Kirbie's Cravings

Whole Lemon Bars

a close-up photo of two lemon bars

If you’re looking for an amazing lemon bar recipe, this is it. These lemon bars are the best I’ve had. A thick and velvety custard that isn’t too sweet or too tart, with a great lemony flavor. What is really interesting is that it uses an entire lemon (minus the seeds).

As a result, you don’t need to zest or juice. You just puree the whole lemon in your food processor and it gives the lemon bars such a great flavor.

a close-up photo of a stack of four whole lemon bars

I haven’t found a great lemon bar recipe until now. I’ve made Raspberry Bars before that I love and now I have a favorite lemon bar. This recipe is from The Smitten Kitchen’s cookbook* and was recommended to me by Eva of Eva Bakes. I love how sturdy and thick these bars are. I’ve been so frustrated with lemon bars falling apart easily. The only thing I might try tweaking next time is the crust, which I wished had a tad more sweetness. This is such an easy and delicious recipe though.process photo collage showing fresh lemons and how to make the batter in the food processor

Tips for Making Whole Lemon Bars

  • Instead of a regular lemon that would need to be partially peeled, I used a Meyer lemon. It has a thin skin and there’s no need to peel part of it. The whole thing (minus the seeds) can go in the food processor.
  • When you make the filling, I recommend scraping down the bowl a few times to ensure the filling is smooth.

whole lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar

You might like my keto lemon bars and lemon brownies, too!

You can view the full recipe here.

*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

Whole Lemon Bars

Servings: 16 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Instead of juicing a bunch of lemons for this recipe, you only need one Meyer lemon and the whole thing (minus the seeds) is used for the bars. No need to zest or peel the lemon. Plus, both the crust and the filling are made in the food processor so no need to use multiple bowls.



  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cubed


  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cubed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (with enough paper so you can use it to lift the bars from the pan after they are baked) and spray it with cooking spray.

Make the Crust

  • Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until is worked into the ingredients and the flour looks powdery. You should be able to pinch some of the dough together and it should hold its shape. Transfer the flour and butter mixture to the baking pan and press it into an even layer in the bottom of the pan and approximately one inch up the sides. Using the tines of a fork, poke the dough all over to make little holes. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until it's lightly browned.

Make the Filling

  • Cut the lemon into thin slices. Remove the seeds from the lemon and discard them. Place the lemon slices in the food processor, add the sugar, and puree the lemon. This will take a couple of minutes and you may need to stop the food processor a few times to scrape down the bowl. Process the lemon and sugar until you have a smooth puree. Add the butter, eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse the mixture a few times until combined.
  • Pour the lemon mixture over the crust, transfer the pan to the oven, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set and the bars turn a very light brown on top. Cool the bars completely in the pan before lifting them out (use the parchment paper to transfer them). Slice into 16 squares.


Recipe lightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. You can see the full recipe here.
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

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.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!


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Recipe Rating

14 comments on “Whole Lemon Bars”

  1. Can I just use lemon juice or something else ? I don’t have a blender or food processor. Thank you 

  2. Hi Kirbie – Is the filling supposed to have 1/2c butter? It’s listed as a filling ingredient but you don’t reference it in the recipe, and other lemon bar recipes I’ve come across don’t have it, either.

  3. I don’t know how I’ve only now come across your site. You say all the magic words – no extra bowl, sing to my heart. I came by way of your whole lemon ice cream recipe – I can’t wait to try this and the lemon ice pops!

  4. I don’t have a food processor. Can I use a blender?

  5. i love the use of the whole lemon! maybe it’s time for me to make some ‘real’ lemon bars, haha (my go to recipe uses lemon cake mix, yeah, i use it!).

  6. Hmm! Using the whole lemon seems interesting. My go to lemon bar recipe is the one from Ina Garten, but this sounds like a fun one to try as well. 

    • oh i haven’t tried that one. but i do recommend trying this one for sure! it’s a nonfussy recipe and it tastes great

  7. So glad you enjoyed these! This is my favorite lemon bar recipe by far. All my friends loved it too!

    • I totally love it! And it’s pretty easy to put together. A lot of lemon bar recipes I’ve come across also use far too many eggs, but this one was a manageable amount. thanks for recommending this recipe to me!