The Country Cook: 3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars
                                                   

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars

You never know where a recipe will take you. I love the story of how this particular recipe plopped into my lap. While hanging out on facebook, answering some questions, I got a question from a reader named Toni (hi Toni!). She had a couple of cans of lemon pie filling in her pantry and she wanted some ideas on how to use them up. I suggested a recipe I had on the site here called Lemon Dream Cake. But I also decided to ask folks on facebook if they had any recipe suggestions. Well, someone did!  Sandi G. (Hi Sandi!), shared a crazy-easy recipe to use up a can of lemon pie filling.  And I fell in love with the idea of it because it only had 3 ingredients! Yep, only three. And because it's lemon and I just cannot resist anything lemon.  It sings to me. 
And because it's yellow. I love yellow.Yellow makes me happy. It is sunshine wrapped up in a color. Maybe that's why I love lemon flavors so much. It makes me happy before I even put it in my mouth. And I've been writing recipes long enough to know that low-ingredient recipes can be deceiving.  At first you think, "How can that be good with just that little bit in there?" But you go on and make it, hoping it will prove you wrong. And then it does. And it turns out amazing (usually.) Well folks, that is what this recipe will do. It will surprise you in it's simplicity and flavor. Don't try to make it more complicated. It really is only just 3 ingredients. So thank you Toni for asking that question and thank you to Sandi for sharing her recipe with the rest of us. Here it is...don't blink, you might miss it.
Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
1 can lemon pie filling
 Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. If you've followed my blog for a while, y'all know I'm a big fan of these nonstick sprays that have flour in it. It is so awesome for baking.
  In a bowl, combine softened butter with dry cake mix.
Mix until crumbly. Now at this point, you might think to yourself, this stuff is so crumbly, how is it going to pack into the baking dish and make a crust? Well, I thought the same thing. But it all pushes together nicely and bakes up so well.  Just make sure you are using real butter for this, I'm not so sure margarine would hold up in this recipe. But if anyone tries it, let me know.
Before you go any further, you'll need to set aside 1/2 cup of this crumbly mixture.
Take the rest of the crust mixture and press it into a 9x13 baking dish. Spread it out evenly and then just go around and pack it down in there with your hands.
Spoon lemon pie filling onto crust.
 Do your best to spread it out as evenly as possible. 
Then take the 1/2 cup of crust mixture that you set aside earlier and sprinkle all over lemon pie filling.
This is going to give you a nice little crumble topping.
Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes. The crumble on top will just start to turn a very light golden brown. Then slice up and serve. This crust slices up very nicely. I like to eat it while it is still a little warm but it was really good nice and cold from being stored in the refrigerator. I bet that would be delicious during the hot summer months.
 Here's a close up so you can see the layers.
Note: This should be covered and stored in the fridge.  I found if I just covered it and left it out that the crust would soften up a bit so put in the refrigerator if not eating it all the same day it's made.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe Here

56 comments :

  1. I am pinning this one! That looks wonderful and I love everything lemon!

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  2. I'm going to make these today as soon as the butter comes to room temperature! Sounds easy to make! I'm sure they will be gone in 2 days!

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  3. Sounds AWESOME!!! Also, I might try cherry filling!!!

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  4. I am making these soon! Thanks for sharing this simple and yummy recipe!

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  5. Yum! I can't wait to make this recipe. I love cake mix recipes.

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  6. Made these tonight!! Great! :-)

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  7. A Lemon Lover's Dream come true!! I love anything lemon and I think I found a new favorite:) You have several lemon recipes I'm going to try~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

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  8. A 3 ingredient recipe; that's crazy...Crazy is good! Even a non-baker can whip up a batch of these pretty bars.

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  9. This sounds fantastic! I'm going to make them for my boyfriend and I this weekend. Question first... how many ounces should the can of lemon pie filling be? Thank you! :)

    Sincerely,
    Autumn (the one with the military boyfriend) lol

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  10. I don't even like lemon anything (except for lemonade), but these look delicious and SUPER DUPER easy! I have to try this and might have to try it with other flavors too. Thanks!

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  11. How wonderful! I love this - it's easy and I can do it. :) I will be doing this very soon.

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  12. Brandie, although I'm not a big lemon fan, I think the flavor possibilites for this recipe are many...
    Mostly, I just wanted to say that your blog is one of my VERY favorites...and I subscribe to many blogs...and I'm always excited to see your emails. LOVE the Weekend Potluck! Keep doing what you're doing - it rocks!
    Debbie

    DebNJoizee919@aol.com

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  13. Just wondering if you have tried this recipe with a lemon cake ?
    Do you think maybe that would be over kill on the lemon flavor ?
    Thanks !

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  14. Trying this recipe but with chocolate cake and raspberry pie filling, hopefully it's yummy :)

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  15. YUM! I want to make these & do a blog review, fingers crossed they're as good as yours!;)

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  16. I am a bit picky with my lemon desserts. I like them to really taste like lemon, tangy lemon and not sweet and fake. How does this one turn out?

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  17. Thanks for sharing, looks good! Valerie

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  18. Fiddlesticks-hmmmm. Possibly. It just depends on how much you LOVE lemon.
    P. Lea, this is a sweet lemon dessert, not really tangy. ~Brandie

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  19. This was so easy and so very delicious. I still cant believe how simple it was! Great recipe!

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  20. Thank you Leah! I'm glad you liked this one!!

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  21. Hi! I've made something similiar but add the step of mixing the lemon filling with a block of cream cheese. Very yummy and helps up the tang factor a bit!

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  22. I tried this recipe tonight and it was delicious ! I only had margarine on hand it the crust turned out fine, but the crumble was not very crumbly. I would recommend using butter. It tastes a lot like the lemon girl scout cookies to me. My husband said that it tastes like a Hostess Lemon pie. I will say that I had a hard time finding the canned lemon pie filling. All 3 of the local grocery stores near me had shelf space for it, but no cans on the shelf. Hope they are not discontinuing it. I would love to make this again !!

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  23. i just made this and used butter. it didn't get crumbly so i added a couple tablespoons of flour to mix with the 1/2 cup for the topping. worked! i also used a can and a half of pie filling. we'll see what happens!

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  24. this is going in the keeper file! the kids and i just loved it!

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  25. YOu may want to try cooking the crust just a few minutes then spreading the filling and crumbs...the filling often will spread eaiser when the crust is cooked a bit.
    I wonder what it would be like with cream cheese beat into the filling!?

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  26. Good, cheap, easy........some fillings are more tangy than others I have found. I'm thinking pumpkin pie filling for thanksgiving.

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  27. I love the recipes I find Here and thought I would give one back I have no idea where it came from but was posted to my facebook and they came out great,Thought you might like to try them too!
    Two Ingredient Lemon Bars......
    2 Ingredient Lemon Bars
    Oh yeah you read that right only Two simple ingredients to make these melt in your mouth ( middle of the pie) lemon squares!
    Yep this is like you cut your self a slice right out of the middle of the pie!
    This is all you need:
    1 box angel food cake mix( I use Betty Crocker)
    2 cans lemon pie filling
    I used two 21 oz cans of Comstock pie filling ( total of 42 oz)
    Mix dry cake mix and cans of pie filling together in large bowl.
    I just mixed it by hand...
    Pour into greased 9 x 13″ baking pan.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until top is starting to brown.
    NOTE...Mine took the full 25 minutes to get done and did not brown on top at all :))
    Cool on wire rack and sprinkle with powered sugar. It has a melt in your mouth spongy texture.

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  28. Hello,
    Made your simply recipe that was posted on Pinterest. Yummy lemon bars, used angel food cake mix. Thank you so much I had all three ingredients.
    Thank you.
    RedBlackberry

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  29. This looks divine and I love how easy it is. Thanks for a great recipe, will be pinning this one!

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  30. This look absolutely delishious! Will be making it soon!

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  31. Thank-you for this easy recipe it's so easy even for a beginner like myself I added coconut on top because I needed to get rid of what I had left over my family loved it I will definitely be making this more often. :)

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  32. Does it matter if butter is unsalted or not?

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  33. Great reciepe. I love lemon. Although I did not use lemon but I did try it with blueberry (use about 1/2 can ) and strawberry and blackberry preserves. I know you said don't try and make changes..but I also love almonds so I added almond extract to cake mix and chopped almonds to crumb topping...wonderful!: I have tried some of you receipes and have a lot more to try.... keep them coming they are easy and delicious. Maureen

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  34. Hey-
    Love your blog and I've actually made several of your recipes which can't be said for any of the other blogs I follow. My question is, do you think I can you lemon curd instead of lemon pie filling? I have a jar to use up. Thanks.

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  35. This would be even more awesome made with a Lemon Cake Mix. I find most lemon fillings very sweet, so I always add some lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, to cut the sweetness. I'm going to try these soon.

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  36. these squares look yummy, how many cups of lemon would I use for this recipe as I buy the lemon at the bulk store. Thanks so much.

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  37. Wow looks good and so beautiful, as if I'm looking at the sun..nice!

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  38. This is super yummy. I like it cold. The first time I made it, I used margarine. Tastes good, but doesn't make a nice crumble. I made it again today with butter. Much better on the crumble.
    This recipe is a definite keeper. Quick and easy. Tastes like the lemon Hostess Pie. I am going to try key lime next time. :-D

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  39. Discovered your blog and wonderful recipes. I was wondering how long till they firm up and what to do to make more crumbly(not enough topping). We still enjoyed. Looking forward to trying more recipes. Thanks.

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  40. These came out so good! Can't believe how good considering it's so easy and only 3 ingredients. My boyfriend thought he wouldn't like them since he's not a fan of lemon, but he loved them! Definitely a recipe I'll be making again.

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  41. Has anyone use Jello Lemon Pie Filling instead of the canned Lemon? Just curious. Thanks

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  42. As usual, another great easy treat! This also works with key lime canned filling....if you are lucky enough to have a store that carries it. Simple, easy and not expensive to make...usually have all the ingredients on hand. Thanks for another winner!

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  43. Just had a great big slice of your lemon bars, which I made with a lemon cake mix and I have to say, these are AMAZING! Thanks for sharing!

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  44. Mine started to fall apart when I started putting it on a serving plate, so i improvised. I scooped it all into a bowl, added 1 package of white chocolate pudding mix and a small tub of cool whip. Stirred it up, crunched up a 1/2 package of graham crackers, sprinkled them on top and ta-da! I had raving reviews for this yummy nearly failed dessert!

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  45. I made this today (just took out of the oven in fact) for a church fellowship dinner. I had butter, but it's a precious commodity :), so I used half a stick of margarine and 4 ounces of cream cheese. I tasted some crumbles and it is soooo good. Can't wait to try this this evening. Just hope I get to it before it's gone. Ha.

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  46. This would work well with key lime pie filling. Spice cake mix with apple pie filling would also be good!

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  47. Can I double this recipe in same size pan for a thicker bar?

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  48. Thanks so much for this easy and delicious recipe!

    I did try it with margarine, and it worked fine, except that I needed to add flour (about 2 Tbsp) to the topping to make it "crumby" enough.

    I also used key lime pie filling instead of lemon (though that needs to be diluted with milk or cream or it's too intense.

    Thanks again for the recipe!

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  49. So glad it worked out well for you Hadas. Love the key lime idea!

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  50. Hi Brandie! I LOVE your blog! I have made several recipes from it and get rave reviews everywhere I take one of your dishes (especially the Crock-pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta & the Coconut Cream Poke Cake!) and this was no exception! I first made it with lemon and it was fabulous! Then my husband asked if I could do the same thing with apple; it was just as good! Now I've made these with just about every kind of pie filling I can find an they always turn out perfect!
    The only thing I do different is I make it in an 8x8 pan so it is thicker.

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  51. Brandi! These are the only lemon bars I have gotten to turn out so nicely, thank you for the recipe. My hubby loves lemon bars and I felt like a failure before I found your recipe lol. All of your recipes are my "secret" recipes...I hope no one that I know finds them HAHA! love you!

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    1. We will keep it our little secret! So glad you are enjoying them.

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  52. This recipe turned out great. It came together in a snap & clean up was minimal. Greatest of all.......it tastes great:)

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