Luscious Raspberry Lemon Bars

amazing raspberry lemon bar recipe |

When given the choice of a decadent chocolate dessert versus a light refreshing lemon indulgence, I’m much more of a chocolate lover. I actually used to hate lemon flavored desserts! That’s until I finally made a tray of fresh raspberry lemon bars at home. My first encounter with lemon bars was when I was working at a European bakery in high school, getting the chance to be exposed to lots of different citrus infused treats.

Lemon bars were a staple at Boniere Bakery in Alameda, CA. Baked fresh each week, I used to be in charge of cutting the crisp and gooey bars into perfect squares then dusting them with generous mountains of powdered sugar. I would sneak bites of the browned corners that I cut off, licking off the sticky evidence from my fingers. I think that’s when I started to appreciate the citrus pucker effect of the lemon juice balanced with the sweetness of the sugar in those gooey lemon bars.

raspberry lemon bars cut to squares |

I experimented with a lemonade sugar cookie recipe, but I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to try and recreate those nostalgic lemon bars. I’m glad I did because they are really easy to make at home. I wanted to also incorporate raspberries into the recipe because they are so abundant and in season at the market, plus they add a nice flavor and color to the lemon bars. These raspberry lemon bars are intense, the crisp shortbread crust provides the perfect cookie bar base for the zesty tart filling.

The ratio of crust to filling was really important to me because I hate eating lemon bars that are too dry and have more crust than lemon custard filling. With this recipe the bars are around 1 inch in height once settled and cooled, about 2 inches after baking. You get a good bite of luscious raspberry lemon filling which leaves your fingers coated and sticky. I seriously could not stop eating these raspberry lemon bars after the first bite, but had to pace myself so I saved small bites for each day to enjoy.

raspberry lemon bars ready to eat! |

I was inspired to make this raspberry lemon bar recipe because I wanted to give Jason’s team at work a tasty thank you present for the surprise baby shower they threw for Baby Gavin (how sweet!). When Jason returned from work that evening I asked if his coworkers liked the dessert, he kindly reported that they were all gone and that people “love and hate me at the same time”. This is how you know your recipe was a hit, especially since Jason reported that he ate two servings (he’s doesn’t have a sweet tooth) and needed to go for a quick run around our neighborhood to burn off some calories, success! Haha.

TIP: What is the best way to cut and serve the lemon bars? I found it easiest to refrigerate the bars once cooled, to let the layers settle and set, even allowing for a day to chill before cutting. I then removed the raspberry lemon bars from the refrigerator when I was ready to cut them. I recommend dusting the lemon bars with powdered sugar just before serving (if left in the refrigerator they will dissolve and disappear from the moisture in the air of the refrigerator). These raspberry lemon bars are best served at room temperature as the center will be moist gooey and the crust will still be crisp.

Raspberry Lemon Bars
Serves: 24 square bars
Sweet, tangy and decadent raspberry lemon bars! The crisp crust delivers a delicious tangy raspberry lemon custard that will stick to your fingers.
  • 8 ounces of unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 cup)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Raspberry Puree- makes ¾ cup puree
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup raspberries
Lemon Filling-
  • 7 large eggs
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly spray a 9 by 13 inch by 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed (about 2 minutes) until light in color. Add the lemon zest and mix for a few seconds. Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter until just mixed (about 1 min). Place the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball and transfer to the baking pan. Using your fingers, evenly press and flatten the dough into the baking pan. Chill the dough for 15 minutes. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool the crust in the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, until the dough is slightly firm. Keep oven heated to 350°F.
Raspberry Puree-
  1. Put the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a small saucepan and whisk together. Add raspberries to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the puree has broken down and thickened and has come to a bubble, about 6 minutes. Strain the hot thickened puree, discarding the seeds. Set the strained puree aside, at room temperature until ready to use.
Lemon Filling-
  1. To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and flour until combined. Gradually add the lemon juice and whisk until combined and pour over the crust. Add about a tablespoon spoonfuls of raspberry puree around the entire surface of the lemon mixture. Quickly drag a tooth pick across the surface to create swirls.
  2. Carefully transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set in the center. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Cut into squares or triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.


  1. Anna says

    Trying this tomorrow – can’t wait!

    never made lemon curd or anything similar – any tips to prevent curdling?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Anna! Luckily for this recipe the lemon filling just needs to be whisked together and gradually cooks and sets while baking in the oven, so no need to worry about curdling! However when you are making any types of curds or custards, curdling occurs when you add a hot liquid (usually milk) all at one time to your egg base, causing the eggs to cook and curdle like scrambled eggs instead of stay fluid. Eggs start to set around temps above 150 degrees, so if the liquid is almost boiling, adding all of the liquid to the egg at one time will cause the eggs to set. To prevent this, the tempering technique is used (gradually adding small amounts of the hot liquid to the cool eggs and whisking, this helps the eggs to gently equilibrate to the warmer temperature), then you can safely add the egg mixture to the rest of the hot liquid. I think you have inspired me to write a post on tempering eggs! :)

  2. Susan Shapiro says

    These are soooo good – taking them to a pot luck Labor Day party and I HAD to have one——will save this for sure !!!!!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Susan- I’m so happy that you had the chance to try the recipe and enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to make the delicious dessert and sharing with friends!

  3. says

    I was hoping to make these lemon bars gluten-free for a friend of mine.. Would they work well using almond flour, or do you recommend a mix?

    They look delicious, and I can’t wait to try them!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Gwyndolyn- You’re such a sweet friend! The crust is essentially a sweet tart dough, and after doing some searching online it does seem that there are recipes that use almond flour instead of wheat flour to create a gluten free crust. I have not made this recipe substituting the almond flour, but I definitely think it’s worth a try, it may even give the crust more flavor! Since you are pre-baking the crust before adding the filling, keep an eye out maybe at 10 minutes to see if the crust has turn light brown in color, that’s when you want to take out the crust (you may not need the 15-20 minutes). Since you are using an almond flour, the crust may cook quicker. You can also try a gluten free flour like Cup4Cup or Bob’s Redmill sell’s gluten free blends. Please let me know how it turns out if you decide to make a gluten free version. Good luck!

  4. Brayden says


    Thank you for sharing this recipe. They look so delicious!
    I decided to try the recipe myself and I followed it to a T.
    You say that after 30-35 minutes the centre of the filling should be set, mine was set on the surface but still jiggly in the centre… The sides were set and felt nice and spongy.
    I did not want to leave the Pam in any longer because it would have burnt. I’m wondering f the centre will set after cooling for a few hours? Or if it will pour out once cut open :s

    Thanks again!

    I should have my results soon enough tonight or tomorrow but please if you could let me know if the centre still jiggles on your a bit that would be great!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Brayden! Does its just jiggle slightly in the center, and not around the edges? The center is more gooey than say a brownie bar because it’s like a lemon curd custard. If the top and side are set and it seems that if baked any long it would burn that definitely check once it cools to room temperature. The center should be moist ans sticky, but not runny when cut. I actually like to also refrigerate the bars (overnight is good) which helps the custard cool and set quicker, and makes it easier to cut, then I dust with powdered sugar before serving. If cooling to room temp or in the fridge doesn’t help then you can try baking it again tomorrow with the top loosely covered with foil to not burn the surface, but make sure the center is set. Please let me know how it goes!

      • Brayden says

        Hi Jessica! Thanks for responding.

        It did jiggle quite a bit in the centre when I pulled it out of the oven after 35 minutes. The centres surface was set but it felt and looked like there was a lot of liquid underneath that didn’t thicken up while cooking. It was set and firm around the sides… My guess is that it was jiggly in the centre because it was baking and therefore piping hot, Once it sat for a few hours, and cooled completely, the centre thickened up nicely and was not as liquid-like as it was when fresh out of the oven. I cut into it and it had set perfectly all over. The custard was gooey as promised and not runny at all.

        Thanks again for sharing such a great recipe!

  5. Michelle M says

    I have made this recipe several times and each time – Yum!! I’ve used raspberries and blueberries. Even no berries at all, and still a wonderful recipe! Can’t go wrong here. This ones a keeper…and so easy compared to other recipes for lemon bars I’ve tried.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Michelle for making the recipe! I love the variations, and sometimes it is nice to a classic lemon bar. Happy baking!

  6. Mary says

    My daughter wanted Lemon Raspberry Bars in lieu of a Birthday Cake and we made this recipe. Not only delicious but fun to make with the assistance of adolescent daughters : ). Since most deserts end with “a la mode” in our household, we cut the bars small, lit a Birthday candle on each and served it with a tiny scoop of Raspberry Gelato. Yummy recipe and FUN TO MAKE!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Mary- What a great idea! Adding the raspberry gelato sounds DIVINE! I will have to try that with my next batch. Thank you for the feedback!

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