Thick & Chewy Lemon Bars

with a shortbread crust

I’m vowing right now to not do anything during this week other than eat well, exercise and sleep. I’ve been doing too much during the week so far this month, so I’m ready to relax and rejuvenate before I head to New Orleans in T-Minus 12 days. I need to prepare myself for what I’m sure will be an interesting experience. Kramer was in NOLA over the weekend for our friend’s bachelor party, and he said it was amazing, so I can’t wait. I have always wanted to go to New Orleans, but I worried I was never going to get the chance if Kramer was taking a separate trip! So, because I was jealous, I planned my own trip with my friends to go shortly after he got back. I couldn’t let him have all the fun. He can have his dumb bachelor party and I’ll do my own thing. Girl power and all that. So, if you have any must do, sees, eats, etc. for me, tell me now! We’re going to be there during Jazz Fest, so I understand that reservations are a must. So far we only have a few things planned, like lunch at Commander’s Palace, dinner at Root (which I’m still unsure about – can anyone confirm/deny this place, please) and I kind of want to check out Noodle and Pie. What swamp tour should we go on? What’s the scariest haunted tour? Where can I get a beignet that’s not Cafe Du Monde? Or is Cafe Du Monde truly the best? These are the burning questions that I need answers for.

thick and chewy lemon barsBushwick, the Williamsburg Bridge, my new favorite restaurant and a negroni. [follow me]

New Orleans trip aside, allow me to share with you the best lemon bars on the planet. In the past, I’ve felt like my lemon bars were never thick enough. I don’t want thin, limp, sad little bars. I want a shortbread crust that is sturdy enough to hold up a thick piece of perfect lemony goodness. I’ve made a few different lemon bar variations, and these are by far my favorite. Look how much lemon bar filling there is! Sure, it takes 8 eggs and 4 whole lemons, zest and all, but it’s worth it, I swear to you. I think people have this weird soft spot for lemon bars. Go ahead and ask your friends if you should make lemon bars for them. I guaranteed 4 out of 5 will respond with exactly this: “OMG I love lemon bars!” Maybe it’s because their grandma used to make them, or maybe it’s because that sweet lemon curd is too good to pass up, or maybe it’s just because people really don’t make them enough – I’m not sure, but there are never any leftovers when a batch is made. The actual recipe couldn’t be easier, so grab a carton of eggs and a bag of lemons and get to work.

thick and chewy lemon barsthick and chewy lemon barsYour ingredients.

thick and chewy lemon barsCut your butter into your flour mixture with your hands until coarse crumbs form.

thick and chewy lemon barsPress your crust into your pan, bake, then whisk together your lemon filling.

thick and chewy lemon barsBake until set but not browned.

thick and chewy lemon barsAllow the bars to cool completely before you serve them.

thick and chewy lemon barsthick and chewy lemon barsthick and chewy lemon barsI promise that these are the thick, chewy lemon bars you’ve always wanted.

thick and chewy lemon bars

Thick & Chewy Lemon Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25-30 bars
Thick lemon bars with a shortbread crust - these are the lemon bars of your dreams.
For the Shortbread Crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed
For the Filling:
  • 8 eggs
  • zest and juice of 4 large lemons
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. First, make the crust. Whisk together your flour, granulated sugar and salt, then cube your butter and use your hands to cut it into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment and press your shortbread dough into the pan as evenly as you can, but don't worry about going up the sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the edges start to turn slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. While your crust bakes, whisk together your eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest, sugar, flour and salt. Pour the mixture over the hot crust once it's ready, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until fully set but not browned. Allow the bars to cool completely before slicing (I refrigerated mine). You can sprinkle with powdered sugar when you're ready to serve, if you like.


20 Responses

  1. Arielle says:

    I’ve been to New Orleans five times, and after many beignets sampled, cafe du monde is by far the best. So simple, amazing coffee, it’s heaven. Order at the to go window and eat it in the park nearby. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Also Hansens sno-bliz sweet shop for snow balls. The place has been open for 75 years and is incredible. Really great flavors, satsuma+ginger+ sweetened condensed milk, I’ll leave it at that

  2. Deanna says:

    So I haven’t been to NOLA in years, but Cafe Adelaide does $.25 martinis at lunch that I remember as being full sized and pretty good. And go to August if you can!

  3. RC says:

    My husband and I went to NOLA to celebrate our second wedding anniversary in 2012. We fell in love with the city so much that we’ve gone back every year since on our anniversary. You can’t go wrong with the food anywhere in NOLA I think, but we absolutely make sure to visit Cochon and Galatoire’s every time. Music on Frenchmen Street every evening – just walk around and figure out where you like the music best. If you’re feeling fancy, have a sazerac at the bars in Roosevelt or Monteleone hotels. My NOLA experience is limited to Christmas time, though, when it’s lovely and not too touristy, so don’t know how it is around this time. Late night cheap eat – Verti Mart. Amazing jazz at Preservation Hall.
    Cafe du Monde is too much hype, I feel, but I couldn’t give you a better alternative unfortunately. There’s much better food in New Orleans than beignets is all I’ll say. Have fun!

  4. Kate says:

    I made (and ate too much of!) a lemon poundcake this weekend, but these lemon bars look too good. Multiple lemon desserts in a row never hurt anyone…

  5. Kristen says:

    As a New Orleans Native, I hardly go to cafe du monde because it’s just way too touristy and crowded for my taste. I prefer to go to Morning Call in City Park. They’re 24 hours, so it’s really great after a late night. Plus City Park is a pretty place to drive and/or walk through and explore.

  6. vera says:

    Could you please tell us how many tablespoons of the lemon juice. You said 4 large lemons – it’s hard to tell what size it is, it would be great to know in tablespoons

  7. vera says:

    How many tablespoons of lemon juice do we need, please

  8. Polly McCall says:

    I love lemon bars but have never found a really great recipe…excited to try these the look wonderful

  9. Lindsey says:

    Green Goddess is a cute, eclectic, and totally fun dining spot. It is a small spot in a quait alley off Burbon St. I always visit when in NOLA. The Maple Leaf is also a must for music, if you don’t get enough at the Jazz Fest. If you go, be sure to grab some tamales from the guy that sells them outside the front door…amazing!!!

  10. Laura says:

    new orleans is amazing! i may be biased because that’s my hometown but…. cochon, galatoie’s, hansen’s for a snoball, yo mama’s or port of call for burgers, big fisherman for crawfish, katie’s in midcity has the best charbroiled oysters, del fuego or juan’s flying burrito for mexican… this list goes on and on and on! noodles and pie is pretty delicious too :) enjoy your trip!!

  11. Laura says:

    oh yea and add bayona to your list, it’s a must! and mahoney’s or parkway bakery for poboys… i told you the list goes on and on. have fun!!

  12. Maureen says:

    These lemon bars are surely amazing. Very chewy and looks really delicious! I’m excited to try making these lemon bars.

  13. Polly mccall says:

    Sydney. Made these for a recent dinner party. You are right. This is it. These are the BEST lemon bars I’ve ever tasted and very easy to make. Everyone loved them. Absolutely delicious. No more searching for a good lemon bar recipe!!!!!!!

  14. Seconding Parkway (dragged a surf and turf po boy – roast beef and fried shrimp – back to my hostel and devoured it in about two seconds) and Cochon (I recommend sitting at the bar and getting a few small plates – boudin and gumbo were killer). Also essential is a trip to Central Grocery for a muffaletta and walking around with booze on the street because you can.

  15. I made this for Mother’s Day and they were AMAZING. They were thick, sweet, not too tangy, perfect when a little warm, fantastic room temperature. They cut gorgeously into perfect squares, and they were super easy to whip together. The timing worked perfectly so the second I was finished with the filling, the crust was ready to come out of the oven, – I can’t say enough about how PERFECT these are. Everybody couldn’t say enough wonderful things about them! Congrats on a great, solid recipe!

  16. […] & Chewy Lemon Bars recipe via The Crepes of Wrath, Lemon Chantilly whipped cream recipe via Serious Eats […]

  17. AJ says:

    So i made these last night for Ramadan Dessert & the kiddos loved them !!! So happy they came out perfect !

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