Luscious Raspberry Lemon Bars

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Sweet, tangy, and decadent raspberry lemon bars! The crisp crust delivers a delicious tangy raspberry lemon custard that will stick to your fingers.

Raspberry Lemon Bars

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 classic lemon bars at home.

My first encounter with lemon bars was when I was working at a European bakery in high school. While there, I got exposed to several types of citrus-infused treats. They 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.

Of course, 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.

Lemon bars with a dusting of powdered sugar

I chose to incorporate fresh raspberries for this recipe because they happen to be in season at the market right now. Plus, they add a nice flavor and color. 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 is critical 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 that 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 pieces for each day to enjoy.

Lemon bars on a sheet pan covered in powdered sugar

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.”

That’s when 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.

What is the best way to cut and serve the lemon bars?

I find it easiest to refrigerate the bars once cooled to let the layers settle and set, even allowing a day to chill before cutting. I then remove them from the refrigerator when ready to cut. I recommend dusting the lemon bars with powdered sugar just before serving (if left in the fridge, they will dissolve and disappear from the moisture inside). These bars are best served at room temperature as the center will be moist gooey, and the crust will still be crisp.

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Raspberry Lemon Bars

Sweet, tangy and decadent raspberry lemon bars! The crisp crust delivers a delicious tangy raspberry lemon custard that will stick to your fingers.
Pin Print Review
3.82 from 90 votes
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs
Servings 24 square bars
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients

Crust

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 cup)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated

Raspberry Puree (makes ¾ cup)

  • 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 lemon zest, grated
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly-squeezed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar, Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Instructions 

Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly spray a 9×13-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 minute. 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

  • Put the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and whisk together. Add raspberries to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, constantly whisking 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

  • 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-sized spoonfuls of raspberry puree around the entire surface of the lemon mixture. Quickly drag a toothpick across the surface to create swirls.
  • Carefully transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set in the center. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Cut into squares or triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Nutrition Facts
Raspberry Lemon Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 311 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.02g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.003g
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 21mg1%
Potassium 64mg2%
Carbohydrates 60g20%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 37g41%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 250IU5%
Vitamin C 9.9mg12%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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56 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Dave says

    They look and sound delicious. The recipe uses raspberry puree but the pictures look like they have whole raspberries. In your comments you said that you incorporated fresh raspberries. Did you use both puree and fresh? And if so, what proportions?

  2. Jo Steffy says

    I made these for a girl I work with for her birthday. They are awesome !! The only thing I did different was grease the pan with unsalted butter instead of the spray. I don’t like to use those sprays. Thanks for a great new recipe, they will make it to the holiday table !!

  3. Cat says

    Just made them yesterday! I learned a few things..1. The crust is really really thick. You could half this and still be fine..but..the crust is so good, why would you want to? 2. This is VERY sour. I don’t know if it’s just the type of lemons I used or the fact this is dead Winter but..this was extremely sour. I rather liked that since too often lemon desserts lose out on that quality. 3. Probably could have used more zest or lemon oil to give it more lemon essence but I think that, again, is just because of the lemons I had. 4. This did not set up well for me. It was very brown on top at the 35 minute mark but the center was completely liquid. The sides firmed up after refrigeration but once you cut into it, the center pieces completely oozed out. Next time I’d probably cover it in foil and bake it longer. Or longer at a lower temp because this just did not set up well at all for me.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Cat! I really appreciate all of your helpful feedback. If the center is not setting up for you I would try to cover and bake once the color is golden brown. Please let me know how it goes!

  4. Michael says

    Jessica thank you for your delicious recipe. Question: How thick/thin should the raspberry coulis be? Won’t it sink through the lemon mixture? Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Michael- Great question! The puree should be thick enough to cling to and coat a spoon. It is denser than the lemon mixture, but I’ve found that once you add a small amount around the surface, then swirl, it won’t sink to the bottom.

  5. Dana says

    This recipe was so easy to make until my brain got in the way! I got a little worried at the 30 minute mark because the custard was still so jiggly. I left it in a little longer than 35 minutes but it started browning at the top, so I took it out and mastered my patience to let it cool completely! I might have cut at the brown edges a little earlier than I should have but it was so delicious, I could not stop! Even my husband, who doesn’t eat sweets, couldn’t stop picking at the cut edges. Make sure you wait until it is completely cooled to cut or your lemon filling will ooze! Resist the temptation!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for your feedback, Dana! Great tips on waiting for cooling. If needed next time, you can cover the edges or top where it’s browning to prevent it from burning. But you don’t want to overbake the filling as the texture will change. Glad to hear that the family enjoyed the lemon bars!

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