These lemon bars with graham cracker crust are so easy to make and are the most decadent spring dessert. You will love the brown butter graham cracker crust and the tart Meyer lemon filling.
Lemon bars with graham cracker crust have the most creamy and lemony filling. Not overly sweet and flavored with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a hint of vanilla.
These lemon bars are bursting with fresh lemon flavor. They are also the best make ahead dessert.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Easy to make. This recipe doesn't require any fancy equipment or special ingredients.
- Kid friendly. This was the first time my 9 year old tried a lemon bar and he loved them. It's an easy enough recipe that kids could also join in.
- Brown butter crust. To take these lemon bars to the next level, I use brown butter inside my crust. It creates a nutty and toasty flavor.
- Ultimate lemon flavor. I use fresh Meyer lemon juice and lemon zest inside the filling as well as the crust.
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Meyer lemons- These sweet, fragrant lemons are sweeter than regular lemons. They are in season from December until May. I use the juice as well as the zest inside this recipe.
- Brown butter- I use unsalted butter, which I cook over the stove until the milk solids are browned and take on a nutty flavor.
- Sweetened condensed milk- By adding lemon juice to this, it helps thicken the filling and create the most creamy consistency.
- Egg yolks- I use large egg yolks right from the refrigerator. They can be used cold in this recipe.
- Powdered Sugar- Use to dust lemon bars once they are sliced and ready to serve.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1: Brown the butter. Add butter to small sauce pan and cook until milk solids begin to separate and brown. The finished butter will be a light caramel color.
STEP 2: Make the graham cracker crust. Place graham crackers inside food processor and blend until they are fine crumbs. Place crumbs into bowl and toss with brown sugar, lemon zest and brown butter.
STEP 3: Bake the crust. Pour crust into a greased, parchment lined 8x8 baking pan. Spread crumbs evenly and press down with the back of a measuring cup to flatten.
Then bake the crust for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
STEP 4: Make the lemon filling. Separate egg yolks from eggs and place them inside a bowl. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, condensed milk and salt. Whisk until combined.
STEP 5: Bake lemon bars. Pour filling on top of cooled graham cracker crust. Bake for 25 minutes or until the center is just about set.
STEP 6: Cool bars. I usually cool the lemon bars for 1 hour at room temperature. After, I place them inside the refrigerator. For best results, chill overnight.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS
- ALWAYS use fresh lemon juice. This will give you the best lemon flavor. You will definitely taste the difference if you use store bought.
- Line your pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. This will make your life so much easier and less messy.
- Make sure your bars have a good amount of time to chill and set inside the refrigerator. I like to leave mine overnight.
- Use a fine sifter when you dust your lemon bars with powdered sugar. It will help remove any lumps and go on evenly.
DECORATING THE LEMON BARS
After the lemon bars have chilled, take them out of the pan. Slice into 12 equal squares.
I use a sun shape cut out similar to the one used in the Disney movie Tangled. Simply place it on top of each square and give it a generous dust of powdered sugar. Carefully remove the cut out so that you do not disturb the pattern.
Alternate the other squares with sliced Meyer lemons and raspberries.
Yes, lemon bars should be refrigerated until you are ready to serve. Also, they are best enjoyed when they are chilled.
You can tell once the edges begin to turn lightly golden and the center is not runny or jiggly.
The lemon bars need to be very cold. Dip your knife into a pitcher of hot water. Remove and wipe clean any excess water. Slice into squares and repeat, making sure to wipe your knife after every slice.
STORING AND FREEZING
To store these lemon bars with graham cracker crust, place them inside an airtight container. If stacking them, place a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper in between so they do not stick. Refrigerate for up to 7 days.
Wrap lemon bars with plastic wrap. Place them inside an airtight container or Ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw, place inside refrigerator overnight. Dust with powdered sugar and serve chilled.
OTHER DESSERT RECIPES TO TRY
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Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust
Brown Butter Crust
- 1 ½ cups Graham crackers finely ground
- 2 tablespoon Light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Lemon zest
- 6 tablespoon Unsalted butter
Meyer lemon Filling
- 2 (14 oz) cans Sweetened condensed milk
- 4 each Egg Yolks Large
- 1 teaspoon Lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Lemon juice Meyer or regular lemons
- Powdered Sugar for dusting
- Raspberries for garnish
- Meyer lemon slices, for garnish
- Place butter inside a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat until milk solids begin to separate and lightly brown. The butter will have a golden amber color when it's finished. Set aside.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor, grind graham crackers until they are completely fine. Pour into a bowl and toss with brown sugar and lemon zest. Add brown butter over crumbs and mix until evenly coated.
- Grease and line a 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper. Pour graham cracker crumbs and spread evenly. Use the back of a measuring cup to compress crumbs. Bake for 12 minutes. Let crust cool completely before adding filling.
Meyer lemon Filling
- Separate egg yolks from eggs and place inside a medium size bowl. Add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt and lemon juice. Whisk until combined.
- Pour into prebaked crust and bake inside oven for 25 minutes or until edges are slightly golden and center is set and not jiggly.
- Remove from oven and let cool for at least 1 hour before placing it inside the refrigerator. Chill overnight.
- Slice bars into 12 even squares and dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with sliced lemons and raspberries.