These easy lemon bars taste just like classic lemon bars but with fewer ingredients. The lemon bars have a creamy sweet and tart lemon curd filling sitting on top of a shortbread crust. They only need 4 ingredients and don’t need any wheat flour or butter.
My family loves lemon bars but I don’t often make them because they always seem like a lot of work. So I wanted to share an easier recipe for lemon bars. These lemon bars are just 4 ingredients but they taste just as good as traditional ones.
The bottom layer is a firm shortbread crust. The top is a thick, creamy, rich lemon filling that is just the right amount of sour and sweet. I like a really tall thick filling on my lemon bars, so this one is about twice the height of the crust.
- Almond Flour
Lemons: Make sure to use fresh lemons for the best lemon flavor. The lemon bar filling is made up mostly of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a little lemon zest. You will need about 4 large lemons for this recipe.
Eggs: Eggs are used to make the lemon curd filling as well as the shortbread crust.
Sugar: The lemon bars are sweetened with regular granulated white sugar.
Almond Flour: Make sure to use superfine blanched almond flour. I chose to use almond flour because it can substitute both regular flour and butter. Almond flour is already high in fat and is great for making buttery shortbread without needing butter or wheat flour.
How to Make Easy Lemon Bars
You first make the crust. Almond flour is combined with a little sugar and one egg until a dough forms. The dough is then pressed into the prepared baking pan. I used my hands to spread it across and then used the back of the spoon to smooth and even out the crust.
The crust then goes into the oven to bake. While it is baking, you make your lemon curd filling.
Eggs are beaten until no egg white streaks remain. Lemon juice is then mixed in, then sugar and finally lemon zest.
When the crust is ready, the filling is poured on top. The lemon bars then bake for about 20 more minutes until the filling is set.
Don’t remove the pan from the oven when the crust is done. Instead, pull the oven shelf out so that you can pour the filling into the pan and then close the oven. The reason I recommend this is that the filling is very liquidy. Lifting the pan or walking with the pan back to the oven will cause the filling to move around a lot and some of it may seep underneath the crust.
Let the lemon bars chill in the fridge before serving. This helps to develop the flavors of the filling, making the sweet and tartness even more intense.
More Easy Lemon Recipes
4 Ingredient Lemon Bars
For the crust
- 2 cups (184 g) superfine blanched almond flour see note
- 3 tbsp (36 g) granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
For the filling
- 6 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (158 ml) lemon juice
- 1 cup (195 g) granulated white sugar
- 1 tbsp (6 g) lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously grease the interior of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking oil spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper (with some overhang to use as handles). See notes section for more details.
- To make the crust: In a large mixing bowl, add almond flour and sugar. Whisk until evenly combined. Pour in the beaten egg. Mix until egg is fully incorporated and a dough forms. At first, your mixture may seem dry but the more you mix, the more moisture will be absorbed by the almond flour and it should form a dough.
- Using your fingers, press and spread the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Use the back of a large metal spoon to smooth the surface and even out the crust. See the photo in the post for reference of how the crust should look. Place crust into oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and the surface is lightly browned.
- To make the filling: Make the filling while the crust is baking. That way it is ready to go as soon as the crust is done. Add eggs to a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until no egg white streaks remain. Add in lemon juice and beat again until uniform in color. Add in sugar and beat until sugar is fully incorporated. Add in zest and mix at low speed until just evenly mixed. You can also mix the filling by hand with a whisk but if you do so, make sure you whisk the eggs vigorously enough to remove any egg white streaks.
- When the crust is done baking, leave it in the oven but open the oven door and pull out the oven shelf that the crust is on so you can add the filling. Pour the filling over the crust. Gently push the oven shelf back in and close the oven door. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Let lemon bars cool fully cool before cutting. I recommend letting them fully cool at room temperature for 1 hour and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This helps the lemon bars fully develop their flavor. The filling won't taste as intense or rich if you try to eat the lemon bars right away. If desired, dust lemon bars with powdered sugar before cutting and serving. Lemon bars can be served chilled or you can bring them to room temperature before serving. Uneaten lemon bars should be stored in the fridge.
- When measuring the almond flour for this recipe, spoon it into the measuring cup and the level off the top with a knife. Do not directly dip your measuring cup into the almond flour because this will lead to too much almond flour being added.
- I recommend that you grease your pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. You want to only line with one sheet, just enough to cover the bottom with some overhang for handles. The other two sides of the pan should remain unlined. See photo in post for reference. I recommend this for several reasons. Greasing the pan first and then adding the parchment paper helps to make the parchment paper stick so it doesn't shift around. You don't want it to shift when the filling is added because that could lead to the filling leaking below the crust. I also leave two of the sides unlined (but they are greased) which also helps to steady the crust.
- I used a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. I don't recommend using a smaller pan because the filling will be too thick and won't set. I used a 9 x 9 inch pan with slanted slides. This is the most common type of 9 inch baking pans sold in the US. This means that only the top of the pan truly measures 9 x 9 inch and the bottom of the pan is actually less (mine is 8.25 x 8.25 inches). If you bake this recipe in a 9 x 9 pan with straight edges (so it actually measured 9 x 9 inches at the bottom), the recipe will still turn out but your filling will not be as tall.
- You will need approximately 4 large lemons to get 2/3 cup of lemon juice. You will likely need the zest from only 1 to yield 1 tbsp of zest.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
I am allergic to almonds :(, what flour can be substituted? These look delicious. I’ve baked the longer version for years but would like to try these. Thank you.
You can use regular flour but you would need to add butter to it.
4 ingredients lemon slice had me going ! Will try it out tomorrow . Had to write it out .
hope you enjoy!
Can I make this diabetic friendly for my mum with Stevia or another sugar substitute?
Sorry I haven’t tried with a sugar substitute
Can this recipe be made with vegan eggs?
Sorry I don’t know
Can one also use wheat flour instead of almond flour?
You would need to add butter if using wheat flour
Very nice recipe chef ???. Thank you for your effort. ??? and HAPPY MOTHERS DAY ????