Lemon Brownies

Thick, chewy brownie-like bars that taste of lemon bliss. These lemon brownies can be topped with a lemon glaze, cream cheese buttercream but are also delicious bare. 

lemon brownies

What are “lemon brownies” 

Think of a brownie or a blondie, but make it pure lemon. 

Truthfully, lemon brownies are not a brownie at all. In my book, brownies must have cocoa and probably dark chocolate too. These have neither. However… 

You know how a blondie is a brownie minus the cocoa? These bars are blondies, minus the brown sugar… and brownies, minus the cocoa.

Basically, a lemon brownie is a lemon bar made with the same proportions as a blondie or brownie but instead of a chocolate/butterscotch or caramel flavor, they are lovely, lovely LEMON. 


Ingredients to make Lemon Brownies

Lemon Zest: This is going to bring in all of the lemony  sweetness. Freshly grated lemon zest rubbed into the sugar will really bring out the lemon oils.

Granulated sugar: Fine granulated is best, it’ll melt into the butter so you get the perfect chewy texture.

Butter: Unsalted, so you may control the amount of salt going into the recipe. No need to soften, we’ll melt it.

Eggs: Large. This recipe can’t be made eggless.

Vanilla & Salt: Pure vanilla extract (not imitation) and fine sea salt. If using table salt, cut in half.

Lemon Extract: Without this key ingredient, the lemon brownies will only taste faintly of lemon. Don’t skip it!

Flour: All-purpose. A gluten-free 1-to-1 substitute could make these flourless.


How do I make Lemon Brownies 

The same way you make blondies! In fact this recipe was designed from the template of a basic blondie recipe but without the brown sugar and with a hefty dose of lovely lemon. 


It’s all in one bowl, the butter needs to be melted, the lemons zested. 


But basically, everything is simply whisked together in steps. 


The one thing to get right: whisk well. You’ll note the batter transforming the more you whisk: first with the sugar and melted butter (be vigorous so that the sugar begins to melt) then with the eggs (we want it to emulsify).


Questions & Concerns about making this Lemon Brownie recipe


There’s no leavening in this lemon brownie recipe 


I never, ever use leavening in my brownies or blondies. The ideal is a fudgy bar, we don’t need them to rise. 


How do I make these taste really “Lemony” 


We can’t use any of the lemon juice in the lemon brownie batter because it will make the brownies soft rather than fudgy. But you can up the amount of lemon extract to the full tsp. 


What are my options for toppings for lemon brownies? 


Here I used a glaze, because that’s what I’ve seen other lemon brownie recipes with but also mostly because when I polled people on my IG the overwhelming majority preferred it to a buttercream. 




You could do a cream cheese buttercream (my initial desire for these) or even a meringue. 


Can I double this recipe? 


Yes, bake in a 13×9” cake sheet pan. Increase baking time as needed. You’ll know the bars are done when the middle has fallen after it puffs up. 


How can I store these and how far ahead can I make the lemon brownies? 


Store in an airtight container. I think a day ahead is fine. If you are going to glaze them early, cover loosely with plastic wrap otherwise the glaze can melt off. 


lemon brownies

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies

Thick chewy brownie-like bars that taste of lemon bliss.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins


  • 8 or 9 inch square pan


  • 300 g granulated sugar 1 ¾ cups
  • Zest of three lemons
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 170 g butter unsalted ¾ cups
  • 2 eggs
  • 260 g all purpose flour 2 cups

Lemon Glaze (Option 1)

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar organic is preferred
  • 1-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Buttercream (Option 2)

  • ½ package cream cheese 113g
  • 113 g butter unsalted and softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of lemon to top


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a greased 8 or 9” square pan with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, zest the lemons over the sugar. Rub between your fingers to release the oils. Add the melted butter and whisk for a full two minutes, it should become cohesive and shiny.
  • Add the vanilla, salt, and extract. Whisk well. Add the eggs, whisk vigorously until thick and shiny.
  • Fold in the flour. Spread into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden and middle has puffed up and fallen back down.
  • For the glaze: whisk all ingredients together adding lemon juice as needed until you get your desired consistency (less juice for a thicker glaze, more for a thin, runny type). Spread over cooled brownies. Zest a lemon over the glaze, if you like.
  • For the buttercream: Beat together the butter and cream cheese until there’s no lumps. Add vanilla and sea salt and beat to combine. Add the powdered sugar (sift it if lumpy) and beat to combine. Spread over cooled brownies.


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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