Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Creamy Lemon Squares

Martha Stewart. Brings to mind different opinions for different folks. I won’t even go into that debate here. That being said… the recipe.

I read accounts of this particular version of lemon squares here and here and here. I’m sure it’s elsewhere too.

I was initially drawn to this recipe because it looks like an absolutely amazing way to eat a lemon. I love lemons but don’t make homemade lemonade because I don’t have a juicer and think it’d be hard to squeeze all those lemons by hand. I don’t want to always use lemon as a chicken marinade (even though it can be really tasty). And I don’t really think to make it as a dessert very often because I love peanut butter and chocolate and berries way too much. Not all together. Just different combination of those yummy morsels.

I’m rambling. I’m sorry. It’s late and now I’m thinking of peanut butter. Mmmmm peanut butter. A spoonful might be necessary now.

Okay, back to the lemon squares. These are a refreshing treat on a hot summer day. Best cold out of the fridge, I would recommend these lemon bars for an everyday treat or a fancy dinner party dessert. They can be dressed up with some powdered sugar or a sprinkling of fresh berries… the possibilities are endless!

A word to the wise though… use parchment paper. I didn’t, and regretted it. Horribly, horribly regretted it. I didn’t take a picture of the aftermath of the pan or the broken lemon squares. It was sad. Really sad. At least they were tasty… very tasty!

Creamy Lemon Squares |
The prettiest ones of the bunch.

Another redeeming quality of these bars were that they were gooey. And I cannot resist a gooey dessert… yumalicious!

Creamy Lemon Squares |

Without further ado…

Creamy Lemon Square

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

by Martha Stewart


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened [or 1/2 cup unsalted butter + 1/4 teaspoon salt]
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting [or dumping like I did]
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 14 ounces lowfat sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 lemons [some bloggers suggest 4; I made it with 3… depends on the size of your lemons]
  • cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″x8″ baking pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper (leaving an overhang on two sides), and spray paper. [PLEASE DO THIS. Or you will be sad.]

For the crust, combine butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fully combined and fluffy. Add flour, about 1/3 of a cup at a time, and mix until incorporated in the butter. Spoon dough into the prepared pan, pressing along the sides and bottom of the pan. Use a fork to prick all over so your crust doesn’t bubble up. Bake until golden yet still soft to the touch, about 15-20 minutes.

Now onto the lemony goodness… aka the reason to make this recipe.

Add yolks, milk, and lemon juice to a large bowl. Whisk until combined. [Hint: teach husband to separate eggs and serve him the whites for breakyfasty the next day. Yes, I did just say breakyfasty. I’m not sure why. Husband is also a good whisker too.]

Pour filling over hot crust in pan. Ooh and ahh over how good the butter and sugar and lemon smells.

Return lemon squares to oven and bake until filling is set. Martha recommends 25-30 minutes, mine was set in about 22. My advice? Watch it very closely after about 19 minutes… that’s when mine started to brown around the edges.

Cool completely in pan, then refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. I let mine refrigerate overnight, and Martha sez you can keep it in there for up to 3 days. 3 days?!? Geeze, I don’t think an uncut dessert would last that long here.

Before eating and enjoying, remove cake from pan, cut, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Yum.

I’m not sure why I’m so weird now, but I am… and don’t forget… use parchment paper! It will make your life so much better. The end.


12 thoughts on “Creamy Lemon Squares”

  1. Looks amazing! Like you, my favorite desserts to bake typically involved some kind of nut butter…but these creamy lemon bars look too good to pass up!

    PS- love your blog, Sarah! I just stumbled upon it when I saw this recipe, and was thrilled to find that you’re also a Witt alum! I graduate in 2006 and was a Gamma Phi–I’m sure we crossed paths at some point. Happy cooking, and keep up the great work 🙂


  2. my daughter loves lemons (she will eat them in slices) so i can’t see how i could go wrong! i will break my martha stewart ban to make these by pretending that you made up the recipe instead.


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