These lemon poppy seed bars are about all things lemon: they are made with a delicious poppy seed shortbread crust topped with a layer of white chocolate lemon topping. They are so easy to whip up, and they taste delicious.
It is always a good day to make something new in the kitchen. These lemon poppy bars with buttery crust have just enough sweetness to balance out the tartness of the fresh lemon filling.
Try these delicious lemon squares if you are a fan of lemon desserts. Trust me; they are seriously that good.
What are lemon bars?
Lemon bars, often called lemon squares, are among the most popular desserts to make at bake sales and holiday parties.
They are made with the main ingredients - shortbread and lemon curd - put together in a layered bar form.
Nowadays, lemon bars are a popular dessert in the United States, where National Lemon Bar Day is celebrated on October 15 annually.
Lemon poppy seed bars recipe
- A simple twist on classic lemon bars, they are a great dessert for any occasion.
- This lemon bars recipe is easy to make: it comes together quickly, but the chilling time is worth it.
- The butter crust and white chocolate beautifully balance the tartness of the lemon.
- Poppy seeds peek through the bars' base and add an interesting little crunch to the bars.
- These dessert bars are self-sufficient without lemon glaze.
Here is a quick overview of what ingredients you will need. Find the recipe card below for exact amounts and detailed instructions. I recommend making the recipe as written for the best results.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour to make the recipe.
- Sugar: The recipe calls for granulated or caster sugar.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter. Take it out of the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you start. Make sure the butter is softened, not melted.
- Poppy seeds: You will need ½ teaspoon of poppy seeds.
- Lemon zest: Use organic lemons to make fresh lemon zest with a Microplane over a piece of parchment paper. If you do not like zingy flavors, try swapping regular lemons for Meyer lemons.
- Lemon juice: Make fresh lemon juice using a citrus juicer. You can replace it with bottled 100% lemon juice if you do not have fresh lemon juice on your hands.
- Eggs: The recipe calls for whole medium eggs at room temperature.
How to make lemon poppy seed bars
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Butter an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) square baking pan.
Step 2. To make the shortbread base, place flour, sugar, and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl. Combine butter softened to room temperature and mix with your hands until crumbly (photo 1).
Step 3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared mold and spread it into an even layer to the bottom (photo 2).
Step 4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool in the mold (photo 3).
Step 5. To make the lemon topping, melt white chocolate in the microwave or double boiler.
Step 7. Bring the mixture over low to medium heat and cook for a few minutes, constantly stirring with the whisk, until the cream slightly thickens (photo 4).
Step 8. Pour the cream into melted white chocolate in three additions, stirring vigorously between additions with a rubber spatula (photo 5).
Step 9. Pour the ready lemon topping over the cooled shortbread base and tap a couple of times to even the cream layer (photo 6). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To serve, run a knife around the sides of the pan. Cut bars into equal squares.
- To recalculate the amount of ingredients for another baking dish, use this simple cake pan converter.
- Allow the lemon topping to set before cutting it into bars and enjoying.
- To cut lemon bars, use a serrated or regular knife. Wipe the blade after each cut to make neat squares.
- Keep lemon bars in the refrigerator.
Storing and freezing
You can use bottled 100% lemon juice to make this recipe. But fresh lemon juice enhances the flavor way more than commercially made lemon juice.
Yes, absolutely. You cannot taste any difference between lemon bars baked in aluminum or glass molds. You can line your pan with parchment if desired.
Store poppy seeds in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a year if kept in a sealed container. If the poppy seeds become damp from exposure to the air, they will mold quite quickly. So, buying just enough for cooking/baking or keeping them sealed and refrigerated until use is better.
Love lemony desserts? Try these next!
Don't miss a citrus season with the abundance of fresh produce; make lemon desserts:
Need to adjust your baking pan size?
No worries! This simple cake pan converter is here to help. Easily adjust any pan size to fit your needs with just a click.
Lemon Poppy Seed Bars
Lemon poppy seed bars are made with a shortbread crust topped with a layer of white chocolate lemon topping. They are so easy to whip up, and they taste delicious.
- Total Time: 50 minutes (plus chilling time)
- Yield: 9 1x
- Category: Bars and Brownies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
For the shortbread base:
- 1 cup + 1 ⅓ tablespoon (135 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (40 g) granulated sugar
- 3 oz. (90 g) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
For the lemon topping:
- ½ lemon, zest
- ½ cup (110 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 2.5 tablespoons (35 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (90 g) whole eggs, room temperature (see note#1)
- 3.9 oz. (110 g) white chocolate
*Don't you have the correct baking pan on hand right now? Try this simple Cake Pan Converter!
** If needed, please refer to Baking Conversion Charts.
- Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Butter an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) square pan.
- To make the shortbread base, place flour, sugar, and poppy seeds in a mixing bowl. Add the softened butter and mix with your hands until crumbly.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared mold and spread it into an even layer to the bottom. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool in the mold.
- To make the lemon topping, melt white chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Place lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and eggs in a saucepan and whisk with a hand whisk.
- Bring the mixture over low to medium heat and cook for a few minutes, constantly stirring with the whisk, until the cream slightly thickens.
- Pour the cream into melted white chocolate in three additions, stirring vigorously between additions with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the ready lemon topping over the cooled shortbread base and tap a couple of times to even the cream layer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- To serve, run a knife around the sides of the pan. Cut bars into equal squares.
- 90 g whole eggs, approximately equal to 2 whole medium chicken eggs (eggshell removed).
- before cutting it into bars and enjoying.
- To cut lemon bars, use a serrated or regular knife. Wipe the knife after each cut to make neat squares.
- Keep lemon bars in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 316
- Sugar: 17 g
- Sodium: 37 mg
- Fat: 16.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 9.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 37.6 g
- Fiber: 0.9 g
- Protein: 6.6 g
- Cholesterol: 106 mg
Keywords: lemon poppy seed bars, lemon poopy seed squares
The nutritional information has been calculated using an online recipe nutrition calculator such as Verywellfit.com and is intended for informational purposes only. These figures should be used as a general guideline and not be construed as a guarantee.