These homemade Lemon Cookie Bars are lemon sugar cookies baked in a sheet pan. They have a cream cheese glaze, are bursting with lemon flavor from lemon juice and zest, and are soft and chewy!
Lemon is perfect year-around for all occasions and celebrations. If you share a love of lemon with me, check out this Lemon Loaf Cake! OR if you love lemon blueberry, check out these Lemon Blueberry Muffins for a burst of fruity flavor.
Why This Recipe Works
- Soft and chewy sugar cookie with lemon flavor
- Frosted with a lemon cream cheese glaze that adds flavor and the perfect balance of sweet and tangy
- Quick and easy preparation without the chill time and rolling for classic cookies
- Impressive, flavorful homemade dessert that will impress a crowd
- Unsalted Butter: You’ll need unsalted butter at room temperature for the best flavor and structure in these cookie bars.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar adds moisture and sweetness.
- Eggs: You’ll need 2 large eggs at room temperature for structure.
- Egg Yolk: An egg yolk at room temperature results in a chewy texture.
- Vanilla Extract: Though these bars are bursting with lemon flavor, vanilla rounds out the flavor.
- Lemon Juice & Lemon Zest: Fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest add the perfect amount of lemon flavor.
- All Purpose Flour: You’ll need regular, plain all purpose flour for moist and tender sugar cookie bars.
- Salt: Salt brings out sweetness and enhances overall flavor!
- Corn Starch: Corn starch is a secret ingredient for soft and chewy cookie bars.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda gives these lemon bars a gorgeous rise.
Step by Step Process
STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13 inch sheet pan with parchment paper, as doing so will allow for clean and easy removal of the cookie bars after baking.
STEP 2: In a large bowl, cream room temperature butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed until smooth and creamy. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
STEP 3: Add room temperature eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the batter. Then, beat on medium speed. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl at least once to evenly distribute the ingredients.
STEP 4: Slowly, add flour to your dough before mixing salt, corn starch, and baking soda into the dough. Beat only until you see the dry ingredients disappear into the batter, as overmixing could lead to dense and dry cookie bars.
STEP 5: Transfer the batter to your prepared 9×13 sheet pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until the bars are a pale color on top and lightly golden brown around the edges. The top should look slightly soft and shiny, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out with moist crumbs. Let the bars fully cool before frosting.
STEP 7: To make the cream cheese frosting, use a spoon or fork to smooth the softened cream cheese in a medium bowl.
STEP 8: Add powdered sugar to the bowl and mix until the two combine. The glaze should look thick and chunky.
STEP 9: Next, add lemon juice to the frosting and mix until the glaze smoothens. If the glaze is thin and runny, add additional powdered sugar by the tablespoon. If the glaze is too thick to spread, add additional lemon juice by the teaspoon.
STEP 10: Top the cooled bars with the lemon cream cheese frosting. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sugar cookie bars are soft and chewy cookies baked in a sheet pan. The thick dough is pressed into a 9×13 inch pan before baking. Then, they are sliced and served as bars, making preparation, serving, and storing even easier than regular cookies.
These bars are done baking when the edges look light golden brown, the top is pale in color but slightly shiny, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with crumbs. The cookie bars will continue to cook and gain structure as they cool.
These bars can be left out at room temperature for up to 2 days due to the cream cheese frosting or can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. You can also freeze these, individually wrapped, for up to 4 months. Allow them to sit at room temperature before serving.
These frosted cookie bars have a lemon cream cheese glaze. You are more than welcome to use a buttercream, store-bought frosting, whipped cream, or skip the topping altogether.
Substitutions: I do not recommend making substitutions in this recipe. If necessary, use salted butter and leave out the salt in the recipe.
Creaming Butter & Sugar: Make sure to cream the room temperature butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed until the mixture is puffy in texture and light pale in color. This adds air to the dough and creates a lighter, softer cookie bar.
Bake Time: These bars will continue to bake and firm up as they cool. With this, do not overbake past when the edges are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out with some crumbs.
Cooling: Do not top the sugar cookie bars until they have fully cooled because they glaze will melt off.
These Lemon Cookie Bars are lemon flavored sugar cookies baked in a sheet pan. They are frosted with a cream cheese glaze, are bursting with lemon flavor from lemon juice and zest, and are soft and chewy!
For the Lemon Cookie Bars
- 1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (315g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (100g), room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk (20g), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 cups (420g) all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 3/4 teaspoon (7g) salt
- 1 tablespoon (8g) corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon (3g) baking soda
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
- 2 oz (58g) cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups (180g) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30g) lemon juice
For the Lemon Cookie Bars
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13 inch pan with sheet of parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray to ensure the bars come out of the pan cleanly.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer that is fitted with a paddle attachment, beat your room temperature butter and granulated sugar together until smooth, fluffy in texture, and light in color. This should be 2-3 minutes of mixing on high speed.
- Add in room temperature eggs and egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the batter. Mix until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl before mixing again to ensure the batter is properly combined.
- Slowly, add all purpose flour to your mixture while beating on low speed. Then, sprinkle salt, corn starch, and baking soda into the batter. Mix on low speed until just combined.
- Transfer batter to your prepared pan. Use a knife or your floured hands to smooth the dough in the pan.
- Bake bars for 25-30 minutes or until the bars are light golden brown in color and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bars comes out almost clean. Do not overbake, as the bars will lose their soft, chewy texture.
- Allow the bars to cool before topping with glaze.
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer or a spoon to combine softened cream cheese with powdered sugar. Mix until the two are combined in a thick, chunky mixture.
- Pour lemon juice into the bowl and mix until smooth.
- Smooth the frosting on top of the cooled cookie bars before topping with optional lemon zest and slicing.
- Store the bars at room temperature for up to 2 days in an airtight container or in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure to use room temperature butter and eggs in the cookie bars for a softer, lighter texture. Using softened cream cheese in the glaze will create a smoother, more velvety frosting.
Mixing: Do not overmix when adding the flour, salt, corn starch, and baking soda into the wet ingredients to avoid dense, tough cookie bars.
Slicing: Do not slice the cookie bars until they have cooled. The bars will fall apart without the cool time that creates a firm, structured bar.
Keywords: Lemon Glaze, Lemon Cookie Bars, Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars