Where everything's made with love

How To Make Easy Cake Mix Lemon Bars

Published: January 30, 2020 • 
Last Modified: December 29, 2023
Published: December 29, 2023

Sharing is caring!

Nothing So Easy Should Taste This Good

easy lemon bars

This recipe for easy cake mix lemon bars made me think back to YEARS ago when our girls were in high school. I was a working mom and perpetually in a rush. I started baking what I called "idiot cookies." (Credit to Peg Bracken's snarky humor in her "I Hate to Cook" cookbook.)

I Hate To Cook cookbook

It's completely politically incorrect to use that term today. Happily, I've changed my ways! Now, I call them Desperation Cookies!

How This Easy Cake Mix Lemon Bars Recipe Was Born

Here's how these easy lemon bars came about. One cold November night, I remembered my old cake mix cookie trick and wrote about it here. The recipe has been shared and shared. That tells me we all live in a state of constant hurry and need every trick in the book to keep up.

Desperation Cookies

You Will Need:

  • Box of cake mix
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Chips of your choice
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray
  • Baking Pan 11" x 7" or 9" x 9"

When You Are Even Too Tired To Make Cookies

Make bars! Don't get me wrong! Desperation cookies are fantastic. I've made dozens and dozens to share at our grandkids' ball games, potlucks, and family meals.

But then, one night, I was bone tired and totally done dealing. Even "idiot cookies" were too much for me to face.

I couldn't muster the gumption to shape the dough into 36 balls. So, I just patted the dough into a bar pan. Guess what? It worked great!

Since then, these simple lemon bars made from a cake mix have shot to the top of the chart as a family favorite!

easy lemon bars in pan

Does anyone remember Toll House Bars? Of course, you do because they're amazing! At some point, a "smart cookie" came up with the idea of spreading cookie dough in a bar pan. Voila! A classic was born!

The first time I tried making Desperation Cookies into bars, I used a yellow cake mix with toffee chips, and they turned out great! After that, I was off and running! Easy cake mix lemon bars were born!

Choose Any Cake Mix and Chip Combo

Whatever cake mix/chip combo you choose, the method is the same. What's more, the possibilities are almost endless!! Here's what you need to make these easy lemon bars.

lemon bar ingredients
Easy cake mix lemon bar ingredients

Combine The Lemon Cake With Eggs And Oil

mixing easy lemon bar ingredients

Stir in the white baking chips.

add chips to easy cake mix lemon bars

Spray or grease a baking pan and pat the dough in place. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.

baked easy cake mix lemon bars

Lemon Bars Are A Lemon Lovers Dream

We all love lemon desserts, so adding a little lemon glaze was a no-brainer! Of all the variations I've tried, this is the only one I glaze because they just cried out for a bit more tang!

You can skip the glaze; it's up to you! They're delicious either way!


Yield: 16 bars

Easy Cake Mix Lemon Bars

Easy Cake Mix Lemon Bars

One bowl, one spoon. Easy and fast lemon bars that melt in your mouth.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes


  • Bars:
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup white baking chips
  • 2 eggs
  • Glaze:
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract


  1. Combine cake mix, oil, and eggs.
  2. Stir until blended.
  3. Stir in baking chips. Pat into a sprayed 7" x 11" bar pan or 9" x 9" square pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees about 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  5. Cool.
  6. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze.
  7. Drizzle over cooled bars. Cut and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g

Don't Stop With Easy Cake Mix Lemon Bars

Try these variations, too!

  • Yellow cake mix + toffee bits! They are the favorite of our grandson's buddy Brandt! We call them Brandt bars!
  • *Yellow cake mix + cinnamon chips and cinnamon sugar on top! Busy day Snickerdoodle Bars!
  • *Spice cake mix + butterscotch or caramel chips! It's a perfect bar for fall!
  • *Chocolate cake mix + peppermint bits or peanut butter chips! So yummy!
  • *Lemon cake mix + cherry chips! The cutest polka-dots!
  • *Strawberry cake mix + white chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips! (Oooh, maybe this one would be good with a little chocolate glaze!)

Let your imagination run wild! After all, has there ever been a BAD bar cookie?

Remember, you can also take any of these variations and roll them into thirty-six balls and bake them as individual cookies when you're feeling ambitious! You might also enjoy this easy recipe for Sugar Cookie Bars, which can vary for any season of the year!

Peg Bracken left this world at the age of 89, way back in 2007. However, her iconic I Hate To Cook Book cookbook has been updated many times and is still available on Amazon. The 50th-anniversary edition would be an excellent addition to your cookbook collection or for a bride who's not too sure about this kitchen thing. Here you go!

If you liked this recipe, you are my people! If you like this recipe, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! It would sure tickle me, and I would be ever so grateful!

If you haven't already, please look for me on Facebook and Pinterest, where I will share easy, delicious, family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

Sharing is caring!

7 comments on “How To Make Easy Cake Mix Lemon Bars”

  1. I want to make the lemon bar cookies but I don't care for chocolate chips. Can I just leave them out, or use shredded coconut instead?

    1. Those are not chocolate chips. They are white baking chips- more like almond bark- there's a picture of the bag on the post, Donna. They add a smooth creamy bite to each bar- bet you would like them. Shredded coconut might be good but I haven't tried that- I think I'd use a moist coconut like Bakers if I give it a whirl!!

  2. […] something sweet for them and often it’s something simple like Desperation Cookies or a pan of Lemon Bars. As the kids file out the door and back to class, they grab and go. I’ll never forget these […]

  3. […] P.S. If you like the idea of easy and good bars in a hurry, here’s another one that has been really popular. Busy Day Lemon Bars. […]

  4. […] Do you have a favorite lemon dessert? Here’s another one I know you’ll love and it is super easy! Busy Day Lemon Bars. […]

Tell me what you think

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website designed and built with ♥ by 
BirchKey Digital
Skip to Recipe