Our Best Ever Lemon Brownies are fudgy, lemony and irresistible. The texture is very similar to fudge brownies and the glaze is like pure sunshine. Perfect for summer entertaining and picnics or anytime! This easy recipe includes an equally irresistible gluten free option.
A Ray of Sunshine in Bar Form:
Best Ever Lemon Brownies
My sweet baking friends, get your pucker on for some serious lemony goodness!
- These scrumptious Lemon Brownies are both fudgy and lemony with a moist, light and tender crumb. The divine lemon glaze locks in moisture serving a dual purpose.
- This recipe is easy. These special citrus bars are irresistibly good and are made in a snap. They’re perfect for casual or elegant entertaining, or everyday.
- Our baking tips ensure your baking success. Included are our ratio of ingredients, techniques used and very popular gluten free option.
Have you seen my Lemon Love board over at Pinterest? As one of my sweet followers commented, it is seriously out of control. Hey, I love lemon! In fact, nearly every morning I enjoy a warm mug of lemon water lightly sweetened with honey before breakfast. However, my reasons and the health benefits for doing so are for another post. For now, we are talking pure Lemon Brownie Bar indulgence. As explained later in this article, I now simply call these bars Lemon Brownies.
Speaking of my Lemon Love board over at Pinterest, have any of you seen some of the Lemon Brownie Bars floating around over at Pinterest? Ever since I spotted these beautiful bars, I have had designs on them and immediately placed them on my “to bake ASAP” list.
First, I baked the original recipe. However, I couldn’t resist tinkering with it. Above all, I simply could not resist baking these incredible bars with C4C (Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour) to once again put the proverbial “rubber to the road” in a recipe test drive. In conclusion, this spectacular gluten free flour blend did not disappoint in my recipe testing. In fact, C4C performed flawlessly. No one, and I mean no one, will guess these exquisite bars are gluten free! That’s a bona fide promise.
Why Lemon Brownies?
Lemon Brownies seems like a strange name for these sunny yellow bars due to the word “brownie” which conjures up thoughts of decadent chocolate fudge brownies. However, in their defense, and in defense of the original recipe developer (who must have named them), I must admit that they should not be called simply Lemon Bars as this would lead to major confusion with the traditional recipe for the old beloved classic.
In the end, I believe the words “brownie” or “brownies” should stay as it is definitely fitting – especially considering the texture. Due to this, as mentioned above, I call these scrumptious lemon dessert bars Lemon Brownies.
Lemon Brownie Love
Texture, folks. We’re talkin’ brownie texture in this sublime (sublemon?) bar. I have to say, these are the most magical bars I have ever baked. Ever. I was amazed that this simple recipe, with so few ingredients, could impress me as much as it did. These lemony Lemon Brownies taste phenomenal and are just plain addicting!
What will be surprising to many bakers is how easily these Best Ever Lemon Brownies pull together. They are “easy peasy lemon squeezy” in the truest sense of the popular phrase. Honestly, the most time-consuming part is zesting and juicing the lemons. And the payoff for this “hard work” is huge. Talk about the ol’ “bang for the buck”! Everyone will think you spent much more time creating them. After sharing these babies, family and friends will love you more and complete strangers will become instant friends.
LEMON BROWNIES INGREDIENTS
To make this recipe for scrumptious Lemon Brownies, you will need:
- Butter: Use the very best unsalted butter and soften to room temperature before using in recipe.
- Flour: Use the very best 100% pure unbleached flour without additives, preferably aged to become naturally white versus bleaching that strips important nutrients.
- Sugars: Pure granulated cane sugar is used versus refined beet sugar to prepare the brownie batter for an ideal flavor profile as well as confectioner’s or powdered sugar to create the icing glaze.
- Salt: Pure and all-natural fine-grain sea salt is preferred for the very best flavor profile, bringing forth all the scrumptious flavors, as well as the desirable salty-sweet balance necessary in fine baking.
- Eggs: Always use high-quality large eggs, preferably organic from free range hens, as these eggs provide outstanding flavor in addition to the proper ratio of egg yolks to egg whites and thus will be the proper amount required by weight.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Always use the freshest lemons, preferably organic, for the very best lemon flavor.
- Fresh Lemon Zest: Lemon zest, with its natural lemon oil, provides an extra citrus punch in baking recipes. As always, use the freshest lemons you can find with clean, firm and unblemished rinds or outer skins.
In addition to the above ingredients, you will need:
- Natural Baking Parchment or parchment paper, to line baking pan, such as Beyond Gourmet™.
Wicked Good Kitchen only uses and recommends the finest baking ingredients—especially organic ingredients. They make all the difference for quality home baking. In addition, we recommend using natural baking parchment also known simply as parchment paper.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON BROWNIES
Making these sublime Lemon Brownies is incredibly easy. Simply:
- Soften butter to room temperature. Do this by leaving the butter out at room temperature for at least an hour before preparing the brownie batter. I like to place it on a small plate and cover it with the wrapper after opening. Test it to make sure it is indeed softened to room temperature before using. To do this, simply press into the butter with an index finger. If it leaves an indent and is soft but not hard, the butter is ready.
- Arrange oven rack to lower third of oven and preheat oven. For best and even baking results, generally the oven should preheat for at least 15 minutes before baking.
- Zest and juice two large to very large lemons to have the juice and zest on hand before preparing batter.
- Crack eggs and separate one of the eggs to have two whole eggs and one egg white on hand in a prep bowl.
- Prepare baking pan by lightly greasing it and lining with natural baking parchment.
- Prepare the Lemon Brownie Batter using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, according to recipe directions by mixing the ingredients in the order stated.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top using a rubber spatula.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch in the center, about 25 minutes. Do not over-bake or the brownie bars will be too dry.
- Remove from oven and transfer pan to wire rack and allow the brownie cake to cool at least 1 hour before removing from pan. Use the baking parchment on sides of pan to lift brownie cake out and transfer to cutting board. Once the brownie cake is completely cool, prepare the icing glaze.
- Prepare the icing glaze and pour over cooled brownie cake. Spread glaze evenly over the top using a metal angled icing spatula or regular icing spatula.
- Allow glaze to dry slightly on the surface before cutting into bars and serving. See tips below for cutting bars.
- Store in airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Brownies will keep airtight at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
10 TIPS FOR BAKING PERFECT LEMON BROWNIES
This is what I have learned after making these Lemon Brownies four (4) times in preparation for this blog post:
- Be sure to bring butter fully to room temperature. It is imperative to have your butter softened to room temperature as outlined for the second tip below.
- Mix the ingredients in the order stated in the recipe. The fat in the softened butter coats the flour and sugar becoming well saturated thus creating a very moist and exceptional crumb.
- Do not cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and flour mixture. This will create a very “cakey” texture and drier crumb. Remember, we are after dense and fudgy here.
- After blending together the dry ingredients, do not “beat” in the butter, eggs, lemon juice and zest and then continue beating for 2 minutes or more. This is a serious “no-no” and will just cause the batter to become aerated (incorporating air). This will then cause too many air pockets after baking as well as create an undesirable drier crumb. It is essential to “stir” in, by hand (or using the ‘stir’ setting of a stand mixer), the wet ingredients and not aerate the batter. This is how the fudgiest of brownies are mixed, by hand. Again, fudgy is what we are after.
- Do not overbake. Just as with chocolate fudge brownies, overbaking will create a dry brownie. Bake for exactly 25 minutes and no longer.
- Be sure that your oven is properly calibrated or use an oven thermometer to ensure the proper temperature.
- Sift confectioners’ sugar after measuring to prevent lumps in the icing glaze.
- Make Ahead Tip: Keep icing glaze covered if preparing in advance. Simply cover bowl of glaze tightly with plastic food wrap to keep it smooth and prevent it from drying out.
- For Gluten Free Option, simply substitute 1 cup (128 grams) Cup4Cup (C4C) Gluten-Free Flour for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in recipe. Your favorite gluten free flour blend may work very well in this recipe if it was designed to be used cup-for-cup as a replacement for regular all-purpose wheat flour.
- For nice, cleanly-sliced brownies, use a very warm sharp knife. I like to use my large chef’s knife. Run the knife under hot water from the kitchen sink tap. Then, very carefully (be careful!) wipe the knife dry with a kitchen towel just before making each cut with a clean, very warm sharp knife.
Can You Freeze Lemon Brownies?
Yes, you can! These Lemon Brownies freeze very well when following these 5 Simple Freezing Tips.
- When freezing, we recommend that you freeze the Lemon Brownies unglazed and then glaze them once thawed.
- If freezing leftover glazed brownies, simply separate layers with wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Wrap the package tightly with plastic food wrap and then place into a heavy-duty zip-top freezer bag expelling as much air as possible. Using a heavy-duty freezer bag will prevent freezer burn.
- Label and date the package before placing in freezer. Lemon Brownies will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- When ready to enjoy again, take the Lemon Brownies package out of the freezer and place it on the counter at room temperature to defrost. By keeping the brownies in their package during thawing, the condensation (or moisture droplets) will form on the outside of the package and not directly on the brownies.
What makes our Lemon Brownies the best ever?
Not only are these Lemon Brownies the best ever, they are truly wicked good!
- Our Lemon Brownies are both fudgy and lemony with a moist, light and tender crumb.
- The recipe is easy! These special citrus bars are irresistibly good and are made in a snap.
- The ratio of ingredients, the techniques used in our recipe and our baking tips ensure baking success.
- The lemon glaze is simply divine as an icing and functions as keeping these bars moist and tender.
- Casual or elegant, these delightful Lemon Brownies are perfect for summer entertaining, picnics or everyday!
- Recipe includes an irresistible gluten free option that will knock the socks off both family and friends!
For the lemon lovers in your life, bake up some Best Ever Lemon Brownies to serve up as a special spring or summer treat. They are just perfect for outdoor entertaining and picnics or even everyday occasions!
More Lemon and Citrus Recipes You’ll Love:
- Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies
- Homemade Lemon Curd
- Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream
- Homemade Key Lime Curd
- Key Lime Brownies
- Homemade Orange Citrus Curd
NOTE: This recipe was originally published on April 26, 2014. It was updated with baking tips and other updates on May 1, 2019.
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Fudgy, lemony and irresistible! The texture of these fabulous citrus bars is very similar to brownies and the glaze is like pure sunshine. Perfect for summer entertaining and picnics! Recipe includes an equally irresistible gluten free option.
For the Lemon Brownie Batter
- 1 cup (125 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon (2.4 grams) fine-grain sea salt
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg white (mine weighed 137 grams w/o shells)
- 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon (7 grams) freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (40 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Lemon Icing Glaze
- ¾ cup (94 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (20 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2½ teaspoons (5 grams) freshly grated lemon zest
Special Equipment & Supplies
- Natural baking parchment or parchment paper, for lining baking pan, such as Beyond Gourmet™
- Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch metal baking pan with shortening. (I like to use my Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Square Cake Pan.) Line pan with baking parchment so there is an overhang. Do this by measuring parchment 4 inches in length additionally at each side of pan. This will allow 2 inches of coverage on each end once folded and tucked in. This will create “handles” which will help removing bars from pan and to transfer to cutting board to cut into even bars after cooling.
- Prepare the Lemon Brownie Batter: Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt until well combined. Add the butter and mix until well combined, but do not “beat” at high speed which would incorporate too much air.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, lemon zest and juice together. Scrape and pour into batter using a rubber spatula. Mix together on low mixer setting until well blended and smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary with rubber spatula. Or, stir by hand using a rubber spatula until well blended and smooth. Do not “beat” at high speed with mixer.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch in the center, about 25 minutes. (Do not bake over 25 minutes or the brownie bars will be too dry.) Transfer to wire rack and allow the brownie cake to cool at least 1 hour before removing from pan. Cool completely before spreading on glaze.
- Use the baking parchment on sides of pan to lift brownie cake out and transfer to cutting board. Once the brownie cake is completely cool, prepare the glaze.
- Prepare the Lemon Icing Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon juice and zest until smooth and creamy. Pour glaze over cooled brownie cake and spread evenly over the top using a metal angled icing spatula or icing spatula.
- Allow glaze to dry slightly on the surface before cutting into bars and serving. Store in airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Brownies will keep airtight at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Yield: Makes 9 to 12 bars or 16 small bars.
Be sure to bring butter fully to room temperature. It is imperative to have your butter softened to room temperature as outlined in the next tip.
Mix the ingredients in the order stated in the recipe. The fat in the softened butter coats the flour and sugar then becoming well saturated thus creating a very moist and exceptional crumb. Do not cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and flour mixture. This will create a too “cakey” texture and drier crumb. Remember, we are after dense and fudgy here.
After blending together the dry ingredients, do not “beat” in the butter, eggs, lemon juice and zest and then continue beating for 2 minutes or more. This is a serious “no-no” and will just cause the batter to become aerated (incorporating air). This will then cause too many air pockets after baking as well as create an undesirable drier crumb. It is essential to “stir” in, by hand (or using the ‘stir’ setting of a stand mixer), the wet ingredients and not aerate the batter. This is how the fudgiest of brownies are mixed, by hand. Again, fudgy is what we are after.
Do not overbake. Just as with chocolate brownies, overbaking will create a dry brownie. Bake for exactly 25 minutes and no longer. Be sure that your oven is properly calibrated or use an oven thermometer to ensure the proper temperature.
After measuring confectioners’ sugar for glaze, sift to prevent lumps.
If making the glaze in advance, keep it covered with plastic food wrap to keep it smooth and prevent it from drying out.
Store brownies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Brownies will keep airtight at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
For Gluten Free Option: Substitute 1 cup (128 grams) Cup4Cup (C4C) Gluten-Free Flour, available at Williams-Sonoma, for regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in recipe.
For Large Batch to Serve a Crowd: Simply double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13-inch, 3-quart baking pan for 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, follow directions in recipe to remove from pan, transfer to cutting board and glaze the brownies with icing glaze.
Yield: 12 to 15 servings.
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