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Lemon Chess Bars


Lemon Chess Bars are a delightful, tangy, and creamy dessert with a buttery crust and a rich lemon filling. They are perfect for any occasion and will satisfy any sweet tooth with their bright and refreshing flavor.



For the Crust:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into chunks
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3-5 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Step 1: Prepare the Crust

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Preheating the oven ensures that it is at the right temperature when you are ready to bake the crust.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
    • Mixing the dry ingredients helps distribute the salt evenly.
  3. Cut in Butter: Add the chilled butter chunks to the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
    • Cutting in the butter creates a flaky texture for the crust.
  4. Add Ice Water: Gradually add the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix.
    • Adding ice water helps the dough bind without melting the butter.
  5. Form Dough and Chill: Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    • Chilling the dough allows the butter to firm up, making it easier to roll out.
  6. Roll Out Dough: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to fit a 9×13-inch baking dish. Transfer the dough to the baking dish, pressing it into the corners and up the sides.
    • Rolling out the dough ensures an even thickness for the crust.
  7. Blind Bake Crust: Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden. Remove the weights and parchment paper, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
    • Blind baking the crust prevents it from becoming soggy when the filling is added.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Mix Eggs and Sugar: In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, and granulated sugar until smooth and well combined.
    • Whisking the eggs and sugar thoroughly ensures a smooth filling.
  2. Add Dry Ingredients: Gradually whisk in the flour until fully incorporated.
    • Adding the flour gradually prevents lumps in the filling.
  3. Mix in Wet Ingredients: Add the buttermilk, melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
    • Combining the wet ingredients thoroughly ensures even distribution of flavors.

Step 3: Assemble and Bake

  1. Pour Filling into Crust: Pour the lemon filling into the cooled crust, spreading it evenly.
    • Pouring the filling evenly ensures a uniform layer.
  2. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is set and lightly golden on top.
    • Baking until set ensures that the filling is firm and not runny.
  3. Cool: Allow the bars to cool completely in the baking dish.
    • Cooling completely allows the filling to firm up and makes cutting easier.
  4. Chill (Optional): For easier slicing, refrigerate the bars for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.
    • Chilling the bars makes them easier to slice and enhances the flavor.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Cut and Serve: Cut the lemon chess bars into squares and serve.
    • Cutting into squares provides a neat presentation.
  2. Optional Garnish: Dust with powdered sugar or serve with a dollop of whipped cream for extra indulgence.
    • Garnishing adds a decorative touch and additional sweetness.


  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure the eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature for a smoother filling.
  • Zesting Lemons: Use a microplane or fine grater to zest the lemons, avoiding the bitter white pith.
  • Storage: Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

These Lemon Chess Bars are a perfect blend of tangy lemon flavor and creamy texture, all atop a buttery crust. They are easy to make and are sure to be a hit at any gathering. Enjoy these delightful bars with a cup of tea or coffee, or as a refreshing dessert after a meal