No Bake Lemon Bars are a creamy lemon bar with a shortbread crust – totally no bake! These are like lemon pie meet lemon bar and they’re SO sweet, tart, and delicious.

lemon square on white plate with fork and bite missing.

Why You’ll Love No Bake Lemon Squares

Easy lemon bars are something that everyone needs to know how to make. Lemon bars are a quintessential dessert and one that is super easy to make.

Classic lemon bars have a baked shortbread crust and a lemon curd-like filling that bakes and sets in the oven. They’re delicious, especially with a thick and tart lemon layer paired with a sweet shortbread crust, but you have to bake them.

These no bake lemon bars are very easy to make with minimal ingredients. They have the perfect tang of lemon flavor paired with that sweet shortbread crust you expect, but you can make these without heating up your oven!

lemon square on white plate with fork.

Ingredients Needed

  • Shortbread Cookies and Butter to make the shortbread crust
  • Lemon Instant Pudding Mix – make sure it’s instant pudding
  • Milk – regular or nonfat, not nondairy
  • Cool Whip – any kind, thawed
  • Lemon Zest – punches up that lemon flavor! Fresh lemons always add a nice freshness to any recipe.

Want to punch up the lemon flavor? Swirl lemon curd on top! The lemon flavor is bursting in these no bake bars.

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

How to make No Bake Lemon Bars

  • Make your crust and press it into the bottom of your prepared baking pan.
  • Whisk the pudding mix with milk and lemon zest, then fold in cool whip.
  • Spread over crust and chill to set.
lemon square on white plate with fork.

Expert Tips

  • Instead of shortbread, you can use graham crackers, but you’ll need a few tablespoons more butter.
  • You need to use cow’s milk so the pudding will set up.
  • You can omit the lemon zest but it adds some freshness to the recipe.
  • The lemon curd swirl adds so much tart flavor! You could also use lemon pie filling.
  • Store bars covered in an airtight container in the fridge. These also freeze well!
lemon square on white plate with fork and bite missing.

No Bake Lemon Bars Recipe

5 from 2 votes
No Bake Lemon Bars have a shortbread crust and a creamy lemon filling. They’re the perfect no bake bar for summer.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Yield 12 bars
Serving Size 1 slice

Ingredients
 

  • 10 ounces shortbread cookies (like Walkers)
  • 6 tablespoons (84g) butter, melted
  • 1 box 3.4 ounces instant lemon pudding mix
  • ½ cup (119ml) milk (regular or nonfat)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • ½ cup lemon curd (optional)

Instructions

  • Place shortbread cookies in a gallon size bag. Use a rolling pin to crush the cookies.
  • Stir cookies with melted butter. Press crust into the bottom of an 8×8-inch pan. Chill while you prepare filling.
  • Whisk pudding mix with milk and lemon zest then fold in Cool Whip. Spread on top of prepared crust.
  • Optional: heat lemon curd in microwave just until spreadable (if needed; some lemon curds are stiff especially if they’ve been refrigerated). Drop spoonfuls on top of bars and swirl into the top.
  • Chill bars until set, about 2 hours. Slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 59mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon

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