These fudgy lemon brownies are FULL of fresh flavor! Made with 100% real lemon, these perfectly combine the texture and density of a fudgy brownie with the delicate freshness of a lemon cake or bar. A simple lemon icing on top really completes the look and taste!
why are these called lemon brownies?
I honestly don't totally know why these have earned the name "brownie" when they seem more like a blondie. This isn't a recipe I made up (although I wish I did think of it sooner!) and this is just my version of the viral lemon brownies.
I guess other recipes can kind of get away with calling them brownies because they typically feature white chocolate, so they at least have that chocolaty aspect to them. But I didn't really want to include it in my recipe because a) I wanted these to be easier and more accessible to make (white chocolate is expensive) and b) I really wanted the lemon flavor to be the star and shine without any additional flavors covering it up!
how to make lemon brownies
1. Combine eggs, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl.
2. Beat together until the sugar fully dissolves. The mixture will slightly increase in volume and become a pale yellow color. The best way to test if it's fully whipped up is to dip your fingers into the mixture and rub it between your fingers. It shouldn't feel gritty.
3. While whisking, drizzle in lemon juice followed by melted butter. Slowly drizzling the remaining wet ingredients while whisking helps emulsify the mixture and keeps the butter from separating or sinking to the bottom.
4. Add salt and flour to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Take care not to overmix or the brownies may end up tough.
5. Pour the batter into a square baking pan & bake.
6. Cool the brownies completely in the pan before icing.
7. In a separate bowl, whisk together icing ingredients. Drizzle the icing over your cooled brownie and top with some more lemon zest for added flavor! The you can slice the brownies right away, but the icing will make it a bit messy. For cleaner slices, let the icing set for about 1 hour beforehand.
8. Pull the brownies out of the pan, then slice and serve!
how to tell when lemon brownies are baked through
Lemon brownies don't really form that signature crackly crust or gooey center that you may be used to in a regular brownie recipe, so those aren't exactly the right signs to look out for to tell when it's finished baking.
Lemon brownies will have lightly browned edges and the top will lose its shine once they get closer to being ready. The surface will look a lot like a cookie! A skewer inserted into the center should come out clean with a few moist crumbs.
- spoon and level or weigh your flour: Over-measuring flour will make the batter overly thick and cause the brownies to end up dense and tough! Flour measured by weight will give you more consistent results, but if you're using cups, make sure to always measure by spoon and leveling and NOT by scooping the cup directly into the bag!
- whisking the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest: This step is especially important because these brownies don't have any leaveners added in the form of baking soda or baking powder. Whisking the eggs with the sugar will add some air to the batter so the brownies aren't overly dense. Adding lemon zest in at this stage will help release some of its natural oil which makes the flavor EXTRA strong!
- room temperature eggs: Cold eggs run the risk of causing the butter to clump up once you add it in.
- mixing: Brownies can become very dense and tough if the batter is overmixed. So whisk until the dry ingredients juuussstt disappear into the wet ingredients.
- set the icing: The brownies are VERY messy to slice while the icing is still wet! It's best to wait until it crusts over and is firm to the touch - but I am 100% guilty of cutting into them right away. When the lemon brownie craving hits, it HITS.
Keep brownies stored in an airtight container, plastic bag, or a plate tightly covered with plastic wrap. These brownies will keep for around 3 to 4 days at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge.
watch: how to make lemon brownies
check out these other recipes!
Lemon Brownies Recipe
For the lemon brownies:
- 1 & ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- ¾ cup (175g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the lemon icing:
- 1 cup (130g) powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- lemon zest (optional for topping)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8x8 inch baking pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Leave a little bit of excess parchment paper hanging over the sides to make it easier to pull the baked brownie out of the pan later!
- In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar, eggs, and lemon zest. Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment or a whisk by hand (it's QUITE a workout though!), whip together until the sugar is dissolved. This will take around 5 to 7 minutes by hand or 3 to 5 minutes with a mixer on medium speed. To test if it's ready, rub some of the mixture between your fingers. It shouldn't feel grainy.1 & ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar, 3 large eggs,, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
- While mixing, drizzle in your lemon juice followed by the melted butter. Mixing while you drizzle in the remaining wet ingredients helps prevent separating!3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¾ cup (175g) unsalted butter,
- Add the flour and salt and mix together until just combined. Take care not to overmix!2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour,, ½ teaspoon salt
- Pour the brownie batter into your prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in the center of your preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs but no wet batter.
- Cool the brownies completely to room temperature in the pan.
- Make the lemon icing: In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until smooth. If needed, add more lemon juice to reach your desired consistency.1 cup (130g) powdered sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pour the lemon icing over your cooled brownies. Sprinkle lemon zest on top.lemon zest
- You can slice the brownies right away (but they will be messy!) For cleaner slices, let the icing set for about 1 hour or until firm to the touch before slicing and serving!