Lemon Bars with a oatmeal and brown sugar crumble topping. Creamy, tart, silky smooth lemon cream with a thick layer of a sweet oatmeal crust and a thick sprinkle of crumble on top.
These lemon bars continue to be a favorite at our house. They are so easy to make and turn out perfect each time, which makes them the best thing to make for potlucks, gatherings, or dessert.
Plus, they have sweetened condensed milk in them! I mean that basically guarantees that they will be amazing. That stuff is just amazing! Like if I could handle all the sweetness I could probably drink a can of it.
Old-Fashioned Oats. These are bigger and heartier oat flakes (compared to quick oats) which gives more texture to the bars. They can be substituted with quick oats if that’s what you have in your kitchen. I always keep both in my pantry so I have only ever used old-fashioned oats.
Salted Butter. I always use salted butter when baking and cooking. I think it has more flavor and makes baked goods taste better. With that said, you can use unsalted butter but for best results use salted butter.
Sweetened Condensed Milk. Please do not use the low fat or fat-free sweetened condensed milk. The taste is funky and it usually has added stuff to make up for the loss of the fat and sugar in the real sweetened condensed milk.
Lemon Zest. Recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon zest which is equal to 1 large lemon. Make sure you zest it before cutting it and squeezing it for the lemon juice. Use a citrus zester or the fine side of a cheese grater. The lemon zester is the best thing to use and can be bought on Amazon or any store for cheap.
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice. Fresh lemon juice is the only way to go in this recipe. No “lemon juice” from a bottle please. For 1/3 cup lemon juice you will need 2 large lemon or about 3 smaller ones. I always get one extra just in case one of the lemons has like no juice.
MY TIPS FOR THIS RECIPE
- Use fresh squeezed lemon juice from a lemon! This is so important for the best flavor. The bottles lemon juice does not even compare to fresh.
- Make sure the bars cool completely and then put them into the fridge for a couple hours to get cold. This is a cold dessert. Plan ahead of time if you need these for an event or gathering. I usually make them the morning of the day I need them….. or the day I want them 🙂
- Store leftovers in the fridge. As the bars sit out at room temperature they will soften up slightly.
- I would recommend using the real deal sweetened condensed milk. Not the low fat or fat-free.
- To get the most juice out of the lemon, roll it between the palm of your hand and the countertop back and forth. You will start to smell the fresh lemon juice being released and it helps get the most juice out of the lemon.
These are really good! The lemon flavor really shines through thanks to the fresh lemon juice & fresh lemon zest. It’s not tart at all. Combined with the sweetened condensed milk it is amazingly creamy and sweet.
TRY THESE OTHER LEMON DESSERT RECIPES
- Triple Layer Lemon Pudding Pie – Together as Family
- Microwave Lemon Curd – Dessert Now, Dinner Later!
- Lemon Cheesecake Cream Pie – Together as Family
- Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies – Shugary Sweets
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large egg yolks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray. For easy removal and cutting, line with parchment paper or tin foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, rolled oats, sugar, brown sugar and baking soda.
Add in melted butter and vanilla. Stir until evenly moistened.
Press half of the crumb mixture (set aside the other half) into the bottom of the baking dish and gently press down. Bake for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to let cool slightly while you make the lemon cream filling.
To make the lemon cream combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Pour over the cooked crust and smooth out. Sprinkle the reserved oat crumble on top and gently press down.
Bake for 22-25 minutes. The middle will still look pale and loose but the edges should be golden brown. Let cool completely.
Once cooled, cover and put in fridge for 1 hour. Cut into bars and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge. As these bars sit out at room temperature they do become softer (mainly the filling).
You could probably use quick oats or the regular old-fashioned oats called for in the recipe. I always have both on hand but if you only have one, then they can be interchanged easily. Quick oats are a finer texture while whole oats are bigger in size and provide more texture to the bars.
12 tablespoons = 1 stick + 1/2 stick
To get the most juice from the lemon. Place the lemon between the palm of your hand and the countertop. Roll it back and forth. You will start to smell the juice release which yields lots of fresh lemon juice for the recipe.
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