Do Lemon Bars Need to Be Refrigerated?

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If you have ever tried a lemon bar, you must already know that there is no going back. Though most people prefer chocolate cookies and other chocolate recipes for their desserts, lemon bars are the best option for non-chocolate lovers. 

However, like all other desserts, with lemon bars, you also need to ensure that all the leftover pieces are stored rightly so you can satisfy your sweet cravings the next time easily. But storing lemon bars isn’t easy, considering they are too soft, moist, and jiggly. 

But don’t worry; I am here to help you with some easy methods to store your lemon bars correctly. I will also try to provide you with an appropriate answer to the question, “Do lemon bars need to be refrigerated?” 

Lastly, I will take you through an excellent lemon bar recipe you can try making and answer some common questions about these citrusy bars. 


Is It Necessary to Refrigerate Lemon Bars? 

It won’t be wrong to say that lemon bars are one of the most simple yet sensitive desserts you can find out there. Not only is their serving and keeping hard, but their storage is also accompanied by many challenges. 

The best way to store lemon bars for a long time is to keep them in a refrigerator. However, before refrigerating them, you must put them in an airtight container. This not only keeps the fragrance of other food items in your fridge from reaching the bars but also prevents any bacterial growth or foodborne illness from reaching them. 

Though storing or refrigerating other desserts is also crucial, what makes the refrigeration of lemon bars an essential phenomenon is the presence of eggs in their filling. If these bars are kept in the danger zone, i.e., at 41 and 153 degrees Fahrenheit, they are likely to suffer from bacterial infection. 

To provide you with a concise and precise answer, yes, if you want to be able to consume the leftover lemon bars in the future, it’s crucial for you to put the bars in the refrigerator after shifting them to an airtight container. 


Methods To Store Lemon Bars

If this is your first time having leftover lemon bars lying around on your countertop and you have no idea what to do with them, here are 3 methods you can use to store them. 

Method #1: On the Shelf 

The first method you can use to store your lemon bars for up to 2 days is to keep them on the countertop. However, for this method, you have to ensure that the bars are not too moist and there is no heating or humidifying agent around them. 

Before storing them on the shelf, put them in an airtight container and seal the lid tightly so no air, germs, or bacterial growth can attack your bars. 

As far as storing the bars on the countertop, this can only work for 1 to 2 days, after which you have to shift the bars to the refrigerator to make them last longer. 

Method #2: Refrigerating the Lemon Bars 

The most common method for storing lemon bars is keeping them in the fridge. More than a luxury, it’s a basic requirement for keeping the lemon bars fresh and safe to be consumed afterward. 

Here is what you have to do to store your lemon bars in the fridge: 

  1. Place the lemon bars gently in an airtight container. 
  2. Once you have carefully arranged all the bars in the container, seal it tightly. 
  3. Now, the container is all set to be kept in the fridge. 
  4. One thing you need to be mindful of if you are stacking the lemon bars over one another is to place a sheet of parchment paper between them. This will keep the bars from sticking to each other. 
  5. Ensure that the refrigerator’s temperature isn’t between 41 to 53 degrees Fahrenheit as this cannot prevent bacterial growth. 

Method #3: Freezing the Bars 

The last method on the list is freezing the bars. Considering that lemon bars actually have custard in them, it’s not recommended to keep them out on the shelf for too long. Though you can also refrigerate them to extend their storage life to 7 days, if you want to go beyond that, nothing can work better than freezing them. 

Here are the steps you need to follow to freeze the lemon bars: 

  1. Firstly, take a piece of wax paper and cut it into equal rectangles. 
  2. Ensure to keep the size of your lemon bars in mind while cutting the square rectangles. 
  3. Now, wrap all the lemon bars separately in each of the rectangular wax papers. 
  4. Wrap the bars in plastic cling wrap now. 
  5. Once you have double-wrapped all the bars, arrange them in a plastic box with a lid. 
  6. Place the box at the back of the freezer to keep them away from any odor from other items in the freezer. 
  7. Ensure that the box is kept in a place where it is not affected by temperature fluctuations. 
  8. Keeping the box at the back of the freezer will also prevent any warmth from the outside from reaching the box just when you open the door. 


How to Defrost Lemon Bars? 

Now that you have looked at various methods for storing lemon bars, and the one you prefer the most is the freezing one as you aim to make the bars last for a long time, here is how you can defrost the bars easily. 

  1. For defrosting the bars, start off by removing them from the freezer first. 
  2. Only take out as many lemon bars as you are planning to consume right away. 
  3. Now unwrap the bars and place them on a tray or large serving dish. 
  4. Keep the bars on the countertop for around 30 minutes to defrost them,
  5. You can also put the bars in an airtight container and leave them in the fridge overnight to defrost them. 
  6. Your lemon bars are all set to be consumed now. For better taste, sprinkle sugar icing on them. 


For How Long Do Lemon Bars Stay Good? 

Be it refrigerating the lemon bars or freezing them, this is all done to increase their storage time and is purposed to keep them good for a long time. But one thing you might be wondering about at this point is, after doing all this, how long do the bars actually stay good for? 

Well, their storage time, as pretty obvious, varies depending on the storage method you plan to go for. For instance, if you don’t want to put so much effort into refrigerating or freezing them and you just keep them on the countertop, they will be all good to be consumed for the next 2 days. 

However, if you decide to take the extra step and put some effort into refrigerating them, this can increase their storage time to up to 5 to 7 days. Refrigerating them will also help you maintain their shape, more or less, and will prevent them from spoilage. 

But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making lemon bars over and over again, and you just make the batter once and want to be able to use the bars for at least a month, you must choose to freeze. 

As far as freezing is concerned, this will increase the storage time of bars and keep them good for around a month. During this time, you can take out as many bars as you want, considering that all of them are wrapped separately, defrost them and consume them. 


How To Make Lemon Bar? 

Considering that you are on this page, looking for methods to store your lemon bars, it’s understood that you already know how to make them. But, when it comes to recipes, one is never enough. I believe that it’s best to keep an eye on more recipes, and who knows, you might end up finding a recipe that’s better and easier than yours. 

Here is a simple step-by-step recipe along with the ingredients list that I like the best for making lemon bars: 

Ingredients to Use: 

For making lemon bars, you need to mix ingredients separately to make the crust first and prepare the filling on the other side. 

Ingredients for the Crust 

Here is what you need to make the crust of your lemon bars: 

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs – 1 & ½ Cup 
  • Unsalted Butter – 6 tbsp 

Ingredients for Filling 

  • Eggs (Large) – 6 
  • White Sugar (Granulated) – 3 Cups 
  • Lemon Juice – 1 Cup 
  • Powdered Sugar – ¼ Cup 
  • Lemon Zest – 3 tbsp 
  • All-Purpose Flour – 1 Cup 


Here are the steps you need to follow to make those perfect square lemon bars you might have always wanted to try: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before moving to the preparation phase. 
  2. Use a food processor to grind the graham crackers thoroughly into fine crumbs. 
  3. Put some drops of melted butter into the crumbs and rerun the food processor till the crumbs become moist. 
  4. Shift the crumbs to a baking pan (9 by 13 inches) greased with butter thoroughly. 
  5. Use a cup to press the crumbs’ paste into the pan. 
  6. Put the baking pan into the oven now and set the timer for 7 to 9 minutes. 

Now, for making the filling, here is what you need to do: 

  1. Add eggs, lemon zest, Sugar, all-purpose flour, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Whisk all the components together till they form a well-combined mixture. 
  3. Pour the mixture on top of the baked crust. 
  4. Set the timer of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. 
  5. Once the mixture is set well, take it out and let it cool down for 30 minutes. 
  6. Now use a sharp-edged knife to cut the baked lemon cake into equal squares. 
  7. Sprinkle the powdered Sugar on top of the bars using a flour sift. 
  8. Your lemon bars are all set to be served. 




Is It Safe to Leave Out Lemon Bars Overnight? 

Yes, you can leave the lemon bars out on the countertop for the entire night, and this won’t spoil the bars for you. Regarding this, if the bars are kept out in a room that’s cold, you can safely consume them for the next two to three days. 

However, considering that keeping them outside exposes them to a higher risk of bacterial growth, it’s best to eat them up within 24 hours. However, the best thing that can be done in this regard is to cover them with a plastic cling wrap before putting them in an airtight container. 

Why Do the Lemon Bars Get Gooey At Times? 

One of the main reasons for your lemon bars to appear gooey is that you have probably not baked them well, i.e., they are underbaked. For lemon bars to cook properly, they need to get to a certain temperature and remain there for a certain time. If you have taken them out of the oven before the required time, they might suddenly appear gooey. 

Another reason for the bars to get gooey is a large amount of liquid being used in their filling. While making your bars, ensure to stick to the quantity of all the ingredients properly to save yourself from such mishaps. 

What Makes the Lemon Bars Go Brown? 

There are multiple reasons why your lemon bars could turn brown. Some of them include the ingredients being used in their making, the time and temperature at which you bake them, and the oxidation of the eggs that are included in the batter. 

The first thing that could make the bars go brown is the Maillard reaction. If you don’t know about it, check out this guide. Anyways, the Milliard reaction between the proteins and carbohydrates could make the bars go brown, which, in this case, happens between Sugar and egg. 

Another thing that could contribute to the lemon bars turning brown is the temperature at which your bars are baked and overbaked. Leaving the bars inside the oven for too long could result in overcooking, ultimately making the bars go brown. 

The oxidation of the eggs in the recipe is the last thing that could make the bars go brown. 


Conclusion – Do Lemon Bars Need to Be Refrigerated?

In this guide, I have provided you with a detailed answer to the most common question you might have regarding lemon bars, i.e., “Do Lemon Bars Need to Be Refrigerated?” I also took you some methods you can use for storing the bars efficiently. 

Additionally, I explored some other factors about lemon bars with you, including their storage time, the method you can use to defrost the bars, what makes the bars go brown, and some other concerns that might come your way while dealing with lemon bars. 

Lastly, I shared a simple and easy-to-follow recipe for making lemon bars at home. Hopefully, this guide has covered everything you might need to know regarding lemon bars and their storage. The only thing you are left with now is to enjoy them with all your heart! 


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