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, Glazed Lemon 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

4.73 from 22 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 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 18 servings


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


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!


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.


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!

{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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    • Mary says

      If you are not in need of a gluten free recipe, simply substitute 2 cups all purpose flour for the items marked with an * in the crust ingredients and 1/4 cup AP flour for the item marked with an * in the filling.

    • Alexandra says

      Wow, I just noticed you replied, thank you for taking the time to reply!
      Also, I went back up and re-read, and didn’t notice that in the bottom part! Sorry you had to re-explain.
      Can’t wait to try these! 🙂

  1. Alexandra says

    Hey. These look super good! I haven’t made lemon bars yet.
    How can I get the NON GF recipe?
    Thanks in advance!!

    • Tracey says

      It shows in the recipe how to substitute all purpose Flour in place of gluten free … two cups for the crust and 1/4 cup for filling!! I’m waiting for mine to cool right now!!

  2. Terza says

    I have to say, this is the best recipe…I make them gluten free and in a smaller pyrex dish with parchment paper and they don’t last…that is the best compliment when your coworkers are fighting for the last few…

  3. Jodie says

    I grow my own lemons — this if the first year that I’ve gotten more than one lemon a year off of my tree. I actually got seven this year! I decided this recipe looked good enough to use two of my seven lemons. It’s sitting out cooling now. I cannot wait to eat these!

  4. Vivian says

    I’m a little confused with the directions. The base crust is meant to bake for 25 minutes, in the filling instructions it says to fill the partially baked crust with the filling. Do we bake the crust for the full 25 minutes then add the filling or bake the crust for half the time noted and then add the filling?

    • Mary says

      Yes, bake for 25 minutes, then 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.

    • Mary says

      Per the recipe above, * If you are not in need of a gluten free recipe, simply substitute 2 cups all purpose flour for the items marked with an * in the crust ingredients and 1/4 cup AP flour for the item marked with an * in the filling.

  5. Marianela says

    Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I love, love, looooove this recipe. Made them this morning that they are just perfect!!!! This one is going straight to my recipe book. Thank you!!!

  6. Yvette says

    this is wonderful, i remember a few years ago i had almond bars that look just like your lemon bars, so could i trade out the lemon for almond extract?

  7. jean little says

    I would love to make thus but we don’t use ‘Cup’ measurements here in the UK. Do you convert?

    Kind regards

    Jean Little

  8. Jennifer says

    I made these yesterday but the filling turned out kinda runny even though the top was a few notches over golden brown. Do you have an idea what went wrong?