A classic lemon bar is one of life’s nicest things, but sometimes you want to transcend nice. Here are 9 tweaks to the familiar lemon bar formula, from enhancements like cream cheese or coconut, to subbing other citrus for the filling. There’s a whole wide lemon bar world out there, yours for exploring!
1. Lemon Brownies
This brilliant recipe straddles bar and cake (there’s no chocolate in these; “brownie” refers to the dense, moist texture). A cream cheese frosting tops them off with style. Get the recipe.
2. Super Lemony Lemon Bars
These lemon bar do-overs have double the lemon flavor of standard recipes. There’s twice as much lemon juice in the filling, and a hit of lemon in the crust! Get the recipe.
3. Luscious Lemon Bars (Gluten Free)
An almond-meal crust (delicious even if you’re not concerned about avoiding gluten) and a lemony filling sweetened with honey make these golden bars delicious, no matter you’re dietary preferences. Get the recipe.
4. Blood Orange Bars
Ruby-red blood orange juice makes the filling beautiful, full of fresh citrus flavor. A nutty-tasting brown butter crust provides just the right anchor. Get the recipe.
5. Lemon Cream Cheese Bars
A super-tangy, lemon-spiked cream cheese filling bakes in a flaky, sugary crust. These lemon bars are as surprising as they are delicious. Get the recipe.
6. Lemon Lush
A crumbly-sweet pecan crust, and layers of cream-cheese filling and tangy lemon pudding make these festive bars the over-achievers of the lemon dessert world. Get the recipe.
7. Key Lime Pie Squares
From the gingersnap cookie crust to the authentic key lime–juice filling, these tangy, refreshing bars will transport you back to the Key West childhood you probably never had. Get the recipe.
8. Lemon Coconut Gooey Butter Bars
Yellow cake mix makes the crust easy, and a blend of cream cheese, lemon juice, and coconut extract makes the filling amazing. A brown sugar and coconut topping takes these bars over the top. Get the recipe.
9. Whole Meyer Lemon Bars
Extra-sweet, fragrant Meyer lemons—the quintessential California backyard lemon variety—turn these otherwise classic bars into delicious variation territory. Get the recipe.