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Lemon Bars with Olive Oil & Sea Salt

Lemon bars – who doesn’t adore these sunshine yellow morsels of happiness? This is our take on Melissa Clark of NYT Cooking’s classic lemon bar recipe.

sea salt olive oil lemon bars

We’re big lemon and citrus curd lovers here at the Culinary Cartel. So it stands to reason that lemon bars – the lemon tart’s sassy little cousin – would be a firm fave. And so they are! These lemon bars have got it all.

As a modern and sophisticated update to the classic, these zingy little bars feature flaky, short pastry, heapings of tangy lemon curd, and are finished with a light sprinkling of sugar and salt. Utterly sublime! 

To make these divine lemon bars, you will need only supermarket staple ingredients, a bit of patience, and plenty of butter! This recipe requires 10 basic ingredients and is ready in about 90 minutes. 

This recipe makes about 24 bars, so it’s perfect to make for a special event or as a gift and will last for five days or so in the fridge. However, they are best enjoyed fresh, so don’t feel guilty if you scoff them as soon as they’re cool enough! 

For more lemon and citrus curd recipes, make sure to check out some of our favourites

If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. To view our recipe video on Instagram click here. Happy cooking!

sea salt olive oil lemon bars

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we use olive oil to make the lemon bars?

Olive oil adds refreshing bitterness to this dish, which contrasts against the sweetness, saltiness and tanginess of the lemon bars. This enables these flavours to stand out more, adding complexity and deliciousness! 

Why sprinkle them with sea salt?

As with the olive oil, the addition of sea salt flakes enhances the flavour, elevating the lemon curd flavour. 

How long can I keep the lemon bars?

They will keep covered in the refrigerator for about five days. However, they are best enjoyed within 24 hours of baking. 


sea salt olive oil lemon bars
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sea salt olive oil lemon bars

Lemon Bars with Olive Oil and Flaky Sea Salt

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 24 Lemon Bars
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Lemon bars – who doesn’t adore these sunshine yellow morsels of happiness? This is our take on Melissa Clark of NYT Cooking’s classic lemon bar recipe.




  • 1 1/4 cups/155g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup/50g granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp/25g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 10 Tbsp/142g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Lemon Curd

  • 4 to 6 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups/300g sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 3 yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp/5g cornstarch
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp/57g butter
  • 1/4 cup/60ml fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • icing sugar and flaky sea salt, to sprinkle


  1. Heat oven to 160 degrees C and line a 23cm square baking pan with enough baking paper to hang over two of the sides (to be used as handles later to lift the bars out of the pan).
  2. To make the shortbread base, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, icing sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor, or whisk together in a large bowl. Add the butter and pulse (or use two knives or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour until a crumbly dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake until the shortbread is pale golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. While the shortbread is baking, prepare the lemon curd: Grate 1/2 tablespoons of zest from the lemons and set it aside. Squeeze the lemons and set aside 3/4 cup of juice.
  4. In a small pot, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch and fine sea salt over medium heat until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Ensure the mixture comes to a boil and stays there for 30 seconds or so; it should thicken before removing from the heat.  Once the curd boils do not cook for longer than 1 minute or you risk the curd thinning out again. Remove the curd from the heat and strain it into a bowl. Whisk in the butter, olive oil and lemon zest.
  5. When the shortbread is ready, remove it from the oven and carefully pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base; then return the pan to the oven. Bake until the curd is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with icing sugar and flaky sea salt right before serving.


  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 Hour
  • Category: Baked Goods
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 180.29kcal
  • Sugar: 16.38g
  • Sodium: 58mg
  • Fat: 10.03g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.84g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4.76g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.01g
  • Fiber: 0.35g
  • Protein: 1.62g
  • Cholesterol: 53.67mg
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