Lemon Magic Bars are like the combination of a magic bar and a lemon bar. They come by their name honestly – they are truly magical.
The inspiration for these magic bars came from a Facebook follower! I posted a picture of my Strawberry Magic Bars and she commented wondering if this would work for lemon.
Well, my friends, they do!
When I had my littlest, Piper (who is 6), try this recipe she said, “Well . . . they do taste magical.”
The Layers of Lemon Magic Bars
Magic bars often go by the name Seven Layer Bars. So let’s check out the layers in this version.
- Graham Cracker Crust
- Sugar Cookie
- Lemon Cheesecake
- White Chocolate Chips
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Powdered Sugar
We don’t quite make it to seven in this spin, but as my wise little one said, they are still very magical.
What is Lemon Curd?
The key to this recipe is Lemon Curd. It is what gives it the beautiful sweet lemon taste you’re looking for in this recipe.
If you aren’t familiar with Lemon Curd, it is the mixture of lemon, sugar, eggs, and butter. It is absolutely amazing. You can find it with jams and jellies or you can make your own.
Preparing Your Baking Pan
There are a few things that make this bar recipe come out of the pan a little easier.
I like using this baking dish because of it’s straight edges. Everyone gets a crisp even bar with this one.
The next thing that helps is using parchment paper. Cut two pieces, one for the length and one for the width. Make them long and wide enough that they leave at least three inches over the edge and don’t fold over onto the bars when baking.
Finally, I suggest spraying the parchment paper with cooking spray. This recipe can be really sticky after baking, but the combination of parchment paper and cooking spray allows the bars to come out easily.
Tips and Tricks
Baking is so fun and something I love doing with my kids, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error like cooking does. Here are a few things that will help this recipe turn out perfect.
- Use the bottom of a glass cup to push the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar mixture into the pan. It will keep it from sticking to your hands.
- When making the cookie layer, make sure the butter is room temperature, and carefully measure your flour. You can read my Sugar Cookie post for more detailed tips on sugar cookie dough.
- If your dough is very sticky, and it is difficult to place on the graham cracker layer, put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature.
- MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure, double and then triple check, that you buy sweetened condensed milk and NOT evaporated milk. They are not the same thing and evaporated milk will ruin this recipe.
- When pouring on the sweetened condensed milk, make sure to measure out 1/2 a cup. We are not using the whole can.
Once the lemon bars are completely cool, cut them and then store them in an air tight container for up to one week.
These are a great recipe to freeze.
- Once cut, place them on a wax paper lined plate.
- Freeze for one hour.
- Remove from the freezer to transfer to a sealable container.
- Place back in the freezer and store for up to three months.
If you would like to ship these bars, I would highly suggest freezing them for a few days first. They will hold up better for shipping that way.
Other Magic Bar Recipes
If you can’t get enough of magic bars, you are not alone. I have a few more recipes that I know you will love.
- Classic Magic Bars
- S’mores Magic Bars
- Milky Way Magic Bars
- Strawberry Magic Bars
- Chocolate Covered Cherry Magic Bars
- Easter Egg Magic Bars
If you make these Lemon Magic Bars or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!
Lemon Magic Bars
- 9 graham cracker sheets approximately 5.4 oz worth, crushed
- 6 TBSPs of unsalted butter melted
- 2 TBSPs granulated sugar
Sugar Cookie Layer
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk Do not use the whole can and do not buy evaporated milk
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the graham crackers, the 6 TBSPs of butter (melted) and the 2 TBSPs of sugar. Press into the bottom of the pan.
- In a different bowl, mix together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking powder, set aside.
- Beat together 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup unsalted butter until creamy, about two minutes. Add in the egg and then the vanilla until just combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture until it is fully combined. (See Tips and Tricks for more information.)
- Very carefully spread the cookie dough mixture on top of the graham cracker crust. The easiest way to do this is to take small amounts, flatten it in your hands, and set it on the crust. You may not be able to entirely cover the graham cracker crust, that’s okay.
- Beat together the cream cheese and the lemon curd. Pour the mixture over the sugar cookie layer and spread evenly.
- Top with the white chocolate chips and then evenly cover with 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk. (Make sure it is sweetened condensed milk and do not use the whole can.)
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Refrigerate overnight before slicing. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.