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Craving something tangy and sweet that’s also easy to whip up? Look no further! These small batch Lemon Bars are the perfect treat for anyone wanting a quick and delightful dessert. With a sweet shortbread crust and a beautifully tangy lemon filling, these bars bring a balance of flavors that’s hard to resist. Plus, most ingredients are likely already in your pantry, making this an anytime go-to dessert.

In search of more delightful small batch lemon treats? You’re sure to love our tangy Lemon Meringue Pie, creamy Lemon Posset, buttery Lemon Scones, and smooth Lemon Curd.

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Bars Recipe

  • Easy and Quick: This recipe requires minimal ingredients and comes together quickly, making it ideal for busy weeknights or spontaneous dessert cravings.
  • Perfect Portion Size: Baked in a small baking dish, this recipe yields just enough to share or enjoy on your own without excess leftovers.
  • Pantry Staples: Most of the ingredients are likely already in your pantry, making it a convenient and accessible dessert option.
  • Flavorful Contrast: The sweet and crumbly shortbread crust beautifully complements the bright and tangy lemon filling, creating a delightful textural and flavor contrast.

RELATED: 15 Easy Dessert Recipes For One

What Are Lemon Bars?

Lemon bars are a popular dessert bar featuring a buttery shortbread crust layered with a sweet and tart lemon filling. They are typically cut into squares for easy serving and enjoyment.

Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this lemon bars recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Butter: Softened butter adds rich flavor and a velvety texture to the crust.
  • Sugar: We use granulated sugar in both the crust and the lemon curd filling to sweeten them perfectly. It also helps to set the lemon filling firmly when combined with the egg.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is key for giving the crust its structure and also thickens the lemon filling, ensuring it sets just right.
  • Cornstarch: A crucial ingredient in the shortbread crust, cornstarch lends a light and tender texture while also contributing to the crust’s structure.
  • Salt: Just a pinch in the crust can really amplify its overall taste, bringing out the best in the other flavors.
  • Egg: The inclusion of a single egg ensures that our bars have an ideal, firm structure.
  • Lemon juice: I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice for its vibrant, zesty flavor that really elevates the recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • Chocolate-Drizzled Lemon Bars: For a delightful twist, once your lemon bars are cooled, drizzle them with melted chocolate. The combination of tangy lemon and rich chocolate creates a decadent treat. Simply melt your favorite chocolate and use a spoon or piping bag to drizzle over the top.
  • Coconut Lemon Bars: For a tropical flair, mix 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut into the shortbread crust and sprinkle some on top before baking. The coconut adds a lovely texture and pairs beautifully with the lemon flavor.
  • Lime Bars: Switch up the citrus by replacing lemon juice with lime juice. Lime bars offer a slightly different but equally refreshing taste. You can also add a bit of lime zest to the filling for an extra zesty kick.
  • Herb-Infused Lemon Bars: Infuse the lemon filling with fresh herbs like thyme or basil for a unique, gourmet twist. The subtle herbal notes complement the lemon beautifully.
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How To Make Lemon Bars

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a small batch of lemon bars. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Grease your choice of a 5×5-inch baking dish, a 4×6-inch dish, or two 10-ounce ramekins. Then, set them aside.
  2. Begin with the crust: Using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, mix together the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Next, add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and mix until combined.

Note: To prepare the shortbread crust, you’ll need softened butter. The ideal consistency is cool to the touch, but soft enough to leave an indentation when pressed with a finger. For best results, leave the butter out on your kitchen counter for about half an hour before using it. Alternatively, for a quicker method, microwave the cold butter for 10 to 15 seconds, but be vigilant to ensure it doesn’t melt.

shortbread cookie batter in a mixing bowl.
  1. Firmly press this dough into your prepared baking dish. You can use the back of a spoon or your fingertips for an even layer. Bake this for 15-18 minutes, or until it turns a light golden color. After baking, take it out of the oven and set it aside.

Pro Tip: Pre-baking the crust ensures it sets properly and doesn’t become soggy from the lemon filling’s moisture.

pressing lemon bars crust into a small baking dish.
  1. Now, let’s make the lemon filling: In a separate small bowl, stir together the egg, sugar, flour, and lemon juice until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
lemon bar filling in a mixing bowl.
  1. Gently pour this filling over your pre-baked crust. Return it to the oven and bake for another 15-17 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the edges start to brown slightly, and the center has a slight jiggle to it.
pouring lemon bar filling over the crust before baking.
  1. Once baked, remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack.
  2. For serving, cut into squares. Optionally, you can dust them with powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.

Pro Tip: For clean cuts, dip your knife into warm water, wipe it dry, and then slice. Repeat this process after each cut to ensure neat, clean slices of your lemon bars.

one lemon bar on a green plate.

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Expert Tips

  • Select the Right Baking Dish: For these lemon bars, a 5×5-inch baking dish is ideal. If you’re making two servings, two 10-ounce ramekins are perfect. The size of the dish is crucial—it affects the thickness and cooking time of the bars. A dish that’s too large can result in overly thin, quickly cooked bars, while a too-small dish may cause the mixture to overflow and need more baking time.
  • Ease of Removal: To make removing the bars a breeze, line your baking dish with parchment paper, ensuring it overhangs the edges. This way, once the bars are cooled, you can simply lift them out of the dish.
  • Cooling is Key: Patience is important when it comes to cooling. Allow the bars to cool for about 30 minutes in the pan first, then transfer them to a cooling rack for further cooling. This step ensures they set properly before you cut them into neat squares.

RELATED: Comfort Food Recipes For One

Frequently Asked Questions

What size baking dish should I use when making a small batch of lemon bars?

The size of the baking dish is crucial for this recipe. I recommend using a 5×5 inch baking dish, which has a base area of 25 square inches. This size ensures the lemon bars cook evenly and have the perfect thickness. You can find the specific dishes we recommend on our Store page.

Can I double this lemon bars recipe?

Yes, you can certainly double this recipe. If you decide to do so, just double all the ingredients. For baking, you have a few options: use two 5×5-inch baking dishes, one 6.5-inch square dish, or one 6×8-inch dish.

Can I make lemon bars in advance?

Yes, you can definitely prepare lemon bars ahead of time. Feel free to make the crust and filling a day before you need them and keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to bake.

How long do lemon bars last?

They’re best enjoyed within 2-3 days and should be stored in the refrigerator.

Why didn’t my lemon bars filling set?

If you find that your lemon bars are too runny, it might be due to the crust not being baked long enough. Also, it’s essential to let the bars cool completely before slicing, as the filling sets more as it cools down.

Can I use other citrus fruits in this lemon bar recipe?

Of course, you can experiment with other citrus fruits! Lime or grapefruit are great alternatives if you want to try a different flavor profile in your bars.

RELATED: 40 Easy Recipes For College Students

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you would like additional information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried these small lemon bars or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Small Batch Lemon Bars

4.91 from 31 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Cool: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Conquer your sweet cravings with this easy small batch Lemon Bars recipe! Perfect for a quick, tangy treat with no leftovers. Simple, delicious, and just right.

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

For The Crust

  • 2 ½ tablespoons salted butter , softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • teaspoon salt

For The Lemon Filling

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Grease your choice of a 5×5-inch baking dish, a 4×6-inch dish, or two 10-ounce ramekins. Then, set them aside.

Make The Crust

  • Using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, mix together the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Next, add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and mix until combined.
  • Firmly press this dough into your prepared baking dish. You can use the back of a spoon or your fingertips for an even layer. Bake this for 15-18 minutes, or until it turns a light golden color. After baking, take it out of the oven and set it aside.

Make The Filling

  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, flour, and lemon juice until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  • Gently pour this filling over your pre-baked crust. Return it to the oven and bake for another 15-17 minutes.
  • Once baked, remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack.
  • For serving, cut into squares. Optionally, you can dust them with powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.
    Pro Tip: For clean cuts, dip your knife into warm water, wipe it dry, and then slice. Repeat this process after each cut to ensure neat, clean slices of your lemon bars.

Video

Notes

  1. Select the Right Baking Dish: For these lemon bars, a 5×5-inch baking dish is ideal. If you’re making two servings, two 10-ounce ramekins are perfect. The size of the dish is crucial—it affects the thickness and cooking time of the bars. A dish that’s too large can result in overly thin, quickly cooked bars, while a too-small dish may cause the mixture to overflow and need more baking time.
  2. Ease of Removal: To make removing the bars a breeze, line your baking dish with parchment paper, ensuring it overhangs the edges. This way, once the bars are cooled, you can simply lift them out of the dish.
  3. Cooling is Key: Patience is important when it comes to cooling. Allow the bars to cool for about 30 minutes in the pan first, then transfer them to a cooling rack for further cooling. This step ensures they set properly before you cut them into neat squares.
 
Note: To prepare the shortbread crust, you’ll need softened butter. The ideal consistency is cool to the touch, but soft enough to leave an indentation when pressed with a finger. For best results, leave the butter out on your kitchen counter for about half an hour before using it. Alternatively, for a quicker method, microwave the cold butter for 10 to 15 seconds, but be vigilant to ensure it doesn’t melt.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 225kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 156mg, Potassium: 19mg, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 295IU, Vitamin C: 2.1mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 0.7mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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