Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars

I may just have a new favorite dessert. Oatmeal cookie dough streusel crust with a thick creamy and a luscious lemon filling, sprinkled with more oatmeal cookie dough streusel on top…. so dang good!

My good friend Caitlin requested I make a fresh lemon-y dessert to ring in the warmer weather a few weeks. I may be a tad late getting around to it as it’s almost May (whooops!), but these bars were totally worth the wait. I found the recipe off Betty Crocker’s website. Betty never steers me wrong!

Typically, I find that crumb bar recipes or lemon bar recipes have an unbalanced ratio of fruit filling to dough. There always seems to be WAY too much of the doughy stuff and not enough of the fruity stuff.  With these bars?  Not so much.  There is plenty of creamy lemon filling in each and every bite.  And what’s even better about these bars is that they are EASY.  Start with a pouch of Betty Crocker premade oatmeal cookie mix, 1 stick cold butter, 1 egg, sweetened condensed milke and 2 lemons. That’s it!

If you can’t find this specific cookie mix, I’ve included a made-from-scratch oatmeal cookie crumble recipe to use instead. PS: one friend tasted them and LOVED them… and he doesn’t even like lemon.

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars


  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix (see below for homemade recipe)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using a fork or electric mixer. Stir in egg until crumbly.
  3. Press half of oatmeal cookie dough into bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. While the cookie bottom is baking, stir condensed milk, lemon peel, and lemon juice into a small bowl. Spread lemon mixture over baked crust (while crust is hot). Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie mixture over top. Bake about 25 minutes longer or until golden brown.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting into 16 squares. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Betty Crocker

Recipe Notes:

If you can't find the Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix, use this from-scratch oatmeal cookie base recipe:

Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Base

  • 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and oats.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix to combine.
  4. Continue with step three in the recipe above.

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 By far, one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars


If you like these lemon bars, be sure to check out my Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Blueberry lemon cheesecake bars-6


  1. OMG I can’t wait to try these!!! I’m on your site constantly and I have soooo many recipes I’ve printed and made!! They’re all HUGE hits everywhere I go! Especially those peanut Butter Pretzle bites…they’re staples when I go to parties now! So many people keep asking for the recipes so now when I bring your stuff, I print off your recipe and make sure they have your full web address!
    AMAZING stuff! LOVE IT!

    • I LOVE those PB Chocolate Pretzel Bites, Laura! I’m so glad you do too. I bring them with me to parties often and they are always the first to go. You are so sweet to give credit to my website, that means a lot. You will love these – they are so easy to make. Thanks Laura!

  2. I made these bars today and they are YUMMY! The lemon flavor is really light and springy. I added a layer of white baking chips to the sweetened condensed milk, but since they all melted I couldn’t even tell they were in there. Love, love, loved these bars…such a keeper recipe. Thanks again, Sally!!

    • Maybe you could add white chocolate chips on top of the final oat layer? That would be very good! I might have to try it. Glad you loved these!

  3. I’m so excited – these are in the oven as I type!!!! What I especially love is that there are no eggs when we use your cookie dough 🙂 I have friends allergic to eggs, so now this adds to my dessert possibilities when they visit 😀 if you haven’t been told lately- Sally, you’re fabulous!

  4. I tried these lemon creme bars, they are yummy. I am a huge lover of lemon meringue pies so I see this as a healthier altnerate.

    Going to try the caramel upside down cake this weekend, its getting cooler weather here now so perfect weather for it.

  5. Love, love, love your website!! I made these lemon creme bars and let them cool in the fridge for almost an hour before cutting. They fell apart and I’m not able to get them out of the dish without them crumbling. I did use non-stick cooking spray as directed. Any ideas as to why they are not staying together??


    • Hey Cindy! That’s strange. Is the center not cooked through? Maybe they were not ready when you took them out of the oven.

      • Hey Sally,

        Thanks so much for your reply. I think I should have used more cookie base on bottom…the 60/40 ratio you mentioned. I was able to get some bars out in one piece and serve them and everyone LOVED the flavor. I will try making them again with blueberries. I’ve also made a few more of your recipes and they have been a huge hit. Looking forward to trying more. 🙂


      • That sounds great, Cindy! Let me know how they go the second time around!

  6. Hey, Sally! I just baked these yesterday (using the homemade oatmeal cookie base) and it was incredible! Who thought that combining such simple ingredients could make such a DEElicious dessert? Thank you for the recipe!

  7. Hey Sally, I’ve got these in the oven as a gift to my Grandfather! I was just wondering what would be the best way to remove them from the pan without them falling apart?

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hey Lauren! Just let them cool completely (I put them in the refrigerator for 2 hours) and cut with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

  8. Hi Sally,
    Made these bars last night and all I can say is WOW ! Out of this world DEEEEEELISH ! BTW, I lined my 8×8 pan with foil and then sprayed it with PAM, came out perfect =). Thanks for such GREAT recipes !

  9. Sally …. Is there anything missing in the oatmeal lemon bars? Because I tried making them and the lemon cream is missing! It was just gooey… I used condensed milk and lemon juice as instructed and it definitely didn’t turn out like the picture.! Please help! I really want to eat them!

    • Hi Rosa – no, there is not. What do you mean the lemon cream is missing? It sounds like you may have underbaked them.

  10. I finaly got around to making these.

    Since I live in Sweden I had to look a few things up, I’m used to that. But now that mine are cooling(not cut yet), it just looks weird

    I googled the brown sugar part, because we don’t have anything called that, but the results were pretty much the same, so I used that. And my dough was not crumbly (like yours looks to be) and a lot more brown in the coloring….

    Well, at least it smells nice! And tasted the creme SOOOOO good! So maybe the end result will be good as well

  11. This is indeed a not often heard of flavour combination, but it ends up being the perfect combination of light tasting and refreshing with comforting and homespun. The recipe was an absolute breeze to put together-one of the fastest things I’ve ever made and the effort expended versus the deliciousness of the completed bars is amazing!

  12. Could you double this recipe in a 9×13 pan?

  13. Sally, I’m really excited to try these! I had a question about the cookie base. So it has a stick of butter on top of what’s in the main recipe? So if I double this and make it completely from scratch I will use 4 total sticks of butter?

    • Hi Melody – no, it would be 2 sticks of butter. Simply double the homemade crumble/streusel recipe. That will go on the top and bottom.

      • Sally, I just realized that it said to go to step 3 which skips the butter and the egg from the first part. Just got temporarily confused. 🙂 Thanks!

  14. Hi Sally ,
    You have no idea how I’m so obsessed with your recipes and your site .
    And while I’m checking the site as I do every day , I found this awesome lemon bar recipe and I was so exited to try it but I have a problem 🙁
    Since I’m from Saudia and I live in a small town , I’m not sure that I can find the cookie mix or the old- fashioned oats .
    I only have the quick white oats .. Can I use it in the recipe instead ?!

  15. Do you think you could use coconut milk instead of sweetened condensed?

  16. These bars looks delicious. I literally just Googled lemon oat bars and this recipe came up! Though reading over the recipe I’m a little confused. Step 4 of the oatmeal cookies from scratch recipe says to continue with step 3 in the main recipe. So, if I was to make the oatmeal cookies from scratch, would I still lay them out in the pan to bake for 15 minutes before adding the lemon mixture?

  17. Hey Sally, I was wondering if I can use a 13X9 instead of an 8X8? I want to make the quantity of my bars more, so I figured an 8X8…what do you think? If so, how long do you think the cooking time will be?


  18. I used to be afraid of baking, but ever since I started using your recipes I’ve become addicted to it so thank you! These bars came out great!:)

  19. These sound amazing!

    Couple of questions,
    1) what is the weight in grams of a stick of butter please?
    2) do you think you could substitute the egg with anything else? My niece has recently been diagnosed as being allergic to eggs! Not helpful for all the baked goodies I used to take around!


    • Hi Gabby! It is 115g. I suggest making the homemade oatmeal cookie base listed in the recipe notes. You do not need an egg for it.

  20. Hi Sally! Love your site! I bake twice a week for fun and have tried and loved dozens of the recipes published here. My friends all inadvertently thank you!

    Had a question for this recipe. Is the grated lemon peel the entire peel (including the rind) or just the zest of the lemon?


  21. These taste like the lemon bars at the Restaurant Rubio’s. I went for the fish taco’s, but came back for the lemon bars. Now I can make these myself. Thank you!

  22. I just made these and they look beautifulllll (in the fridge right now) unfortunately I forgot the nonstick spray (as I do in 90% of recipes hahahah)

    Hopefully I didn’t totally mess up!

  23. I made these twice last weekend: one for our neighbors who had a death in the family, one for a family who just welcomed their third baby boy. BOTH have asked for the recipe, and my neighbor declared them the best thing I’ve baked! This is a simple, flavor-packed bar dessert that even non-lemon-lovers love! Thank you, Sally!

  24. Made these and they are certainly hubby approved! A good change from brownies or cookie desserts.

  25. Hi! Can you freeze these?

  26. Hi Sally! I love your recipes! You’re my go to for a good sweet treat other than my grandma’s old recipe box. I have a problem! The recipe card for my grandma’s lemon bars is missing and I’ve searched your site and can’t find a classic style on your site unfortunately. Could you make a Classic Lemon Bars recipe? I don’t trust anyone else’s recipes anymore online haha, only your’s turn out perfect every time!!! You’re the greatest 🙂 Xoxo

  27. Thank you so much!

  28. Hi Sally!

    I just made these for the first time and they taste delicious, but I feel like when I put the crumble on top of the lemon layer, it was a pretty thick layer. Is it supposed to be that thick? From your photos my top layer was way thicker. Thanks in advance!

  29. I didn’t realize for a while reading this that this recipe is nearly identical to one that I use from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook, which is very similar except that it uses whole wheat flour in the crust – with a little orange juice to cut bitterness – and they double the lemon juice. It is SUCH a good recipe so I can imagine that these taste wonderful too! Lemon and oats with the condensed milk is a wonderful combination!

  30. Can these be made ahead and frozen?

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