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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stack of oatmeal lemon cream bars on a white plate

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

48 Comments

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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??

    Thanks!!

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

      1. 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. 🙂

        Cindy

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

  4. 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!

    1. So glad you liked these Ree! thanks for reporting back.

  5. 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!

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

  6. 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 !

    1. That’s great to hear! Thanks Nancy – I love these lemon bars 🙂

  7. 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!

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

    1. Definitely! I’m unsure of the baking time though.

  9. 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 ?!

    1. The quick oats will be just fine, actually. Enjoy!

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

    1. I do not suggest it, Stephanie.

  11. 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?

    1. Yes. Sorry about that confusing step Melanie.

  12. 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!

    Thanks!!

    1. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

    1. update: They’re DELICIOUS!!! So hard not to eat them all!

      Thanks for this recipe <3

  15. 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!

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

  17. Hi! Can you freeze these?

  18. 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 🙂

  19. Thank you so much!

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. Can these be made ahead and frozen?

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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

  26. 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!!

  27. Larry Harmon says:

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

  28. 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.

  29. *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.

  30. 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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