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3 Ingredient Lemon Bars

Stir together a few simple ingredients and you’ll have these 3 Ingredient Lemon Bars ready in no time. 

3 ingredient lemon bars

What I love about this recipe

Classic lemon bars are delicious, no doubt. But this lemon bar recipe is a quick dessert with a fun twist. It features a buttery sugar cookie crust and layer of big lemon flavor on top courtesy of lemon curd. I’ve seen recipes for 3-ingredient lemon bars that use a dry cake mix and lemon pie filling. I’m a big fan of cake mixes for baking. But lemon pie filling isn’t my favorite. I prefer the lemon flavor in the lemon curd. It reminds me more of fresh lemons. 

I also enjoy the decadent tartness and sweetness of these homemade lemon bars. The first time I tried them, they reminded more of lemon pound cake. But the next time I tested them, I was able to improve on the cake-like texture and get a more traditional lemon bar. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can these lemon squares be stored at room temperature?

While many recipes for lemon squares use eggs and require refrigeration for food safety, technically these do not. But they are firmer and easier to cut/handle when refrigerated. So if you have refrigerator space, I recommend storing them in the ‘fridge. 

Where do I find lemon curd in the grocery store?

Look for lemon curd either in the aisle with jams and jellys OR the aisle with “British” food items. (In my Publix, it’s in the latter.) 

Can I make these into GF Lemon Bars?

I haven’t tried that yet, and suspect there might be some difficulties with them holding together without any wheat flour. However, if you want to try it, there are gluten free sugar cookie mixes that might work.

Can I make these in the food processor instead of in a bowl?

While I haven’t tested them that way, I suspect the end results would be the same. Just be careful not to over-process the crust dough.

How do you cut lemon bars cleanly?

To cut lemon bars (and most bar cookies) as cleanly and neatly as possible, first it’s important to make sure the lemon squares are completely cool. (You may even find it’s best to refrigerate them for a couple of hours prior to slicing.)

Next, you need to keep your knife warm and clean by using warm water. Wet the knife in warm water (in either running water or dipping a glass of warm water), and wipe it with a dry dish towel. Make a single cut in the bars, and repeat the process with every subsequent cut.

  • butter
  • sugar cookie mix
  • lemon curd
  • confectioner’s sugar (optional)
3 ingredient lemon bars
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3 ingredient lemon bars

3 Ingredient Lemon Bars


  • Author: Regan Jones, RD
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Yield: 32 bars

Description

These 3 Ingredient Lemon Bars ready in no time with just a few simple ingredients. They’re tart, decadent and a wonderful lemon sweet treat. 


Ingredients

  • 2 (12-oz.) jars lemon curd
  • 1 (17.5-oz.) pkg. sugar cookie mix
  • 12 Tbsp. butter, softened and divided
  • Powdered sugar and lemon zest (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom and sides of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Open jars of lemon curd; set aside 3 tablespoons, and reserve for another use. Out of remaining lemon curd, set aside 1/4 cup. Reserve all remaining lemon curd for topping of bars.
  3. Mix together sugar cookie mix and 8 tablespoons of the softened butter in a large mixing bowl until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in reserved 1/4 cup lemon curd. Press mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare topping for bars by melting remaining 4 tablespoons butter; stir together with all of the remaining reserved lemon curd.
  5. Remove crust from oven. Carefully spoon lemon curd and butter mixture onto crust. Using an offset spatula, gently spread lemon curd filling evenly to edges of warm crust. Bake until topping is mostly set and edges are bubbly, about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, and place on a wire rack. Let cool completely. (Bars will cut better if refrigerated at least 2 hours.) Carefully lift bars from pan using parchment. Cut into squares. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar and lemon zest, if desired. Store in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Best when stored in ‘fridge to firm filling.
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 145
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Sodium: 95 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Keywords: 3 Ingredient Lemon Bars

Here’s another delicious lemon dessert you’ll enjoy:

Super Easy (Copycat) Crumbl Lemon Cookies


More 3 Ingredient Desserts you’ll enjoy:

3 ingredient cobbler - peach cinnamon

Peach Cobbler

loaf of 3 ingredient pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread

3 ingredient slow cooker apple spice cake

Slow Cooker Apple Cake

gluten free chocolate truffles

Chocolate Truffles

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