Lemon Pie Crumb Bars

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Lemon Pie Crumb Bars

If you’ve ever heard the expression “easy as pie,” you know that it was coined by someone who eats pie, not someone who makes it. Pie is not crazy difficult to make, but if I had to make up an expression about something being easy, I would not pick pie. Maybe “easy as microwave popcorn?” Nah. That’s hard. I burn it a lot.

Besides, if you’re going for ease, you should probably pick a finger food. Pie is easy to eat if you have plates and forks, but I cannot tell you how often someone brings a pie into the office and there are no implements with which to consume said pie. When given the choice, I turn my pie into bars. And when given further choice, I make lemon pie bars. With endless crumbs on top!

Lemon Pie Crumb Bars

See, kids, mama loves lemon. More than chocolate (shh) in certain weather and situations. And I had a brother’s birthday to bake for this past week who reallyreally loves lemon, so I figured this was as good an excuse as any.

I’ve never had a sister, but I hit the jackpot with brothers. They taught me a whole lot: how to nerd out on Star Trek (original series, please), how to have a good backyard water fight, how to build with Legos, how to make an architecturally impressive Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, and how to pull off boy clothes with ironic flair. Honestly, they taught me a lot more than that. And so I bake for them.

Lemon Pie Crumb Bars

Kind of a sexist construct, the little sister baking for the older brothers. But heck, I am all about being the one who does that. And in return, I get my legal questions answered, my children played with (yay for energetic uncles!) and access to the pool deck in a certain cool brother’s condo building.

Lemon Pie Crumb Bars

These bars are easy, quick, and lemony. Like, VERY lemony. The base is actually a lemon cake mix, which gets combined with quick oats and butter for a fuss-free crumb. I added a healthy dose of lemon zest as well to give it extra zing.

The crumb mixture forms both the base for the bars and the topping, and the middle is simply lemon pie filling and white chocolate chips. My three year-old made this with me. It must be easy as pie.

Lemon Pie Crumb Bars

So that expression exists for a reason, then. And so does pie. And so do big brothers. And that reason is to make life better. If you’re a kid reading this, your big brothers will stop torturing you someday and then you’ll love them like crazy, if you don’t already. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll introduce you to Star Trek.


Lemon Pie Crumb Bars


1 box lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
1 and 1/2 cups quick oats
1-2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 can lemon pie filling
1 cup white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the lemon cake mix and quick oats. Stir in the lemon zest. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands until large crumbs start to form.
  3. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread on the lemon pie filling and sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly over the filling. Pinching the crumb mixture to get differently-sized crumbs, scatter the remaining crumbs over the pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crumbs are golden. Cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.



I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I don’t like making pie most of the time, so these bars are right up my alley! Love the lemon flavor, Mir! And that crumb topping looks delish!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…BLT Ranch Pasta SaladMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Gayle! I like making pies in theory. They’re just way too tempting to eat several slices of!

  2. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    Mir – I never had a brother. I always wondered what it would be like. I blame my lack of Star Wars or Star Trek knowledge on the fact that I never grew up with boys. I have one biological sister and two step sisters even our pet cat growing up was a girl. Needless to say, there was a lot of obsessing over N’sync and Backstreet Boys, Lisa Frank sticker collections, and Tamagotchis. These lemon bars…drop dead gorgeous. I love them all.
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg recently posted…Cucumber Ginger SodaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I missed the sister experience, so I guess we had opposite thing going on! I was also teaching when N’Sync became a thing. Making me feel old, Erin! 🙂

  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, there’s something so special about a brother and sister relationship. . I love my brother to death and knows he will always have my back. And there’s the Star Trek thing. . love these bars! I think I love lemon and chocolate (equally?) .. ok nah, who am I kidding. . it’s chocolate all the way. . but in the spring and summer, lemon desserts are definitely up there! you got me with this crumb topping .. again! love this!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Sour Cream Chocolate CakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Brothers should always have their sisters’ backs. And I’m usually with you on chocolate all the way. There are just certain really hot days when those refreshing lemon desserts are the best thing ever. Oh, and margaritas. But that’s neither here nor there! 🙂 Thanks, Alice!

  4. Sam @ SugarSpunRun

    Haha, “easy as microwave popcorn” made me laugh!
    These sound great, Mir, love all the lemon-y-ness 🙂
    Sam @ SugarSpunRun recently posted…Chocolate Chip Cookie BrittleMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m glad I made you laugh, Sam! I really had no idea what could be easy. Making a PB and J sandwich? Opening a granola bar? That’s easy.

  5. Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy

    I love lemon bars and these look delicious!
    I don’t have brothers but I always thought it’s fun to have older brothers who can teach you so much.
    Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy recently posted…Comment on Sauteed Brussels Sprouts and Carrots by Delicious Meets HealthyMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Well, they taught me a lot. Some of it was useful. Some of it was fun! Thanks, Neli!

  6. Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat.

    I’ve always kind of wondered about that saying too, pie ISN’T what I’d make if I wanted something easy. But these do look like an easier version of pie, and just as amazing!
    Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. recently posted…Lemon Strawberry Cream Puff CakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks so much, Stacey! Sayings are odd. I wonder how they get started…

  7. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    I’m a okay with ‘very’ lemony. In fact, the lemon-ier the better. These are all words, right?
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…Microwave Blackberry Lime Chia JamMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Not exactly, but my English teacher self is gonna let it go. Thanks, Medha!

  8. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks

    I always wanted a brother and yours sound fantastic! I think you have a good deal going here with the exchanges. What a relief they taught you how to pull off boy clothes. I’m sure they loved these lemon pie crumb bars because they certainly look delicious to me!
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks recently posted…Brown Ale Bread Stuffed with Bacon, Gorgonzola, and FigsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I hope they did! I sent the whole batch home with my brothers. I think I ate the corner of one. That’s the thing about brothers, Rachelle. They eat all your food!

      1. A Brother

        One of your brothers is sorely tempted to make a stupid joke about preferring to pull off GIRLS’ clothes. Let’s see if you can guess which one.

        1. Mir

          I KNEW IT!!! That explains all my disappearing shirts. Love you.

  9. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    oh my gosh! my mouth read the title and started to water! lemon pie WITH crumbs is perfection! I always thought lemon pie needed more crust so this is the perfect solution YMMM 😉
    Michele @ Two Raspberries recently posted…Mango Peach Berry SmoothieMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Michele! I always felt that way, too. There needs to be more balance for all that tang!

  10. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    Pie bars are just so much better than pie. There, I said it! 🙂
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Blackberry Key Lime TartsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Let’s start a movement, Dorothy! Pie bars forever!

  11. Danielle

    I won’t lie, I’ve been known to burn microwave popcorn too 😉 I love pie, especially when it’s in bar form!
    Danielle recently posted…Spinach Artichoke Tortellini SaladMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I can’t help burning it! It’s so hard not to. And I underbake everything else, Danielle! 🙂

  12. Jasline (Foodie Baker)

    Hi Mir, I agree with you, pie is definitely not easy making them, but so easy to finish eating them! Your lemon bars look amazing, the chocolate chips peeking underneath those crumbs… mmm!
    Jasline (Foodie Baker) recently posted…Nigella’s Mother-in-Law’s Madeira CakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Jasline! Pie is definitely not easy to eat without proper implements. Maybe back in the day they always had forks everywhere?

  13. Harriet Emily

    What a mouthwatering dessert. I looove lemon flavours, so this sounds like the perfect treat for me! thank you for sharing 🙂
    Harriet Emily recently posted…APPLE, PEAR & CHESTNUT CAKEMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m so glad! I was definitely aiming for lemon lovers with this one!

  14. Kate @ Framed Cooks

    Lemon pie and crumb bars all in one scrumptious package – and secret chocolate? I. Am. In. 🙂
    Kate @ Framed Cooks recently posted…Mason Jar Veggie Macaroni and CheeseMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Chocolate should be in everything. This I know, Kate! Thanks so much!

  15. Heather - Butter & Burlap

    Seriously, I’m obsessed with lemon lately! I gotta have these over the holiday weekend! Great recipe, Mir!
    Heather – Butter & Burlap recently posted…Chocolate-Hazelnut Rocky Road Ice CreamMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Heather! It’s definitely the right time to be obsessed with lemon!

  16. Manali @ CookWithManali

    I had an elder sister but I lost her 13 years ago, I miss her everyday..sisters are special. I have 2 younger brothers and they will be here next week, I can’t wait to bake for them. Maybe I’ll start with these lemon pie crumb bars because they looks absolutely fantastic!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Post Workout Snack BitesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m so sorry to hear about your sister, Manali. I’m sure what you had with her was so special. I’m glad you bake for your brothers, too!

  17. Cailee

    Oh my gosh you are so cute!! I love your opening!! It’s so true!! Pie eats def coined that phrase! …not the bakers! 🙂 Great recipe btw!! Looks delicious! YUM!

    1. Mir

      Thanks so much, Cailee! I try to be cute. 😉

  18. mira

    I almost never make pies 🙁 But will be trying these bars! Your dessert bars recipes are so creative Mir! Great combination!
    mira recently posted…Easy Fresh Strawberry MargaritaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Mira! Pies are not terrible to make, once you get going. And they’re such fun to eat!

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