Rhubarb Lemon Bars

I’ve had these on my mind for awhile. The perfect marriage of tart & tart, lemon and rhubarb were made for each other. All you need to do here is chop fresh rhubarb (fairly finely, or at least not in enormous chunks – go for the size you might cut celery to add to a salad) and scatter it over a baked shortbread base before pouring the lemon filling on top. Those thin red stalks of tender rhubarb are perfect here.

My standard shortbread base has half the butter of a traditional one – generally it’s 1/2 cup butter to 1 cup flour, and I use 1/4 cup butter to a scant cup of flour. (It’s easy and almost instantaneous in a food processor.) The result is a crumbly mixture that doesn’t appear to be moist enough to work, but pat it into the pan and it totally does.

It will crack a bit as it bakes – that’s OK. You won’t notice one bit once the filling is poured overtop. And that trimming of just 1/4 cup of butter equals about 44 grams of fat and 400 calories. So why not? You’ll never notice the difference.

I cut these while they were still a little warm – everyone was outside waiting for dessert. The secret to cutting gooey, sticky-filled bars like this cleanly? Freeze them first. Then flip them out of their 8″x8″ pan onto a cutting board and cut into neat squares or bars. Set them on a serving tray and they’ll thaw in about 20 minutes. Everyone will ask you how you cut your bars so cleanly.

Rhubarb Lemon Bars


July 3, 2011

  • Makes: Makes 12 bars or 16 squares.



1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 scant cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour

pinch salt


1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

pinch salt

2 large eggs

grated zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)

1 1/2 cups fairly finely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

icing sugar for sprinkling


1Preheat oven to 350°F.

2In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add flour and salt and stir until well combined and crumbly.

3Press into the bottom of an 8” x 8” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden around the edges.

4In the same bowl (no need to wash it), combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until well blended and smooth.

5Sprinkle the rhubarb evenly over the base, and pour the lemon filling over top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting or freezing. Cut into squares or bars, and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.


I’ve decided to share a few links to rhubarby things that have been inspiring me lately. If you’re looking for inspiration for your ginormous rhubarb plant, or that healthy, ruby-red one down the alley your neighbours seem to be neglecting, Gwendolyn has some pretty tasty looking rhubarb pudding cakes, Tara has a lovely rhubarb story, and Simple Bites served up a rhubarb upside-down cake.

And Lottie + Doof have an absolutely heart-stopping rhubarb raspberry crostata that has just shot to the top of my must-make list.


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26 comments on “Rhubarb Lemon Bars

  1. Kalyn
    July 4, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I’ve never been a rhubarb fan, but with this I think I could go for it because I love lemon and the combination sounds amazing.

  2. Cheryl
    July 4, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Oh yum!
    And I can attest to Aimee’s upside down rhubarb cake being very, very tasty.

  3. Sue. D
    July 4, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Looks and sounds amazing…you’re brilliant!

    Might just make these for breakfast. As long as I have some yoghurt too it’s still healthy, right?

    • JulieVR
      July 4, 2011 at 8:44 am

      Absolutely! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUE!!

  4. mmac
    July 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Yummm. I’ve been eating rhubarb stewed, with strawberries and Greek yogurt, all weekend (and, true confessions, stewed, straight from the Tupperware, standing in front of the fridge). But I’m ready to do more and these are perfect. Thanks!

  5. CathyH
    July 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    This sounds divine! Anything with lemon is my favourite. I also have an abundance of rhubarb and made syrup on the weekend. I am going to take some, along with Prosecco to our family reunion in a few weeks. Hopefully, the karaoke will sound much better with it!

  6. Natalie (ga)
    July 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    We just visited Minnesota with rhubarb at every corner. It made me so hungry for it… and now all your great recipes. Should have stolen some of it 🙂 No one I know grows it here in Ga. I guess it needs a winter. May try to grow it anyway ….

  7. Marg
    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Could this square be frozen? . . . if it ever made it that far?!?!? Always like to plan ahead.

    PS. LOVE your Blog!

  8. erin
    July 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Julie, thank you for your previous post about rhubarb syrup – I have a big pot bubbling on the stove right now!

  9. Janine
    July 6, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Like you, rhubarbs have been on my mind lately, and your posts are just giving me so much great inspiration! I just tried the rhubarb strawberry tarts and am going to attempt this and the cheesecake in a jar pretty soon 🙂

  10. Lisa K
    July 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Looks yummy! Any suggestions on how you could make the lemon topping without the eggs? (allergy) Do you think egg-replacer would do it or would it need more substance?

  11. Jess Wakasugi
    July 6, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Oo, what a wonderful combo! Are these just like regular lemon bars (except, of course, with rhubarb)? They look and sound fantastic!

  12. Jennifer Jo
    July 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I made these, but with red raspberries in place of the rhubarb. Absolutely DELICIOUS! http://bit.ly/nzQLX0

  13. Sasha @ The Procrastobaker
    July 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Beautiful recipe, I have never had the rhubarb lemon combo but you are right, they would be perfect together! I sadly think we have used all our fresh rhubarb this year but i am definitely saving this incase some more comes our way 🙂 looks irresistibly yummy

  14. Kathy
    July 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    these will be perfect for our RV vacation later this summer. Do they freeze well?

  15. kitchen witch jenny
    July 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I too fell in love with the Raspberry Rhubarb Crostata and riffed on it with a Raspberry Rhubarb Pudding Cake. How wonderful that you’ve found yet another fruit for rhubarb to be friends with!

  16. kitchen witch jenny
    July 8, 2011 at 10:18 am

    P.S. Lemon Bars do freeze well.

  17. Meghan
    July 9, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    These were delightful (were, as the ones I made are already gone) – the rhubarb was such a great addition to my already favourite square; LOVED the crust too Julie!

  18. mmac
    July 11, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Made these yesterday and served with lemon gelato and a few raspberries as garnish (first BC raspberries at the Calgary Farmers’ Market this weekend. Yippee!). Got rave reviews. My husband thought I’d bought them at a bakery — they were that good 🙂

  19. Vic
    August 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I just tried these but I substituted a lot, only used one heaped tb butter in base, and substituted half the flour with almond meal. Then I added coconut and strawberries with the filling and cut the sugar by half, they are sooo sweet, moist and delicious!

  20. margaret
    July 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    would these freeze ok… I would like to make them and freeze a couple of batches thank you

    • Julie
      July 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Margaret – yes, they freeze beautifully!

      • Jennifer
        March 1, 2020 at 5:53 pm

        Yum, this came out terrific! The combination of lemon and rhubarb was just as tasty as I expected. Thank you for the recipe!

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    July 17, 2013 at 11:41 am

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  22. Kate
    June 11, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Accidentally mixed the rhubarb with the lemony egg mixture because I was distracted by listening to a podcast interview with Anthony Bourdain. In his spirit, I said f**k it, and dumped the whole thing in the pan anyway. Although not beautiful, it is tasty. I imagine he would approve.

    • Julie
      June 18, 2018 at 9:43 am

      I’m sure he would. <3

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