These really are the BEST lemon bars I've ever had. I'm not sure if it's the buttery crust or creamy, tart lemon filling but they are absolutely killer and everyone that tries them agrees they are the BEST!I'll admit that these are not what you might expect when you think of a lemon bar. They don't have a shortbread crust, the filing is creamy instead of translucent and there's a crumb topping on the top that "normal" lemon bars don't have. But, you guys, if calling these the BEST lemon bars ever is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Why are these the BEST lemon bars?
Here's what these bars are all about. They start with a crust that is made from a yellow cake mix and it makes for the richest, butteriest crust that is perfect for holding up the tart lemon filling. This filling is creamy because it has cream cheese and is perfectly tart with a full helping of fresh lemon juice. The filling is also sweetened with powdered sugar instead of granulated so it's perfectly smooth and creamy. It's not quite cheesecake-y and not quite a traditional lemon bar but so, so good. And then there's the topping! It's a sweet and crumbly combination of brown and granulated sugars, flour, coconut and brought together with a bit of melted butter.
Here's the hard part-- waiting for them to cool! Once baked they need almost THREE hours to cool before they are ready to cut into. I'll admit that I've dug in much sooner than that with less than catastrophic results, so do what you will. I will say that they taste best when well chilled and keep for up to a week in the fridge. They also make a killer breakfast, not that I know or anything.
Want More Lemon-y Recipes?
- Lemon Vanilla Bean Mini Cheesecakes
- Strawberry Lemonade Crepes
- Sweet and Tangy Lemon Curd
- Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars
The BEST Lemon Bars
- 15 ounce box yellow cake mix
- 1 egg
- ½ cup butter 1 stick, melted
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup butter 1 stick, melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ C ½ stick butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13" baking dish.
- Combine cake mix with melted butter and egg and evenly press into bottom of the greased pan.
- Using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese with eggs and mix until smooth. Add in vanilla and lemon juice, mixing until smooth once again, scraping the bowl as necessary. Repeat with the powdered sugar and butter, scrape bowl and mix until completely smooth. Pour filling over cake mix crust.
- In a small bowl, combine sugars, coconut, flour and melted butter. Stir with a fork until combined and sprinkle evenly over the filling.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden and middle is lightly set. The middle will still be jiggly like if you were to wiggle a jello mold. Allow to cool at room temperature 30 minutes and then refrigerate at least 2 hours before cutting.