Lemon-Rhubarb Bars

This week’s featured recipe tastes just like lemon bars but with the added flavor (and pretty color) that comes from our favorite spring vegetable. These lemon-rhubarb bars are easy and delicious.

By Amy Traverso

Apr 13 2022


Just like lemon bars, but with the added flavor (and pretty color) that comes from our favorite spring vegetable/fruit.

Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

Do you love rhubarb as much as I do? I love its color (in the red varieties, at least), its early spring arrival, and most of all its extraordinary tartness. For those who appreciate a good pucker, I’d argue that Sour Patch Kids have nothing on a piece of rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb is also surprisingly versatile, adding its bright acidity to any number of sweet and savory recipes. In puréed form, it can do much the same job as lemon juice, which is exactly what inspired these lovely rhubarb-lemon bars. They have what makes regular lemon bars so irresistible — the contrast between the tart topping and the buttery shortbread base — but the rhubarb adds color and tart berry notes. And while you do need just a bit of patience, since they require a few hours in the refrigerator to set, they couldn’t be easier to make.

One last note: The pink color of the rhubarb pureé can sometimes fade with baking. If vivid pink bars are what you crave, you can add a few drops of pure pomegranate juice or beet juice to the topping to bump up the color.


About 20 bars

For the shortbread crust


2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat your oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position. Grease the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, then line with a piece of parchment paper that’s long enough to drape over the sides of the pan.

In a large bowl, use a handheld or stand mixer on low speed to combine the butter, flour, sugar, and salt until they come together as a dough. Press this evenly into the bottom of the baking pan, then bake until it’s just beginning to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

For the topping


3/4 pound (6–10 stalks, depending on size) red rhubarb, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting


In a 3- or 4-quart pot, combine the chopped rhubarb with the water and 1/3 cup sugar. Set over medium-high heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is completely broken down, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Use an immersion or standing blender to completely purée the rhubarb, then add the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks. Once the rhubarb purée is cool enough to touch, add it to the eggs and whisk to combine, then stir in the flour until smooth.

Pour the topping over the shortbread crust and bake until it’s set and barely beginning to turn golden at the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then chill, uncovered, for at least 3 hours.

Run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the slab, then lift it out in one piece and cut into equal squares. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.