Creamy, tangy, and bright yellow homemade lemon squares are an all-around fantastic way to end the day. They’re crowd-pleasing hand-held treats guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, whether you’re 3 or 103.
This super simple recipe for classic lemon squares is just six ingredients, crust and all. And the best part is that it doesn’t skimp on flavor. A custardy filling singing with that lemon zing you love sits on top of a golden brown graham cracker butter crust.
Is Lemon Healthy?
Lemon juice from freshly squeezed lemons may be linked to weight loss. Its astringent flavor can suppress appetite for some people, so ending a meal with a bite of a zesty lemon treat is a good way to satisfy your craving for more food.
To really take advantage of the weight loss properties of lemons, drink them! Infusing water with fresh lemon adds a flavor that is likely to encourage you to keep drinking. Being well hydrated helps regulate your hunger and supports overall metabolism functioning. A healthy metabolism will burn fat more efficiently.
Here are some more ways to use lemon to support weight loss:
Swap sugary sodas, teas, and other drinks with unsweetened lemon water. It’s calorie-free, keeps you hydrated, and may suppress your appetite for more food.
Instead of creamy salad dressings, use a squeeze of lemon juice and a small drizzle of olive oil to flavor your salad. Heavy salad dressings contain a lot of high-fat dairy and sugar, so they can turn your best intentioned green salad into a high-calorie meal.
Place thin lemon slices over your favorite proteins, especially fish, chicken, and tofu, before roasting in the oven. The lemon flavor will season your food and provide moisture. You won’t be tempted to smother your favorite proteins in high-calorie and fat-laden sauces.
How to Make Six Ingredient Creamy Lemon Squares
Aside from the full flavor, the best part about this recipe for homemade lemon squares is how easy it is. It’s a perfect baking project to make with kids too!
To start, prepare your baking dish. Choose a square 8×8 inch baking dish. Line it with two rectangles of overlapping parchment paper. You want a couple of inches of parchment to hang over the edges of the baking dish. This makes it easy to remove the lemon squares later.
Three Ingredient Graham Cracker Crust
Next prepare the three-ingredient graham cracker crust. Use a food processor to grind graham cracker squares into a fine powder. This should just take a few minutes.
Then, add in ½ stick of melted butter (make sure it’s not too hot or it will splatter when you add it to the food processor) and ¼ cup of white granulated sugar. Give this a good blend in the food processor. The crust is ready when it’s fully combined and sticks together a bit.
Empty the crust directly into the prepared baking dish. Use an offset spatula or a large spoon to spread the crust out. Be sure to press it down with some force so it sticks together. And pack it up the sides of the baking dish too.
Pop the baking dish in a 350°F oven and bake until it’s just golden, about 8 to 12 minutes. This step is called blind baking. It sets up the crust so that your creamy lemon square filling won’t cause a soggy crust.
Let the crust cool in the baking dish when it’s finished baking. It will continue cooking even out of the oven. Meanwhile, whip up your creamy lemon square filling.
Making Lemon Square Filling
While your graham cracker crust cools, get out a big mixing bowl. Combine 2 egg yolks, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, and ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Give everything a thorough mix so it’s all one color (a beautiful sunny yellow) with no streaks.
Then gently pour the creamy lemon square filling into your cooked and cooled graham cracker crust in the baking dish. Bake until the lemon curd is no longer jiggly when you tough the baking dish. This should take about 15 minutes.
And there you have it: simple, decadent and puckeringly lemony squares. All that’s left to do is the hard part: not eating the lemon squares as soon as they come out of the oven! They’re best chilled for at least an hour in the fridge.
Why Chill Lemon Squares Before Serving?
I know it’s difficult not to dig into your lemon squares as soon as they come out of the oven. But with a tender lemon curd filling like this, the lemon topping will spill out if eaten hot.
The key to a clean edge without spilling your filling is letting the squares cool and solidify in the fridge.
Plus, cutting will be much easier. After using your handy parchment paper handles to transfer the square from the baking dish to a cutting board, get out a sharp serrated knife. Carefully slice into equally sized lemon squares. It’s helpful to keep a damp dishtowel nearby. When crumbs stick to your knife as you slice the lemon squares, use the towel to wipe your knife clean.
There you have it: zingy, creamy lemon squares that come together in no time and won’t last long!
Creamy Lemon Squares
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
1½ cups (about 24 squares) graham-cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with melted butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.
In a food processor, finely grind the graham crackers. Add in the sugar and butter and blend to mix. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and 1 inch up the sides of. Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool crust for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk. Add lemon juice; whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread out to the edges.
Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack then chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Using the parchment paper overhang, gently lift the lemon square out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping the knife with a damp kitchen towel between each cut.