Not to be Captain Obvious or anything, but I’m so over winter.  Normally I have a much better tolerance for this time of year but I’m just not having it anymore.  I’m yearning for spring – going on walks with the kids, seeing sunlight past 6 pm, and throwing a birthday party for my sweet girl.  I wouldn’t mind if I could just fast forward to that right now.  (Wasn’t there an Adam Sandler movie about that? Click, maybe?  I seem to remember my brother loving it.)

The only redeeming quality about this time of year is citrus season…well, that and my birthday.  Meyer lemon this and blood orange that will be popping up all over the interwebs.  Yeah, I’ve got a blood orange recipe coming your way next week.  A preponderance of lemons and far too long a time since my last baking session resulted in these creamy lemon crumb bars, and  Sweet, tart, buttery – all good things.  In the bitter cold and harsh winds of this weekend, I baked these and for at least a little while the sun came out.  Coincidence?  I think not.


For the lemon cream filling: 

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, diced and softened

For the dough:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10½ tbsp. cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg


  • 01

    To make the lemon cream, combine the sugar and lemon zest in a heatproof bowl.  Mix together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Whisk in the eggs until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the lemon juice.

  • 02

    Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler.  Let the mixture cook, stirring frequently, until the cream thickens (around 175-180˚ F on an instant read thermometer).  Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool to 140˚ F (about 10-15 minutes).  Once the mixture has cooled, add in the butter a few pieces at a time and whip on medium speed with a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) until the mixture is thick and pale, about 3-4 minutes total.

  • 03

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with foil.  In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, flour, and salt, and stir together with a fork.  Cut in the butter and egg with a pastry blender until the largest chunks are about pea-sized.  The mixture should be crumbly without much loose flour.

  • 04

    Spread about half of the dough mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust.  Pour the lemon cream filling over the crust and spread in an even layer.  Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the lemon cream.

  • 05

    Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and the center is just set.  Remove to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.  Slice and serve, dusting with confectioners’ sugar if desired.


  • Sarah Toasty

    those look so delicious, I love the top! I have so many lemons right now, will have to try this!

  • I’m over winter too. Ready for spring, summer…. and travel!

  • brittanycooks

    I feel like I could’ve written that first paragraph. Winter can go away now. The lemon bars look amazing! :)

  • marie @ little kitchie

    These are just lovely!

  • Tracy

    Here, here to no more winter! Thanks for brightening my morning!

  • stacym

    As soon as I clicked on your page, I was so excited by the lemon recipe! My thoughts delightedly turned to spring! I was just thinking I could use a good lemon recipe after all the heaviness of winter food. Thank you

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Mmm so delicious! These bars look great!

  • Honestly, Meyer lemons are really the only things getting me through. And here the sun goes down by 4:30. It’s a dire situation.

  • Hana

    Hi Annie! These look amazing! Speaking of winter, we are snowed in and
    I’m pregnant (aka now I want these for breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner). I don’t have lemons
    on hand, but I do have grapefruit. Think it would be worth a shot or a
    big disaster?

  • Jade Merrett

    Oh wow, these look amazing! I love anything citrus, and I’d be interested to try it with grapefruit… as it’s bitter like lemon, I’d guess the amount of sugar needed would be similar, or would you suggest using slightly less?

  • Stephanie @

    Beautiful photos. The lemon bars look delicious. Makes me long for Spring!

  • annieseats

    I would think it would be pretty similar, but I honestly don’t bake or do much with grapefruit so I’m not sure. I think I would just make as they are to start and then you’ll know if you want to make future adjustments.

  • annieseats

    I think you could easily substitute without any major issues. Enjoy!

  • Jade Merrett

    Thank you – I’ll give it a go and see then! :)

  • Angela

    These look fantastic. I’m with you. I’m sooooo over winter right now. It has been brutal. My daughter’s 3rd birthday is in April and I have already been thinking about ideas (to keep my mind off of what is happening outside). I think these lemon bars would be a nice spring addition to the treat table. Keep warm!

  • Diana

    I completely understand your winter feelings! This seems to be an especially bad one too. These look amazing…think I’ll be making them as soon as I get to the store for some lemons… Thanks!!

  • Annalise

    Love these Annie!

  • I was going to make lemon bars over the weekend, but got distracted….good thing, because now I can make these instead!

  • Ruthie

    These look lovely. Thanks for the winter pick-me-up and for use of the word “preponderance”. One of my favorites. :)

  • Amelia

    Yum, Annie! These look like the perfect Sunday tea or baby shower kind of sweet treat. I’m going to make them soon, simply because my neighbor shared a boat load of lemons from his tree with us. Mmm… this is going to make the husband very happy. :)

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    I adore lemon squares. They’re one of my favorite desserts!

  • I love how citrus adds a little sunshine to an otherwise cold winter! And I can’t wait to use up the rest of my lemons and make these bars.

  • Elizabeth

    Be still, my heart!
    I think I said -outloud, even- “I wish there was a recipe for lemon bars on here…” as I perused your site yesterday, wistfully looking for something to dig me out of this winter slump. Ask and you shall receive, apparently! Thanks for posting, can’t wait to make them!

  • These look incredible! The crumble topping is an ingenious addition to a typical lemon bar, and I can just imagine the glorious contrast between the tartness of the lemons and the buttery sweetness of the dough.

  • These look A-mazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe! x

  • Jacquelyn

    This recipe sounds delicious! Approximately how many lemons did you use to get 3/4 cups of lemon juice?

  • annieseats

    I think I only used about because they were large lemons.

  • Jacquelyn

    Something must have cut out the number you were mentioning since it doesn’t show up. How many did you say?

  • Tori

    These are exactly what I have been looking for. I had some Meyer lemons on my counter that I needed to do something with. These are such a nice alternative to lemon bars. The filling in these bars is so velvety smooth and creamy with the right balance of sweet and tart. Lemon bars, as much as I love them, can be tart. I did replace some of the flour with ground oats for a more crumbly texture. Thank you for sharing another delicious recipe.

  • Carole

    Love lemon bars! One of my favorite and your version looks fantastic…perfectly sized and beautifully presented with the dusting of powdered sugar! Thanks for whetting my appetite for a sweet treat!

  • annieseats

    Oh, how weird! I think I used 3 large lemons.

  • Emily Renee

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. It is in the oven as I speak! Question: I am baking this in a glass dish and it appears as of 35-40 minutes was not nearly enough. Did you use a metal pan?

  • annieseats

    I always bake in metal baking pans. I’m not sure how much of a difference there is with a glass pan, but that may have been the issue.

  • Emily Renee

    I am thinking the glass pan that I used made a big difference. After an hour and a half on 350*, they finally came out perfectly!

  • annieseats

    Wow! Well, glad they turned out!

  • Lisbeth Shaw

    These were ridiculously delicious! Would they be freezeable?

  • annieseats

    So glad you enjoyed them! I haven’t tried freezing these myself but don’t see why you couldn’t. Please see the FAQ page for more info on freezing.

  • Dani

    Have you ever tried doubling this recipe? Do you think a 9×13 pan would be sufficient for a double batch?

  • annieseats

    I haven’t but I am guessing a 9×13 pan would probably work fine. Because I am neurotic, I would probably increase the recipe by 25% to make sure it didn’t make the bars too thin, but I think it would work even without that modification.

  • Liz N.

    These are amazing! I made these yesterday and let them cool and set in the fridge overnight, which made cutting them easier. Wow! It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I baked mine in a square glass pan and had no issues with it baking through in the time recommended. My mom’s Meyer lemons were put too good use in this recipe!

  • Linda

    I increase this to 9×13 all the time – 1 1/2 the recipe. Its perfect!