherwise. If you plan to use lemon zest, then remove the zest before you cut the lemons.
- Icing sugar: for the finishing touch!
- Salt: a pinch in the crust mix does its job.
How do you make lemon bars from scratch?
To make a small batch of lemon bars, you need simple everyday ingredients and a lot of cooling time. You don't need any fancy equipment to make this easy lemon bars recipe.
- Prepare the pan and oven: I used a glass dish. You can use ceramic dish too. It is better to use glass dish to bake lemon bars. Line the pan with excess baking paper so you can lift it off once baked.
- Prepare the crust: shortbread crust
- Bake the crust
- Prepare the lemon filling using freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Bake the lemon-filled crust
- Cool, chill and slice to serve
Remember my apple pie? I had no patience to let the pie cool for 3 hours so ended up with runny filling. Lesson learnt! This time I made sure I cooled the baked lemon bars and also chilled them for several hours before I could dust icing sugar and slice them into squares. Yes, you need to factor in the cooling and chilling time if you want to be able to cut neat lemon bars.
Why do my lemon bars taste eggy?
I am sure the culprit is not using vanilla extract or using a metal baking pan. Try adding lemon zest and vanilla extract to camouflage the eggy flavour and use a glass dish to prevent any metallic reaction.
Can you leave lemon bars out overnight?
It is not a good idea to leave the lemon bars on the counter overnight. You have to keep them covered in the refrigerator.
Should lemon bars be served cold?
Lemon bars can be served cold or at room temperature but it is better not to have them sit outside for more than 2 to 3 hours.
You have to make this
An easy homemade Lemon Bar should boast about the perfect ratio of crust to lemon filling and this recipe as you can see in the pictures nails it (I think!). The crust has just the right amount of sweetness to offset the tart lemon filling. I wish I had a video to show you how F was hovering around waiting for me to finish the photoshoot... I calmed him by giving him the corner piece 😂 Later we sat and relished a few lemon squares reminiscing the lemon tart we had at Makkah.
History of Lemon Bars
I was curious to know the history of Lemon bars because why not? Apparently, Mrs Mickelson’s recipe submission to the August 27, 1962 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune for its “Today’s $5 Favorite Recipe” column serves as the first known printed recipe of Lemon bars.
Measured using measuring set where 1 cup = 250ml
Measured dry items using the fluff, scoop and sweep method.
Small batch Lemon Bars
For the crust
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter melted
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour maida
For the lemon filling
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour maida
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- icing sugar
Prepare the pan and oven
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line the bottom and sides of a 6×6 glass pan with long baking paper making sure to leave excess on the sides so that you can lift the baked bars out of the pan easily.
Prepare the crust
- Mix together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a bowl using a spatula. Add the flour and stir to combine and form a thick wet dough. Press the dough firmly into the base of the prepared pan making sure the layer of crust is even.
Bake the crust
- Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and use a fork to poke holes halfway deep (not all the way through) all over the warm crust. Keep this aside.
Prepare the lemon curd filling
- Sift together the sugar and flour in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until combined. Pour the filling over the warm crust and make sure it covers the entire crust evenly.
Bake the lemon-filled crust
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the centre is set and no longer jiggles. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely at room temperature. Once cooled, place it in the refrigerator until chilled for about 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
Cool and slice to serve
- Once chilled, lift the baking paper out of the pan using the extra hangs on the sides. Dust with icing sugar and then use a knife to cut into neat squares. For neat squares, wipe the knife clean between each cut. Cover and store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.