lemon bars on top of parchment paper and cooling rack
Not-Too-Sweet Meyer Lemon Bars
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Cooling Time
2 hrs
Total Time
45 mins

A luscious, not-too-sweet lemon bar made with Meyer lemons, shortbread crust, and a tart, puckery filling.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Not Too Sweet Lemon Bars
Servings: 24 squares
Author: The Subversive Table
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold butter cut into same size chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice about 6 lemons, preferably Meyer lemons (regular ones will also do)
  • Lemon zest from 3 lemons
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  

  2. Add dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse dry ingredients a few times. Scatter the cold butter chunks over the top. Keep pulsing until the mixture looks like coarse sand. If there are large pieces of butter, keep pulsing.
    butter and flour in food processor
  3. Dump mixture into the 9 x 13 inch pan. Using clean hands, evenly press the crust into the pan. 

    shortbread crust in baking pan
  4. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. When the crust is done, it should look pale with some golden, crispy looking edges.

For the Filling
  1. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add lemon juice, zest, cornstarch, and salt.  Mix well, making sure there are no cornstarch lumps. The filling will look watery and loose.

  2. Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust. It’s ok if the crust is still warm. Return the baking pan to the oven and bake for an additional 16-20 minutes.  (For the first time, I would start checking at 14 minutes in case you have a very hot oven.)  

    The lemon bars are done when you give the pan a shake and they jiggle just a little in the center.      

Recipe Notes

*The baking time varies depending on the oven and the material of your 9 x 13 pan.  Depending on whether you use ceramic, glass, or metal, the cooking time will differ.  I use a dark, non-stick metal pan.  For me, 18 minutes is perfect.  But when I baked this at my mother's house, in a similar dark, non-stick metal pan, it only required 14 minutes.  To be on the safe side, check at 14 minutes and keep checking in 1 minute increments until the lemon filling is firm on the edges with a slight jiggle in the center when you shake the pan.  

**I shortened the total cook time because you can work on the filling while the oven bakes in the crust.  The cook time does not include cooling time.

**DO NOT use parchment paper when baking these lemon bars!  The filling will leak under the shortbread crust, ugh!  Instead, butter the pan well before baking the shortbread crust and the lemon bars should release with no problem.