Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars

oatmeal lemon creme bars

I think I have a new favorite indulgence: soft oatmeal cookies with a thick and creamy lemon filling. Like lemon bars but with extra texture.

These bars are EASY. You need a pouch of Betty Crocker premade oatmeal cookie mix, 1/2 cup cold butter, 1 egg, sweetened condensed milk, and 2 lemons. That’s it! If you can’t find this specific cookie mix, I include a made-from-scratch oatmeal cookie crumble recipe to use instead.

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oatmeal lemon cream bars

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Oatmeal cookie dough streusel crust with a thick creamy and a luscious lemon filling, sprinkled with more oatmeal cookie dough streusel on top!


Ingredients

Cookie Base

  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix (see below for homemade recipe)
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg

Lemon Filling

  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using a fork or pastry cutter. 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 crust is baking, stir condensed milk, lemon peel, and lemon juice together. Spread lemon mixture over baked crust (while crust is hot). Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie mixture on top.
  5. Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  6. Cool completely, then refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Recipe source: Betty Crocker.
  2. Homemade Version: If you can’t find the Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix, use my from-scratch oatmeal cookie base instead. Start with step 1 above. Skip step 2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or using a handheld mixer, cream 1/2 cup room temperature butter and 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar together on medium-high speed until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 cup whole oats together. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Continue with step 3 above.

Keywords: oatmeal lemon creme bars, lemon oatmeal bars

76 Comments

  1. Hi! Can you freeze these?

  2. 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

    1. Hi Chloe! Thank you for the sweet comment. 🙂 I have a recipe for classic lemon bars in my cookbook. It’s my absolute favorite. Their flavor is completely divine 🙂

  3. Thank you so much!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. Can these be made ahead and frozen?

  7. When making the homemade base, is the butter there the same as the butter in the above recipe that uses the Betty Crocker? That is, is it like the Betty Crocker plus butter.

    Also, presumably before going to ‘step three in the recipe above, the eggs still need to be added?

    1. When making the oatmeal cookie part from scratch do NOT put the butter twice. It only needs it once. That should be clarified in the instructions above.

      The final product is very yummy!

  8. Made these, along with Dark Chocolate Coconut Blondies, last weekend to take to a Quiz Night. We didn’t win the quiz, but everyone loved the food! Especially my friend who is allergic to eggs – so good to be able to treat her with the Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars. These bars are soooo easy to make, and my family loved eating any crumbs that may have *accidentally* fallen off! Thanks Sally!

  9. Made these, along with Dark Chocolate Coconut Blondies, last weekend to take to a Quiz Night. We didn’t win the quiz, but everyone loved the food! Especially my friend who is allergic to eggs – so good to be able to treat her with the Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars. These bars are soooo easy to make, and my family loved eating any crumbs that may have *accidentally* fallen off! Thanks Sally!
    Sally would it be possible for you to add the gram measurements to the Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Base recipe please? Thanks

  10. Sally I just couldn’t wait for the recipe so I made your lemon crumb bars and my family loved it-even my brother who does not like anything lemon. Thanks for another great one!!

  11. Larry Harmon says:

    We loved these! I did the shortcut recipe (Rare for me), but so easy and good! Thanks Sally!

  12. Sally! Your recipes are all amazing, your site is my go to for anything baked. I was wondering if this could be made with you lemon filling for your shortbread lemon bars. Would it be thick enough ? Thank you!

    1. Hi Marie Eve– I don’t recommend that curd filling for these bars. The crust and topping are simply too heavy.

  13. *confused* …..
    The egg that needs to be added to the packet cookie dough doesn’t need to be added to the homemade mix????
    Am I reading this right?
    Thanks

    1. Correct. To achieve the same consistency, you don’t need the egg for the homemade variation.

  14. These look amazing! This might be a weird question, but if I don’t like lemon do you think the bars would taste okay if I left out the lemon juice/zest and just left the condensed milk filling plain with a little vanilla extract? Would you recommend adding 1/4 cup water to the condensed milk in order to make up for lost liquid from the lemon juice? Thanks very much!

    1. Hi Sarah, I haven’t tested anything, but you could try heavy cream in place of the sweetened condensed milk. Add some vanilla extract, too. Let me know how they turn out!

      1. Thanks, Sally- I ended up making a non-lemon flavour creme with condensed milk and mixed in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp lemon juice to cut the sweetness, and 40ml water to make up for the loss of 1/4th cup lemon juice liquid. They turned out wonderfully, although interestingly the top oatmeal layer sank into the condensed milk layer so I ended up with only a paper-thin layer of condensed milk in the middle. As this doesn’t seem to happen with the lemon version, I wonder whether the lemon juice clots the condensed milk to make it sturdier? Next time I might try leaving the water out from the condensed milk layer to see if it holds up better when it is thicker. However, they still look beautiful and taste great, I’ll definitely make them again and I might give the original lemon version a try as well just because your creme layer looks so gorgeous in that!

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