Lemon Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting are bursting with lemon flavor and the perfect use for your summer zucchini! Everyone loves these easy zucchini bars!
Lemon Zucchini Bars
These bars have two summer baking staples in one: lemon AND zucchini. It’s a great way to use up extra zucchini and it’s bursting with bright lemon flavor in both the bar AND the lemon cream cheese frosting! If you like my lemon zucchini bread, I know you will LOVE these zucchini bars. They are such a treat!
You won’t want to share these zucchini bars, but if you are feeling generous, they’re perfect for cutting into squares and sharing. This recipe does make a big pan, so you can still enjoy a few bars and share with your friends and family. They will thank you because these are the BEST zucchini bars!
Baking with Zucchini
Zucchini is amazing to bake with. It adds vitamins and wonderful texture to your favorite recipes. It’s also high in moisture, so it’s important to be careful so you don’t spoil a delicious recipe! A few tips for baking with zucchini:
- No need to peel it! It just causes extra unnecessary work. The peel is just fine to incorporate into your recipe!
- Don’t squeeze it unless the recipe your following suggests it. For these bars, I don’t squeeze out the zucchini. You want the moisture. If you have a super large zucchini and it is extremely watery, you can squeeze it out a little, but don’t squeeze out all of the moisture.
- Stir in the shredded zucchini and it will immediately moisten up the batter!
What Size Pan Do I Use?
This recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd, bringing to a potluck, or offering at a bake sale! It bakes in a 10×15-inch sheet pan or for slightly thicker bars (yum!), try a 9×13-inch pan. I have used both pans and they both work great. FYI-the bars you see in the photos were baked in a 9×13 pan.
How to Make Lemon Zucchini Bars
It couldn’t be simpler. You’ll want to bake these on repeat all summer long!
- Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Dry ingredients: whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt
- Wet ingredients: combine the sugar and lemon in a large mixing bowl. Rub it together with your fingers until fragrant. Add in oil, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla, then whisk until smooth. It should smell AMAZING and lemony in this step!
- Stir: Use a spatula or big spoon to stir in the grated zucchini.
- Combine: Now add the dry ingredients, stirring until they’re just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
- Bake: Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes, until the bars are set. Don’t over bake, and let them cool completely.
How to make Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Since the bars need to cool completely, you don’t even need to worry about the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting until the bars come out of the oven. Just set cream cheese and butter out ahead of time so they’re room temperature when it’s time to make frosting!
- You can use a stand mixer or hand mixer to make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth and no lumps remain, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
- Once the sugar begins to incorporate, increase the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes or until smooth. If the frosting is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.
How to Store the Bars
After you frost the bars, you can cut them into squares and serve. If you have leftovers, you can cover them with the lid of your pan, if it has one, or cover with plastic wrap or foil after the frosting sets up a bit.
You can store the bars on the counter but if it is hot in your house in the summertime, I like to keep them in the refrigerator. Let the bars come to room temperature before serving…but I like them cold too:) The bars will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
More Zucchini Recipes:
If you’ve got tons of zucchini on hand and want to keep baking, here are some great recipes to enjoy!
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Lemon Zucchini Bread
- Brown Butter Zucchini Coffee Cake
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
Lemon Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Bars:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 3/4 cup oil (grapeseed, canola, or vegetable)
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated zucchini
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Grease a 10 x 15-inch sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. If you want slightly thicker bars you can use a 9×13-inch pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Add the oil, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the grated zucchini.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t over mix.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bars are set. Don’t over bake. Let the bars cool completely.
- While the bars are cooling, make the lemon cream cheese frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth and no lumps remain, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pinch of salt. Once the sugar begins to incorporate, increase the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes or until smooth. If the frosting is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar, until desired consistency is reached.
- Spread the lemon cream cheese frosting evenly over the cooled bars. Cut into squares and serve.
Have you tried this recipe?
Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @twopeasandpod and hashtag it with #twopeasandtheirpod
Photos by Dishing Out Health
Is the baking time the same if using a 9×13 pan? Thanks!
It will take a little longer, but I would still check at 25 minutes to be safe since every oven is different. You don’t want to over bake the bars. Enjoy!
Love anything zucchini and lemon
Could you use olive oil in this recipe instead?
Can I skip butter in frosting?
How can I make this recipe gluten free?
You can use all-purpose gluten-free flour. I like Cup4Cup.
Would this recipe work as a jelly roll?
I haven’t tried it.
Do you think I could make cupcakes with this recipe? I have made the bars and they are delicious but with covid I am having family for an outdoor lunch and everyone likes individual desserts so I was wondering.
I am sure that would be fine! Enjoy!
Would i be able to freeze these?
Yum these came out really good! It’s a unique but very tasty flavor combination! I halved the frosting amount and found it to be sufficient. Thanks for sharing this!
Took to a potluck and was hugely popular!
Took to a potluck and was hugely popular!
Looks delicious! Do you squeeze any water out of the zucchini first or just grate and add?
Beth, I read your question after submitting my review so I’ll answer here. The zucchini that I used had come from our garden and had been in the fridge for about a week. It was exceptionally cold and I don’t know what scientific thing happened to it in there (possibly it almost froze) but when I grated it, it seemed much juicier than any other zucchini I have grated for baking. Unless the recipe specifically calls for squeezing the liquid out of the zuc, I do not do it but in this case, it was sitting in a puddle of liquid so I did squeeze it lightly, leaving most of the natural liquid in the veggie. If I hadn’t, it would have been too wet for the recipe. Does that make sense? A “normal” zucchini is quite moist but should not be sitting in a puddle of it’s own juices when grated.
Oh. My. Gosh. I’m in lemon zucchini heaven. These are stellar bars. I made them for a family reunion Sunday and they were a giant hit. Several people asked me for the recipe, which was super easy to share as I just sent them the link. These tantalizing bars are bursting with fresh lemon flavor, are super moist, have a lovely texture, and the frosting is delectable; not too sweet or tart and cream cheese people!!! I might be a little prejudiced being from the Dairy State but any cheese… magnifique! I used a 10 x 15 pan and was initially concerned because they were so thin and the frosting seemed too soft and sweet. They sat on the counter overnight, covered with a larger jelly roll pan (this works great), and something magical happened. The lemon had taken charge and perfectly balanced out the sugar. The frosting had set up more as well (I had used about 3 1/2 C of powdered sugar) and perfectly complemented the thickness of the bars. I definitely recommend making these at least 1 day before serving them. We’re down to our last 5 bars and I know that hubby and I will be flipping a coin for that last piece. I will definitely be making these for our Labor Day family get-together. Our garden is blessed with an abundance of zucs so I can make them whenever the hankering strikes. YAY!!!!!
I forgot to add that I have used several other types of recipes found on “two peas & their pod” and have never been disappointed. They’re all starred and bookmarked. Thank you for sharing your excellent recipes!
I just made these and not sure what happened but they were only about 1/4 inch thick,.
The flavor is great and I’ll probably make them again and hope they raise up the next time. Stumped on what happened.
I had limes, so I used limes. Delicious. I had no cream cheese, so I mixed lime juice and powdered sugar for the frosting. Delicious. Today, I will make a couple batches in cupcake form to eat AND freeze. And I will probably try with GF flour, which makes me nervous but which my GF friend so appreciates! Also, I second the praise of Two Peas and a Pod. The recipes always work as is AND stand up to my endless tweaking!
When that has happened to me, it’s because I took the leavening out of the cabinet and then didn’t add it to the recipe. 🙂