Lemon-Ricotta Bars

By • August 10, 2011 • 119 Comments

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Author Notes: In this recipe, I hope, is achieved everything I always was looking for in citrus bars; first of all a tender, melt-in-your-mouth, crust, lemony taste not only in the filling, but also in the crust, and finely smooth texture, and tall beautiful bars. After testing a few recipes during a long time, I discovered that using confectioner's sugar and corn starch in the crust, and adding just 1 cup ricotta to the filling, gave the bars just the right height, unusual flavor and texture.
Can be made with Meyer lemons or other citrus.
Kukla

Food52 Review: These aren't your average lemon bars. The use of ricotta gives them a light and airy texture that we're crazy about. The dough feels dry, and we were slightly skeptical, but it cooks up nicely and proves the greatness of butter (yet again). We happily ate them with and without the final sprinkling of confectioner's sugar.The Editors

Makes 18, 2-inches squares

For the Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1-inch pieces, slightly softened plus extra for greasing pan

For Lemon-Ricotta Filling

  • 8oz (1 cup) fresh whole milk Ricotta, drained
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons, strained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. To make the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment paper. Butter paper, then lay second sheet crosswise over it.
  3. Pulse flour, confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt in food processor.
  4. Add butter and process to blend; then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.
  5. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and, press firmly with fingers into even layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  7. To make the filling: Whisk ricotta, eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon zest, juice, and salt to blend well.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  9. Stir filling mixture before pouring into warm crust.
  10. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 30 minutes.
  11. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours.
  12. Transfer to cutting board, fold paper down, and cut into bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts.
  13. Dust with confectioner's sugar.
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Comments (119) Questions (2)

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about 1 hour ago jessicamclement

my friend and i made these this afternoon and they were PERFECT. yum! thank you :)

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18 minutes ago Kukla

You are very welcome Jessica!
I am thrilled to get such complement from somebody who lives in Paris and is able to enjoy the best pastries in the world!

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28 days ago Brandyce

Made these for Easter, huge hit! Creamy, lemony, everything you want after a Easter dinner. Will be making again!

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28 days ago Kukla

Thank you so much Brandyce for such nice comment!

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about 1 month ago Jen

Absolutely lovely recipe! I used key limes instead of lemons - wowzers! Amazing! I have a deep high sided pan so I ended up doubling just the filling part of the recipe and it was perfect. Thank you so much for this recipe!

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about 1 month ago Kukla

You are so very welcome Jen!

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about 1 month ago Suzanne Haughwout Bonilla

Can you use silicone sheets instead of parchment paper?

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about 1 month ago Kukla

Yes you can Suzanne, but it is a lot easier to get the bars out of the pan with parchment paper.

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2 months ago kumalavula

the ricotta in these really contributes to the amazing texture. i had more filling than could fit in the pan over the prepared crust so i filled a ramekin and ended up having almost a lemon soufflé which lasted no longer than 10 minutes out of the hot oven. trust be told, i almost liked the filling by itself, without the extra calories but both were delightful, flavorful and will be made again and again, as lemons permit.

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2 months ago Kukla

I am very glad kumalavula you enjoyed the bars and created a new dessert recipe for yourself!!!

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4 months ago Liz Baykina

Truly lovely recipe - easy to follow, and everyone loved the lemon bars! I used Meyer lemons; since they're naturally sweeter I reduced the sugar in the filling. The ricotta really rounded out the tang of the citrus for a nice smooth flavor. Making this one again!

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2 months ago Kukla

Thanks a lot Liz!

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5 months ago ama

I'll be using this recipe again. I'll be having another little bar tomorrow afternoon with some coffee.

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5 months ago Kukla

Thanks ama for your lovely comment!

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6 months ago Kukla

Hey Nancy! Thanks a lot for your kind comment! I am so glad you made and enjoyed my recipe!
I do refrigerate the leftovers, but let them come to room temperature before serving.

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6 months ago Nancy

I made these last night as directed, they were amazing! My question is do you refrigerate leftovers or can they be left out? I was worried about crust when I put into pan because it was very floury but it cooked up beautifully. I did not have quite have enough lemons to make enough zest for both crust and filling but it was plenty lemonyfor me. Love the twist on typical lemon bars. It's a keeper.

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6 months ago Jay

Can I substitute prepared lemon curd? If so, please tell me what I should cut out of this
Thank you

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6 months ago Kukla

Hey Jay!
I would recommend just follow the recipe for the filling as it is, but if you do decide to use prepared lemon curd, you will still need to whisk the Ricotta cheese with the curd; then add the 3 tablespoons of flour+ at least 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and then while the bars are baking, pray for a good result.

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about 1 year ago ErinC

great recipe! made these this weekend to rave reviews! Loved the ricotta cheese addition! :)

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about 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks Erin for trying my recipe and letting me know your opinion!!!

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about 1 year ago Dave Moss

Followed recipe exactly. A big hit! Good texture, great flavor-- mixture of tart and sweet.

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about 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks Dave for your nice comment!!!

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about 1 year ago CookedGoose

Disappointing: these were more time-consuming than I expected. The crust was pleasant, but a bit tough and hard. The filling was floury and not as lemony as I expected. I would recommend grating the lemon finely and reducing (or eliminating?) the flour in the filling, and consider using a smaller pan for a better filling-to-crust ratio.

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about 1 year ago Kukla

Hey CookedGoose!
I am surprised that these bars disappointed you and would recommend reading and carefully following the recipe, trying to make it one more time and bake them in a slightly smaller baking dish.

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about 1 year ago DessertByCandy

Not my smartest idea to use blood oranges because the colour turned out a bit weird. Sure tasted great though! Love the richness added by ricotta. Add a heart stencil and plenty of icing sugar and I have Valentine's Day treat all sorted out!
http://www.flickr.com/photos...

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about 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks Candy for trying my recipe and liking it!!! I looked at your photos and they all are very beautiful; even the parts which are not covered with icing sugar do not look weird to me. Thanks again for your lovely comment!!!

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12 months ago DessertByCandy

Made this again this time using lemon and quark cheese. Still superb!
photo: https://flic.kr/p/njpgjJ

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12 months ago Kukla

Thanks a lot Candy!!! Quark is a good cheese for this recipe, especially the soft and creamy one; the photos are gorges as always!

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about 1 year ago fitch99

Hi Kukla! This is the first time making these bars and the flavors are great! Just a question on the height and texture though, mine were quite flat and not very smooth even though I wisked

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about 1 year ago fitch99

Thoroughly.....any suggestions?

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about 1 year ago Kukla

Hey fitch99! I have two suggestions; for taller bars use a little smaller baking dish. I think 9by9-inches square pan will be just right.
To get a smoother consistency, I would recommend draining the ricotta overnight and then push it through a fine sift.
Thanks for trying my recipe fitch99!

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about 1 year ago fitch99

Thanks much! I will definitely give this another try! Great recipe!

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about 1 year ago Kukla

You are very welcome fitch99!!

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over 1 year ago Trena Heinrich

Thank you, Kukla! These are the best lemon bars I've ever had. I used homemade ricotta, my recipe uses lemon, and I think this really made your recipe sing.

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over 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks a lot Trena!!! I am so glad you liked these bars!

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over 1 year ago Susan Maria

If they used reduced or fat free and it turned out well, the recipe would be touted as a fat free recipe. The questions that are asked drive me insane - just because someone posts a recipe does not mean they are expert at all the ideas you may have for substitutions. If you are not a good enough cook to know ahead of time if something will work, dont try it. Or try it and let us all know of the mess you made when you cut out the butter, used non dairy spread, fat free something or other, or added applesauce.

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over 1 year ago cookycat

Amen... I so agree with you. LOL

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over 1 year ago Adel

Would this work with ricotta that wasn't full fat? Would I add more ricotta for a lower fat ricotta? I really want to make this but only seem to find %ricotta

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over 1 year ago Kukla

Hey Adel! I never made these bars with nonfat ricotta and would suggest, in that case, combining half of ricotta with half of cream cheese or mascarpone. If you decide to bake the bars, please let me know how they came out.

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about 2 years ago Kukla

You are very welcome cookycat! Enjoy with your friends!

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about 2 years ago cookycat

I don't understand the placement of the parchment paper in the pan. Should it stick up the sides of the pan so the bars can be lifted out by the paper to the cutting board?

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about 2 years ago Kukla

You are absolutely right cookycat; the parchment paper should stick out and this makes lifting out the bars to the cutting board a synch.

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about 2 years ago cookycat

I made these today and they are delicious. Thanks for clarifying the placement of the parchment paper. I plan on taking them to dinner with friends this evening. Thanks for the recipe.