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.

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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

4.67 from 24 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!
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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123 Comments Leave a comment or review

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  1. Milli Denney says

    I have had this recipe for many years (the one not for gf) but use a good dusting with powder sugar in stead of the glaze and no zest in the crust.
    I am going to make this version asap, my mouth is watering already….5 stars

  2. leanne says

    for the non gluten recipe, will i substitute 2 cup AP flour for each (brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch) or 2 cups AP flour for all 3?

  3. Linda says

    I am going to try this! What I don’t like about the original lemon bars is that the powered sugar always melts into the bar. Sometimes it does not present a very pretty dessert. With the glaze they look so delicious! Thanks for posting!

  4. Jeanie Horwitz says

    Can these be made ahead and frozen?
    Want to make for Passover
    Also ?
    What version do you like better gluten free or using AP flour ?
    Just wondering

    • Mary says

      Both versions work great. I can’t honestly say that I have a favorite. Yes, they do freeze nicely. Enjoy!

  5. Sharon says

    Hi – I love lemon and am excited to try out this recipe. The recipe say 5tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of zest. The notes at the bottom says you use 2 lemons worth of juice and zest. Is that instead of what is in the recipe or is the amt in the recipe the equivalent of 2 lemons? Thank you!

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Sharon! The amount is approximately two average lemons worth. You’ll want to measure it though and use the measured amounts.

  6. Melissa says

    I made these yesterday and they are delicious. Used all AP flour. The shortbread is perfect and the filling and glaze give them the best lemon citrus bite. I made no adjustments. There was no need to. My family loved them. Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  7. Barbara says

    I normally bake and cook low carb for myself but I m making these lemon bars for a relative. I see the recipe calls for ap flour. Can u tell me what that is?
    Thank u

  8. EraKay HILL says

    This recipe is. AMAZING! I used gluten free AP flour and everyone loved them! Even my non gf friends and family have started asking for them!! Making them again and adding a little lemon juice to the crust for a change… but they are already FABULOUS!!!5 stars

  9. Regina says

    These are so good! I used King Arthur Gluten free flour 1:1 and they turned out perfectly. The amount of lemon flavor is just right to us! Thank you for an amazing recipe.5 stars

  10. Kate says

    HI! I’m new to gluten free baking and am glad to find your site. I am helping out a friend with an afternoon party for her husband’s 70th birthday. She needs some gluten free desserts. I am wondering how far in advance this recipe can be prepared…can it be frozen? Just so you know, there will be about 100 guests. as I plan to bake at least 2 of your square recipes for squares (and i will also be busy prepping other dishes) I will need to prepare some items in advance.
    By the way…I am also planning on baking your recipe for Mexican Spice Brownies. Thank you so much! Your site looks amazing!

  11. MaryHelen Kloter says

    I give this 10 stars !! Have searched for years to find a lemon bar that had the right sweet/tart balance and a solid curd layer. The glaze on top is perfect. Thank you so much for sharing5 stars

  12. Laura says

    Hi There!
    Making these for my boyfriend for his birthday he loves lemon anything! I live in Denver and wanted to know if there are any adjustments you would recommend due to the high altitude, thanks!

  13. Kat says

    Hi! I only have 10×14″ and 9×9″ baking pan. will the recipe still be okay if I use either of this? which would be better? 🙂
    Thank you!

    • Mary Younkin says

      Either one will work, Kat. The larger pan might bake a little faster and the smaller pan will make thicker bars and will require a few extra minutes baking time.

  14. Randall Ross says

    You say to cook the crust for 25 mins, but then in the next paragraph you say “Remove the partially baked crust from the oven and pour the filling over it”, so does that mean after the crust has cooked for 25 mins first, or whenever we have the filling done, we pull the crust from the oven and pour it on top?