Kitchn Love Letters

“Creamy Limoncello Bars” Are the Boozy Dessert I’m Bringing to Everything This Summer

published Jun 21, 2024
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dollop of whipped cream, yellow square bars, cut in rows, graham cracker crust, crumbs
Credit: Sara Haas

If I’m going to eat dessert, 9 times out of 10, it’ll involve chocolate. (Patty’s no-bake chocolate chip cookie delight is next on my list.) Every once in a blue moon, however, I crave something bright and tart. This summer, limoncello bars will be my make-ahead potluck dessert of choice. They’re a creamy and boozy twist on lemon bars that’ll disappear faster than any other summer pie at the barbecue. 

Get the recipe: Creamy Limoncello Bars

Credit: Sara Haas

What Makes Limoncello Bars So Good? 

Let’s start first with the crust. Lemon bars typically sit atop a buttery shortbread base, but here we’re working with a traditional graham cracker situation (crushed grahams + melted butter + granulated sugar and a pinch of salt). Its sandier texture is the perfect match for the cheesecake-esque limoncello filling. 

The intense lemon flavor of the Italian liqueur magnifies the bright flavor of the fresh lemon juice and zest in the filling. Don’t worry about it overwhelming the whole dessert with a liqueur flavor, though. One reviewer who noted that they “don’t normally prefer boozy desserts” said “this one was subtle and delicious.” There’s also zest in the whipped cream topping, ensuring that each bite is “bursting with lemon flavor.” 

The creaminess in the filling comes in two ways: egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Yolks are rich and luxe and also help thicken; sweetened condensed milk adds a lovely sweetness (you only need a couple of tablespoons more of powdered sugar in the filling) and also helps to create the dreamiest, smoothest texture. 

Get the recipe: Creamy Limoncello Bars