Sunburst Lemon Bars {a.k.a. The Best Lemon Bars of Your Life}

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These lemon bars begin with a melt in your mouth shortbread crust that’s layered with a sweetly tart lemon filling and a lemony glaze on top!

As much as I’ve always loved traditional lemon bars with powdered sugar dusted across the top and a crisp crust on the bottom, sometimes you just want something different. And these bars? They put classic lemon bars to shame.

The BEST Lemon Bars of your life!

Sunburst Lemon Bars are the most amazing lemon bars I’ve ever tasted and I’m so excited to share the recipe with you all.

A reader once told me that the bright flavor is reminiscent of stepping into a burst of sunlight. Dramatic? oh yeah, but these bars are worthy of it.

The Best Lemon Bars

Yes, I did just call these the BEST. This recipe starts with a buttery, flaky shortbread that is so good, I’ll happily eat it plain. To make the shortbread even better, we’re going to top it with a gooey lemon filling that is sweet and tangy and spoon-licking delicious.

Then, the literal icing on the cake is a lemon glaze to take it right over the top. Sunburst Lemon Bars are like no other lemon bar I’ve ever tasted.

The video for this recipe is one of my favorites. Seeing my little boy’s hands in the video and hearing his voice? This is truly one of my favorite things about the work that we do. Also,  Nate says if you haven’t tried these bars yet, they really are “perfecto mundo.” With a review like that, how can you resist?

These bars are a gooey sweet twist on the classic, with just enough tang from the lemon juice and zest to balance the sweetness.

We’ve been making these bars for a few years now and every time I make them, I wonder why I waited so long to make them again. As a long-time fan of traditional lemon bars, I will admit now that I haven’t made a single batch of the classic lemon bars since I found this recipe.

I make lots of different dessert bars with fruit filling and while I enjoy them all, from Apple Pie Bars to Pineapple Coconut Bars, Strawberry and Peach Cobblers to Blackberry Coconut Crisps, Sunburst Lemon Bars are near the top of the list of my personal favorites.

I could eat one every day and probably not get sick of them (which is saying something since I don’t usually have much of a sweet tooth).

Sunburst Lemon Bars

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

This lemon bar recipe can be made gluten-free and with regular all-purpose flour. My preferred gluten-free flour blend for this recipe is a combination of brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. I’ve made and loved them both the gluten-free way and the regular way many times.

Gluten-free lemon bars are a great dessert to bring to a party or gathering of any kind even if you can eat gluten. Especially because these bars taste better than any “regular” lemon bar AND the gluten-free folks at the party will want you to be their new best friend when you show up with an incredible dessert that they can enjoy too. 

The recipe here has been adapted from and with thanks to So, How’s It Taste? and Pillsbury.

Tender flaky, sweet and tangy Lemon Bars

What makes these bars special?

The lemon filling in this recipe is what really makes these bars burst with flavor. I use a more than generous amount of fresh lemon juice and zest to pack each bar with the tart and tangy taste of lemon.

If you don’t like your lemon desserts quite so tart, feel free to reduce the amount of lemon zest and juice in the recipe. I, however, like them just as they are.

The glaze in this lemon bars recipe really sets them apart from the crowd. When the glaze sets, it creates a beautiful layer of pure sweet extra lemony goodness on top of the lemon filling. 

If you have any lemon dessert lovers in your life, you MUST make them these lemon bars. With some lemon desserts, I find that the lemon flavor just isn’t strong enough for my liking. If I eat a lemon bar I want to taste the lemon first and foremost.

Sweet and tangy Lemon Bars

It just doesn’t get any more citrusy and lemony than Sunburst Lemon Bars, I promise you.

If you love lemon desserts, you’ll want to check out this Lemon Angel Pie, Lemon Crinkle Cookies, and this 5-Minute Lemon Curd. (I’m serious, FIVE minutes to perfect lemon curd. Make it now and you can thank me later!)

These Coconut Lemon Pudding Parfaits and this Blueberry Lemon Shortcake need to be on your list of desserts to try as well. You can check out all of the Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes here!

Lemon Bars are the ultimate dessert for any lemon lover!

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Sunburst Lemon Bars

Sunburst Lemon Bars

4.86 from 14 votes
You're going to love these sweetly tart lemon bars with a melt in your mouth shortbread crust and a lemony glaze on top!
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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 18 servings

Ingredients 

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (use brown rice flour for GF alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice plus more as needed

Gluten-Free Alternative *

  • 1⅓ cup brown rice flour *
  • cup tapioca starch *
  • cup potato starch *

Instructions

Crust Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and beat for a minute or so until combined. Add the flours and the beat until the mixture is crumbly.
  • Press the crust into the bottom of a parchment-lined or an ungreased 9×13 pan. Parchment paper is not required, but it will make slicing the bars and removing them from the pan much easier. Bake for 25 minutes, until light golden brown.

Filling Directions

  • While the crust is baking, in a large bowl lightly beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and beat with a whisk until combined. Remove the partially baked crust from the oven and pour the filling over it.
  • Return to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until the top is light golden brown and starting to crack around the edges. Let cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Glaze Directions

  • In a small bowl, stir or whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add more lemon juice, by just a few drops at a time, until the glaze is a pourable consistency.
  • Spread the glaze over the cooled bars and then let it set for at least half an hour before slicing. Cut into bars and store in the refrigerator. Bars can be served cold or returned to room temperature first. Enjoy!

Notes

I use two lemons worth of juice and zest for this recipe. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your tastes. I like a tangy lemon dessert. If you prefer your desserts less so, reduce the amounts slightly.

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcal · Carbohydrates: 47g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 11g · Saturated Fat: 6g · Cholesterol: 63mg · Sodium: 107mg · Potassium: 113mg · Sugar: 32g · Vitamin A: 370IU · Vitamin C: 3.1mg · Calcium: 21mg · Iron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally posted 5/22/2013 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/17/22}

The BEST Lemon Bars

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Teresa says

    I made this on Sunday and it’s delicious. I did make some modifications using a combination of AP/ Almond / Coconut & Wheat flour. I also discovered all my lemons were hard and dried out so I used lime juice and had just enough leftover lemon zest in my refrigerator to fulfill the lemon zest recipe requirements.

    One suggestion I have is to not add the glaze to the whole dish only on the pieces that will be eaten fresh. For me, although still tasty when leftovers are put in the refrigerator the dough/crust gets very hard. I did not want to reheat The leftovers because it would melt the glaze away. But I found that it is so much more delicious and melts-in-your-mouth when it has been heated.5 stars

  2. Terza says

    Everyone loves this recipe. I bring it to every get-together. I usually melt the butter with no problem to the gluten-free recipe. I also put the glaze on right after it comes out of the oven – Mmmm. I have also change to a smaller sized pan without any problems. I use parchment paper for ease of removal from my pan.5 stars

  3. Jo says

    I made these last night – absolutely delicious and my friends loved them! The only problem was that I don’t think I got the weights and measures calculations right – living outside of the US, butter is sold in grams, not sticks or cups (and it’s not like I can cut a square block of butter to fit the sloping cup measure that I have!). I used the 1c butter = 227g (first result from Google), but the mixture for the biscuit base didn’t turn out crumbly, more like a paste! After I fought to spreads it onto the baking paper, the bar baked up fine, but the base is incredibly crumbly now, and basically disintegrates when I bite into it, which means wastage of the biscuit into crumbs.

    Could you add to the recipe the gram or ounce weight for the ingredients, please? It’s obvious that precision is needed, rather than an ‘in the region of’ 🙂 Thanks!
    (PS – sorry if this is a duplicate – the first time round I got an error message, and I don’t know if the system accepted my comment!)4 stars

  4. Barbara P. says

    These are the best tasting lemon bars I’ve ever baked! It was hard for me to give any away. The zest of the lemon makes the whole difference. If I could have given it 10 stars I would have. Love your recipes.5 stars