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3-Ingredient Lemon Bars

These Easy Lemon Crumble Bars only have 3 ingredients! This summertime dessert recipe only needs cake mix, butter and lemon pie filling!

EASY 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.

Easy 3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars, sliced, on parchment paper.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • yellow cake mix
  • salted butter
  • lemon pie filling
yellow cake mix, stick butter, lemon pie filling.

HOW TO MAKE 3 INGREDIENT LEMON BARS

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, y’all know I’m a big fan of Baker’s Joy nonstick spray. It has flour in it. It is so awesome for baking. In a bowl, combine softened butter with dry cake mix.

softened butter and yellow cake mix combined in a bowl with an electric mixer.

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.

crumble topping shown in a clear bowl with a measuring cup inside.

Take the rest of the crust mixture and press it into a 9×13 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.

spreading lemon pie filling over cake mix/butter mixture pressed into a 9x13 baking dish

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.

sprinkled crumble topping over lemon pie filling.

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.

Easy Lemon Crumble Bars shown fully baked on a piece of parchment paper.

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Originally published: February 2013
Updated & Republished: June 2019

Easy 3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars

3-Ingredient Lemon Bars

These Easy Lemon Crumble Bars only have 3 ingredients! No one will guess how easy this dessert recipe is to make. Cake mix, butter and lemon pie filling!
4.81 from 82 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick salted butter (1/2 cup) softened to room temperature
  • 22 ounce can lemon pie filling

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a bowl, combine softened butter with dry cake mix. Mix until crumbly.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup of this crumbly mixture for the topping. 
  • Take the rest of the crust mixture and press it into baking dish.
  • Spread it out evenly and then just go around and pack it down in there with your hands.
  • Spoon lemon pie filling evenly onto crust layer.
  • Then take the 1/2 cup of crust mixture that you set aside earlier and sprinkle all over lemon pie filling.
  • Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes. The crumble on top will just start to turn a very light golden brown.
  • Allow to cool then slice up and serve.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • 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.
  • 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.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 313mg | Sugar: 18g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




119 Comments

  1. Can I use lemon jello pudding mix for the pie filling? No stores around here carry the lemon pie filling.

    1. A box of cooked pudding, cooled equals a can of pie filling, so do that, if you can’t find it in your area. Try a scratch & dent stores, they get everything or an Ollie’s.

  2. 5 stars
    These are so easy to make …. They are DELISH. The 9X13 pan was eaten in 1 hour ….. Thank you for a fabulous receipe …

  3. 5 stars
    I love lemon and blueberries together so I did a lemon cake and blueberry pie filling! Not only was it yummy, it was BEAUTIFUL!!! I added some lemon zest to the top and wowza! Thanks!

  4. These sound really good. I can not stand up and cook that long – and so many of the lemon bar recipes you have to cook the crust first – more steps. I have been wanting to make lemon bars for so long – thank you!

  5. Hi Brandi,
    Can’t wait to try these! Married to a lemon freak. Right now, however, I have a box of Spice cake mix and a can of apple pie filling. Think that might work? Thanks!

  6. What size can of the lemon pie filling? I’ve found both an almost 16 oz can and a 22 oz can. Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious was a nice summertime desert ,and something new to try. Thanks for the recipe you never disappoint!!

    1. I have lemon cake mix and lemon pie filling in the oven right now! Never tried it before though.

  8. Love this recipe. It’s in the oven right now. I am also avid calorie counter. I noticed you had calculated 500 calories for 1/12th of recipe. How come my calorie count is 275? Were you calculating in the nonstick baking spray? I used 0 calorie Pam for greasing. If it comes out, I’ve cut the calories, right? Let me know if you can, if your calculation was just a courtesy estimate or if I missed something.. (For my calculations, I used the figures on the ingredients themselves.) Thanks again for the inspiration!

    1. Hey Cathy! The recipe card system I used put that in as a default. Weird. I definitely encourage anyone who counts calories and nutrition facts to use their own trusted calculators (which you did) 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  9. 5 stars
    Never seen nonstick spray with flour in it. Might just be that I haven’t bought nonstick spray in years or could just be that it is not a Canadian thing? Sounds good though.

  10. You could use lemon cake mix….also, any canned pie filling works….I’ve made several of these and they turn out yummy.

  11. 5 stars
    Not sure if it is because I live in Canada, or what, but I cannot find cans of lemon pie filling anywhere. I can, however, find the packages of lemon pie filling that you cook. Would this work just as well, do you think?

    1. I live in Canada also and cannot find canned so I tried the Shirriff pie filling that you cook first and turned out fine. I baked the cake mix first for about 15 min. while doing the lemon and I let the lemon cool for about 10 min. before pouring over cake mix then back in the oven for about 15- 20 min.

  12. I have some leftover lemon pie filling that I made for lemon meringue, I’m gonna use this recipe for the leftovers. Thanks! 🙂

  13. No canned lemon pie filling here. Could I use the lemon pudding mix in the box….cook it and let it cool before using in this recipe?

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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 8×8 pan so it is thicker.

    1. Unknown, thank you for the great suggestion about using various pie fillings.
      I always have assorted canned pie fillings on hand !