lemon squares

When I was a little girl, my grandmother Ekstrom made lemon squares for “club”. Her club consisted of a small group of women who got together every couple of weeks to play cards and share a light meal they called “lunch”, even though their card party happened in the evening! Apparently the time of day mattered little to the naming of their snack time! Each club member had a specialty and these were Nanny’s.

My mouth is watering remembering how excited I was to ‘get the pan’. After Nanny made her squares, she would cut and arrange them on a serving plate. Not wanting any over browned edges showing, she would leave the darker bits for me to inhale with a big glass of milk. It’s funny that after a lifetime of enjoying desserts from all over the world this humble little square fulfills every part of a perfect sweet experience for me. They are crunchy, buttery, sweet, sour and creamy all at the same time.

I’ve tried making these squares a million times over the years but could never get them to taste like Nan’s. Last summer, Mom brought a pan of them up to the farm and with one bite I was transported back in time to my grandmother’s kitchen. After I fretted about not being able to get them right, Mom asked to see my recipe. She smiled when she saw Nanny’s handwriting and laughed a bit at the sketchy instructions. What you see on the recipe card below is all I got. There’s nothing written on the back. I guess she had made them so many times in front of me, she figured I should know what to do. Mom filled in the blanks for me and they have been a success ever since.

Lemon Squares

Preheat oven 350*F

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 can Eagle Brand Milk

2 eggs

2 lemons, juiced

Combine cracker crumbs and melted butter then pat into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish or pan

Using your stand mixer, place lemon juice and condensed milk in mixer bowl

With mixer running on medium high speed, drop eggs in one at a time

Beat until frothy and thick – about 2 minutes

Pour batter onto prepared crumb mixture

Sprinkle top of squares with a dusting of extra graham cracker crumbs

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes

Remove from oven to a cooling rack

After completely cooled, cover and place in refrigerator until serving time

THE LOVE: This is one of those times that you have to do as I say and not as I did. Mom swears by making the graham cracker crumbs from the actual crackers and not buying them pre done.  She’s right. It takes about 20 crackers to make 1 1/4 cups of crumbs.

printable copy – just click

Thanks for reading.

one year ago: sun-dried tomato and cheddar tea bread


  • I’d love to include this in a blog carnival called Flavor Burst for its first edition coming up in Feb. A blog carnival is basically a online magazine that gathers great blog posts, puts in a brief description and links back to the original article. I have a fuller description on my blog. 😀

    • I would be delighted to participate! Thanks for asking…

      • Sweet! Thanks! The article will not include the recipe rather, a description of the recipe will be used. I will write the description and have you approve it or you can write it if you like :D.
        Can I use one of your photos of the lemon bars as well as include your blog logo?
        If you want to pull out, just let me know at any time. I aim to not let anyone feel pressured into giving permission for me to use things.

        • As long as I can approve my bit, I’m good to go…

          • Great!
            As of the moment I have: “This first recipe is from the blog bitebymichelle for Lemon Squares! This luscious lemon custard on a graham cracker crust cannot go wrong.”
            bitebymichelle is hyperlinked to your blog main page, and luscious lemon custard is hyperlinked to the recipe page.

          • Perfect!

          • Thanks so much! 😀

  • I love lemon squares and I love sweetened condensed milk, so your post naturally caught my eye. It looks like a simple recipe that is easy to make, and delicious, I’m sure. Love those kind of recipes. I’m going to have to try this.

    You have a lovely blog.


    • Hi Daisy,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know if you try the squares – I’m off to have a couple right now!

  • Well this is a must try! Now I just have to find some condensed milk around here… Yes, recipes. My mom’s old recipe collection also has numerous recipes with quite big gaps! Thank God she is still around I can fill the gaps 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • I have a lot of funny recipes from my grandmother with notes like a ‘handful of sugar’ or ‘butter the size of an egg’ – not easy to be consistent.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Right… or ‘a splash of milk’ (?!!) and ‘bake’ 😀

  • Michelle,

    I loved hearing about your grandmother’s club “lunch” and her lemon squares! Plus, seeing her handwriting on the postcard made me feel like I actually knew her!

    thank you for sharing her wonderful recipe! I’m glad you finally were able to make them the way they tasted in your memory!


    • Hi Felicia,

      Finally being able to recreate them was a eureka moment for sure!

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  • Matt

    I have some of these cooling on a wire rack right now. I really like simple recipes like these…especially when they look so good!

    Thanks for sharing. Your blog has been on my RSS feed for a while now, and it’s there to stay.

  • I love this recipe. You are so talented.