pink lemonade bars

Last year, not seconds after putting the final touches on what I certain was The Lemon Bar To End All Lemon Bars, a recipe intended for that little cookbook I wrote, I couldn’t quite change the station and became immediately absorbed in making something I wanted to call a pink lemonade bar. They’d be as awesome as a summer carnival, the kind that rolls into town with sketchy rides that your parents forbid you to go on but you do so anyway (or so a friend once told me!), or maybe a play date at the friends house whose mom served prettier, thus cooler, lemonade than what you had at home. I had great plans for these bars, I just had one tiny problem: I had no idea what made pink lemonade pink.

plopping in the dough
pressing in the shortbread

I don’t mean that I am naive; I was aware that in 99 percent of the iterations of pink lemonade out there, the pink was supplied by food dye. I was also bummed to learn that some other people had thought to make pink lemonade bars first — being the type who still clings to the silly notion that there are new, uncharted waters to bake our ways through — but the vast majority of the recipes called for red food dye too. Surely, before pink lemonade was made with red food dye, it was made with a fruit of sort, like strawberry or raspberry or cherries, right? Since last summer, this article has been written but even it doesn’t come to a singular conclusion as to what should make pink lemonade pink. The only thing that is apparent among its discussions of clothing dye and red hot candies is that if you can make it with something natural and/or tasty, you’re probably improving upon its lineage.

pureeing raspberries for a natural pink

pressing out the raspberry seeds
seedless raspberry puree
squeezing the lemons
pinking the lemon batter

With that, I decided that seeing as raspberry lemonade is a delicious thing to drink, it would have to be a delicious thing to eat in a bar format. The bars exceeded expectations, and I couldn’t wait to tell you about them but then I ran into another spot of drama: how was I going to tell you about this riff on a lemon bar so close to publishing a cookbook with the lemon bar of my dreams in it? I mean, how does that conversation go? “Here’s a lemon bar but there’s an even better one in my cookbook!” or “Basically I found my lemon bar nirvana but this isn’t it!” As you can imagine, none of these options were very appealing so I tabled it for the year and that pretty much brings us up to today, when I decided that this is ridiculous and must stop. I cannot go another minute without telling you about these because you should not go another minute without having them in your kitchen. Because they’re wonderful. Because there’s enough space in the world for multiple ideas of lemon bar perfection. These are pinked with raspberries, buttery with shortbread and they have that 1:1 crust-to-curd ratio that I dream of in bars cookies. They’re as happy as a summer picnic, which is exactly where they were hoping you’d take them this weekend. And by “them,” I mean me. But these will probably fit better in a tote bag, so I understand.

some didn't survive until photo time
pink lemonade + buttery shortbread
pink lemonade bars

Related: Lemon Bars, Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins, plus more bar cookies, more lemonade, lemony stuff and more things with raspberries.

One year ago: Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons
Two years ago: Everyday Chocolate Cake
Three years ago: Plum Kuchen and Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
Four years ago: Huevos Rancheros and Blueberry Crumb Bars
Five years ago: Quick Zucchini Saute and Summer Berry Pudding

Pink Lemonade Bars

The bars as written yield a not overly sweet lemon bar (I know it must have been nicely tart because this guy wouldn’t eat them, and he considers turning down a cookie a breach of toddler contract) with a subtle raspberry kick and pale pink color. Updated: A few days later, I made these again… twice! The first time, I forgot the flour in the lemonade layer but let’s not talk about that. The next time, I used raspberries that were much older and darker than the ones in these photos. Three tablespoons of that puree made the bars absolutely purple/magenta! So, very pretty but hardly a color I’d associate with pink lemonade. So, this is just to note that clearly the amount of red tint one gets from the berries can vary greatly by the berries. If yours looks crazy saturated with pink and you’ve only added two tablespoons puree, you can always add another tablespoon lemon juice instead of the last spoonful of raspberry. On the flipside, if your berries seem pale, you can always add one less tablespoon of lemon juice and one more of the raspberries. The main thing is that you keep the amount of liquid (lemon juice + raspberry puree) at 7 tablespoons. More, and the bars might seem too soft. Less, they might seem too eggy.

My cup of berries yielded 1/3 cup strained puree, which is more than you’ll need, but it seems safer to estimate up as last time I called for a berry puree, many people ended up with less than I’d gotten. If you have extra, I highly recommend stirring it into your morning yogurt. Or smoothie. Or vanilla ice cream.

For the base:
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (125 grams) flour

For the lemonade layer
1 cup (about 5 ounces or 140 grams) raspberries
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice; this should only require 2 lemons
1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with parchment, letting it extend up two sides. Butter or coat the bottom and sides with a nonstick spray and set the pan aside.

Make the base: In a food processor, pulse together the sugar, zest and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it is evenly dispersed in the dough. Add the flour and pulse the machine until it’s just combined and the mixture is crumbly. Press the dough into the prepared pan and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Don’t worry about making this perfect; mine was an uneven mess and nobody can tell. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at edges. Let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling (though no need for it to be completely cool when you fill it). Leave oven on.

Make the pink lemonade layer: Puree the raspberries in your food processor until they’re as liquefied as they’ll get. I don’t even bother cleaning mine between steps, but I’m also probably lazier than you. Run the puree through a fine-mesh sieve, trying to press out all the raspberry puree that you can, leaving the seeds behind. I ended up with 1/3 cup strained puree; don’t worry if you get a smidge less.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of raspberry puree. Stir in flour. Pour into cooling crust and return pan to the oven, baking the bars until they’re set (they’ll barely jiggle) and slightly golden at the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into rectangles. (You can speed this up in the fridge.)

I intended to cut mine into 32 2×1-inch rectangles but actually cut them into 28 2×1-ish rectangles. I like lemony bars small but you could also cut them into 16 2×2-inch squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store in fridge for up to a week.

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336 comments on pink lemonade bars

  1. Genius! I usually just chuck a few whole raspberries into my glass of actual lemonade when I want a raspberry-lemon fix–but these sound amazing. They’re definitely going on the list!

  2. I looked into pink lemonade a few weeks back and did not like what I found. These are beautiful though! Raspberry-lemonis a delicious combination.

  3. Kaja

    Dear Deb,

    You worry too much: I, for one, dislike raspberries, so I’m really looking forward to reading about the book-version lemon bars.

  4. Anna

    Oh these will be happening soon. We’re about to start our crazy-busy season at work, so I’m thinking treats for coworkers. And then of course, Labor Day isn’t too far behind!

  5. Elle

    These look so gorgeous. I wish I could have them, but I’ve pretty much had to swear off lemon bars and lemonade because all the lemon gives me this nasty metallic flavor that pretty much ruins my eating/drinking experience :(

  6. How clever of you, Deb, to use your child as a sounding board for taste. And then to just make things the opposite of how he likes them. I want to try this on my husband too…imagine a world where we never had to share again!! HA!

    You’re a genius.


  7. my family loves my lemon bars, but my dad alwaysss nags me, asking if i could add raspberries. now i have no excuse not to! these look great!!

  8. I bought a pile of lemons yesterday to make a batch of ginger lemonade for the weekend, and yesterday’s CSA yielded a quart of blueberries. Do you think I can make the berry switch? (Even though that would make blue lemonade bars and that might look a little strange.)

  9. Kate

    Ooooh, how fun! I recently (and quite by accident) discovered that I could make homemade lemonade (you know, the kind with simple syrup, water and lemon juice) pink by adding squashed and ever so briefly cooked blueberries. It only takes a few to get a nice pink, and not many at all to make an alarmingly bright shade of pink verging on purple. Ah, natural food dye!

    So I’m all about this. Thanks.

    PS Just a couple hours ago made your peanut butter crispy bars, and used the tip you gave last December (for…fudge sauce?) that golden syrup could be subbed for corn syrup. I’m pleased to report that not only did that substitution work fine in the pb crispy bars, but the crispies part of the bars didn’t get too crunchy. They’re basically what I think of, texture-wise, when I think rice crispy bars. LOVE your blog.

  10. I’ve always had it tucked in the back of my mind that grapefruit juice with mixed with lemonade to get the pink … but grapefruit juice isn’t really “pink” enough to do the trick, I don’t think (I would guess, mixed with lemon, it would be orangish). Raspberries seem the better option (or fresh strawberries, as we’re having a little mid-summer harvest here right now….)

  11. Anki

    These look delicious!

    With regards to pink lemonade, you can get the pink colour from hibiscus flowers if you’re willing to do some boiling and steeping (and mixing the lemon juice with water, of course). Don’t know how you’d translate that into a bar cookie, however.

  12. Your pink lemonade squares look absolutely perfect. I love sweet and tart treats and raspberries give baked goods such a great flavor. Great job getting creative with the “pink” part of the pink lemonade layer. Looks delicious!

  13. So summery and pretty! I only discovered lemon bars a year or so ago, they’re not very common in the UK. Raspberry and lemon sound like a great combo. Can’t wait for the cookbook!

  14. Margi

    Love your site and your great recipes and comments, Deb. Thanks!

    Just want to pipe in that the secret to pink lemonade is blueberries. Our friends working at Good Enough to Eat shared this with my husband and me several years ago when we were confused as well.

    1. deb

      Blueberries — It sounds from Andrea and others that blueberries would be a great way to pink things up, so if you only have them, try it. You might find that you need less or more to make it pink enough so it’s probably a good idea to just start with two tablespoons lemon juice and add the blueberry puree and lemon juice after that one tablespoon of each at a time until you have the color balance you want. Try not to exceed 7 tablespoons of liquid (juice and puree). It won’t ruin the bars if you do, but they will be softer and I do hate an overly messy lemon bar.

      The book’s bars — So the thing is, the book’s lemon bars are completely different in almost every possible way. The proportions are different. The process is different. And they’re actually much faster to make and use fewer ingredients. Oh, and they’re richer. So, I wasn’t really worried about these being too much of a spoiler for them. I really love these bars, but those might still be what I consider a lemon bar’s highest calling. I hope that clarifies things without being too much of a tease. :)

  15. Niki

    Looks so good I want to make them now. The only thing is we can’t get fresh raspberries in India. Do you think strawberries could work?

    P.S: I always thought the pink in real pink lemonade came from grenadine. Made sense to me given that lemonade originated in the middle east and so did pomegranates.

  16. Deborah White

    I remember being horrified to discover, when I was a teenager lo those many years ago, that Minute Maid frozen lemonade concentrate was colored with beet juice, of all things. On the other hand, your bars here look and sound wonderful. Thanks for all the time and effort you put in to making these terrific recipes.

  17. Gayle S.

    So pretty, and such a great spin on summery lemon bars. Can’t decide between raspberries and blueberries…wait, I can do both!

  18. Amanda

    I second Niki’s question on the strawberries. I don’t see why they wouldn’t work, but then baking isn’t really my “thing.” My best friend loves lemon bars and loves strawberry lemonade, so this seems like something I could make for her. Besides, raspberries never last long enough in my house to make it into a baked good! :)

  19. I was seriously just contemplating making that pink lemonade pound cake that’s all over pinetrest, just because I thought the kids would like it. Thanks for giving me a way better option that I will like as well!!

  20. Nicole

    Several things:
    1. Using some blood orange juice also works okay, although all the yellow from the egg yolks does tend to make it a bit orangey-pink.
    2. In a taste test using my co-workers as test subjects, lime bars ranked way better than lemon bars (and if you happen to live in a place where Seville oranges are colloquially referred to as “throwing oranges” because of their ubiquity, they’re a fantastic alternative, too).
    3. How long do you manage to keep the powdered sugar dusting visible and not dissolved into a translucent, slimy mess? I have never once managed to get the tops of my citrus bars dry enough to get the powdered sugar to stay dry for more than a few minutes. Any advice?

    1. deb

      Nicole — Mine stays visible for a long time, if I put it on when the bars are very cool. It does seem to dissolve back in the fridge, however.

      Blood oranges/grenadine/beet juice/and other things that are red. — In the end, what should matter is what you want your bars to taste like. I decided that raspberries would make the reddest and most awesome pairing with lemons. Plus, raspberries are in season right now. But if you’d rather use something else, no reason not to fiddle with it as I suggested in an earlier comment, just trying not to exceed 7 tablespoons liquid in this recipe.

  21. avis

    Sounds like blueberries are perfect for color but in that small of a quantity (too many making the lemon bars too dark) that they wouldn’t have much effect on the flavor. A strawberry/blueberry combo seems like the perfect flavor/color tool.

    And I have to make these ASAP. I will live with the heartburn.

  22. Selina

    Thanks for another great dessert post! With the abundance of berries right now, we always have a handful extra getting a tad too soft, so this is a great excuse to make lemon bars! I can always justify baking something because I have 1 extra ingredient sitting around. Never mind the fact that I have to go to the store for all the rest.

    Oh and I just found out from our local bookstore that you are making a stop in Santa Cruz, CA on your book tour-I’m pinching myself to believe that it’s true! I just hope I’m not too starstruck to say hello.

  23. I love lemon bars and I believe these are even better. This morning I bought some awesome raspberries at the farmers’ market, this means that I’m going to make the bars tonight. YAY!!!!

  24. Jasmine

    That’s so funny! I just decided few days ago that I need to make raspberry lemon bars! Lemon is my favorite flavor and I love a good tart lemon bar, but I wanted to change it up a bit. My plan was to swirl raspberry sauce into the lemon filling. These sound good too!

  25. I read a short novel in elementary school that I remember absolutely nothing from or about (title, for example, or author) other than the fact that there was a prominent plot point surrounding pink lemonade and the urban myth that it was made from leaving circus performers’ red tights (!) in a barrel of lemonade.

    Ah, childhood.

  26. Lora

    We have a pink lemonade tree. The lemons are yellow on the outside, like normal, but when you cut them, the flesh inside is pink. So fun to show the kids!

  27. Erica

    Do you think these would freeze well? I’m stocking my freezer for my maternity leave and can see this being a lovely treat for the early baby days!

  28. Hooray! So glad you brought yourself to your senses and published these … there is no such thing as too many lemon bars! And reading your comment, The Perfect Lemon Bars in the Cookbook are different, so obviously both must be had : ) Can’t wait to try them!

  29. Obsessed

    As a kid i was obsessed with what makes pink lemonade pink and read the backs of all pink lemonade containers- by and large it was a little bit of red grape juice listed at the very end of the ingredient list. I must be old enough that even packaged lemonade was somewhat naturally made. The grape juice definitely didn’t pack any punch because i never could taste it… But ive tried it on my own before (when my mom-gasp- bought yellow lemonade, and it works!

  30. Beckie

    I just went out and bought a mesh strainer and a lemon juicer. JUST BECAUSE of this recipe. I can’t wait to enjoy them! Now, how do you feel about a Cherry-Limeade bar? Do you think it would work?

  31. Brandy

    Bless you! ! You have no idea how irked I have become,coming across for pink lemonade bars or cakes or cookies,clicking on said recipes with excitement,eager to make them,only to discover the ‘pink lemonade’ part comesfrom a concentrate with nothing real or lemon or ‘natural’ about them! So I rejoice in your creativity(since I couldn’t figure out how to make them ‘pink lemonade’ flavor myself! )and will be making these tomorrow!

  32. Ring

    Can I use frozen raspberries? I have a couple of bags of frozen raspberries and I’m trying to figure out what to do with them.

  33. Oh, so excited for these! I made your other lemon bars and they were a real hit, despite being an aesthetic disaster due to lack of planning. :P Maybe this time around I’ll get it.

  34. Sadie

    These are lovely… my husband tells a story to our kids everytime they drink pink lemonade about how the first pink lemonade was a mistake that happened when they made the lemonade for the circus in a bucket that a clown had washed his socks in. It was a hit and the rest is history! I don’t know if this is true or not but would explain why pink lemonade always calls for red food coloring (which is sort of yucky but considerably more hygenic than clown socks!)

  35. Kathryn

    If I want to double the recipe, will a 9×12 pan work? Or will they be too thick and throw off the cooking times? What do you recommend?
    Ordered your book and can’t wait for it to arrive! Congratulations!!

    1. deb

      Kathryn — That’s exactly what I would use to double it. It will be sliightly thicker.

      Frozen raspberries — I think they’d work just fine.

      Becky — Ha! I was definitely thinking about making one this summer. However, at least in paints, red + green = brown. So, I might not mix them.

  36. JanetP

    I always love the shortbread in lemon bars more than the bar — but what I actually wanted to say was what an absolutely adorable photo of Jacob! He looks so happy and trusting, telling his favorite people that he dreams about Elmo. That should be enough sweetness for anyone : )

  37. I was having a pretty bad day today.. until I came to your website and found this recipe! I really love lemon bars, and I’ve certainly never made pink ones before! They are baking in the oven right now. I can’t wait!

  38. DreadPirateRogers

    I was always under the impression that generic “pink” lemonade meant cranberry juice, mainly because I’ve always heard of the other variations as specifically “Raspberry Lemonade”, “Strawberry Lemonade”, etc. But never “Cranberry Lemonade”, which is a very fine lemonade. Not as good as Ginger Lemonade, but still.

  39. Witloof

    The barley flour you once recommended for strawberry cake is just delicious in lemon squares. I swap out half of the AP flour in the crust.

  40. Stephanie P.

    Because I’m a baker (and, if you recall, know how to peel peaches fast) I have a hard time not answering your questions for you! If you ever need a day off, let me know! :-)

    These look delicious, our NE Ohio farmer’s markets have delicious blackberries disappearing soon and even though these wouldn’t look nearly as pretty, I do enjoy blackberry puree!

    I do have to say to @ Cheri at the Watering Mouth I really don’t think Deb made these the opposite of her toddler’s palate on purpose! I surmise she made them, gave one to Jacob and he didn’t love them, so knowing toddlers aren’t usually so keen on tart, figured they were more tart than sweet. Granted he’s a foodie’s son, by now he probably has his own review written here, or he tweets them! :-)

  41. I just made these with strawberries and a couple drops of red food coloring :/ – had to add the coloring unfortunately, but other than that, they are probably the best things I’ve baked!! I didn’t have the size of pan so used a 7.5 x 9 and doubled the filling. So yummy!

  42. Lucila

    No fresh raspberries in this hemisphere of the world (New Zealand) so, as I type, I’m making your recipe with freeze dried raspberry powder and it looks and smells delicious!!!

  43. Tanvi

    Cannot stop thinking about this recipe! Any suggestions for an egg substitute though? As per our religion, Jainism, my family and I avoid eggs. Thanks!

  44. Such a yummy variation! I’ll be definitely making these! Even if I am a huge fan of classic lemon bars, I think these are particularly perfect during summer months!
    You always have the smartest ideas to improve our usual meals!

    xo Elisa

  45. judith scott

    these look amazing. not going to make them this year,cause i might lose my mind with the vision of YOURS in my head!

  46. Donna

    Avid..rabid lemon square (ok..I cut them into triangles) freak…I believe your exquisite offering sends my absolute favourite dessert/bar/cookie…to another level entirely…the photos…the writing…the detail in recipe-telling…You are the master of the perfect curd/crust ratio and my hero!!! Thank you once again for sharing your culinary wizardry..

  47. I like this raspberry-lemon bar variation — at least as far as the filling goes — I prefer thinner, less-sweet crusts than you do — more like pie crust than shortbread. My first thought while reading the comments was fresh blackberries or a blackberry-raspberry combination and my second thought was pomegranate molasses, related to grenadine, but thicker and tarter. We haven’t seen fresh raspberries here yet.

  48. Sonja

    This looks great! I have a question though… Would it also be possible to use the raspberry puree method to pinken up your lemon muffins (the recipe where they are originally topped with raspberries)? If so, should I then omit some of the milk? Would be great to have naturally pink muffins!

  49. Leigh

    You are just fabulous! :) I get so excited when a new recipe from you comes through my inbox!! Thank you SO much for making everything look and taste better!!

  50. Melissa B

    Mt pink lemonade concentrate is colored with beet juice, no taste. Intact when buying natural food colorings for mr dye-intolerant grandson, the red/ pink coloring is beet juice based.

    Raspberry-lemon! I am in heaven! Can’t wait to make these!

  51. jan

    I am traveling at the moment, but am planning to make these as soon as I get home to my kitchen! Thanks for giving the measurements in metric.

  52. These look SOOOO good! We have raspberries growing in the back yard and so I’ll be trying this as soon as the next batch is harvested (we picked the current ones clean just YESTERDAY!!) I will have to try this in a gluten-free version – looking forward to it. Lemon = bliss.

  53. In a very crowded field with a crazy amount of food writers – greats and amateurs and all types all crowded together, and many readable and enjoyable – your site continues to impress with its innovation, clean style and unexpected little recipes that are so inspirational. Really looking forward to trying these!

  54. Amanda

    I love variations on a theme, and am quite certain there is room in the world for multiple delicious lemon bars. These look fabulous!! I must say though, my dream lemon bar has become the one you’ve already posted here with the double lemon filling. I am always looking for an excuse to make them. Thanks!

  55. There are lemon bars and then there are LEMON BARS. This one takes them to the next level….YUMMMMM!!!! I’ve got a bounty of raspberries on hand right now because my local grocery over-ordered and are selling them for just $1 a pint. Never thought of this use for raspberries…thanks for posting it!

  56. Scooby

    Beautiful and definitely on the list! One of my earliest childhood baking adventures was lemon bars. It may not be cool today, but we always made our pink lemonade with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and a touch of maraschino cherry juice.

  57. I do know that including the skin from a Macintosh apple, it will turn the applesauce pink. If you boil the sugar syrup with the skins, does it make it red enough to hue the whole pitcher of lemonade? Food for thought.

    Honestly (and I won’t admit this in court) I think they are pink because you made them blush with all the praise and adulation. I knew you were a wizard, Ma’dam Merlin….I tip my hat to you.

  58. Jai

    Made something similar a few months ago, but with lemon, I like the idea of raspberries and lemon, think oranges would work well too.

  59. I didn’t notice anyone discussing it, but there is actually such a thing as pink lemons. They are not as common, but I had them at Whole Foods last year. They are beautiful, light pink and milder than mass produced lemons.

  60. Warren

    I always thought Pink Lemonade was just Lemonade with some grenadine syrup in it. This is how I usually make it. Interesting.

  61. Grace

    Deb, the original pink lemonade was not made with lemons at all, but with Sumac berries. These grow wild all over the eastern US and, I understand there are varieties that grow out west as well. The berries of the Sumac plant were historically used by Native Americans and european settlers for a variety of uses including a delicious tart, pink beverage. Just google it up and you’ll find a slew of sites discussing the pink drink! These bars look wonderful, can’ wait to try them.

  62. Levi

    Just made these, and they’re excellent! Cutting them up was a bit of a hassle, the knife kept sticking to the bars; next time I’ll just use a muffin tray instead. Great recipe, once again.

  63. Leyla

    Wow you’re my hero! I’ve always wanted to make pink lemonade bars but when I saw all the dye it made me cringe. I cant wait to test these babies out!

  64. Melissa

    I made these last night and they are pure pink lemonade perfection!I followed the recipe exactly. I will never make another lemon bar recipe again. These are the bomb! Talk about the most beautiful raspberry pink hue, just gorgeous. They are perfect lemony deliciousness! They are wonderful out of the fridge and I had no problems cutting them into the tiny perfect bite size bar.

  65. Susan

    Raspberry and lemon are my favorite combination for a pink lemonade so I know I’ll like these. And as luck would have it, I am (this morning) the recipient of yet another bag of huge lemons. No note, just a drive by. At least it wasn’t zucchini. Yet. I’ve often wondered how the thick filling for the lemon bars I get at the farmers market kiosk are so perfectly shiny and transluscent. Corn starch? Tapioca? The flour thickener seems to make the filling more muddied in color. Any ideas?

  66. sarah g

    my daughter is sooooooo excited by these. somehow it makes me number 1 thanks! she made me go straight to the market to buy raspberries…..i was going anyway as I am FINALLY going to try your lasagna today (sauce) and tomorrow. Four hours of stirring…i should have 1) started earlier and 2) not had wine with dinner. The rest of my family watching the track and field at the olympics is sure to put me to sleep.

  67. (another) Susan

    The first batch of pink lemonade bars is cooling–way too slowly–in the fridge. With more time today I would have tried making raspberry lime bars, after my favorite old New England wummer drink, the raspberry lime ricky. Think next time I’ll try making a curd filling…

  68. I love lemon treats in the summer! You’ve been posting so many yummy recipes I need to get hustling if I am going to keep up! LOL! These looks absolutely delish! They are definitely moving up the list.

  69. Laurie J

    I LOVE your lemon bar recipe! However after making it twice and having the shortbread crust stick to the pan…I am making the crust flat in sections on bakers paper first. Then I “line” my glass baking dish with crust sections, including the sides, slightly overlapping them. Pour in my lemon Layer and bake.
    Voila, no sticking!

  70. Marika

    I made these for my friend’s birthday brunch this morning and I got sooooo many compliments on them, someone even said “it’s everything I didn’t know a lemon bar could be”. Thanks for the recipe, it was a hit (even as a gluten free version!!)

  71. My friend sent me this link saying this is “exactly the type of thing” she’d like made for her birthday. I guess that’s my cue to file it away, huh?

    I’ll just have to think of a clever/tasty way to put a happy birthday message on it. (I can’t help it, I love writing happy birthday on edibles.) I’ll come back with an update if I think of something good!

  72. It’s cute that your humble and all but someday you’ll have to own up to how incredibly talented you are. I’m sure we’d all drool over any cookbook rejects you decide to share. Is ‘reject’ too harsh? I didn’t mean it pink lemonade bars!

    This recipe is all of my favorite things in one and I have everything on hand. Huzzah!

  73. Stephanie

    Love Love Love this idea. Your blog is so much fun to read and this recipe will be definitely something for our first picnic in Arizona (have to wait until fall – its still too hot out). I love lemon bars – adding another flavor will only take it up a notch. Thx! :)

  74. Elisabetta

    I tried these today (my first lemon bars ever) and they are so delicious! I plan to make them for my parents when I’ll go back to my home country (Italy). Deb, you are changing my view on American cooking, it can excellent indeed!

  75. na

    You can also get pink lemonade from making lavender lemonade. But use only the hidcote variety. The chemical reaction of a basic solution(lavender steeped water) with lemon(acidic) turns the whole thing pink :-)
    Check out userealbutter’s version for it if you want to see how pink it can get.

  76. these are so beautiful! what a gorgeous twist on a classic! and thank you for pioneering how to make it pink without food dye. you’ve now saved red velvet cake AND pink lemonade. hooray!

  77. Carolyn

    My 4-year-old is into pink lemonade right now (think Pinkalicious, those of you in-the-know on pre-school girls), so I made her some using the watermelon juice that dripped out as I was cutting up a watermelon. It was the loveliest shade of pale, barely peachy, pink.

  78. Margie

    Brought them to a dinner party tonight and they were a HUGE hit. Next time I think I might add some lemon rind to the filling (as I do in my usual lemon bar recipe). Levi…if you stick the pan in the fridge for a few hours they will cut easily and cleanly. You can even cheat and try the freezer for a little bit. Thank you so much for this site. I look forward to each new recipe and your gorgeous photos. I can’t wait for the cookbook (already ordered!)

  79. They’re perfect. Everyone went crazy over the color, the flavor, the crust/filling ratio. It’s my new favorite treat! I don’t know if I can go back to plain lemon bars.

    Anyone else curious about what a cherry-limeade bar would taste like? I might have to find out today.

  80. Karen

    Looks like the perfect beach vacation recipe. Lucky me to be in a house with a food processor. Look out, raspberries…. or I might go a little crazy and try with some local blackberries. mwahaha

  81. Emily Reel

    I substituted strawberries and a lime (vs. Raspberries and lemons) because that’s what I already had on hand, and they came out perfect! The strawberries were just as pink. Maybe because I used strawberries that were nearly over-ripe? Also, I only had one lime, so I couldn’t get enough juice, so I just used more stawberry juice instead. I still strained the strawberries, just like the raspberries, to get out the seeds and pulp. One cup of strawberries produced more than 3 tablespoons of liquid, so I just used all the strawberry juice I had, and threw in little extra flour to thicken it up. Wondeful recipie

  82. stephanie

    Genius!!! I made lemon bars a couple of weeks ago for a bridal shower, but wished I read about these then~

    Now i need to make these bars ASAP~

  83. Lou Ann

    Your original recipe with fresh blueberries scattered over the top before baking is also divine. Lemon and blueberries is a natural pairing. Love your recipes!

  84. Anita

    I very much liked the idea of the lemon bars and do plan on trying them. But I did NOT like the (inaccurate) political attack ad that popped up when was scrolling down. Can’t this be a place away from such ugliness?

  85. Megan

    Hi – a quick way to get a splash of pink in pink lemonade – without any effort and no artificial colouring – is to add some cranberry juice. Approx. 1 part cranberry to 2 parts lemon juice. Enjoy

  86. BelleSage

    Oh my word. Soooooo good. And just as pretty as your picture. Thank you thank you. So much goodness from so little effort.

  87. Emily

    I made these tonight and they were a flop for me… I followed the recipe exactly, and it was as if the lemon and the raspberry cancelled each other out — they wound up tasting like neither. And they were kind of a little rubbery, even though I know my oven wasn’t running hot…

  88. I was looking for a lemony dessert recipe and hoped that searching on your site would turn one up. The fact that it’s right here on the home page must mean it’s fate.

  89. Love summer desserts that are a little unexpected and leverage all the great fresh fruit we get this time of year. Will definitely be giving these a try. Beautifully written to boot. Well done!

  90. Elizabeth

    I’m fourteen and I love to bake and still being new to culinary terms, I am not sure what she meant by “add the butter and pulse.” What does she mean by pulse? If someone could help that would be great!

  91. Hey- i am so stoked to try these out i cannot wait! they sound so yummy…i posted my site link i would totally love if you just took a look at my blog and if you do like it followed me im just getting started and im looking to network with other bloggers and sort of “meet” if you will lol i would be super grateful if you followed my blog if you like it!~
    Either way ill continue to be a major fan


  92. Jasmine

    Hi Deb. I’m not sure if you know this, though a couple other commenters have mentioned already. For the past several days there have been negative political pop-up ads on this site. I believe you have said before that you do not use political ads, so I thought you may want to look into it.

  93. These look awesome. I am also experimenting with egg-free baking, so I can supply treats for a couple of friends who are allergic to eggs. If I come across a way to make this without eggs, I’ll be sure to let everyone know!

  94. Josie

    I don’t have a food processor, much to my dismay. Is there an alternate method to make the base? I do have a blender, Magic Bullet and a Kitchen Aid.

    1. deb

      Josie — The traditional way to make shortbread is to use softened butter. Beat it with the sugar until fluffy. Add the zest. Whisk together the flour and salt and then stir them in by hand. Spread the batter (it will be too soft to press, I think) in the pan. The raspberries can be pureed with any other type of blender.

      Icky political ads — We are so sorry about this. I have never, ever, once okayed a political ad on this site, nor have I ever said, “Sure, you guys can run a totally offensive ad because it pays me big bucks.” (Hilarious, btw, as no ads ever do.) I work with ad networks the serve ads in bulk and sometimes these slip through and I don’t see them until someone complains. Ads tend to be tailored by either geography or your viewing history (i.e. someone who has ever gone to a political site is more likely to get political ads; predictably, most ads that show for me are cookware or — sotto voce — J.Crew). Nevertheless, they should be gone now and forever. If you see any more, please just let me know by comment or email and we will try again to locate the origin of it. And again, I’m really sorry you all had to see icky political ads.

  95. Julene

    I made these yesterday to bring to a barbeque and they were gobbled up. Surprisingly we had leftover chocolate cake but no leftover lemon bars…just a few crumbs. I was short on raspberries, so added 5-6 blackberries. I was worried that the colour might be too dark, but it was perfect.

    For those without a blender/procesor: I used the food processor to puree the raspberries, but ending up just mashing the blackberries with the back of a spoon in the strainer. I used fresh ripe berries and it didn’t seem to affect the yield of puree. I would skip the food processor for the berries altogether next time.

    Thanks for all the great recipes Deb. You are one of my go-to sites for recipes. I can’t wait for the cookbook…and another lemon bar recipe to add to my collection.

  96. Mary Beth

    What a great recipe! I will no longer delay in pre-ordering your cookbook–gosh forbid they sell out on first printing! By the way, blueberries are a must if making these for the August 31st ‘blue moon’.

  97. lauren

    I think raspberries and lemonade is brilliant, but I think pink lemonade started with pink lemons. which are pretty but not nearly as bright and pretty and probably delicious as what you made.

  98. David Cantor

    Veena asked about substituting eggs. Another recipe email that I receive offered a list of egg substitutions. Don’t know if any of these will work in this recipe, but for each egg, substitute one of the following:

    3 tablespoons applesauce
    3 tablespoons plain yogurt
    1 medium banana
    Omit the yolk and use one egg white plus 2 tablespoons of milk
    Omit the yolk and use double quantity of egg whites

  99. Cindy

    Made these today- easy and yummy! It was a last-minute decision to make these, since our heat wave in NY broke just a little today. I followed the directions exactly- and voila! I have the most beautiful, summery- looking dessert! Thanks for yet another great recipe- can’t wait for the cookbook!! (yes I preordered!)

  100. Melissa

    I just made these, and they’re AMAZING. For those without a food processor, I heated the raspberries in a pot on the stove with a little water, pressing them into a paste with a spoon, and it worked great.

    One question-when I pick up a finished bar, the top and bottom sections tend to separate from each other. Is there a way to avoid this? Could it be happening because I slightly overcooked them?

  101. Megan

    OMIGOD! I made these this weekend to take to a party and I was MOBBED!! Everyone gobbled them up and demanded, DEMANDED, the recipe. To save my LIFE, I had to direct them to your site and now they will know where I get all my really great treats! THANKS!

  102. These are really pretty. This is the last thing I’d be interested in if I walked into a bakery but I will go ahead and make these just to see what lemon bars are all about. I have never had one. I am going to make these for my friend’s going away party. She is moving to Israel for one year and she said to bring a food item that will make her think of me all year. I don’t know if this qualifies but I needed an occasion. Thanks:)

  103. Ginnie

    For actual drinking lemonade, grenadine syrup is what makes pink lemonade pink. It also adds a bit more sweet, and so pink lemonade tends to be less tart.

  104. Michelle

    You can also make homemade pink lemonade with strained purees of sour cherries or cooked rhubarb. Either makes a fantastically bright-tasting lemonade.

  105. Stephanie

    Unfortunately I just saw a political ad on this page, and when I tried to close it, audio started playing. I’m sure you don’t want that.

  106. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Jacob is wrong. These are the perfect balance of tart and sweet. I can’t wait for your book to be released so I can try the other recipe; I missed the bright yellow color even though these are delicious.

  107. kaci

    grace is right — at least one version of “pink lemonade” was made not with lemons, but with sumac. i’ve been wanting to make some pink lemonade (sumac-ade?) and see how it tastes. not that a lemon and raspberry version isn’t delicious! yum.

  108. Clara

    Mine, too, turned out rubbery. I will try cutting the baking time next time. I didn’t like the consistency BUT our guests loved them and devoured them so it wasn’t a fail! It was a great combination of flavours and not difficult to make. is my all-time favourite place to get recipes and this is the only recipe that hasn’t turned out the way I imagined it would. It was still good though :)

  109. Why are you so perfect? It’s like you live in the part of my head that doesn’t have a job and weighs 400 lbs.

    Anyway, 3 thoughts here:

    1. I doubled the recipe and used 9×13 pan and it worked fine.
    2. I had blackberries and used them instead of raspberries. The bars are magenta. And awesome, but the filling layer is thinner than yours. I’m not sure if it’s the doubling pan thing or if I messed something up.
    3. I had no lemons. (Vodka lemonade problem here, people, it’s summer and I have children.) I used limes. Then I read the comment about the cranberries. And I thought, CRANBERRIES AND LIME. new thanksgiving dessert.

    And then I liked your commentors (commenters?) as much as I like you.

  110. CityKat

    Love your website! I tried the Pink Lemonade Bars (great name) the other night as a trial run for a party. My family loves lemon bars. They LOVED the Pink Lemonade Bars. My partner took them to work and he said everyone went seriously crazy for them. Made it exactly as directed with 4 TBL fresh lemon juice and 3 TBL raspberry puree. I probably could have left out a little bit of dough, just so the corners weren’t so thick – or I could have pressed it in a little better. Thanks for a fantastic recipe and your detailed instructions!

    1. deb

      Re, those that found these bars rubbery — This wasn’t my experience, however, I do have a preference for lemon bars that aren’t overly sticky so the recipe might reflect this. I don’t like having to wash my heads just because I took a bite of a lemon bar! Preferences aside, the way to make the topping softer (and also more translucent) is to reduce the flour. I learned this accidentally when (if you see the updated recipe notes) I accidentally forgot to add the flour to a batch this past weekend. The bars were gooey and only became neatly slice-able in the fridge, but were no less delicious. So, you might dial the flour back a tablespoon or three in your future batches to make the bars closer to your preferences.

      Really, really pink bars — Also in the update headnotes, I link to a batch of bars I made with sadder, darker, older raspberries. 3 tablespoons puree yielded a magenta bar with a strong berry flavor. They were gorgeous and delicious. So, just to note that individual batches of berries may yield wildly different levels of pink in the bars.

  111. Jeanine

    As a tribute to you an your recipes – and being a fanatic “surprise me!”-button hitter – I bought myself a Salter digital measuring/weighing cup, for instant conversion from cups to grams, fl oz to ml etc. So whatever measures you have used, use or will be using, I’m able to bake and cook along!!

  112. Hi Deb – I just made these! I decided to use more raspberry puree and less lemon juice, thinking that would get my 2-yr old to eat them as well, but I wish I hadn’t, as it really lost that lemony tartness. I also had a bit of a problem with the two layers separating, although that hasn’t kept everyone in the house from devouring them! Thanks for the recipe – I will do a post on it soon and link back to you!

  113. HJK

    I loved the bar. It was zesty and sweet with a tart finish. But, my raspberry filling separated from the cookie/bar portion once cooled and cut it into pieces. Any ideas as to what I did wrong?

  114. I just made these last night as a last minute surprise for my BF. They were so quick & easy to whip together for a weeknight treat! My BF couldn’t stop raving about them! Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe!!! Will definitely be making these again for my next get-together!

  115. TRACIE

    With a baby shower soon at work, these would be great-if it was a girl. Do you think there’s a way to make these blue without resorting to foodcoloring? from the comments, blueberries seem to out as an option.

  116. Dawn

    I actually have some left over raspberries in the fridge that have to be used by tomorrow or they’ll be a lost cause. So thank you! But I also have a TON of limes and no lemons…I read a few reviews mentioning lime but I was wondering if anything needs to change in the amount to avoid the flavor being too strong on the lime side? Thanks as always!

  117. Noemi

    I made a batch last night, and forced myself to let them cool overnight. I had one for breakfast and it was SOOOO good! Thank you! I also substituted strawberries for the raspberries, still so delicious! Thank you!

  118. caro

    They look yummy and they are right now in my oven ^^ Just a question: Could you please tell me how much gram lemon juice you had. The cup thing don’t work with me and I always need gram. I also had some problems with the batter which was a little bit softer then yours.
    thanks ^^

  119. Anita

    These turned out a beautiful shade of pink. But I’m curious as to why you suggested buttering the parchment paper- isn’t the point of parchment paper its non-stickiness?

    1. deb

      Anita — Yes, but I find that extra layer of insurance really helps here. It’s not the shortbread so much as the curd/lemonade layer — it really wants to stick.

  120. Lael

    Don’t know if this has already been said, my understanding is that pink lemonade was made with Sumac spice. It’s red and lemony so results in a pinkish, lemony tasting drink.

  121. Celeste

    This was the first recipe I’ve made from SK and I’m so impressed. I made these so quickly and easily! They were awesome! They came out perfectly and my guests loved them. My only tweak would be to add the raspberry liquid incrementally to the flour – I noticed lots of lumps the other way around. Yummmm!

  122. mck

    These sound wonderful and I look forward to trying them. What really surprised me is the discussion of pink lemonade. Certainly you can get many flavors and various shades of pink from various sources, but since I was a young girl it has always been grenadine that provided the pink in pink lemonade. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s responses.

  123. Oh man! I made these with the help of my wife and 5 yr old daughter and they were probably one of the biggest dessert hits we’ve made in the past 6 months. We like to do it as a family with the little one as the designated “stirmaster” and it’s a lot of fun! Thanks for the recipe!

  124. Nikki

    Hey Deb, what’s the butter amount for the base? 1/2 cup butter is around 3/4 of an oz…. My husband is DYING for me to make these!!!

    1. deb

      1/2 cup butter is 1 stick, 4 ounces or 113 grams.

      Sunshiney — They’ll bake faster and be a hair thinner but otherwise should work fine in a 9×9.

  125. A D Velazquez

    I made two batches of these intending to take 1.5 to my daughter’s art camp pot luck. We ate our half batch within 5 minutes of them being cool. These were the greatest hit at the pot luck! People thought I was a genius to think of adding raspberries! Thank you Deb. You’re the bomb.

  126. kc

    By happy accident, I ran out of regular butter but had some raspberry butter on hand (can you tell I have been working through a delightful raspberry surplus this weekend?). I used the raspberry butter in the bottom layer so now it’s pink too! They are still in the oven but I can verify that at least looks-wise they are super-cool. Thanks so much for this idea – my favorite ingredients, together at last!

  127. Erica

    Deb, these are DELICIOUS!! This is the first time making lemon tarts and they turned out perfect! The colour was pink and pretty – I mixed the leftover raspberry puree with some lemon juice and water for a thirst-quenching glass of lemonade!

    This recipe will be in heavy rotation – thank-you for sharing

  128. Sarah

    Hmmm made these but I suggest dialing down the cooking time. My fan oven made these too brown in top after only 23 minutes….admittedly I should have checked but got busy making lemonade for my kids…I will try again but think I’ll leave out the raspberry too! The idea in awesome in theory, but the reality is a little too puce for me!

  129. Jennifer

    We make pink lemonade all the time. All you have to add is some grape or cranberry juice to make it pink. Neither one adds enough to mess with the taste of the lemonade. We figured this out from reading….if you can believe it, Raggedy Ann stories. Raggedy’s Mommy adds grape jelly to her lemonade to make it pretty. :0) These look yummy! can’t wait to give them a try!

  130. Katie

    Made these this weekend and they were amazing! A perfect pink color and quite tangy but definitely sweet enough for my taste. I haven’t commented on here before but I’ve been following for a while, and just wanted to say that I love your thoughtful, inventive recipes! Can’t wait for the cookbook.

  131. I can’t wait for your cookbook to come out.. hoping that I can get my hands on a signed copy.

    These bars look so tasty, and I love the idea of raspberries in there. I tried to guess before you revealed the “pink” element and I wrongly guessed strawberries.

  132. Lexi

    Thank you for giving us grams! It’s so much easier to use a scale when baking, in lieu of measuring cups, and I appreciate everyone who gives us grams!!

  133. kelli ann

    I once made rhubarb pink lemonade (when faced with the bounty of my spring garden & rhubarb patch) and it was delightful, not puckery-sour, more astringent. yum.

  134. Patryce

    My mother asked me to make something for a bake sale at her work, so I offered a double batch of these. I spaced while making the crust and added the amount of flour called for in the filling–making for a very greasy feel and why aren’t they firming up in the oven–Oh, wait, that’s it. So I pulled them out partway through the baking time and tried again. After making the next round the right way, I scraped the first batch into a bowl a put it in the fridge. This morning I put the butter mixture back in the food processor, added a hefty dose of lemon zest, the rest of the flour, and made a very nice smelling lemon shortbread that is cooling now. Hate to waste two sticks of butter!

    I’m expecting an excellent report on the bake sale, the bits I trimmed off for testing purposes were delicious.

  135. Darlene

    I love the idea of adding raspberry puree to a traditional lemon bar. I tried the recipe, but found that the filling seemed to have too much flour which made the texture gelatinous. Has anyone else had this problem? Perhaps the solution is less flour and a bit of baking powder.

  136. Okay, clearly I am the only failbot here, because holy cow did getting the juice out of the raspberry purée made a mess. How does everyone else do it without your kitchen looking like you just murdered someone up in there?

  137. sara

    Just made these and am wondering, for those of us that like a thicker curd layer do you recommend doubling the ingredients or increasing by some other ratio? Thoughts on increasing the cooking time with more filling? Many thanks!!!

  138. Stacey

    How funny that I come across this today as I just made raspberry lemonade bars this morning to take to my mom’s house. I used a seedless raspberry preserve in between the shortbread and lemon layer and it makes a very pretty pink line in the middle. Wanted something fast and didn’t have berries :) Thank you for this recipe- I will definitely try mixing in the berries next time.

  139. rita

    This was very yummy! One small thought- I would pour the lemon mixture over the flour as adding the flour to the liquid made it lumpy (in the final product too).

  140. Lulu

    Made these last night and cut them into 25 squares.They came out really great and didn’t last long.I might try reducing the flour a bit next time as they were a bit gelatinous .

  141. Marisa

    My Mom and I just made these! They are awesome. We used 6 Tablespoons of raspberries and they are perfect. The color is amazing. Thank you!

  142. Deb,
    I just started making these and I am not sure what “pulse” in the food processor means. I only have “chop” and “grind” Also my mixture was crumbly on top but looked like whipped butter on the bottom. Did I over-grind or over-chop? Does this even matter?

  143. nicoel

    I didn’t like these. I think the topping may have gotten over done as it almost tasted eggy. I’m sticking with my favorite lemon bar recipe. This is the only recipe I have not had fantastic results with so don’t take this the wrong way-I love your site!

  144. I made these tonight and it’s taking all my willpower not to eat the whole batch. To those asking about using frozen berries, they absolutely work. I picked a bunch of fresh raspberries this week and already ate all the ones I didn’t freeze. I used 1 cup frozen berries. Placed them in the food processor and mashed them up as much as possible. I placed them in a bowl and popped them in the microwave for a few seconds until they were thawed and I could mix them into the puree. I don’t have a fine mesh sieve so I used the berry juice with the seeds in. They are delicious. Thanks again for another great recipe.

  145. Kris

    So these are baking right now; I used strawberries and didn’t strain the puree at all. It’s a lovely pink color, just right in my opinion. This is the conversation I had with my husband as I slid them into the oven.

    Me: I just made a terrible, horrible mistake.
    Husband: What do you mean?
    (I had him lick the spatula I used to scrape out the filling, raw eggs and all.)
    Husband: Oooooh, that’s yummy! What’s wrong?
    Me: Obviously you didn’t see me do a header into the bowl trying to lick a drip off the edge.

    Yeah, Deb, you may have caused us some problems down here. Just sayin’.

  146. Heloise

    Guess what I did with the pounds and pounds of MULBERRIES ripening in my garden? Purple damask bars! Since I only make mulberry juice with my fruit (they have hard stalky centres) I used 1 1/2 glasses of juice (small size glass, maybe 3 1/2 inches high) and the bars turned out really great, though like some other posters I would also cut down on the flour a tad.

  147. hazel

    At culinary school, we were taught to make it with red cabbage. Boil it. Strain it. Keep the water. Toss the cabbage. Add to water that has lemons and ice in it!

  148. lisa

    Made these tonight and they are delicious! I made in a larger pan and did 1.5x the filling because i always like more filling than crust…so yummy. The raspberries go perfectly with the lemon!!

  149. Kris

    I’m not much of a baker/cook, but I love trying new recipes. I have now made this recipe 3 times and I can’t get the crust right. Contrary to pictures posted here, at the end of the food processor step, mine looks like standard pastry before you add the water and it consolidates into dough. I’ve followed the recipe exactly, I’ve added ice water(like you would for pastry), I’ve tried cutting down on flour (since Deb’s looks much more buttery smooth) but nothing is working. When it comes out of the pan, it A) won’t come off the paper (Yes, I buttered everything like she said and for the record a nice big bite of lemon bar is slightly marred when you also get a bite of paper) and B) falls apart in your hand – making a gooey, though tasty mess.
    This is not my field of expertise, and while I and my husband, who doesn’t even like lemon bars, enjoy eating my flops – raspberry season is ending and I would really like to get it right before next year….
    Any suggestions?

  150. Carol

    – they look great– but just wondering if anyone has tried to freeze? – as I am trying to make batches of ‘goodies’ for a wedding week later this month..

  151. Megan

    just made a batch of these, and…omg! talk about easy to make & delicious!! I used a bag of frozen mixed berries, and didn’t bother to strain them (I like berry seeds & bits), but I did everything else to the recipe, & I’m glad I did. I’ll definitely be making these again.

  152. I had the same notion once but I actually called mine raspberry lemon bars. I foolishly expected this gorgeous vibrant red layer and was disappointed. If I had thought to call them pink lemonade I would have survived better…ours were the same color but I expected more; expecting pink would have made the resulting pink easier for me to handle. :)

  153. The raspberry part was kind of a lot of work, with pureeing and all the straining. And the amount of berries that you called for gave me at least 1/3 of a cup if not more and as I am not a raspberry person- I was making these for work- I decided to include all the extra puree as a middle layer to the bars (because I was not going to be putting it on my morning yogurt). It definitely made them more fruity tart, but everyone seemed to love them still!

  154. Cassie

    I made these last night, and I am so excited about them. The crust bit is a little flakier than I had desired – how do I prevent that later on?

    Also, the color is beautiful, but as it cools it turns brownish. How do I keep it from doing that?

    All in all a success! This was my first time doing a recipe of yours, and I am so glad it worked out!!


    1. deb

      Cassie — The color has everything to do with the raspberries, and of course, their color can vary. If it looks a little more pale, you can always add more raspberry puree (and then less lemon).

  155. Maria

    Bookmarked this ages ago and finally made it–need that vitamin C boost from the lemons in the middle of winter flu season! They were absolutely perfect, and everyone at the party I took them to absolutely raved about them.

    I second Liz’s comment that it works really well with frozen raspberries. I took my berries out of the freezer just before starting on the base, and by the time I got to the lemon-raspberry layer, they were perfect to work with! Also, since the berries were frozen, they were a bit older and turned the the bars a lovely deep magenta. What a lovely food-coloring trick! I’m coloring my next batch of frosting with raspberry puree!

  156. shoshana

    great dessert – easier than i thought it would be to make. the crust is sensational. i added even more lemon zest and used meyer lemons from a family member’s tree – delish. i do wish i had known to dial back the flour based on how the texture would be if followed to a t from what you described….they taste great but when i make them again i am going to use less flour for a more gelly like lemon layer….these were a great pink dessert for valentines day!

  157. Shanon

    Made these for the Valentine’s Day potluck at work – and they went over VERY well!! I had to add some zest to the filling because my lemons were really, really sweet. Thank you, thank you!!

  158. Michelle

    Hi there,

    I have just finished making these and they look great and the batter tastes great… but… I had some problems with the measurements… I had to add about another 1/2 cup of flour to the base mix and then also another 2/3 cups to the filling mix… I looked over the instructions again and again and I can’t work out what I missed. I always read your blog and use your recipes and they always turn out so fantastically so I’m quit confused… I live in Thailand so my kitchen is extremely hot – do you think that could affect the measurements that much? Thank you so much for any feedback you can give.

  159. Melissa

    Made these yesterday for a barbeque and they turned out great. Used the rest of the raspberry puree and made a vinaigrette.

  160. Dimitra

    Is it OK to gush over here about the book’s lemon bars? They are indeed the Lemon Bars To End All Lemon Bars even though (ahem!) I’ve never tried any others, ever! And why would I want to? The process is easy and fun and they taste fantastic (although I have to admit to cutting down on the sugar which I consistently do with almost all recipes anyway). Their only fault can be easily rectified if you double the recipe and voila: enough for everyone (but more for me, coz I made them, m’kay?)!

  161. Lindsey

    I loved these. I made them as directed and they turned out just as pretty as yours. I love recipes that work out that way!

  162. Carin

    I was searching for an easy, refreshing summer dessert and found my way back to your site via another blogger’s site, who said her recipe was adapted from yours. The only change — ‘unbleached’ all-purpose flour. (Really? That counts as “adapted’?). Anyway, I’m glad she gave you credit (?), because I immediately clicked to your site and and made this delicious dessert. Thanks for the recipe! The bars were the hit of the party. :)

  163. Doree

    I just made the lemon bars based on the recipe in your cookbook, and I think it’s wrong — it calls for 8T butter for the crust, which resulted in, basically, a buttery muck. Now that I look at this recipe I see that it should probably be 4T, not 8T. The filling also calls for 8T butter, which again, seems high — I see that this filling doesn’t have any butter in it. Anyway, I hope you will see this and respond, because I would really like to make lemon bars, but the recipe in the cookbook was a disaster!

    1. deb

      Hi Doree — I just responded on Twitter, but these are totally different recipes, they weren’t drawn from each other at all. This is more like a classic lemon bar with classic lemon bar proportions + raspberries for pinkness, but the one in the book is only a classic lemon bar in name. It’s a thing apart; not really a clear, smooth curd on top, but with a more complex flavor from the whole lemon (which requires extra butter and sugar to work), and the base is more thin and crisp. Can you tell me more about what happened with the Whole Lemon Bar?

  164. Heidi

    Hmm. I’m having the same problem as Kris in #262: my base looks like powder and nothing like Deb’s beautiful buttery dough in the photos! I’ve doubled checked my measurements and ingredients. Should I have let the butter come to room temperature? Did I run the food processor a tad too long? I think I’m going to try to add more butter and see if I can make it right, but would love your opinion, Deb, or anyone else’s thoughts. Thanks!

  165. Heidi

    Following up to my above post: My powdery crust turned out just fine. Hearing Kris’s struggles (#262) with it sticking to the paper, I greased the heck out of my paper with canola oil and it didn’t stick. I used Meyer lemons and loved the sweet, fragrant effect – but still not too sweet. (Thank you, Deb!) Next time I’ll use regular lemons to see what the more pungent version would be. But I’m lazy and didn’t strain my raspberries. I don’t notice the seeds and the color, taste, and consistency are still fantastic, in my opinion. I used the full 1/3 cup of flour and wasn’t sorry – loved the consistency and lack of stickiness. Skipped the confectioners’ sugar to avoid extra sweetness and mess. Thanks, Deb – another fantastic recipe.

  166. Emma

    Does anyone have any insights about a soggy crust? I’ve tried these twice and both times the bars came out soggy. Was my kitchen more humid that most or something? Others mentioned frozen berries (which I used) worked well but did mine have extra liquid possibly? (Though I maintained the liquid ratio, so not sure that makes sense…). Would increasing the flour in the liquid step help without compromising flavor too much? I tried slightly increasing the initial bake of the crust but was worried about burning. For the record, the flavor was perfect! Really just a texture issue.

  167. Carrie

    So tasty! I’ve made these once according to this recipe with great results. Tonight I used this recipe as inspiration for hibiscus bars and was so pleased with how they turned out! I replaced the 3 tbs raspberry puree with an equal amount of a hibiscus reduction, switched out the lemon juice for lime, and switched out some of the flour in the crust for toasted and ground coconut. The color of the bar was a vivid purple!

  168. Srujana

    Just tried these today with strawberries & they came out really well! If I remake them in the future, the only thing I’ll be fiddling with is the amount of butter that needs to go into the crust to make it a little bit more heart healthy.

  169. Chris

    Made these for and Easter treat and would like to share my notes. I always appreciate it when the comments include feedback from others, so I wants to repay the favor. I made a double batch and split evenly in an 8 in square and a 9 in square. I made my crust a bit too flaky I think. When I cut the bars, there was a layer of crust that stuck to the bars, but the bottom half the crust broke off. This happened to the majority of them, and I tried cutting different sizes with no luck. Next time I will work the dough a bit more, and make sure there are no butter lumps. But They tasted awesome. I decided to serve tiny bite size bits and people happily ate them up. For my personal taste, I think they were a bit sweet. But when serving a crowd, this seemed to please everyone. Overall, it’s a good recipe and easy to follow. Thanks Deb!

  170. Camille

    this is my go-to recipe for pink lemonade bars (not surprising, most of your recipes are my go-to). question on variation: I wanted to try and make a lemon rhubarb version in a similar way. do you think if I cooked them down to soften a bit maybe with a little sugar and then strained the puree, it could be used in the same way I use the raspberries? I would prefer to not keep the chunks of rhubarb in this particular recipe.

  171. Kat

    I love these and need a fix! Have you ever made this without flour? I have a newly discovered and completely unwelcome wheat-allergy and I’m trying to decide what to replace the flour with in each layer (ground up rolled oats and almond flour are at the top of my list right now).

    1. Kat

      Update for anyone else interested in this particular dilemma, and to remind myself what to change next time!

      I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of replacing all-purpose flour with oat flour. They were good, but not as good as I’ve made in the past. Next time, I will bake the cookie layer longer – it ended up too soft and not flaky at all (lack of gluten is to blame for some of that) – it looked like it was turning brown, but clearly needed more time once the whole thing was hitting my mouth. The lemon layer seemed extra thick this time compared to all the times I’ve made it with regular flour. I think I’ll cut back the oat flour in that layer to at most a quarter cup.

      1. M

        If it’s really wheat and not gluten that’s the problem, then I’ve found spelt flour to be a basically non recognizable 1:1 replacement for wheat flour.

  172. Holly Keyes

    I made these for a potluck and while my husband didn’t think they were tart enough the ladies at quilt guild were sneaking extras to take home and some had one in each hand. I didn’t bother with the icing sugar as it is messy and unnecessary for sweetness. I had lots of raspberry puree leftover for topping oatmeal and adding to club soda which is a nice bonus. Easy and quick and a hit at potlucks.

  173. Ann Tigue

    I made these today, using an 8×8 pan. They are yummy, but the layer of pink lemonade is much thinner than the shortbread crust. Did you double (or 1 1/2) the filling?

  174. Kristin

    Made these with blackberries instead of raspberries, as I went blackberry picking this week. Result: delicious PURPLE lemonade bars! Seriously, so good. And then the brain-wheels started turning and I thought, could I do these with other flavors too? So today I made coconut lime bars using this recipe — I just swapped all the lemon for lime, replaced the berry puree with coconut milk, and added a little toasted coconut in the crust and sprinkled on top at the end. This version took a little longer to bake (the lemon/blackberry were done in 20 minutes, the coconut/lime took 25 and actually probably could have used a few minutes more but the crust was getting too brown so I took them out), but still turned out delicious! I like that this recipe is versatile like that, and it looks like people have tried out a bunch of different flavors. I can’t wait to experiment more!

  175. Melissa

    Made these bars last night but swapped raspberries with mango puree! I cut down the sugar 1/4 cup and also added some lime juice. They were good but my crust was a bit soggy. I think next time I will bake longer or use less crust.

  176. Lynn Friedrick

    I followed the recipe exactly, or so I thought, but my raspberry-lemon layer is like a thin layer of rubber! I got them out of the oven at about 24 minutes, as they seemed done according to the recipe description, but I’m guessing that I over baked them. I may not be used to my new oven yet. My only other theory is that I may have been working a bit too slow, and left the eggs in the lemon juice a bit too long while I measured the flour etc. Any advice would be appreciated, as these seem absolutely lovely otherwise!

  177. Hey! This looks amazing and I’m thinking about making these for a party on Saturday. But I was wondering, do you think I can use strawberries instead? What would be my measurement ratio for that?

    1. deb

      Strawberry would work but it won’t make them as pink. My strawberry purees are always more pale. If you do a word search for “strawberries” in the comments, however, a lot of people commented that they used them instead here with success and offer notes.

      1. B

        How do you word search in the comments? I would often love to search for a way or ingredient swap without reading through all the comments.

  178. shoeboxmaster

    Every time I use this recipe, the bars turn out great, except the filling always wants to separate from the cookie base. What is causing this and how can I fix it? Thanks!

  179. Katie

    These were fantastic! I only had frozen raspberries on hand, but they made a great puree (slightly thawed them first) and the bars were a lovely dark pink shade. I made the recipe as it was written and found they were a perfect blend of tartness with a hint of sweetness. The crust was tender and tart with the additon of the lemon zest. I will definitely make these again.

  180. Ashley

    My daughter is begging for lemon + blueberry, would you change anything in the recipe if switching out the raspberries with blueberries, besides no being able to call them pink lemonade bars? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Yes, I think it would work however the color might be quite off. Maybe just add some fresh blueberries (whole) to a standard lemon bar?

  181. Lawrie Bomar

    So excited to try!! Do you think a 9×9 inch pan would make much of a difference? I have had such a hard time finding a 8×8.

  182. Brittany W.

    I made these last night, and they are great. The only downside is that there were quite a few lumps when I added the flour, and now after they are baked, I can see little pockets of flour in the top layer of some of them. I had assumed they would break up or dissolve during baking, but they did not. Should I have used a mixer or egg beater or something when incorporating the flour?

  183. Allison

    I made these last night to bring to work today (along with the Blueberry Crumble Bars) and they were great. I used strawberry puree instead of raspberry, and chilled them overnight after baking. The very middle of my batch didn’t set as much as the rest of the pan, but nothing terrible, and it definitely didn’t stop us from devouring them!

  184. Sher

    I’d still love (when you have nothing better to do of course, LOL) to see an option to print your recipes that includes the beautiful photos. I’ve added them in with publishing programs but of course that takes longer than just hitting “print.” Thanks for all you do and share! And as soon as it gets below 90 degrees in Oregon, we are SOOOOO making these!

  185. Michelle

    The flavor of these bars was great! I did find the filling a little rubbery as written, however, so when I made these a second time, I used approximately half of the listed amount of flour and baked the bars for only 22 minutes, which made nicely soft but not oozy lemon bars. Because of the reduced baking time, the shortbread layer was a little soft in the middle, so I’d probably bake the crust by itself for a few minutes longer.

  186. KJ Regan

    Mom & I love how this recipe turned out. It’s pretty & tasty! The crust to filling ratio is perfection. Don’t rush stirring the flour in. Personally, I added an extra splash of lemon juice, but I will definitely keep this recipe in my arsenal!

  187. Marcy

    First of all, I have been following you for years, own all of your cookbooks, have made 75% of your recipes, and lastly, give your cookbook to every bride as a gift. So, embarrassing as it, to say I’m a fan, is an understatement:) Thank you for all the wonderful, elegant entertaining recipes!
    Unfortunately, I did not have good luck with this recipe (twice!) and would love to find out what I did wrong? I made it exactly like the recipe but my flour would not mix into the raspberry batter. So I thought, “that’s okay, it will cook into the batter”. But it didn’t and so when I cut them into pieces, I had raw flour lumps/pieces through. The second time I sifted the flour into the batter and I still had a hard time mixing. Maybe my mixture is too cold??? Help! The taste is amazing otherwise!

  188. Sara

    These were easy, quick, and very attractive – I brought them to an outdoor baby shower barbeque. 10/10 for those qualities. They were a hit at the event, but are not tart or lemony enough for me – I love Deb’s lemon curd and lemon pies, and these just don’t have a satisfying pucker. (And I decreased the sugar by 2 tbsps based on other comments). I would make them again, but diminish the sugar significantly.

  189. Beth Rosenthal

    What a great idea. I have a pink Lemonade lemon tree in my yard, so I’ll substitute the pink flesh lemons for the lemon in your whole-lemon Lemon Bars, which I made recently and which are awesome!

  190. jjjeanie

    I adore SK, and it’s my go-to since I tasted the chocolate banana bread in a teacher break room about 6 years ago. However, I was a bit disappointed by these. The base doesn’t cook as hard (crunchy) as I like, even though I added a few extra minutes, based on another comment. The lemonade layer, while delicious, was just a bit rubbery, also as someone else said. I’ll keep coming to my beloved SK, but I probably won’t make this again. To be clear: not a fail, at all, just not outstanding, as I’ve come to expect from Deb. –I still love you though! ;>
    btw, the only change I made was slightly less sugar in the lemonade layer, and the sweetness was perfect.

  191. tea

    These were super easy to make and even easier to eat. I made them as directed, and they turned out as pictured, even though my food processor did not incorporate the flour into the butter very well. There was a lot of flour left at the bottom of the bowl, so I just mixed and pressed it together by hand in the prepared pan. This raspberry-lemon flavoured one-two punch is an unstoppable combination that won the husband seal of approval. Thanks, Deb. {head bow}

  192. jenifer haehn

    I made the base from the cherry browned butter squares(it’s easier),
    added 1 t lemon zest, omitted the vanilla. Buzzed up strawberries instead of raspberries(because I had them, did not strain either) used 4-5 T (more pink)
    Also mixed the flour and sugar for the filling separately, then added to egg/lemon/puree mixture – no flour lumps!!!! I love this recipe and it doubles well to make a 9 x 13 pan. Moreover, I love all your recipes so very much!!
    Thank you

  193. Amanda K.

    My husband’s raspberry patch here in our Indiana yard will be producing plump berries very soon. I’m not fond of raspberries as they are — I can’t get over crunching on seeds, so I love to find ways to use seedless puree. Thanks for this recipe! It’s printed and on my fridge for when we are up to our ears in fresh raspberries!

  194. FF

    How far ahead of serving can you dust the powdered sugar on top without having it be absorbed by the lemonade layer? The taste probably wouldn’t be affected but I don’t want to lose the pretty white visual effect. Would 2 hours pre-serving be too long if they were kept covered & in the refrigerator?

    1. Amanda K.

      I think as long as the bars are completely cooled, you should still see the powdered sugar. I’ve done powdered sugar after cooling the bars completely and could still see the pretty white layer later. I will say powdered sugaring-ing in advance isn’t as pretty, so I do a “touch up” right before serving bars to guests. Another thing you might try is sticking them in the freezer. My husband swore by it and has me now hooked! The lemonade layer doesn’t freeze, and the crust, since it’s shortbread-y maybe, is a nice, firm texture. Just my two cents!

  195. Lee

    First time making lemon bars, and despite my constant failures with shortbread dough (mine came out MUCH more dry and crumbly) and the tops of the lemon layer looking odd (some of the flour refused to whisk in and it looks like bits of the cookie are on top), they taste pretty good. If I made them again, I’d make them for an event I was hosting at my home as even after letting the bars get to room temperature after putting them in the fridge, the powdered sugar melted right into them

  196. Ainslee

    I have no raspberries but an abundance of rhubarb. I’ve made your rhubarb picnic bars and love them, but wondering if I could try rhubarb in these too instead of raspberries?