Filed under: Bars / Fruit Based Bars
March 18, 2021

Chocolate Lemon Bars

Bright, sharp and tart lemon curd sits between a crumbly oreo crust and a smooth dark chocolate ganache. The unlikely duo you didn't know you needed. 

4.58 from 14 votes
Yield: 20
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Bright, sharp and tart lemon curd sits between a crumbly oreo crust and a smooth dark chocolate ganache. The unlikely duo you didn’t know you needed. 



Lemon & Chocolate for Dessert

I know it’s not a common combination but I must tell you, if you have never tried lemon curd with chocolate you are missing out. I was convinced a few years back when I made this chocolate lemon tart and couldn’t believe how good the two were together. It stayed in the back of my mind, hanging out, until earlier this winter when I decided to create something with that combination in mind. 

Hear me out: the lemon curd is bright and sharp, tart and super sweet. Dark chocolate ganache, earthy and unsweetened is mellow but decadent. I can’t explain it, they just go together SO WELL. You must try it. 



How to make chocolate lemon bars 

First you’ll prep your pan and combine the crust ingredients. There’s two baking sessions for the bars: the first is to set the crust, the second is to set the curd. For time efficiency we’ll have the curd cooking, prepared to go onto the crust and into the oven while the crust is in the oven. The ganache goes on later, much later. Okay let’s break this down: 

  1. Prepare the pan and press in the mixed crust ingredients. 
  2. Begin cooking the curd and set the crust in the oven to bake for 10. 
  3. If you’ve timed everything right, the curd should be done right around when the crust is done baking. 
  4. Pour the curd over the crust and return it to the oven to set. 
  5. The lemon bars chill in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight 
  6. Make the ganache and pour over chilled bars.


How to make a balanced, firm cookie crust 

Also, in case you are using a different cookie or a different chocolate sandwich cookie (I use the whole foods brand) I list the ingredients in crumbs not number of cookies. The ratio works well like this, no matter what cookie you end up using 

Last, not all recipes ask you to pre-bake the crust but it’s always extra crumbly if you don’t. It will bake a bit more once the curd is on top but the moisture from the curd will prevent it from fully setting, so we pre-bake. 




Perfect chocolate ganache 

I have a historically turbulent relationship with ganache. But, set aside a few mishaps now and then, we have gotten to a point where I understand what it needs in order for it to comply with my dessert desires. Here’s some tips:

  • If you are using chocolate chips, use a really good quality. The new line of 72% chips from trader joes is just wonderful. I like these dark ones from Guittard or these artisan chips from nestle. Chocolate feves would also work well here. 
  • If you are using a chocolate bar, chop it VERY finely. The more evenly and quicker the chocolate melts, the surer success you’ll have. 
  • The heavy cream needs to be warm enough to melt the chocolate but it should not boil or it will burn the chocolate. You’ll see it bubbling on the sides but touch it to be sure it’s heated in the middle too. 

How do I know if I’ve broken my ganache? 

It will look oily, and this will have happened only if you’ve overheated the heavy cream and burned the chocolate. 

What if the chocolate isn’t smoothing out and I still have big pieces of chocolate? 

The cream wasn’t heated enough or the chocolate wasn’t evenly chopped. You can try heating the ganache just a bit to help the rest of the chocolate melt but this is a very delicate endeavor and you may end up burning it. If it’s only a few pieces, I’d strain the ganache. If you think you’d like to try heating it, do it in a bowl over gently simmering water. 


Recipe for Lemon Curd Ganache Bars

Chocolate Lemon Bars

Bright tart lemon curd sits between an oreo crust and a smooth dark chocolate ganache. The unlikely duo you didn't know you needed.
Yields: 20
4.58 from 14 votes


Oreo crust

  • 300g oreo cookie crumbs (use the whole cookie)
  • cup unsalted butter melted
  • Lemon Curd

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 170g heavy cream
  • 150g dark chocolate chopped or good quality chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper on both sides (to make a + sign, this is for easier lifting).
  • Melt the butter and combine with the cookie crumbs. Press it into the bottom of the parchment lined pan, it doesn’t need to go up the sides, just the bottom. Use a measuring cup to tightly pack the crumbs into one layer.
  • Set the crust in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  • Once the crust has baked for ten minutes, pour the lemon curd over it and return to the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until it has set (jiggle the pan to test it it should only wobble in the center).
  • Let the curd cool at room temperature then in the fridge overnight.
  • To make the ganache: set the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and keep a wooden spoon or rubber spatula nearby. Warm the heavy cream in a small pot for a few minutes, until you see the heavy cream bubbling at the sides and it’s hot to touch. Pour it over the chocolate and give it a quick stir to coat all the chocolate. After 30 seconds, stir it until you have a smooth shiny ganache. Pour the ganache over the chilled lemon bars and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Store the bars in the fridge. Serve cold!

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Recipe Reviews

  1. In the instruction comments you say to remove the cream filling from the Oreos… but in the recipe it says to use the whole cookie… which is it???

  2. I followed the lemon curd recipe and this one exactly. After baking the crust, and then baking the lemon curd on top for an additional 25min, it is still jiggly all over the top. Is it bad to leave it for too long vs hoping it settles in the fridge overnight instead?

  3. 1 star
    I gave it one star because I tried to ask the question, Do you still use the same bake time if you use premade lemon curd? It said a question similar had already been asked.
    I will state plainly, if you have the time—make the curd recipe, DO NOT use premade curd in place of lemon curd recipe provided when making this. (instead of ambiguous, I never met a store-bought curd I liked…) DO NOT SUBSTITUTE It will be a big waste of your time and money.

  4. If you do use store bought curd, is process still the same? Adding to baked crust and put in oven for 10 or so more minutes?

    • Bobbi, it’d be hard to say as curds vary in ingredients and textures – you’ll want to judge by how thick the curd is and how likely it is to bake up into a sliceable layer.

  5. 5 stars
    Really good and somewhat easy to make. The ganache needed a night in the fridge to really set.
    I actually liked the cake even more at room temperature, better than cold in my opinion.

  6. I made these without the oreos because I don’t like them. I made chocolate graham cracker crust instead (so much better). I didn’t cate for the combination of chocolate and lemon, so I am going to make chocolate strawberry bars.

  7. 3 stars
    Everyone has different taste buds and I felt lemon and chocolate do not go together. I brought these to work and some of my co-workers thought it tasted great but then there were other co-workers who had the same opinion as me that lemon and chocolate should be kept separated.

    • Hi! So I’ve never met a store-bought lemon curd that was actually good (and didn’t look like a thick jelly). For the bars pictured I used the full curd recipe linked in the ingredients, which is about two cups. You can always make a slightly thinner layer if you don’t want to make as much curd.

  8. 5 stars
    These are delightful! I’ve always thought lemon and chocolate could be a match made in heaven. And they are! Will definitely make again

  9. having real trouble understanding your instructions for the parchment paper: “on both sides (to make a + sign” … Both sides? As in all 4 sides? And trying to picture a plus sign… to divide the pan into 4 sections?

  10. 5 stars
    I made this and couldn’t choose between the lemon and the raspberry… so I marbled them. It was a great choice. These were so delicious and tart!

  11. 5 stars
    A friend asked me to make dessert for her husband’s birthday. He loves lemon & chocolate so I gave these a go. I used regular oreos & did not remove the filling, nor did I run the curd through a sieve. As I was short on time, I put this in the freezer to chill. These were absolutely delicious and the odd combo of lemon and chocolate is now something I shall be craving for a very long time! Thank you for an excellent recipe that brought joy to many at a birthday party!

  12. I love making you Blueberry Curd Bars. Would this lemon curd work well with that crust for more traditional lemon bars?

  13. SO if i use the raspberry instead of the lemon, do I still cook the crust for ten, add the raspberry filling and cook for 10 more or is there something else i need to do?