Lighter lemon bars

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon, lemon bars, lemon cream, shortbread
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 bars


For the crust

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ¼   cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling

  • 2 cans 14-ounces each sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup lemon fresh lemon juice about 5 real lemons NOT concentrated lemon juice
  • Zest of one of the lemons
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  1. Mix all ingredients for the crust together and press into the bottom of an ungreased 8-inch brownie pan. I line mine with foil for easy lifting out of the pan, but whatever you prefer, just don’t spray or grease the pan. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes and let cool a bit.

  2. Whisk all of the ingredients for the filling. Make sure they are all blended well. Pour this over the pre-baked crust. Note – the crust can be still warm but not hot. You should be able to hold the pan with bare hands, otherwise it’ll be too hot and the bottom of the filling will overcook. Bake all together for about 25-30 minutes. The top should still be smooth and not browned, but the center should not be soft or jiggly.
  3. Cool completely in the pan before cutting and refrigerate them.