Lemon Buttermilk Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8

Buttermilk adds a pleasing tang to these dessert bars, which derive their lemony taste from grated lemon zest and fresh juice.


  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Mix the dough and bake the crust
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and the 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to low, add the 2/3 cup flour and the salt and beat until blended. Spoon the dough into the prepared pan and press evenly into the pan bottom. Bake until the crust is golden, 15 to 18 minutes.

Make the filling
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar on medium speed until blended. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. flour, the lemon zest, lemon juice and buttermilk and beat until smooth. Pour the filling over the baked crust, spreading evenly.

Bake the filling
Bake until the top of the filling is set and barely browned at the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into 8 bars, dust with confectioners’ sugar shaken through a sieve and serve. Makes 8 bars.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Baking, by Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2006).