Best Lemon Bars for a Crowd

These Luscious Lemon Bars are the best and perfect for a crowd; this is an updated version of an old favorite with a thicker filling to serve more people. Doesn’t everyone want seconds? 

The Best Lemon Bars for A Crowd Served on a Glass Plate

The first recipe I first found for lemon bars was in a community cookbook called ‘The Artist in the Kitchen’ that was published by the St. Louis Art Museum many years ago. I mean like 40 years? At the time I had never had a lemon bar and oh my…I’ve loved them ever since that first time out of the gate. The book remains one of my treasures because of this recipe. Today’s version of these Luscious Lemon Bars simply increases the lemon curd and makes enough for a bigger gathering. I need that a lot!

Over the years I’ve come to realize that this is a widespread recipe and rightly so; easy to prepare and with its buttery shortbread crust and the luscious lemon curd filling; it’s always been a favorite. One of the few desserts that I will make over and over and then over again. I HAVE to have company coming though or I could literally eat the whole tray…and wish I had more too!

My friend Bill, despite being assured that most recipes are very similar has always insisted mine are the best; probably because they are homemade and I’m doing the baking for him.

I also might have increased the lemon a bit in the recipe I use but other than that, both the standard version and this one are derived from that same, old, time honored combination of simple ingredients that result in such perfection. A shortbread crust topped with lemon curd. Nothing fancy; simply delicious.

The Best Lemon Bars for A Crowd on a Serving Plate

The only problem I’ve ever had when I made these over the years was there never seemed to be enough. Even if it was just me (kidding, I think). I like to have company over and these are scavenged as if people had been languishing on a desert island and had not eaten in weeks! I love that people love them but I also know it has meant some have not been quick enough on the draw and their dessert plate did not include a lemon bar. OH NO!

In the midst of planning for a late summer barbecue and knowing these would be perfect, I wanted to make more. Not just more pans of them, but more filling which would allow me to cut smaller size pieces.

I did not use a larger pan than my 9″X13″ Baking Pan (affiliate link) for this recipe; I actually didn’t increase the crust either. I simply made more filling so the result is a thicker lemon filling so that the pan can be cut into more pieces from one recipe. I’ve been able to get about 50 bars from this recipe; they might be a tad bit small but with more filling and an expectation that everyone will eat two, they do satisfy…and they satisfy more people!

The Best Lemon Bars for A Crowd Decorated with Powdered Sugar

I love them like this; the focus is so much on the lemon filling I love. Of course you don’t have to make these Best Lemon Bars for a Crowd only for a crowd. Make them for yourself and call me to share; that would work! Or if really in need of a smaller amount; visit the original recipe for lemon bars; it really is quite enough for a family or friends dessert.

Update 2020: There are several nurses in my neighborhood and while Colorado is hanging in there with this virus; we have seen enough people get infected and know that our doctors and nurses are overwhelmed. This was the perfect treat to send with some of them to share with staff because it does make a lot. The last thing I want is to offer up a favorite dessert and have caregivers be left out.

If you’re thinking of  doing something similar I heartily recommend this treat; everyone LOVED them!

Looking for more Dessert Bars?

PIN ‘Luscious Lemon Bars for a Crowd’

Luscious Lemon Bars on a Serving Tray with Lemon Slices for Garnish

Lemon Bars for a Crowd
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4.36 from 74 votes

Best Lemon Bars for a Crowd

Need more than your standard recipe for lemon bars? This makes a large pan with nice thick bars; perfect for a crowd!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Desserts
Servings: 50 bars
Calories: 114kcal
Author: Barb

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour sub with GF flour if desired
  • tsp sea salt or kosher salt

For the Filling

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 T. flour sub with GF flour if desired
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T. grated lemon rind
  • Powdered sugar for top

Instructions

  • !To Prepare the Crust
  • Grease a 9X13X2" pan with butter.
  • Blend butter with powdered sugar and flour and mix in a Cuisinart or by hand until dough sticks together. Press dough into the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly colored. Remove from oven and set aside.

!To Prepare the Filling:

  • Beat the eggs until frothy and blend with sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, lemon juice and rind. Pour over baked crust.
  • Return to oven and continue baking for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Sift powdered sugar over the top. Cut into squares or bars.

Notes

This recipe uses the same size pan as my regular recipe for lemon bars but the filling is much thicker so the bars can be cut into smaller portions.
This is the one recipe I turn to when I know I will be serving a sweet to people who need to avoid gluten; it works fine using gluten free flour in both the crust and the lemon filling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams | Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 82mg | Sugar: 14g

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25 Comments

  1. Made this yesterday, will never make again. It had an overwhelming lemon taste so badly we couldn’t eat it. Followed directions about buttering the pan, had to soak the crust out of the pan. I’m 77, and I have made a few cookies, I was so disappointed with this recipe.

    1. I’m sorry this did not work for you; it’s a tried, tested, and true favorite of ours. I’m sure you have made a few cookies but sounds like something was off in your making of this dessert.

    1. It’s been a couple of years but I’m looking it up ruler I’m going to say they were probably about an inch and a half by an inch and a half. Pretty much a little one bite dessert, maybe two bites. I didn’t have quite 50 people when I made them so several got two servings.

    1. I’m glad you like them! I found a recipe for lemon bars probably 30 some years ago and they’ve remained a favorite ever since but I never had enough so this has been an easy fix for me as well.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Stacy. It’s probably why I made a bigger recipe of them because every time I make them there are never quite enough!

    1. You know what Jill…you can and I should mention that. I don’t normally sub it for all purpose flour but I made a tray of these using GF flour for a friend’s birthday and they were great.

    1. You can make them the night before and no, they do not need to be refrigerated. I would cover them though to make sure they don’t start to dry out. Of course I live in Colorado where we have no humidity so that’s always what I do!

    1. Hi Sarah…info is in Step 2 for a 9X13″ pan. It’s the same size as I use for regular lemon bars but these are thicker and I cut them into smaller size bars resulting in additional servings.

      Hope you enjoy them!

    1. I’ve not frozen them Catherine but I see no reason why you could not. I make another lemon bar, it’s a recipe from Nordstrom’s and it has the same lemon curd in a similar crust with more stuff on top and it’s recommended that they be frozen so I would say go for it!

    1. Sorry for the delay Heather; I was out of pocket this week. It should be 3Tbsp for the larger lemon bars; I’ll make that adjustment to the recipe momentarily; thanks for the catch…Barb

  2. Crust calls for kosher salt and filling calls for salt….do you use two different types of salt for the recipe?

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter?

    Thanks!

    1. No, actually I’m heading over to change that now. I use sea salt; Costco has a large jar that is relatively fine. But I would use kosher salt before I would use table salt if that helps.

      I always use salted butter; even if a recipe calls for unsalted. I’ve really never thought it significant enough to keep both in my fridge so I only buy salted butter.

  3. Gotta try these! Just wanted to check – there is kosher salt listed in the crust ingredients, but not in the instructions? should I use? Also, I am a novice cook – do you use a hand mixer to blend the crust ingredients & the filling ingredients? Thank you!

    1. That’s my mistake Janet; there should be salt; I’ll revise the instructions to include it. And yes, you can use a hand mixer just fine…and thank you; hope you enjoy them!

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