Gingered Lemon Bars

“I can’t wait for you to get here Elise. We can cook! We can make pies and cakes and cookies and more yummy things,” exclaimed my young friend Alden as we were talking on the phone last week.

Between Easter, a Patriots Day parade and museum trips, we finally got a chance to do some baking. Reilly (8) and her sister Alden (6) helped me make scrumptious lemon bars that have candied ginger in the crust from a recipe in a 1987 issue of Gourmet magazine.

To make the bars first you make and pre-bake the shortbread crust with specks of candied ginger. Then you make the lemon filling, pour into the pre-baked crust, and bake again, until the filling has set. The original recipe called for sprinkling the whole thing with powdered sugar, which we didn’t feel was necessary.

Gingered Lemon Bars Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 36 lemon bars.


Reilly grating the lemon

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt



Alden and Reilly
1 Pre-bake the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter. Add 1/3 cup of sifted powdered sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in half a teaspoon of the lemon zest, the ground ginger, the crystallized ginger, and a pinch of salt. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour in batches, a 1/4 cup at a time, beating after each addition. Continue to beat the crust batter until it is well combined.

2 Spread the crust batter evenly over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until browned lightly around the edges.

lemon-bars-2.jpg3 While the crust is baking, whisk together the eggs, the lemon juice, the granulated sugar, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, 3 Tbsp of flour, and the baking powder in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until well blended.

4 Pour the lemon batter over the pre-baked crust. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden. If you want, sift a little additional powdered sugar over the top. Let the lemon bars cool in the pan on a rack. Cut it into 36 pieces.

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Reilly showing off the lemon bars.

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Showing 4 of 20 Comments

  • Alanna

    “We can cook!” Gotta love it, from an eight-year old! What fun …

  • farmgirl

    These look and sound wonderful. I would never have thought of this combination in a bar, though I’ve been drinking ginger and lemon tea for years (and probably even read that issue of Gourmet back in 1987), LOL. Thanks for the recipe. Cute photos, too. Always nice to see the next generation of bakers hard at it! : )

  • Jennifer

    Hi Elise,
    The lemon bars look fantastic, and your little friends are adorable. One of my favorite things to do as a cook is to pass on my passion to the next generation, and I love to read about others doing the same!

  • Barbara

    Lemon bars are always great, and I always skip the powdered sugar. It is just not needed.

    I love the idea of the candied ginger in the crust, though–I will definately have to try that!

    The kids are cute–baking with kids is always so much fun….

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