Bake a batch of these lemon infused Lemon Chess Bars as a handheld sweet for picnics, brunch, tea time or holiday baking treats.
Lemon Chess Bars Recipe
Chess bars in every flavor you can imagine, have been rotating through Southern kitchens for years, my kitchen included. These light custard filled Lemon Chiffon Chess Bars are a recent addition. Chess bars are also known as gooey butter cake. How do you make chess bars? They begin with a cake mix that's mixed with egg and melted butter and pressed into a rectangular baking pan. The next layer is a lush lemon filling made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, melted butter and eggs. The only thing left to do is to bake them until golden and very slightly set. After cooling a simple dusting of powdered sugar on top and they're ready to serve.
How Do You Make the BEST Lemon Chess Bars Recipe
The beauty of this lemon bars recipe is, you can also whip-up the filling in the very same bowl cutting down on clean-up, too.
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Lemon Chess Bars: One box of white or yellow cake mix, instant lemon pudding mix, powdered sugar, large eggs, plain cream cheese, melted butter, heavy cream, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest and vanilla extract.
- Kitchen tools you'll need: A stand mixer or a hand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, lemon juicer and zester, 13 x 9 inch baking dish and large silicone spatula.
- Homemade lemon bars are a yummy treat but are notorious for becoming weepy if not eaten rather quickly. These easy chess bars maintain their texture beautifully and the filing doesn't separate.
- When preparing each layer for this lemon gooey butter cake, there's no need to begin with a clean bowl. Simply scrape the bowl and continue with the next steps.
- The cake mix crust mixes up in minutes and there's no need to pre-bake the crust. In fact, you would ruin it if you did.
- The biggest mistake you can make with chess bars is to overbake them. They should still have a little "wiggle in the middle" when the pan is gently shaken.
- You can get fancy with these lemon chess bars and serve them with a dollop of whipped cream, if you like. I find that due to the sweetness, a dusting of powdered sugar will do.
- Please note: The powdered sugar tends to melt into the lemon bars so they will require a fresh dusting each time they're served.
- Store Lemon Chess Bars in an airtight container chilled in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
More Lemon Dessert Recipes to Make
- My Outrageous Lemon Lovers Trifle is a stunning dessert that's been viral on Pinterest for years!
- Homemade Lemon Curd can be used as a pie filling, dolloped onto pound cake or scones.
- Glazed Lemon Cookies melt in your mouth!
- Start your day with these Lemon Poppy Seed Scones.
- Lemon Butter Bundt Cake is soaked with a buttery lemon infused sauce for the finish.
- Lemon Buttermilk Pie is certain to become a family favorite.
- If you're a cookie fan, you may also like to try these Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies from Averie Cook's.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Lemon Chiffon Chess Bars
- 1 15.25 oz box white or yellow cake mix
- 1 cup butter melted and divided
- 4 large eggs divided
- 1 8 oz block cream cheese softened
- 1 ¾ oz box instant lemon pudding mix
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 medium lemon juice and zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar plus additional for dusting the top (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat together cake mix, ½ melted butter and 1 large egg. Beat until fully moistened. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- In the same bowl, whip together cream cheese, remaining ½ cup melted butter. lemon pudding mix, heavy cream, lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Beat until creamy and no lumps remain.
- Add 3 eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Lower the speed of the mixer, and add the powdered sugar gradually. Whip until smooth and fluffy.
- Spread evenly over the crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The center should still move when gently shaken.
- Cool completely then, cut into bars. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.