Vanilla Bean Lemon Bars

by Megan on May 12, 2014

Vanilla Bean Lemon Bars // take a megabite

Once, my friend Jessica brought me vanilla bean lemonade! And last week Cindy made Vanilla Mint Lemonade Pops, so the truth is vanilla bean and lemons are just meant to be! And I just love the speckles in these bars. I kinda want a dress in the exact pattern, ya know? The truth is, the vanilla is super subtle in these guys, but don’t let that stop you. These guys could win a contest based on their looks alone!

Vanilla Bean Lemon Bars // take a megabite

So if you’ve got spare lemons hanging around (like I did) and you’ve been known to eat lemon bars on the way to delivering them to a friend (like I have) then these are meant for you this week. I recommend serving them after cake or before brunch. Maybe put them in a striped bag to send home with your brother, maybe make them with your mom when she’s visiting for the weekend, but mostly just give them a shot, ok?

Vanilla Bean Lemon Bars // take a megabite

Vanilla Bean Lemon Bars
Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


crust –

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt + more for sprinkling
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 t grated lemon zest
  • seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean

lemon business –

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 6 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 t grated lemon zest
  • seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean


  1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  2. Make crust. Mix all of the crust ingredients together with an electric mixer beating until mixture resembles crumbs.
  3. Press evenly into the base of a 8 or 9-inch square pan.Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. Make lemon business. Whisk together all of the lemon business ingredients. Pour carefully over the slightly cooled and par-baked crust and return to the hot oven. Bake for 20 more minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the lemon topping has set. Cool completely on a wire rack before covering and refrigerating overnight. Slice and serve powdered sugar.

Yay! Click HERE for a printable pdf of the recipes above.

Vanilla Bean Lemon Bars // take a megabite

And that’s my mom! (Action shot!)

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

mum May 12, 2014 at 8:23 am

These are SO good…even if I did squeeze the lemons myself! So tart/sweet and refreshing! I think one is going in my purse for on the airplane!! I will be the envy of ALL the other passengers 🙂 .
Love you most of all!!


Abby @ The Frosted Vegan May 12, 2014 at 8:45 am

Ohhh those specks are so dang cute! Love these!


Erika May 12, 2014 at 9:29 am

Vanilla Bean and lemons and bars.. I can get down with these yo…


Nicole May 12, 2014 at 9:40 am

I want to live on lemon bar mountain and how cute is your mom? She’s right, she will be the envy of all the passengers! Vanilla bean flecks will always make me happy and I love that you added them to lemon bars.


Molly @Doughvelopment May 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

Speckled! Freckled! LOVE.
Diggin’ that mountain range too!


Eileen May 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm

These lemon bars sound nothing short of amazing! The vanilla bean specks kind of remind me of the classic lemon poppyseed. Actually, that would be an interesting lemon bar variation too! 🙂


JanetFCTC May 12, 2014 at 7:36 pm

I adore lemon bars and usually throw a quart or six of vanilla extract in mine hehe. I’ll definitely have to try this version using the real bean!

I love the deer on the Lemon bar mountain btw. Lol.


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar May 13, 2014 at 7:52 am

Waaaaaant!! Also, your mom is adorable!


DessertForTwo May 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

These are so cute! I’m so in love with the lemon bar mountain range photo 🙂


Sophie May 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Your mom is adorable! I see where you get your cutes! 🙂 YES to these lemon bars — how have lemon bars not always had vanilla? The little mountain of them you made — perfection 🙂


Laura Dembowski May 15, 2014 at 8:40 am

I’m a lemon bar addict. Of course I love vanilla too, so it only makes sense that I need these in my life!


Heather | Heather Christo May 17, 2014 at 8:34 pm

I want a big ol’ plate of these bars! Just gorgeous! Pinned


Chrissy February 15, 2015 at 1:05 pm

I would have never have thought to put vanilla bean paste in lemon bars! These were tasty as hell. My personal preference is a crust that is a little thinner so next time I might spread the base out over two smaller pans. I had a friend over to make a taco piñata ( ) who turned out to be a lemon bar freak so she helped end the dispute my boyfriend and I were having over the last piece….


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