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The Best Lemon Cake Mix Cookie Bars

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What is better than a cookie?  The answer is a cookie bar!  Lemon cake mix cookie bars to be exact and using a cake mix makes them even better.  These Easy Lemon Cookie Bars are covered with a simple lemon glaze and only require a handful of ingredients. 

A stack of lemon cake mix cookie bars on a white tray.
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There are so many things that make these easy Lemon Bars the BEST.   Here are the reasons you will be coming back to this lemon bar recipe again and again.

  • It starts with a boxed cake mix.  Starting with a lemon cake mix gives the cookie bars such wonderful flavor.  Like all recipes with cake mixes, it also means it’s super easy! This is the perfect quick dessert for any occasion. You can also use it to make these Lemon Cooler Cookies.
  • The lemon cake cookies are soft and super delicious!  The end result is a super soft lemon bar that is also amazingly delicious.  Between the lemon cookie bottom and the lemon glaze, these cookies are a super yummy treat.
  • They have great lemon flavor without being too much.  You might think that using a lemon cake mix would make these lemon bar cookies too lemony.  The good news is that it doesn’t and the thin lemon glaze compliments it perfectly.
  • This recipe can be made any time of year.  Sometimes we get stuck making lemon desserts in the spring and summer but not anymore.  This easy dessert recipe can easily be made all year long.

What goes into this Recipe

Ingredients needed to make lemon cake mix cookie bars.
  • Lemon Cake Mix: The perfect base for this soft lemon cookie base. I also use a box of cake mix for these Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes because it makes the best simple dessert.
  • Eggs: Added to the lemon cake mix to help bind the ingredients together and give the cookies a soft texture.
  • Butter: Everything’s better with butter but vegetable oil can also be used.
  • Lemon Juice & Zest: Using fresh lemon juice and lemon zest gives the cake mix a homemade look, feel and flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar: The powdered consistency is exactly what we need to get a smooth glaze on the cake mix lemon bars.

See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

I think this recipe is just perfect as is, but if you want to mix things up, here’s a couple ideas.

First, you could leave off the glaze. I love it, but classic lemon bars are finished with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar, which would be delicious here, too.

If you want to get a little crazy, try throwing some white chocolate chips into your lemon bar batter! This extra bit of indulgence pairs perfectly with the lemon flavors.

To add even more lemon flavor, top with lemon pie filling or add a couple drops of lemon extract. The lemon filling in these Lemon Bar Cookie Cups would be awesome on top.

  1. Combine the lemon cake mix, eggs, butter and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Mix using a hand held {or stand mixer} electric mixer until everything is combined {the dough will be sticky}.
  2. Spread or press the dough into the bottom of the prepared 9×13 baking dish. NOTE: You may have to lightly flour your hands to press it down without it sticking.
Making the lemon cookie dough and pressing it into a prepared pan.
  1. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the center of the bars are set but still soft. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice {starting with 1 tablespoon} and lemon zest in a small bowl. Whisk until you have a nice and thick but pourable glaze, adding more lemon juice as needed. Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled bars and spread out using an offset spatula. Allow the glaze to set up for 30 minutes.
Baking the cookie bars and adding a lemon glaze.

Expert Tips

  • Line the pan with parchment paper.  This simple step helps with a couple of things.  First of all, it will help keep the bars from sticking.  It also allows you to pull the cookies from the pan in one piece which makes cutting them into squares much easier.
  • Don’t over bake the bars.  It is so important that you bake the cookie bars long enough for them to cook through and set up but not so long that they get a hard texture.
  • After the cake mix lemon squares have cooled and before you cut them, refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes.  This will give the gooey bars a nice clean edge when you cut them.

Storage & Freezing

Store- The best way to store the easy lemon cake mix cookies is in an airtight container at either room temperature or in the refrigerator.  Put a layer of parchment paper between cookie bars so that they don’t stick together.  They will last 2-3 days.

Freeze- To freeze the tangy lemon bars, place them in an airtight container {or freezer zipper bag} and freeze for up to 3 months.  Be sure to put a layer of parchment paper between cookie bars if they are stacked to keep them from sticking together.

Recipe FAQs

How do I get a perfect cut on these bars?

The best way to get a perfect cut lemon bar is to refrigerate the bars.  Once the cookie bars have been glazed and cooled, refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes.
The time in the refrigerator will help set up the cookies and help to achieve a nice clean edge on each cookie bar when you cut them.

Can I use another type of frosting?

This lemon glaze is amazing but you could add a strawberry buttercream, marshmallow buttercream or even a raspberry cream cheese frosting for something a bit different.

Do Lemon Bars need to be refrigerated after baking?

I prefer to refrigerate a classic lemon bar but these lemon cake mix bars do not have to be refrigerated.  They will last longer in the refrigerator than at room temperature but it isn’t necessary. 

A dozen lemon cake mix cookie bars on a black cake plate.

Do you love lemon desserts?  Try these recipes!

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a ⭐️ review below and tag @practicallyhomemade on Pinterest!

A stack of lemon cake mix cookie bars on a white tray.
A lemon cake mix is transformed into moist and delicious lemon cookie bars, covered in tangy glaze and perfect for any celebration.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 16 bars
Calories: 192kcal
5 from 3 votes
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Ingredients

Lemon Bar

  • 1 box lemon cake mix {13.25 ounces}
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup butter {softened}
  • zest ½ lemon

Glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest other ½ lemon

Instructions

Lemon Bars

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine the lemon cake mix, eggs, butter and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Mix using a hand held {or stand} mixer until everything is combined {the dough will be sticky}.
  • Spread or press the dough into the bottom of the prepared 9×13 baking dish. NOTE: You may have to lightly flour your hands to press it down without it sticking.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the center of the bars are set but still soft. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Glaze

  • Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice {starting with 1 tablespoon} and lemon zest in a small bowl. Whisk until you have a nice and thick but pourable glaze, adding more lemon juice as needed.
  • Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled bars and spread out using an offset spatula. Allow the glaze to set up for 30 minutes.
  • Pull the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and cut into 16 even squares. Serve and enjoy. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Notes

    • Line the pan with parchment paper.  This simple step helps with a couple of things.  First of all, it will help keep the bars from sticking.  It also allows you to pull the cookies from the pan in one piece which makes cutting them into squares much easier.
  •  
    • After the cake mix lemon squares have cooled and before you cut them, refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes.  This will give the gooey bars nice clean edge when you cut them.
    • The best way to store the easy lemon cake mix cookies is in an airtight container at either room temperature or in the refrigerator.  Put a layer of parchment paper between cookie bars so that they don’t stick together.  They will last 2-3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 207IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg
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