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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Reader Interactions

56 Comments Leave a comment or review

  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. Gwyndolyn 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

    Hi!

    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!

      • Dave says

        I have a question about the berries. The pictures seem to show whole berries as opposed to the puree in the recipe. Do you put whole berries I too?

        • Jessica Gavin says

          Hi Dave! They sort of look like whole berries because I drop them in sort of big dollops, and then swirled them. However, you could put a few whole berries scattered on top if you’d like as well!

  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!

  7. Michelle K says

    My son, away at college, requested lemon huckleberry bars to send in a care package. After searching the internet I found your recipe. I substituted huckleberries for the raspberries. I thought they were fantastic. I was worried about shipping but he tells me they arrived okay. I somehow missed the step to chill the crust for 15 minutes before baking but they still turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Michelle- Your son is very lucky to have such a sweet mom like you! I remember starving my first year in the dorms and would have loved to receive something homemade 🙂 Thank you so much for trying the recipe, I’m so happy to hear you and your son enjoyed them!

  8. Estelle says

    This recipe sounds amazing! Going to try it later this week. How long did the whole process take though (preparation and baking time)?

  9. Rachel says

    The raspberry purée was amazing! The lemon curd wasn’t tart enough for me (I love things more tart than most people) do you think it would affect the texture if I cut the sugar down by half a cup? Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for trying the recipe Rachel! 1/2 cup is a good amount, I might try reducing by 1/4 cup. If it still is too sweet, but the texture is ok, then go to 1/2 cup.

  10. Emmy says

    Can I use frozen raspberries? I’m making this for afternoon tea and I want it to be perfect! It looks lovely in the picture.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Emmy! Yes, you can use frozen berries since you will be cooking them down in the sauce anyways 🙂

      • Emmy says

        Ok, great! Thanks! I imagine substituting the fresh lemon with bottled lemon juice will not work, correct? Thanks!

        • Jessica Gavin says

          I think you will get the freshest flavor and can use the zest from lemons instead of using the bottled juice 🙂

          • Emmy says

            Fresh lemons it is! Thank you so much for your help! I cannot wait to serve these tasty-looking treats to my tea guests! I will let you know how they turn out. By the way, you are quite beautiful! 🙂

  11. Emmy says

    Oh my goodness! These are absolutely DELICIOUS! i made them today and intend to serve them to my tea guests tomorrow! I can’t wait to hear their remarks. They took a little longer to prepare than an hour, but they may have been because I squeezed the lemons by hand. Also, the top came out a little bubbly/frothy looking. I’m not sure why, maybe I Stirred the lemon mixture to vigorously? Anyway, it matters not, they otherwise turned out beautifully and they are oh so tasty! Thank you SO very much for this FABULOUS recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yay Emmy! I am SO happy that the recipe turned out and you though they were delicious 🙂 Yes, maybe since there are a lot of eggs in the recipe, if you whisked it a lot it could have some bubbles formed on top. Nothing a little powdered sugar won’t fix right before serving! Can’t wait to hear how your guests like them 🙂

  12. Emmy says

    My guests loved them! I think they were the favorite treat I made. Thank you so much for this recipe. It will certainly be making an appearance at our family functions this summer! Will they freeze well? My husband wants me to save some for him next time I make them. ?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      YAYAYAY! So awesome to hear Emmy 🙂 I think you can definitely cut them up, wrap them in wax paper or plastic wrap and store in a resealable bag in the freezer. Then let them come to room temperature before serving and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.

  13. Wendy says

    Made this today and it was a huge hit. I’ll admit I didn’t strain the raspberry filling because I never bother worrying about raspberry seeds. I also used frozen berries, and it was fine.

  14. 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?

  15. 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 !!

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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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