In this post I’m going to show you how I made a delicious homemade lemon custard bar recipe from scratch. These are simple and delicious, a perfect sweet treat.
Some of the Best Recipes Happen by Accident!
I didn’t set out to make Luscious Lemon Bars. I was in the middle of making my Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie and accidentally doubled the filling.
Okay, I didn’t double all of it; I just added twice as much buttermilk as the recipe called for. Which meant I had to go back and add more eggs, more butter, more sugar. . .and so on.
I only had one pie crust so I used half of the buttermilk pie filling and popped the pie into the oven. I stared at the mixing bowl with the leftover filling and thought, “What in the world can I do with that?”
I hated to toss it, after all.
And that’s When it Hit Me!
I remembered the crescent rolls I had in the refrigerator.
And the lemons.
And some extra egg yolks from another recent bake, my Mock Angel Food Cake recipe.
Only one Problem…
I only had one container of crescent rolls, not two. So I had to scrip a little (and use a smaller 8×10-inch pan) to make my recipe work. If you like, you can use two canisters of crescent rolls and a 9×13-inch pan for yours.
But, bear with me as I show you how mine came together. In the end, it was absolutely delicious and I can only imagine it would have been even more so in the larger pan (which would have resulted in thinner bars with a crustier top).
Ready to see what you’ll need for these bars? Here we go!
Lemon Custard Bars Ingredients
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick look at what you’ll need. I don’t have my usual photo showing all of the ingredients because the filling was “mostly” made when I came up with this idea. But here’s the list. These are simple ingredients you might already have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator.
- crescent rolls
- granulated sugar
- all-purpose flour
- melted butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
- room temperature eggs (and extra egg yolks)
- vanilla extract
- lemon zest and juice (from fresh lemons)
Note: You can use regular lemons or meyer lemons, your choice.
How to Make Lemon Custard Bars
This classic dessert was simple to make and I’ll definitely make it again! Here’s how you’re going to do it:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter your 8×10-inch casserole dish and set aside.
Make your filling:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. (If you prefer, you can whisk eggs in advance.)
Mix with an electric hand mixer (not a stand mixer). You don’t want to whip too much air into this one.
Place one container of crescent rolls on the bottom of the 9×13-inch pan and press dough triangles together.
Pour the filling on top. Smooth out with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.
Unroll the second package of crescent rolls and lay them in one sheet across the top. (The reason mine looks different is because I only have one package of crescent rolls to work with and I used a slightly smaller pan.)
Place in preheated 350-degree oven on center rack and bake for 30 – 35 minute or until golden brown and set.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for at least an hour.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar).
With a sharp knife, cut bars. You can serve them as squares or rectangles, your choice.
For best results, store leftovers in refrigerator in airtight container or tightly covered with plastic wrap. These bars should stay good for 4 – 5 days. (Cooled bars are delicious, by the way!)
What to Expect from these Lemon Squares
If you like buttermilk pie, you’re going to love these bars! They have those same reminiscent (and comforting) textures you expect in a lovely buttermilk pie. (What is it about custard that makes everything in life seem better?)
These bars also have that slight twang of the lemon zest and juice, something that sets them apart from the pie version. I just loved the fresh lemon flavor from that luscious lemon filling!
I loved the addition of the crescent rolls. I was a little sad that I didn’t have a second canister on hand to make a 9×13-inch pan of these but in the end I loved the ratio of the crescent rolls to the filling.
This doesn’t have that same buttery shortbread crust you find in, say, my Delicious Lemon Coconut Bars. It’s more cakey. But it’s absolutely delicious! (I think a lemon square would be delicious with a big scoop of ice cream.)
Sometimes “mistakes” can end up being providential! If I hadn’t messed up that pie filling recipe I would never have discovered this recipe! I only wish I had some of my homemade lemon curd on hand to serve with it!
Variations on this Lemon Bar Recipe
You guys know me well enough by now to know that I can’t leave well enough alone. I’m already thinking of ways to up the flavor of these bars next time around. Here are some ideas that come to mind:
Toasted Coconut Flakes: Add a full cup of toasted coconut flakes to the lemon filling before baking. (I think this would be absolutely delicious!) They would be completely different from my lemon coconut bars, (which start with a cake mix crust).
Snickerdoodle: Skip the lemon element and add cinnamon. Turn this into a snickerdoodle version! You can sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top of the top crescent roll layer (like I did with my sopapilla bars). Delicious!
Traditional Buttermilk: go with the flavors in my buttermilk pie recipe, which include nutmeg (or apple pie filling). Skip the lemon addition altogether and enjoy some buttermilk bars.
Cream cheese: I might considering thickening the filling with a block of room temperature cream cheese next time. This would make these bars more like my Sopapilla cheesecake bars.
Lemon curd filling: It might be fun to use lemon curd as filling on top of the first layer of dough before pouring on the custard. That gooey lemon filling sounds delicious to me!
Lemon peel: Decorate the top of this sweet dessert with twists of lemon peel! (Beautiful and delicious.)
Other lemon desserts from Out of the Box Baking
- Delicious lemon curd from scratch: This would be delicious with these bars!
- Luscious Lemon Blueberry Bars: These are a personal favorite!
- Lemon Pound Cookies: These would also be delicious with my lemon curd.
- Strawberry Lemon Creme Scones: These are delicious and simple to make!
That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe.
If you make this recipe and love it, don’t forget to leave a review and a comment below. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pin some photos to your Pinterest boards!
See this recipe at
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that I make a very small commission off of items you purchase at absolutely no additional cost to you. Please check out my policy page for more information about this blog and the ads that run on it.
- CRUST INGREDIENTS
- 2 packages crescent rolls
- FILLING INGREDIENTS
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
- 3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1c butter milk
- The zest and juice of one lemon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Butter your 8x10-inch casserole dish
- Make your filling: Melt butter completely and place in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl).
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer (not a stand mixer). You don't want to whip too much air into this one.
- Place one container of crescent rolls on the bottom of the 9x13-inch pan and press together.
- Pour the filling on top.
- Unroll the second package of crescent rolls and lay them in one sheet across the top.
- Place in preheated 350-degree oven on center rack and bake for 30 - 35 minute or until golden brown and set.
- Remove from oven and place on wire cooling rack for at least an hour.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Cut into squares and serve.
- Store leftovers in refrigerator in airtight container or tightly covered with plastic wrap. These bars should stay good for 4 - 5 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 144Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 58mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 2g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.