Strawberry lemonade bars combine the fruity flavors of lemon and strawberry in a smooth filling, layered on top of a buttery shortbread cookie base. These bars are 100% homemade with fresh ingredients and have no artificial flavors!
Table of Contents
- Strawberry lemonade bars combine the fruity flavors of lemon and strawberry in a smooth filling, layered on top of a buttery shortbread cookie base. These bars are 100% homemade with fresh ingredients and have no artificial flavors!
- What are Strawberry Lemonade Bars?
- Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Lemonade Bar Recipe
- How To Make Strawberry Lemonade Bars
- Recipe Pro-Tips
- Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- More Baking & Dessert Recipes
Strawberry complements zesty lemon in these layered summer dessert bars perfect for snacking, lunch boxes, and backyard barbecues. This strawberry lemon bar recipe starts with flaky and sweet shortbread and is topped with the most beautiful pink strawberry and lemon filling.
Cook the strawberry lemon layer, mix and pre-bake the shortbread, then layer the two and bake for a lemony treat the whole family will enjoy. These bars are naturally colorful with strawberries and a great way to use some farm-fresh berries!
What are Strawberry Lemonade Bars?
Strawberry lemonade bars are similar to classic Homemade Lemon Bars but combine strawberries and lemons in the filling layer for a dessert bar that’s unique, colorful, and full of fresh summer flavors. They have a delicious shortbread base and are topped with homemade pink strawberry filling and powdered sugar.
Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Lemonade Bar Recipe
- No Artificial Flavors. There is nothing quite like the refreshing zip of freshly squeezed lemon juice and I promise the effort is worth it! No artificial flavors, or colors, in these bars, just fresh lemon and strawberry combined for unmatched flavor.
- Colorful. If you’re looking for a pink strawberry lemon dessert for a baby shower, birthday party, or your next girls' night, this is the recipe for you! Fresh strawberries have the most beautiful color which makes the lemony filling layer both festive and sweet.
- Fun to Serve. Lemon strawberry dessert bars are perfect for giving everyone an individual serving or displaying on a dessert spread. Small, or large, squares are satisfying and easy to grab. If you need a dessert bar idea that is fruity instead of chocolatey, you’ll love this recipe.
- Crowd Pleaser. With the comforting shortbread base, these lemon strawberry bars delight guests, young and old, and might just remind you of something your grandmother would bake. Kids will love the lemonade flavor!
Strawberry Lemon Filling Ingredients
- Lemon Zest: Lemon zest gives an extra zippy lemon taste to the filling layer of these bars.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice for a robust citrus flavor.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar sweetens and balances the tang of the lemon.
- Strawberries: Fresh strawberries work best, sliced, with stems and tops removed.
- Cornstarch: Thickens the lemon layer for bars that stay together when cutting.
- Eggs: Eggs give the filling a silky smooth texture and help it bake to a custard-like finish.
Shortbread Crust Ingredients
- Flour: All-purpose white flour is ideal for classic shortbread.
- Salt: A hint of salt enhances flavors. Can be omitted if using salted butter.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar makes the best shortbread.
- Butter: For flaky, buttery shortbread, cut into ½ inch cubes. Use at room temperature.
- Frozen Berries: Frozen strawberries can be used in place of fresh strawberries for a strawberry lemonade dessert, even when berries aren’t in season.
How To Make Strawberry Lemonade Bars
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Make Strawberry Lemonade Filling
Step 1: Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and strawberries in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook the mixture for 12-15 minutes (on the longer side for frozen berries), stirring occasionally, or until the strawberries are very easy to smush with a fork.
Step 2: Pour the strawberry and lemon mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cornstarch and blend until smooth (you can also add the cornstarch and blend with an immersion blender until smooth). Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl, pressing the liquid through as the strawberry solids remain in the sieve.
Step 3: Chill the mixture for 30-45 minutes, or until at room temperature or cooler. Clean out the food processor bowl and blade (if you used them).
Make the Crust
Step 1: While the strawberry lemon mixture cools, make the crust: preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 2: Add the flour, salt, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend.
Step 3: With the food processor running, drop the cubes of butter one by one into the flour mixture. Run the processor until the dough sticks together and forms a large mass.
Step 4: Turn the dough out into the baking pan. Gently press down with your fingers or a spatula to evenly spread it into the pan.
Step 5: Bake the crust for 23-25 minutes, or until the crust just starts to turn golden brown around the edges. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Layer & Bake the Bars
Step 1: Whisk the 4 large eggs into the cooled strawberry lemon mixture until fully combined and a lighter pink color. Pour the strawberry lemon filling into the still-warm crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the filling has thickened and just barely jiggles when you nudge the pan with a potholder.
Step 2: Remove the bars from the oven. Cool on a wire rack at room temperature until it reaches room temperature, or for about an hour. Move to the refrigerator and let chill for up to 2 hours, or until the bars are cool and firm. Slice the bars, sprinkle with powdered sugar (if desired), and enjoy cool!
- Give Dough a Pinch. Pinch shortbread dough to help determine if it’s blended thoroughly. When pinched, the fully blended dough will stick together and not crumble. If the dough is not sticking when pinched or not starting to form a large mass in your food processor, keep pulsing the processor.
- Use an 8 x 8-Inch Pan. It’s important to use the right-sized pan for this recipe so that the layers are set up but don't burn or underbake. While some recipes are easily adaptable for pan sizes, this is not one of them. If you don’t have an 8 x 8, consider picking up an 8 x 8 foil pan to get just the right thickness for each layer.
- Cool Before Cutting. The strawberry lemon layer will continue to set and bind to the top of the shortbread as the bars cool. For strawberry lemon bars that stick together, cool to room temperature before cutting.
- Finish with Powdered Sugar. For fancy lemon bars that look fresh from the bakery case, sprinkle cooled bars with powdered sugar. Use a fine mesh strainer or powdered sugar dusting spoon to sprinkle confectioners sugar. Cooling the bars first will prevent the sugar from melting into the hot lemon filling.
- Raspberry: Use an equal amount of fresh or frozen raspberries instead of strawberries. Strain well after cooking and processing to remove seeds.
- Blueberry: Use an equal amount of fresh or frozen blueberries instead of strawberries.
- Strawberry Shortbread: Make pink strawberry shortbread by adding ¼ cup strawberry powder to the shortbread ingredients before mixing. Use the food processor to pulse freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder, then remove the powder from the processor, and measure ¼ cup. Check out my Strawberry Shortbread Cookies recipe for process shots and success tips for freeze-dried fruit powder.
Enjoy these dessert bars after a savory dinner of Instant Pot Chicken Stew or summery Avocado Blueberry Salad. Or serve cooled and chilled strawberry lemonade bars as an easy-to-grab treat alongside Chocolate Coconut Bars for a mix of chocolatey and fruity.
- Gluten-Free: To make gluten-free strawberry lemon bars, use one-to-one gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
- Dairy-Free: To make dairy-free bars, substitute vegan butter for unsalted butter.
- Refrigeration: Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 1 week.
- Freezing: Freeze bars, separated by parchment paper or wax paper, in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
Lemon bars may be gooey when underbaked. For lemon bars that are set up but still melt in your mouth, bake until the filling just barely jiggles and let cool to room temperature so they can fully set.
When baking, you can also watch for the lemon layer to form a slight crust and the edges to begin to brown, indicating that you have baked them long enough.
Lemon bars need to cool to room temperature before cutting in order for the lemon filling layer to set and adhere to the shortbread crust. The other cause of falling apart could be an underbaked shortbread layer. Pre-bake the shortbread layer before topping it with lemon filling and returning it to the oven. Shortbread takes longer to cook than the lemon layer so it’s important that you give it a head start.
Lemon bars can sit out for 4-6 hours. It’s best to return lemon bars to the refrigerator for storage after serving. Because the filling contains eggs and fresh fruit, refrigeration will help slow the chance of any bacteria growing and keep your lemon bars from becoming too soft or the top layer sliding off. Refrigerated lemon bars will keep for up to a week.
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- Lemon Juicer
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- Glass Mixing Bowls
- Sauce Pan
- Food Processor
- Immersion Blender (optional)
- Mesh Sieve
- 8x8 Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Powdered Sugar Spoon (optional)
More Baking & Dessert Recipes
- Fudgy Vegan Blondies
- Pineapple Poke Cake
- Meyer Lemon Curd
- Gluten-Free Blackberry Cobbler
- Lemon Poke Cake (No Jello!)
- Edible Brownie Batter
- Fresh Apricot Cobbler
- 3-Ingredient Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles
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