Easy Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust have a tart and irresistible creamy lemon filling layered over a simple crust. With only 8 ingredients and 15 minutes to prepare this dessert, you’ll enjoy these flavorful bars for any occasion.
Lemon desserts are delicious any season of the year. Whether it's lemon blueberry cookies, lemon berry mascarpone cake, or these easy lemon bars with graham cracker crust, you can enjoy them for an everyday dessert or special holiday!
These lemon bars combine tart lemons with sweetened condensed milk for a perfect creamy consistency baked over a buttery graham cracker crust.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Made with 8 ingredients. These creamy lemon squares require only 8 simple ingredients that quickly come together.
- No mixer needed. The crust and filling mixture requires a bowl and a whisk. You only need minimal tools for an easy cleanup.
- Fresh flavor year-round. These easy lemon bars with graham cracker crust are delicious any time of year. They’re the perfect weeknight or celebration dessert just like lemon butter cookies.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Graham cracker crumbs. The primary ingredient for the crust. You can use store-bought graham crackers or make crumbs using cinnamon or honey graham crackers.
- Granulated sugar. Adds a bit of sweetness to the buttery graham cracker crust.
- Salt. A little bit goes a long way. The salt enhances the flavors of the other ingredients in the crust.
- Butter. The binding ingredient for the crust. Use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt added to the crust. If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it and omit the salt from the recipe.
- Sweetened condensed milk. Adds sweetness and a creamy texture to the filling.
- Egg yolks. Adds richness to the filling, and helps bind the ingredients together. Save the egg whites for Swiss meringue buttercream or a meringue topping like in this key lime pie.
- Lemon zest. Adds a pop of lemon flavor to the filling.
- Lemon juice. Balances the sweetness in the filling and adds a distinct lemon flavor. Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor!
How to Make Homemade Graham Cracker Crumbs
For this recipe, place 10 sheets of graham crackers in a resealable plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to pound or roll the crackers into fine crumbs. Occasionally, shake the bag to ensure all the big pieces get crushed. Alternatively, process in a food processor.
Equipment & Tools
- Digital kitchen scale or measuring cups. Using a scale will give you the most accurate measurement.
- Measuring spoons.
- 8x8-inch square pan.
- Parchment paper. Line the baking pan with parchment paper and allow the edges to hang over the sides to lift these creamy lemon bars from the pan easily.
- Medium bowl. Used to mix the crust ingredients and the filling ingredients.
- Rubber spatula. Used to combine the crust ingredients.
- Whisk. Used to whisk the filling ingredients.
Before you begin: Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line an 8x8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Read the recipe from start to finish.
Mix the crust. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter.
Bake the crust. Press the crust into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Make the filling. Whisk the condensed milk, yolks, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Bake the lemon bars. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate for 2 hours.
Note: Looking to serve a large crowd? Double the recipe and bake in a 9x13 baking pan. Increase the baking time slightly.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Weigh your ingredients. Using a scale to measure your ingredients gives you the most accurate and consistent results.
- Pack the crust. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to firmly press the graham cracker crust evenly into the prepared baking dish.
- Eliminate bubbles. If your filling has bubbles on the surface after you pour it into the crust, use a kitchen torch or toothpick to pop them. Otherwise, they will pop in the oven and leave an indentation in the filling.
- Do not overbake. These lemon bars with graham cracker crust only need about 15 minutes to bake. Set a timer because overbaking will cause the bars to become too firm. The perfect texture is a creamy consistency.
- Use a warm knife. For perfectly cut creamy lemon squares, dip a large knife in warm water and wipe dry with a paper towel. Slice the chilled bars, repeating this method between each cut.
- Chocolate crust. Use chocolate graham cracker crumbs for a delicious chocolate crust.
- Lime. Replace the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice with lime zest and fresh lime juice to create key lime pie bars.
- Add a topping. Top the creamy lemon squares with whipped cream, powdered sugar, or roughly mashed raspberries mixed with sugar.
Storage & Freezing Tips
In the refrigerator. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
In the freezer. Store leftover lemon bars in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you should bake the graham cracker crust for 10 minutes before adding the filling to help it set.
Begin checking at the 15-minute mark for doneness. The center should be slightly jiggly. The creamy filling will finish setting as the dessert cools.
If there’s not enough butter or the crust isn’t firmly pressed into the pan, the graham cracker crust can crumble and fall apart.
Let the baked lemon bars chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cutting them so the filling can completely set and hold its shape when you slice them.
Please leave a starred rating and comment below if you make these Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust. I love reading your feedback! And if you’d like to make this recipe later, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest! Happy Baking!Print