Creamy lemon squares with graham cracker crust are my newest dessert obsession and they are so good! These delicious condensed milk lemon bars are made with a homemade graham cracker crust, they pack a lot of flavor and are the perfect dessert for any season or occasion. These easy creamy lemon bars that are made with just a few ingredients are hands down the easiest lemon dessert you can make.
Creamy lemon squares with sweetened condensed milk
Who doesn't love a creamy lemon bar recipe that only requires a few ingredients and only mixing to put it all together? I always love easy desserts like that.
In addition to that, the idea for these easy lemon squares made with sweetened condensed milk came from my love of bite-sized desserts. I find that sometimes you just need a little nibble of something sweet and these creamy lemon bars are just that.
Sometimes I don't want to go through the whole formal process of using a plate and fork.
I also really needed another bite-sized dessert idea since I was always making my mini cheesecake bites recipe or crustless mini pumpkin pie. I love these so much but I also don't want to get tired of them by always making them.
Another great thing about these easy lemon squares is if someone wants more than one, they can just grab some more. It really is the best lemon bar recipe!
It is a very informal no plate required kind of dessert but fancy enough for entertaining. It is great for all the varying types of dessert eaters out there.
Making these creamy lemon squares
The ingredients and steps to make these easy creamy lemon bars are like the name, very simple. The creamy lemon squares are made with condensed milk, lemon and egg yolks for the filling and that is it!
If you have 30 minutes, you can make these. They will however need a few hours in the refrigerator to set up.
The waiting is the hard part but this makes it the perfect dessert for entertaining because it can be made ahead of time, even days before.
Ingredients you will need
- Lemons. You can use fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice.
- Eggs (only the yolks).
- Condensed Milk, Any brand of condensed milk will do, just make sure it is condensed milk and NOT evaporated milk.
- Graham Cracker Crust (graham crackers, sugar, butter). To make things easier, you can buy graham cracker crumbs in the store to save you the step of crushing your own.
That is it! Really simple. You may already have most of these items in your fridge and pantry already.
Lemon bars with condensed milk
If you have made key lime tart or pie before, this is what inspired this lemon bar recipe. It has the same simple ingredients but it's made with lemon instead of key limes and it is made into bars instead of a pie shape.
It is such a helpful ingredient to always have in your pantry.
I know many lemon desserts have you make a lemon curd but why go through all of that hassle when you can make these 🙂 Sweetened condensed milk already has sugar in it so when you bake with it, you can omit one extra step and all the hassle of making traditional lemon bars.
In addition to these lemon squares being made with simple ingredients (3 ingredients if you don't include the graham cracker crust), the steps to making these creamy lemon bars are so easy. I promise you anyone can make these.
How to make creamy lemon squares
- Grind graham cracker crumbs in a food processor.
- Add melted butter and sugar then mix until combined.
The first step in making these creamy lemon squares is to make that delicious graham cracker crust. It is very easy.
You will lightly pre-bake the crust after pressing it into your pan then it will be ready for that creamy lemon filling.
When I prepare the pan for these creamy lemon squares, I like to prepare it with parchment paper lining both sides of the pan which makes it easier to lift the lemon bars out after baking.
- Make the creamy lemon squares filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
This part is super simple it is just mixing the lemon juice, egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl.
- Add the creamy lemon filling to the pan on top of the pre-baked graham cracker crust.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool then refrigerate for at least 3 hours to fully set up.
You can see that adding the parchment paper to the pan really helps lift those lemon bars right out and makes cutting them into squares so much easier.
Honestly, the most difficult part about this lemon bar recipe is waiting. I do suggest not skipping the parchment paper step because this allows you to lift the bars right out of the pan after they are done baking making life much easier.
Tips for making the best creamy lemon bars
Now, you could make these lemon squares into a pie and not bars just by using a pie plate. That is totally up to you. Not everyone wants bars or maybe you wanted to make key lime pie but you only had lemons.
Nothing changes for the recipe if you decide to do that.
You could also save yourself the step of making the graham cracker crust and buy store-bought if that is easier for you. I prefer homemade crust to the store bought so I don't mind spending a few extra minutes doing this.
Making these vegan
Since these creamy lemon bars are made with sweetened condensed milk, you can easily make this recipe vegan by using condensed coconut milk in place of regular condensed milk. Lemon bars made with condensed coconut milk would be really really delicious.
I have added substitutions for making this recipe vegan below in the recipe section.
Lemon bar topping ideas
For topping off these creamy lemon squares when serving, I like to use two things, powdered sugar and fresh whipped cream (store-bought works too). If I am having guests, I will add a little lemon zest as well just for a nicer presentation.
In the Fall when I make these easy lemon bars, I like to top them (and adorn the serving plate) with sugared cranberries. The contrast of the two colors is so beautiful and lemon and cranberry are so good together.
You can use all these toppings or just one or none. These condensed milk lemon bars are amazing all on their own. Trust me!
I hope you give these easy creamy lemon bars a try. It is a great dessert for so many occasions and everyone always loves them.
If you do end up having leftover lemon squares, you can easily store them covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Because these lemon bars are made with condensed milk, they do need to be stored chilled.
These condensed milk lemon bars freeze really well. Just allow them to fully cool after baking then place in a freezer-proof container and place in the freezer.
They will last for up to 2 months frozen. To thaw just place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw gently.
Yes, you can! You can make this up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.
We love baking up these creamy lemon bars to go with:
How about making a whole them with these creamy bars, especially around the holidays! Here are some ways we use them:
- For bite-sized desserts for a party: We love making our Cranberry Bars and Mixed Berry Crisp and Buttery Oatmeal Cookies and our Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies to go with them.
- Make a dessert table: How about baking up a pumpkin cake, Philadelphia Cheesecake, Berry Shortbread Tart, or an Easy Classic Carrot Cake to go with these lemon bars. Don't forget to serve some homemade Eggnog to go with them at the holidays.
- Add these lemon bars to your next Italian dinner! Lemon is a classic Italian flavor and we love making these bars to go along with our Italian Apple Cake and our Pizzelles
Easy Creamy Lemon Squares
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ⅓ cup graham crackers
- 5 tablespoon melted butter
- 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Creamy Lemon Filling
- 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemons about 5-6 lemons
- Whipped cream for serving optional
- powdered sugar for serving optional
- Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Prepare an 8x8 baking pan by cutting 2 pieces of parchment paper and overlapping them into a cross shape. Make sure the paper overlaps the sides of the pan a little bit. This will be your handles later when you lift the baked bars out of the pan.
- Place graham crackers into a food processor and blend until it is all crumbs. You will need about 2-3 of the small packages in the box to make 1 ⅓ cups of crumbs.
- In a large bowl, add your ground graham crackers, melted butter, salt and sugar and mix well
- Press the crust into you prepared 8x8 baking pan well. It should look pressed and firm and the crust comes up of the sides just a little bit
- Bake your crust for 5 minutes and then remove from the oven to cool while you make your filling.
- In a large bowl, add your sweetened condensed milk (making sure to scrape it all out of the can), lemon juice and egg yolks and mix well until smooth
- Now, pour your mixture into your prepared pie or tart crust
- Bake for 15 minutes
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely
- Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight
- Serve with whipped cream and/or powdered sugar (optional)
- Substitute condensed coconut milk for the regular condensed milk.
- Substitute egg alternative for the eggs and use a dairy free butter for the graham cracker crust.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here