Lemon brownies are a brilliant mashup between chocolate brownies and tangy lemon bars. These moist citrusy triple lemon bars are a wonderful spring treat!
why do I call these lemon brownies?
Naming recipes is an art, not a science. Sometimes you go with what best evokes the ‘personality’ of a food, rather than limit yourself to the technicalities. These lemon bars live and breathe in the brownie world: they’re moist, dense, and fudgy, just like brownies, so why fight it? And lemon brings a whole new dimension to what we know as brownies, so everybody wins. Especially us taste testers 🙂
gather your ingredients
- fresh lemons for the juice and zest ~ don’t be tempted to use bottled lemon juice, it’s not the same, and you’ll need fresh lemons for the zest, anyway.
- butter ~ softened
- sugar ~ granulated
- eggs ~ room temperature
- all purpose flour ~ cake flour will also work
- confectioner’s sugar ~ for the glaze
how to make lemon brownies:
- Spray and line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan and line with foil or parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together.
- Beat in the eggs.
- Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
- Fold in the flour and salt.
- Spread in a baking pan and bake.
- Cool and then slather with glaze.
LEMON BROWNIE FAQS
can I double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13 pan?
Yes, that will work fine. The baking time will be a little longer.
can these be made gluten free?
Yes, I always recommend using a reputable gf baking mix, from Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour, for instance.
can I use cake flour?
Yes, cake flour will give them a more delicate texture.
why is there no baking powder in these brownies?
Brownies don’t use rising agents because they are supposed to be dense and moist. If you add baking powder these lemon brownies would have a more ‘cakey’ texture.
can I use lime juice and zest or orange juice and orange zest?
Yes, that should be delicious!
do these lemon brownies need to be refrigerated?
No, I leave them out on the counter, but you can refrigerate them if you like.
can you make lemon brownies ahead?
If you need to make these ahead, I suggest baking the brownies, cooling them completely, then wrapping in plastic and refrigerating for up to 2 days. Then glaze the day you want to serve.
can lemon brownies be frozen?
Yes, but I suggest freezing the cooled brownies before glazing, then glaze the defrosted brownies the day you want to serve them. Wrap the completely cooled brownies (don’t slice first) in plastic, then in heavy duty foil. They’ll keep for up to 2 months.
more recipes that scratch the lemon itch
- 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch baking pan Note: the 9×9 inch pan will yield slightly thinner brownies.)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray or butter your 8×8 9r 9×9 baking pan. I like to line it with parchment paper so I can remove the brownies easily for glazing and slicing, but that's optional.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Blend in the eggs, one at a time.
- Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Note: the batter may look curdled at this point, but no worries, that's normal and it will resolve itself when you blend in the flour.
- Stir in the salt, and then fold in the flour, stirring just until everything is well incorporated, but don't over mix.
- Spread into your prepared pan, evening out the surface with an offset spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or just until set in center. Note: Try not to over bake these, you want that fudgy texture! The surface will not be a 'springy' as a cake is when these brownies are done.
- Let the pan cool for about 20 minutes before lifting the brownies out using the parchment paper 'sling' to finish cooling on a rack. If you didn't use parchment, let the brownies cool in the pan on a rack.
- Mix the sugar and enough lemon juice to make a thick but pourable glaze. Spread over the top of the completely cooled brownies. Top with a little lemon zest if you like. Let the glaze harden before slicing.
Questions and Reviews
These are excellent! I made them for a friend’s birthday and she loves lemon. I do not like traditional lemon bars – I find them too sweet. But these are amazing! I did add a bit of vanilla paste to the batter and the icing. I added salt to the icing as well. I topped with lemon zest and sprinkles. Delicious!
I was thinking about adding a 1/2 or full teaspoon of baking powder to the recipe to get some height out of these nummy brownies. Any thoughts on that?
I haven’t tried that, but worth an experiment. I’d use 1/2 tsp.
I WOULD LOVE TO TAKE THESE TO EASTER SUPPER WITH FAMILY…CAN I DOUBLE THE RECIPE?
yes, should be fine in a 9×13 pan.
Do you have any pictures you could post of how the brownies look when they are cooked and not frosted? (So I know what to look for when they’re ready to come out of the oven.)
Next time I make them I’ll try to remember to snap a shot. As I remember they were a smooth pale yellow on top.
Hello! What gorgeous sunny lemon brownies!!… I would like to send them to my grandmother – does the glaze set up – or would it become liquid-y if I wrap it in plastic wrap to ship? :0)
Well, I have to say that glazes don’t ship well, sorry Jenn!
I’ve had the pleasure of making these lemon brownies several times. I topped with a lemon butter cream cheese frosting. Thanks to you and our
community lemon tree my friends loved them.
I love lemon frosting, great idea Bea.
Tart and delicious! I made them dairy free with earth balance for the butter and added a little blood orange juice and zest with the lemon. They turned out the most stunning spring pink. I’ll definitely make these again!
They sound beautiful!
These were delicious! Perfect amount of tartness. I brought them to work. Everybody loved it. This recipe is a keeper. I bake a lot and it’s an excellent lemon recipe especially for spring. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks so much Helene, you’ll find lots of lemony inspiration among my recipes 🙂
OMG, Sue! I just made these this morning and they are so awesome. I can’t remember the last time I made a treat that lit up my eyes 9and taste buds) like this one. They’re tart, sweet and, oh so pucker-y good. They have the that perfect chew that every perfect brownie must have, not chocolate, but lemon! Thank you so much for this recipe and all your hard work. Your blog is beautifully written and photographed, and your recipes are so well tested.
Oh, be still my heart!