Whole Lemon Bars

In Arizona the mild winters and scorching summers produce some pretty amazing citrus. My mom has a lemon tree that grows on the south side of her backyard. It always yields large amounts of fruit and this year is no exception. She graciously shares and this is where I pick my lemons. In my last post I preserved them. They still need to sit at least 3 more weeks in the fridge to finish. I'm currently lining up new recipes to use with them. Any ideas?

For this post I decided upon lemon bars from Deb Perelman's "The Smitten Kitchen" cookbook. I love her quick wit and humor and the stories she tells. This is a great recipe and a snap to make. She suggest Meyer lemons, but the lemons I used were wonderful as well. The intense lemony flavor is both sweet and tart. I finished by sprinkling a fair amount of powdered sugar on the top and cut into squares.



1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing pan)


1 medium sized lemon (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1 1/3 cups sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into chunks)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Place rack in middle of oven. Use a 8 inch square baking pan. Butter, then using 2 lengths of parchment paper running perpendicular to one another line pan, leave sides overhanging.

In food processor slightly blend flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture is powdery, (if firmly pinched, and holds pinched shape) it's ready. Turn the dough crumbs into the prepped baking pan and press dough evenly across the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Should any parts bubble up, gently prick them again with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.

For the filling; Cut the lemon in half. Here you are checking to make sure that the white part is no thicker than 1/4 inch thick, if it is trim it off. The bitterness of the pith can be overwhelming. If the whole lemon is like that, trim off the pith on 1 side completely. Let the other side be.

Cut lemon halves into thin rings and discard any seeds. Toss in food processor, along with sugar, and run machine until the lemon is thoroughly pureed, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and again run the machine until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse the machine in short bursts until the mixture is evenly combined.

Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. You can test this by bumping the pan a little; it should jiggle slightly. Let the pan cool completely on rack or in the fridge.Use the parchment sling to remove bars to cutting board and cut into squares. Enjoy!


  1. These look so good! I love lemons and use them whenever I can. I've always wanted to live somewhere where we could have citrus trees, but here in MO it's a no go.

  2. Thanks Tammy! Thats so funny because I've always wanted to live somewhere where it snows.

  3. My mother-in-law lived in Phoenix before she passed away and had a gorgeous lemon tree in her backyard, too. I use to love to visit and pick all the lemons I wanted to bring back home. Have you ever made limoncello? I make it every year when I have an abundance of lemons. (the recipe's on my blog, if you're interested) Your lemon bars look delicious. There's something about the sunny, bright smell of lemons that makes me so happy! :) I bet your house smells amazing while these are baking! -Rebecca

    1. Hi Rebecca, Thanks, the lemon bars were delicious. Yes I have tried limoncello. Checked out your site and I definitely will be making that soon along with a few others. Great blog!

  4. Lemon bars are my FAVORITE! I make them all the time -- I love that this recipe uses the whole lemon, yummm.

  5. Thanks Kelly, they are one of my favorites as well.

  6. Love any kind of dessert with lemons in ... or anything with lemon in period! Have you tried making lemon curd? Very popular on toast in the UK!

  7. Hi Helen,
    No I have not tried to make lemon curd but that is a really good idea. Sounds delicious!


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