Strawberry Lemon Bars

One of the tastiest ways to enjoy summer berries is by indulging in some strawberry lemon bars. Made with a fluffy lemon shortbread crust, a fruity strawberry custard, and a buttery crumble, these bars are simply irresistible.

strawberry lemon bars 3

These tangy bars may require a few layers and steps, but believe me when I say they are absolutely worth it. They will melt in your mouth, and people will be begging you for the recipe. The plush shortbread base is perfectly dense to hold up the weight of the custard and crumble, yet not too dense or crispy. Every bite is perfectly tender.

strawberry lemon bars 5

Why you will love this recipe:

  • It's a combination of tart, fruity, and buttery flavor, which makes them the perfect warm-season treat! Serve them up for brunch and watch them disappear like magic.
  • You can use fresh or frozen strawberries, so you can make them even if berries aren't in peak season.
  • You can replace lemon with any citrus or swap the strawberries with other berries, like a blueberry lemon bar or raspberry lime, if you fancy!
  • I intentionally made sure I didn't make them overly sweet. They have a bit of honey and just enough sugar to work and structurally appropriate for shortbread and crumble, but they are still a little bit tart and perfectly sweet, letting the strawberry and lemon flavors shine.

strawberry lemon bars 2


To make these strawberry crumble bars, you’ll need: 

Lemon shortbread base:

overhead ingredients for lemon shortbread, butter, lemon, lemon extact, flour, sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon extract (optional)
  • Lemon zest
  • Granulated sugar

Lemon cream cheese custard layer:

Lemon custard ingredients
  • Lemon juice
  • Cream cheese
  • All purpose flour
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract

Strawberry honey layer:

ingredients for strawberry layer, strawberries, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice
  • Strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Cornstarch

Crumble topping:

ingredients of crumble topping in bowls and dishes
  • All purpose flour
  • Light brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Melted butter
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tools for strawberry lemon crumble bars in graphic with ingredients and vintage botanicals

Step by step process:

lemon shortbread base for strawberry lemon bars

First, you will need to make your

lemon shortbread base:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 176 C
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, add in your butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
  3. Cream for 2 to 3 minutes or until the butter has taken on a deeper yellow color; that’s a good indicator that your ingredients are creamed.
  4. Add in your flour and mix well, eventually using your hands to create a dough if need be.
  5. Press the dough into the parchment paper-lined pan and fork with holes to prevent the butter from bubbling. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Your cookie will still be soft and fluffy. It will harden more once removed from the oven. While it's in the oven, make your layers. Keep oven on and heated at 350 while you make the remaining layers, as you'll need to bake it with the custard and crumble topping.
overhead shot of lemon custard in large mixing bowl

Lemon cream cheese custard:

  • Add your room-temperature cream cheese, egg, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in the flour and mix until smooth.
  • Pour over your shortbread crust immediately after removing it from the oven and set aside while you make your strawberry layer.
overhead shot of strawberry layer on lemon custard in baking dish

Strawberry layer:

  • In a separate bowl, add your strawberries, lemon juice, honey, and cornstarch. Mix until ingredients are well combined.
  • Add in your all-purpose flour and combine. It is essential your filling isn't too runny, so continue to add 1 teaspoon of flour or cornstarch until your filling is thickened up some.
  • Pour over the lemon custard on the shortbread and set aside while you make the crumble topping.
overhead shot of strawberry crumble in baking dish

Crumble topping:

  • In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter for about 1 minute on high power.
  • Add the sugar to the melted butter and whisk to combine. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir to combine, gently. You want the mixture to be crumbly, not formed into a dough. 
  • Add crumble all over the top of your strawberry layer.
  • Bake at 350 F (176 C) for an additional 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool completely, and sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours before slicing into it. Preferably overnight.

Storage and Handling:

  • Be sure to let them sit in the refrigerator before you remove them from your baking dish and slice into them.
  • These strawberry lemon bars will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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