Mary Grace-Inspired Lemon Bars

Bright, tender lemon curd sits atop a shortbread-like crust in these Mary Grace-inspired bars.
2 dozen
Wait Time
1 Hr 30 Mins
Active Time
30 Mins

Mary Grace's lemon bars fall somewhere between a brownie and a bar cookie. This recipe recreates that texture with moist lemon curd underscored by a crumbly, shortbread-like butter crust. Use both lemon zest and juice for a puckery, citrus-packed curd.


  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp

Lemon Filling

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • pinch of salt

Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper, letting the edges extend out the sides of the pan.


Make the crust: Combine flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, two table knives, or your hands, work in the butter until the mixture becomes coarse and sand-like. Press the dough into the lined baking pan until you get an even layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Bake: Bake crust in the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you make the filling. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F to preheat it for later.


Make filling: Add eggs to a medium bowl and lightly beat with a whisk. Add sugar and flour, then mix until combined. Stir in lemon juice, milk, lemon zest, and salt. Pour filling over the baked warm crust.


Bake: Bake bars in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the filling has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.


Serve: Once cooled, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the extended parchment paper. Transfer to a cutting board and slice evenly into squares or rectangles. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Store leftovers in the fridge for 4 days.

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