These lavender lemon bars have a buttery, rich shortbread crust that is tender, sturdy and flecked with lavender, a perfect ratio of tart and sweet filling and the right ratio of filling to crust. They're buttery, citrusy, tart, floral and incredibly delicious.
The lavender in this recipe is subtle, but compliments and amplifies the lemon flavor. It’s beautifully fragrant and absolutely addictive in this recipe.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Sturdy but tender shortbread crust, with a bright and sweet tart lemon filling.
- These bars are incredibly simple to make with minimal ingredients.
- They are decadent and luscious but light and delicate. A perfect treat on a warm spring or summer day.
- Easy to follow recipe with step by step photo instructions.
All purpose flour
Fine sea salt
Culinary lavender - dried or fresh, as long as it is food grade. Lavender can be found in specialty stores but also online.
Lemons - zest and juice
Before beginning the recipe, preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8x8 (or 9x9) square pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt and lavender in the bowl of a food processor. You can also do this by hand if you prefer.
- Pulse in the cold butter until large clumps form. Alternatively you can cut the butter into the dry mixture with a pastry cutter or two forks.
- Press the dough into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup to smooth and even out the dough in the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Bake the crust until light golden brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to work the zest into the sugar. This releases the oils in the zest into the sugar and really amps up the lemon flavor. The mixture should be damp and very fragrant.
- Whisk in the flour and salt.
- Whisk in the eggs.
- Whisk in the lemon juice and cream.
- Pour the lemon mixture over the warm crust.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the mixture is just set and the filling jiggles just slightly.
- Let the bars cool for an hour at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to cool for an additional hour. While I have to admit that many times I’ve dug into these lavender bars with a fork while still hot because they are THAT good, they are best served cut into squares or wedges chilled or room temperature and finished with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
- Use fresh lemon juice only. Bottled juices or concentrates can have preservatives and additives that change the flavor and would be noticeable in these bars.
- Don't over bake. You want the filling to remain more of a set custard and not overly solid. Over baking can cause the filling to be rubbery.
- These bars are the easiest to slice when they are cold. At the very least, they should be completely cool before cutting into them. Use a sharp, not serrated knife to slice into the bars downwards, then carefully pull the knife up. Wipe the knife off on a damp towel between slices for the neatest cuts.
- The crust can be warm but not hot when pouring over the lemon filling. Lukewarm is best, as a hot crust can absorb the lemon filling, creating a soggy crust.
Storage and Freezing
Store any leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
These bars (without confectioners' sugar on top) can also be frozen for up to 3 months. After chilling the bars, cut into individual bars and place on a baking sheet. Freeze for one hour, then wrap each one with plastic wrap and place in a zip top freezer bag. Defrost the bars in the refrigerator and dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
Oftentimes lemon bars will have a thin, bubbly crust on top. This is due to air from the eggs rising to the surface creating air bubbles, and is completely normal.
After dusting the bars with confectioners' sugar, the bubbles won't be noticeable.
The edges of the bars will start to turn light golden brown while the center looks just set and no longer jiggles.
Be sure that the crust has been fully baked before adding the lemon filling. Otherwise the crust can absorb the filling, creating a soggy mess.
Undercooking can also cause the bars to be gooey and soggy.
Either and 8x8 or 9x9 pan will work. Glass pans are preferable as they cook the crust better and prevent the bars from having a metallic taste. Metal pans are fine (I used one in the process photos above, just be sure to line the pan with parchment paper first.
If you these lavender lemon bars, let me know! Drop a comment or tag me on Instagram. I love seeing your bakes and creations.
More Citrus Recipes to Try
Lavender Lemon Bars
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose-flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon culinary lavender
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, cold
Lemon Curd Filling
- 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoon all purpose flour
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- confectioners sugar for dusting
For the Shortbread Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8x8 square pan with two sheets of parchment paper, making sure the parchment extends over the sides of the pan to form a "sling". Secure the sides with binder clips if you would like.
- In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, salt and lavender until well blended. You want the lavender to be dispersed and chopped up a bit.1 ¼ cups all purpose-flour, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon culinary lavender
- Add in the cubes of butter and pulse until the mixture is sandy and starts to form clumps.½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, cold
- Gently press shortbread mixture into an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate for a minimum 30 minutes.
- Bake crust for 25-30 minutes or until the crust starts to turn a golden brown.
- Remove shortbread from the oven, let it cool slightly and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F.
For the lemon filling:
- In a medium bowl, blend together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers to release the oils from the zest. The mixture should be damp and very fragrant.1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Whisk in the flour and salt until blended.3 tablespoon all purpose flour, pinch of fine sea salt
- Add the eggs and whisk briskly so that the sugar doesn't "cook" the eggs and form clumps.4 large eggs
- Add the lemon juice and cream and whisk to fully incorporate.⅔ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed, ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Pour the filling over the warm shortbread and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until filling looks set and doesn't jiggle.
- Let the bars cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Place in the refrigerator to cool for an additional hour. The longer they cool, the easier and prettier they are to slice.
- Transfer bars to a cutting board and cut into squares or wedges. Using a sieve, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and serve.confectioners sugar for dusting