As you probably already know (unless you live under a rock), Deb Perelman is one heck of a cook and a seriously terrific writer. I’ve loved her blog for years and years and had a feeling her first cookbook was going to be all sorts of awesome.

It is.

For some reason (probably because I’ve met her a few times and I think she’s a sweetheart), I associate Deb with sweets. I think this is why, upon receipt of her book, I flipped right to the desserts. I love treats that feature citrus in the wintertime, so the Whole Lemon Bars were the first recipe I tried, and I was not disappointed.

lemon bars from the smitten kitchen cookbook

Here’s the thing about lemon bars: I love them, but I always figured they were too complicated to bother making at home. That’s not the case with this recipe, though: these lemon bars, which are prepared in a food processor, could not be easier (or more delicious). These bars feature one whole seeded lemon, and I suggest using an organic lemon. If that’s not possible, use a regular lemon but clean it well with a produce spray designed to remove pesticides and other things you don’t want to eat.

lemon for whole lemon bars

I made the base of these bars with Organic Einkorn Flour. I’ve been baking with it a lot lately and I absolutely love it. Einkorn is the most ancient form of wheat: it has not been hybridized like modern wheat and is higher in nutrients (such as antioxidants) and lower in gluten than regular flour. It is not gluten free, so it’s not appropriate if you have celiac disease (though some individuals who are sensitive to gluten may indeed tolerate Einkorn).

In another effort to make these a bit healthier, I used organic sugar and reduced the amount to 1 cup. I found them to be not quite sweet enough, and then showered them with lots of powdered sugar to compensate, though, so I think I’ll just use the larger amount of sugar next time :)

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smitten kitchen whole lemon bars

*Some disclosure-y type shout outs: I received my copy of The Smitten Kitchen cookbook for free from Knopf. The lovely mug and the nourishing nettles tea in the photos were also a gift, from Traditional Medicinals. Lastly, I won the delectable grass-fed butter that I used in this recipe from Kerrygold.


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  1. 1

    Monet — February 6, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    Lemon bars have been my pregnancy craving of choice. I can’t wait to give Deb’s recipe a try. I’m sure it will be a winner. Thank you for another delicious post! I hope you have a wonderful end to your week.

  2. 2

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

    I LOVE all your pregnancy pics on facebook, Monet…you are the cutest!

  3. 3

    Jessica @ Burlap and Butter Knives — February 6, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    I am always on the lookout for great new lemon bar recipes!

    Thanks for posting this Winnie! I love the plate, so cute!

    And congrats on the wins, awesome! xoxo

  4. 4

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

    Maddie made the plate in her pottery class…I love it, too ;)

  5. 5

    gluttonforlife — February 6, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    It’s a lot of sugar and flour, things that I steer clear of that seem to show up a great deal on Smitten Kitchen. But lovely for a special treat!

  6. 6

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

    The book is actually a little more health-minded than Deb’s blog, for what it’s worth ;)

  7. 7

    Kathryn — February 6, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

    These look absolutely perfect – I can’t wait for Deb’s book to come out over here!

  8. 8

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

    You will love the book, I’m sure ;)

  9. 9

    Paula — February 6, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

    What ever cook book I’m reading I always flip to the desserts section first! Love lemons squares and yours look wonderful. Craving!

  10. 10

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

    Thanks Paula :)

  11. 11

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — February 6, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

    I love lemon bars and using a whole lemon has always intrigued me!

  12. 12

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

    I have tried a few whole lemon desserts and these are my favorite!

  13. 13

    Heid @foodiecrush — February 7, 2013 @ 12:29 am

    I am such a sucker for lemon bars and so wish I had seen our post before I wrote mine for tomorrow’s Meyer lemon roundup. My favorite bars with my favorite citrus. Thx for sharing.

  14. 14

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

    Thanks Heidi!

  15. 15

    Liren — February 7, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    Lemon bars are always a treat – I will have to try Deb’s for sure :)

  16. 16

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

    There’s a grapefruit pound cake in the book that’s also really fabulous!

  17. 17

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  18. 18

    Nicky — February 8, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

    Sounds delicious!

  19. 19

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    They are!

  20. 20

    Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily — February 10, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

    Hands down my favorite dessert ever! Yet I’ve not ever attempted to make them myself. If you say they’re simple tho I’ll give it a whirl!

    P.S. Thanks for the flour tip, I’m excited to try and find some!!

  21. 21

    Winnie — February 10, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    They are seriously so easy! And definitely look for the Einkorn flour (I ordered mine from Amazon)…it’s a dream to work with, and good for you as far as wheat goes ;)

  22. 22

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  23. 23

    MissJubilee — August 18, 2013 @ 10:28 am

    I bought Deb’s book this summer but left it at my parents’ house, so I was glad to find the recipe here! I doubled the filling and only 1.5’ed the crust, putting it into a 9×13, and they seem to have come out pretty well… a bit too greasy with I had a lukewarm one from the pan, but maybe after they spend the night in the fridge all that butter will not be noticed since it’s hardened. Not nearly as sour as I was expecting either (I left out 1/4 of the peel, won’t next time). Strange. So, not bad but not super either. Next time I’m willing to wash my food processor twice in one afternoon (double-ugh), I’ll give these another try with more lemon and less oil. Thanks for sharing the recipe with your pretty photos!

  24. 24

    Andrea — November 12, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    I made these with honey (half the amount of sugar) and they were great!

  25. 25

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  26. 26

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