If you love lemon meringue pie and lemon curd, you’ll adore lemon squares.

They’re a cinch to make, but don’t neglect to take the few extra minutes to thicken the filling on the stovetop before layering it over the partially baked shortbread. You won’t regret it! (Many recipes advocate just pouring the liquid ingredients over the base, but my experience is you get a mess – filling below and above the shortbread. It’s still delicious, but quite unattractive).


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Lemon Squares

A buttery crust holds a scrumptious layer of tart, creamy filling topped with a feathery sweet layer of powdered sugar. 

  • Yield: makes 32 small triangles 1x



For the shortbread base

  • 127 g or 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 50 g or ¼ c granulated sugar
  • 120 g or 1 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

For the filling:

  • 300 g or 1 ½ c granulated sugar
  • 60 g or ½ c unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest (from one large lemon)
  • 125 ml or ½ c fresh lemon juice (about one large lemon
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Make the crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a parchment paper sling into an 8 x 8” square baking pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed. Add the flour and salt, and beat on low speed until just mixed. Transfer the dough to the parchment-lined pan and press into the bottom, building a ½” edge around the sides.
  3. Bake the crust until lightly browned (20-25 minutes).

Make the filling

  1. While the crust is baking, whisk together the sugar,  flour, and lemon zest in a medium heavy-bottom pot. Stir in the lemon juice, then add the eggs. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened (3-5 minutes).
  2. Pour over the still-hot shortbread base and return the pan to the oven until the filling is set (10-12 minutes).
  3. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into triangles and dusting with confectioners’ sugar.


Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa 

You can double the recipe and bake it in a 9 x 13″ pan.

  • Author: Helen Kain