Bars, Blondies & Brownies/ Desserts

Lemon Bars with Nilla Wafer Crust

The classic lemon bars that you know and love, but updated with a fun twist.  Instead of the traditional shortbread crust, I made a Nilla Wafer crust instead!  The crust is made in one bowl too, without me having to pull out my food processor.  If you are a lemon bar lover, then read on for the great recipe I have for you!

When life hands you lemons, you make…..lemon bars!  Or when you are super busy and stressed out, but your husband calls you last minute to ask if you have time to whip up some lemon bars for the guys at work, you put everything aside and make lemon bars.  Yeahhhhhh.  Me and my inability to say no.

Making these lemon bars had been in the works for awhile, but I just had not had time to make them yet.  But I made time after James asked me for these. Lemon bars are one of James’ favorite desserts, so I knew my recipe would have to live up to all the other lemon bars he has had before.  And it did.  Miiiiiiiiiight have been that Nilla Wafer crust I made though.  The boy is a sucker for a Nilla Wafer crust hehehehe….but really.  These lemon bars are super yummy!

I made the lemon curd using fresh lemons, lemon zest and Ballard Extracts Lemon Extract that Foodlyn sent me.  This made for the perfect amount of lemon flavor!

You make the crust first (in case that isn’t obvious)…you can see I left some chunks of Nilla Wafers in there 🙂

Bake the crust until is starts to brown….

Now bring on the lemons!

Lemon Bars with Nilla Wafer Crust

Print Recipe
Serves: 20 Cooking Time: 15 minutes + 25-minutes


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Ballard Extracts Vanilla Extract)
  • 1-1/4 cups Nilla Wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 3 large lemons)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (I used Ballard Extracts Lemon Extract)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the top (use as much or as little as you like)



Line a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray the bottoms and sides with baking spray. Set aside.




In the bowl of a stand mixer, affixed with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Add the brown sugar and white sugar to the butter and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber scraper, as needed.


Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the salt, nutmeg, vanilla extract, Nilla Wafer crumbs and flour to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix on medium until just combined. Pour dough out onto parchment paper (I used the one I lined my pan with), and flatten the dough into a disc. Place the disc of dough (still on the parchment paper) into the freezer for 15-miniutes.


After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350-degrees. Remove chilled dough from the freezer and press dough into prepared pan (I just plopped my dough and parchment paper that had been in the freezer, back into the baking pan). Press the dough out in an even layer on the bottom of the pan and then place the dough in the refrigerator until oven is done heating up.


Bake dough crust in 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, on until lightly browned. Remove the crust from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool while you prepare the lemon curd. LEAVE THE OVEN ON!




In the bowl of a stand mixer, affixed with the whisk attachment, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and flour. Mix on medium-low until combined. Slowly add the beaten eggs, sugar and lemon extract to the mixer. Mix until combined. Pour the lemon curd over the cooled Nilla Wafer crust.


Return the baking pan back into the oven for 25-30 minutes. The bars are done when the center is set. Remove lemon bars from the oven and let set on the counter until cool.


Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. I used a sifter to apply my sugar layer evenly on top.


Store lemon bars in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

There’s the reason why lemon bars are dusted with a layer of powdered sugar…not the prettiest dessert yet.  But just wait!

Now we get to cut into slices and enjoy!

Crunchy Nilla Wafer crust on the bottom, tart and smooth lemon curd filling in the middle and topped with a generous dusting of powdered sugar!

A whole bunch of happy firefighters got these bars!  So tell me…do you like lemon desserts? Are you a lemon bar lover?



If you would like to purchase the Ballard Extracts Lemon Extract that I used in this recipe, click HERE.  Foodlyn sells Ballard Extracts at their online store, as well as a ton of other unique, artisan products!



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I have linked this recipe up at the following link parties: Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Pretty Pintastic Party, Sugar and Spice.  Click on the links to check out the parties 🙂

*****This recipe was a featured recipe in the Sugar and Spice Link Party!  Click HERE to check it out!*****

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  • Reply
    Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen
    May 25, 2017 at 7:09 AM

    Oh I love lemon bars! That Nilla wafer crust is calling my name right now, too :). These look divine, Kelly!

    • Reply
      May 25, 2017 at 3:16 PM

      Thank you Kelsie! I love anything with a Nilla Wafer crust 🙂 Have a great day darling XOXOX

  • Reply
    May 25, 2017 at 8:06 AM

    These were amazing! You definitely set the bar high by making these first for the guys at 5!!!

    • Reply
      May 25, 2017 at 3:17 PM

      Hahaha…thank you….the things I do for my husband 😉

  • Reply
    Karissa Maria (Sweet As A Cookie)
    May 25, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    I love that you used the Nilla wafers as a crust. I haven’t had a lemon bar in ages. I might just have to whip up a batch!

    • Reply
      May 25, 2017 at 3:17 PM

      Thanks Karissa!! Lemon bars are perfect for Spring…I definitely recommend whipping up a batch 😉 XOXO

  • Reply
    Ashika - Gardening Foodie
    May 25, 2017 at 10:07 PM

    WOW I am a really big fan of baking with lemons, these look delicious. I love that you make your own lemon curd for this recipe, shop bought is so expensive. Definitely baking these, so pinning and saving. Thanks for a great recipe. Have a wonderful weekend🙂

    • Reply
      May 26, 2017 at 3:16 PM

      Thank you Ashika!! That is so sweet of you! I hope you enjoy this recipe 🙂 Let me know what you think! Have a great weekend XOXOXO

  • Reply
    Kim | The Baking ChocolaTess
    May 26, 2017 at 5:24 AM

    Those look amazing Kelly! Wish I could grab a couple through the screen and devour those bad boys! Wouldn’t that be amazing? Happy Weekend to you!! <3

    • Reply
      May 26, 2017 at 3:25 PM

      Hahaha I wish we could do that…because that’s exactly how I feel when I read your blog 🙂 Happy weekend to you too Kim! XOXOXO

  • Reply
    May 26, 2017 at 6:51 AM

    I swear I hear “Dream Weaver” playing in my head, like that scene in Wayne’s World where Wayne sees Cassandra on stage for the first time. These lemon bars are my Cassandra right now.

    • Reply
      May 26, 2017 at 3:26 PM

      Hahahaha you always make me laugh! That is awesome! And love that movie BTW. My hubby and I actually dressed up as Wayne and Garth for Halloween one year hehehehe (I was Garth) 😉 Have a great weekend! XOXO

  • Reply
    Stacy | POP KITCHEN
    May 26, 2017 at 12:03 PM

    I do love lemon bars! And a Nilla wafer crust is so genius. I bet those guys were pretty happy about that. You must be the trophy wife of the pack!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2017 at 3:27 PM

      Awww thanks Stacy! Yeah those guys love whenever I stop by the firehouse, because I don’t usually come empty handed hehehehe. Have a great weekend! XOXO 🙂

  • Reply
    Love In My Oven
    May 26, 2017 at 8:09 PM

    What a great idea Kelly! Lemon bars always make me think of my Mom because she said the only time she ever binge ate an entire dessert was when she made lemon bars haha! I could definitely binge eat these!! Yum! Have a great weekend sweets! XO

    • Reply
      May 28, 2017 at 7:11 AM

      Hahaha I love it!! We all have “that dessert” that we could totally binge eat 🙂 Have a great weekend darling! XOXO 🙂

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