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Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars

If you’re looking for a simple dessert, make these lemon blueberry bars with a shortbread crust. Made with fresh or frozen blueberries, and a lemon shortbread crust, the flavors are simple, fresh, and wholesome.

Want the best of summer in a single dessert? These shortbread bars are it, with their lemony crust and tangy, jammy blueberry filling. And can we agree that a crumble topping makes anything and everything taste better?

For the crust, I used this brown sugar shortbread recipe. Rubbing lemon zest into the sugar before creaming it into the butter adds the distinct tang of lemon that complements the blueberry filling. And using a brown sugar shortbread makes the flavors all a little bit richer and more complex.

This is a simple recipe that comes together in minutes, leaving you more time to enjoy the lazy summer days. And who doesn’t need more of that!

Ingredients

These shortbread bars don’t have many ingredients, but they come together to create a fabulous blend of flavors. You probably have most of these on hand, and even possibly the blueberries in your freezer.

  • Butter — Since the butter is such a key player in shortbread, I recommend using a high-quality, European or New Zealand butter. The higher fat content in those butters makes them taste so much better than American butter.
  • Brown Sugar — Light or dark brown sugar works well, and is used for the shortbread crust (not the lemon blueberry filling).
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Salt — If using salted butter, add just a pinch. If you prefer unsalted butter, use 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Lemon — The zest of one lemon will be used for the shortbread dough, while the zest of the other and the juice from both will be added to the blueberry filling.
  • Blueberries –Fresh or frozen, both work well here!
  • White Sugar — This is for sweetening the jam.
  • Cornstarch — The jam needs to be thickened slightly, and cornstarch does the job perfectly.
A shot of all the ingredients.

A Note on Blueberry Jam

If you have a jar of blueberry jam or preserves that you need to use up, you can substitute that for the filling. Stir the jam with the lemon juice, and spread it over the bottom crust.

How to Make Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars

Make the Lemon Blueberry Jam Filling

In a pan, stir the sugar and cornstarch together. Add in the blueberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice and stir them to coat in the sugar mixture.

The blueberry filling ingredients--blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Juicing half of a lemon.

Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently. As they cook, the blueberries will burst.

Continue cooking for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and has a jam-like consistency. The juice should look translucent and not cloudy–if it is, the cornstarch hasn’t cooked out completely and the jam will have a pasty consistency.

Set it aside. The filling will get thicker as it cools.

The cooked lemon blueberry jam filling.

Make the Lemon Shortbread Crust

Line a 9″x9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F and set out the butter to soften to room temperature. It should be soft and have a dent when you press on it, but not be oily.

In a mixing bowl, rub the lemon zest into the brown sugar. Add the soft butter and cream it together with a hand mixer until it’s fluffy and light. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

Zesting the lemon into the brown sugar before rubbing it in.

Add the salt, flour, and vanilla to the butter and sugar. Mix until all of the flour is combined completely.

Assemble and Bake the Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars

Press 2/3 of all the dough into the bottom of the parchment lined pan.

Spread the cooled jam in the pan. Crumble the remaining the 1/3 of the dough over the top of the jam.

Spreading the lemon blueberry jam filling on top of the crust.
Crumbled shortbread dough on top of the jam in the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and no longer looks doughy.

After baking, remove the bars from the oven and allow them to set and cool. Cut into bars.

Storing the Lemon Blueberry Bars

After cutting the bars, store them in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Recipe Notes, Tips, and Substitutions

  • Substituting gluten free flour works well for this recipe. Use an all-purpose 1-to-1 flour like Bob’s Red Mill.
  • You can use pretty much any kind of berry for the filling if you’re not very fond of blueberries. If you’re using something with lots of seeds (like blackberries or raspberries) you can put the jam through a sieve after cooking them.

Other Berry Recipes You May Enjoy:

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Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars


  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart

Ingredients

Scale

For the Shortbread Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (342 grams) soft unsalted butter (I recommend a high-quality brand)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups (415 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Blueberry Filling

  • 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (24 grams) cornstarch
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of two lemons, about 6 tablespoons

Instructions

Make the Lemon Blueberry Jam Filling

In a pan, stir the sugar and cornstarch together. Add in the blueberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice and stir them to coat in the sugar mixture.

Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently. As they cook, the blueberries will burst, releasing their juices. If the mixture seems dry, mash a few of the blueberries to make it juicier.

Continue cooking for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and has a jam-like consistency. The juice should look translucent and not cloudy–if it is, the cornstarch hasn’t cooked out completely and the jam will have a pasty consistency.

Set it aside. The filling will get thicker as it cools.

Make the Lemon Shortbread Crust

Line a 9″x9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F and set out the butter to soften to room temperature. It should be soft and have a dent when you press on it, but not be oily.

In a mixing bowl, rub the lemon zest into the brown sugar. Add the soft butter and cream it together with a hand mixer until it’s fluffy and light. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

Add the salt, flour, and vanilla to the butter and sugar. Mix until all of the flour is combined completely.

Assemble and Bake the Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars

Press 2/3 of all the dough into the bottom of the parchment lined pan.

Spread the cooled jam in the pan. Crumble the remaining the 1/3 of the dough over the top of the jam.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and no longer looks doughy.

After baking, remove the bars from the oven and allow them to set and cool. Cut into bars.

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John Rockwell

Friday 4th of August 2023

These things are like 🤯. Damn - life will never be the same again.