Lemon Bars Recipe

This recipe, my mother’s recipe, has been a favorite of mine since I was a young girl.  Before my hair turned from blonde to brown I knew summer tasted like lemon bars.  Now I have my own home, and my own summer-time children, making deep sense-memories as they pick their fruit straight from our lemon trees.  Buckets full of yellow in a bright green bucket from spring through mid-summer.


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An hour’s worth of picking takes two and a half hours to squeeze!


The boys like their lemonade without pulp, so I press it through a fine sieve.  But some fresh squeezed juice remains pulpy, and I place it in a  Tupperware labeled with a piece of masking tape, upon which I write PULP.

I use this juice with pulp for my lemon bars.






My Mother-in-law’s been asking for this recipe for nearly a decade now.  No fooling.  I never meant to be elusive, keep it for my own, it’s just slipped my mind a dozen times.  When I remember to look I can’t seem to find the thin paper with three layers of ingredients scribbled in blue ink.  But I found it this week.  Made it for her visit.  And promised I’d write it out for her.  I’m doing that now. Because today my husband’s Mama leaves Southern California’s lemon tree dappled hills, rich soil and salt air.  But when she arrives home in sticky sweet Texas, the land of southern hospitality, she’ll find my Mama’s lemon bar recipe in her inbox.





bottom layer

1/4 cup confectionary sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup flour

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

(Cut cold butter into dry ingredients, then press into greased  8″ square pan.  Bake 15 minutes at 350.)


middle layer

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

2 eggs slightly beaten

2 TBS lemon juice

(Mix in a mixer on medium until slightly frothy.  Pour over bottom, shortbread layer.  Return to oven for 20 minutes.  Make sure middle layer is set, then take out to cool completely.)


top layer

2 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS butter, softened

3/4 cup confectionary sugar

(Whip together in mixer, scrapping down sides multiple times.)


Prepare:  Once the bottom two layers have cooled, cut them into 12 – 16 squares (depending on preference), drop a dollop of icing on top of each bar, and place on a serving platter.  Cool in fridge, or place platter into the freezer for an extra refreshing kick on a hot day.

Gluten Free option: Bob’s Red Mill GF sugar cookie mix makes a WONDERFUL alternative for the bottom layer. However, it only requires 1/3 of the dough, so wrap the rest up tight for another time. Or roll the left over dough out to a 1/4″ and use a knife to cut out lemon shaped cookies.  Double the frosting amount, then add a few drops of yellow food dye.  Lemon sugar cookies couldn’t be more darling next to these lemon bars.

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  1. Yum, I love lemon anything. Thanks Wendy!

    • I love how you see a recipe and go for it! You’re my inspiration to share more tasty treats.

  2. These are Steve’s favorites as well. Must make for his birthday!

    • I’ll make them when you come by for a dip in the pool after a hot day at the WAP… let’s talk later today!

  3. sounds yummy! i’m definately trying this recipe 🙂 i wanna see a picture :)…

  4. Lovely photos, by the way!

  5. Does the middle layer have flour?

    • No flour. There are plenty of cake like lemon bars. This is not one of them. This one is more like and intense bite of candy. Love that you made them, Teresa.

      • Sweet crunch! Nice

  6. Yum! Can’t wait to make these. Can I borrow some of those luscious lemons from your yard . . . and the adorable boy who picks them for you?

    • Of course. Of course. Can’t wait to see Tammy’s pictures of your family in the “orchard”!

  7. Wendy, yummy!! I love all things lemon and these sound divine. That’s so cool that you grow your own lemons.

  8. Hi Wendy!

    When I saw “my favorite lemon bars”, I knew that they must be your mom’s recipe. I too remember & savor the tart-sweet, rich taste and best of all the time shared together in our Culver City days of long ago. Son Mike still enjoys lots of lemony desserts, so I will use daughter Lisa’s Meyer lemons & make some for our families to enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Always fun to hear from you and share memories.


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