Easy Lemon Crème Brûlée Dessert Bars

These Lemon Crème Brûlée Dessert Bars are a lightened, easy twist on the classic dessert.

Traditional Crème Brûlée is delicious but it is loaded with whipping cream and egg yolks. This lightened version uses evaporated milk to give it creaminess.

I wanted a crust that was lighter than a typical shortbread crust or pastry. The recipe uses the lightest amount of unsalted butter I could go with that didn’t crumble in my hand.

The hint of lemon also adds to the brighter, lighter feel to the bars.

The photo looks a bit ominous due the scorched topping. I admit I was a bit worried when I removed the pan from under the broiler. But… they didn’t taste burned at all.

If you have a kitchen torch you may have more success with your presentations!

While the recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons of sugar to be sprinkled over the topping for caramelizing… I admit my hand ‘slipped’ a bit thinking more might be better.

Not so… if you are too generous with the sugar the thinner areas are very dark by the time the thicker parts have caramelized. Lesson learned!

Regardless of being the ‘ugly duckling’ of dessert bars – they taste delicious. Warm-ish from the oven they are creamy and you can eat them with a fork. But- I really like them after they have chilled thoroughly. The texture is a bit sturdier and they work well to be hand held.

Stack of Creme Brulee squares on plate.

Easy Lemon Crème Brûlée Dessert Bars

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Resting Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 9 Squares


  • 8" square baking pan



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsps unsalted chilled butter


  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz evaporated milk
  • 4 oz lemon juice fresh is best
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsps sugar for topping



  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray and 8 X 8" baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. Cut butter in with a pastry cutter or in your food processor. Ensure there are no large lumps of butter. Mixture will appear dry. Press evenly into bottom of baking pan.
  • Bake as 350° for 15 minutes and allow to cool about 15 minutes.


  • Beat all filling ingredients- except for the 2 Tbsp of sugar- in order. When thoroughly mixed pour over crust and bake 35 – 40 minutes until center of custard comes clean when tested with a knife. Cool about 1 hour.
  • Preheat broiler. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsps sugar evenly around top of the baking pan. Broil about 2 minutes or until topping has caramelized.
  • Serve at room temperature with a fork or chilled as a dessert bar.


Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 283mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1mg
Easy Lemon Crème Brûlée Dessert Bars

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