Lemon bars freeze particularly well due to the citric acid and the sugar contained in the recipe. These act as preservatives and keep the lemon bars’ quality.
Lemon bars are made from a base of a crumbly shortbread, filled with a sweet and lemony set custard. This can be tricky to freeze, but the lemon bars are quite a stable baked treat and freeze well.
Lemon bars are remarkably simple to make, using under 10 ingredients! The main things you will need for lemon bars are butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, salt, eggs, and lemon juice.
If stored correctly, lemon bars can be frozen for up to 6 months. For best results, we advise eating within 2 months.
How to freeze lemon bars
The simplest method for freezing lemon bars is to cook them and then allow to cool completely. Do not dust with icing sugar if you are intending to freeze the lemon bars.
Cover the tray of lemon bars with a layer of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Label with the contents and the date frozen before placing in the freezer.
If you are not freezing a whole tray, or do not wish to put your baking dish in the freezer, there is another way. Cut the lemon bars up into individual pieces and place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place in the freezer overnight and leave to freeze solid. The next morning, remove from the freezer and wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap. You can double wrap these in a second layer of aluminum foil, but this is not necessary.
Place the wrapped bars in a large ziplock freezer bag to store. Label clearly and press out as much of the excess air as possible. Return to the freezer for storage.
If you have dusted your lemon bars with icing sugar before freezing them, there is a way to prevent it going gummy. Wrap each individual lemon bar in a rectangle of parchment or wax paper. Encase tightly in plastic wrap and then place in a labeled ziplock bag for storage.
How to defrost lemon bars
Defrosting the lemon bars is very simple. Remove from the freezer the day before you wish to eat them. Place in the refrigerator and allow to thaw completely overnight for best results.
In a pinch, you can remove the bars from the freezer and unwrap. Place on a tray on the countertop for around 30 minutes to thaw.
Cut into bars and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Alternatively, you can eat the lemon bars straight from frozen.
If you want to heat up the lemon bars, place in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pop in the oven for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.
Factors to consider before freezing lemon bars
Lemon bars will freeze well due to the high concentration of lemon juice and sugar within the recipe. They both act as preservatives and will help to keep the lemon bars in a good condition.
Confectioners’ sugar does not hold up well in the freezer and can turn gummy when thawed. For this reason, we recommend freezing without the dusting of sugar and instead dusting just before serving.
We suggest cutting the lemon bars up into single slices before placing in the freezer. This means that you can thaw what you wish to eat faster and do not have to mess around with trying to cut up frozen bars.
Many people say the secret to clean cuts is by allowing the lemon bars to half freeze. Score the surface with a sharp knife where you want to cut.
Ram a large, sharp knife in a cup of boiling water. Press through the lemon bars to cut into single portions. Wipe the knife clean after each cut to ensure the edges are sharp.
We advise flash freezing and individually wrapping the lemon bars for storage. This prevents them from sticking together as they freeze and helps them to retain their shape better. This also means that you can only thaw what you are intending to eat.
We suggest double wrapping the lemon bars if you are storing them for longer than a week. While the lemon bars hold up well to freezing, double wrapping helps to protect against freezer burn forming.
We suggest unwrapping your lemon bars as soon as you remove them from the freezer. This is to prevent the top of the bar sticking to the wrapping as it thaws. It also helps to prevent the lemon bars from becoming gooey and sticky when defrosted.
We do not advise refreezing thawed lemon bars. The milk and eggs contained in the custard are prone to harmful bacterial growth. Thawing and refreezing can cause these bacterial levels to rise to dangerous levels.
The harsh processes the lemon bars endure can also cause irreparable damage to the taste, texture, and consistency of the dessert.
You can freeze lemon bars. Despite containing ingredients that traditionally do not freeze well, such as milk and eggs, lemon bars stay in good condition after freezing. This is mainly due to the large quantities of lemon juice and sugar in the recipe, which act as preservatives.
We suggest cutting the lemon bars into single portions prior to freezing. This will help them to thaw faster and more evenly, and ensures you do not waste food.
It is important to double wrap the lemon bars to protect them against freezer burn forming. We advise placing inside a rigid container to store in the freezer. This will prevent the lemon bars from becoming deformed or misshapen during the freezing process.
Never refreeze thawed lemon bars. We hope that you now feel confident in your knowledge of how to freeze lemon bars. You will always have them on hand to offer to unexpected guests and never leave anyone going hungry.