For me, lemon is a flavor that goes so well with the warmer months. It brightens up any dish including, of course, dessert! For these Lemon Crumb Bars, I mashed together a bunch of my recipes and added in this citrus rockstar. I came out on the other side with an amazing recipe for reimagined lemon bars with loads of flavor and buttery goodness. Not sure you’ll find a better bite than this!
Three layers make the best Lemon Crumb Bars
I recently published a simple recipe for Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies that are not only the bomb (does anyone say that anymore?), but also serve as the perfect crust, aka layer #1, in these Lemon Crumb Bars. Instead of rolling the sugar cookie dough into balls and dipping in sugar, spread the batter out in a pan and bake until just golden brown.
Layer #2 is a traditional lemon bar filling, but taken to the next level. Lots of egg, fresh lemon juice, and sugar to balance out the tartness of the lemon. Add in a bit of flour and baking powder to make up this curd-like filling. It has just the right amount of sweet and just the right amount of tart.
And, last but not least, the layer that sets these Lemon Crumb Bars apart. Layer #3, the crumb topping, is what really brings these bars to another level. I borrowed the crumb topping from my Double Crumb Crumb Cake to give take these lemon bars from good to amazing! The crumb topping gives these bars a buttery, crumbly contrast to the texture of the curd-like filling and the chewy sugar cookie crust. Oh so perfect!
I vote for Lemon
When it comes to easy, summery treats to bring to your neighbor’s backyard barbecue or your kid’s end-of-school party, I highly recommend baking up some of these delicious Lemon Crumb Bars. Lemon Crinkle Cookies are another really, really, really good option. Don’t force me to pick which one is my fave. It’s like choosing a favorite child. Can’t be done. (Unless you’re my mom and you secretly have a favorite, but adamantly swear you don’t. C’mon mom, we all know it’s me!)
Tips for making this recipe
- Read through the entire recipe and ingredient list before beginning. Each section has similar ingredients, so you’ll want to assemble all of these and divide them appropriately according to the recipe. For instance, sugar, eggs, brown sugar, and lemon (juice and zest) appear multiple times. Figure out how much of each ingredient you’ll need total then divide them up so you’re ready to start baking. This will make the process go much quicker and more easily for you – promise!
- Use fresh lemons for this recipe. First, zest them then, juice them. If you don’t have a zester, you can use a box grater. Use the side with the finest cut (aka, smallest holes). To extract the most juice from your lemon(s), roll them on the counter a few times while still whole, putting pressure on them with your palm. You can even use your elbow to put more pressure on them if your lemon(s) are particularly firm. Cut in half and squeeze through a strainer to catch all the seeds and any excess pulp, directly into a measuring cup
- There are three layers to these bars and I recommend preparing the second two layers (lemon filling and crumb topping) while the first (cookie crust) is baking. That way, once the cookie crust comes out of the oven, you’ll have both layers prepared and ready to place on top of the baked cookie crust. Pop it back in the oven for about 30 minutes and you’re all set!
For the Sugar Cookie Crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
For the Lemon Filling:
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
For the Crumb Topping:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside
- Prepare Sugar Cookie Crust: In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, mix in the dry ingredients just until the dough is well combined. Do not over mix. Press dough into prepared baking pan, using a spatula to spread in an even layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just starting to brown around edges. While crust is baking, prepare lemon filling and crumb topping
- Prepare Lemon Filling: Whisk together all ingredients until well combined
- Prepare Crumb Topping: In a large bowl, mix together flour, granulated and brown sugars, and lemon zest until well blended. With fingertips, work in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
- Assemble and Bake: Pour lemon filling over warm cookie crust. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over lemon filling. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until lemon filling looks set and no longer jiggly. Allow to cool completely before slicing into squares
- Bars will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days
- If you plan to bring these to an outdoor event, I recommend wrapping them in foil and packing them in a cooler with some ice packs. This will prevent the lemon filling from melting and dripping all over
- Category: Cookie Bars
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: lemon crumb bars, lemon bars, lemon squares, lemon dessert recipe, easy recipe, nut free dessert recipe, crumb topping, crumb cake topping, lemon filling, summer recipe, summer dessert recipe
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