Lemon Brownies

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Lemon Brownies are super fudgy, with a mouthwatering tang that pairs just perfectly with the sweet lemon icing. Mix up a few simple ingredients, pop them in the oven, and you’ll have a tray of decadent, lemon desserts in less than an hour! 

tittle collage for lemon brownies

Lemon desserts like this one are as refreshing as they come, satisfying all sweetness cravings without sitting like a rock in your stomach.

When you’re craving really fudgy brownies without all the heaviness that comes with chocolate, it’s time to whip up lemon brownies with lemon glaze!!

ingredients for lemon brownies

Lemon Brownies

Chewy citrus squares topped with a sweet, homemade lemon glaze are the perfect spring or summer dessert.

Although, they go over just as well for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!

Make this easy dessert recipe with a handful of simple ingredients and less than an hour of your time — no one will be able to tell that you used a boxed mix!

You can also try more of my lemon cake mix recipes like these iced cookies or a delicious poke cake dotted with fresh blueberries.

2 eggs in bowl for lemon brownies with lemon glaze

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Lemon Juice and Zest – Can’t have lemon brownies without lemons. Can you replace the lemons with limes or oranges? Absolutely! Any citrus, any time.
  • Lemon Pudding Mix and Yellow Cake Mix – Lemon brownies from cake mix are SO moist! Any brand will do – I like to use Betty Crocker cake mix.
  • Eggs – Preferably, your eggs should be room temperature, just like the rest of the ingredients. This makes them easier to incorporate with the other ingredients..
  • Powdered Sugar – You definitely need powdered (not granulated) sugar. This is to make the lemon glaze for your brownies!

    Trust me, you’ll have a hard time avoiding a grainy texture otherwise. 
lemon zest in measuring spoon

Lemon Brownies FAQ

How do you know when brownies are done?

Insert a toothpick into the center of the pan. If it comes out clean, they’re done!

It’s okay if there are a few moist crumbs on the toothpick, but if there’s any wet batter, they need more time in the oven.

Do you need baking powder for brownies?

Nope! Not for this lemon brownies recipe, at least. We’re going for a fudgy (not cakey) texture, so we don’t want them to rise too much.

And that’s exactly what baking powder does!

Alternatively, if you like a cakier texture, feel free to add just a bit of baking powder.

What makes brownies soft?

Using fatty ingredients guarantees soft brownies! In many recipes, this means using milk rather than water, and/or oil instead of butter.

For this lemon brownies recipe, the egg yolk is used as the fatty ingredient.

lemon brownies from cake mix batter

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Zest first!

    Wash your fruit and remove the bright yellow rind with a microplane grater, stopping when you see the bitter white pith.

    Be sure to reserve extra for garnish if desired.
  • Use room temperature fruit.

    Before you juice the lemons, bring them to room temperature, or pop them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

    This way, they will release a lot more juice!
  • Make a larger batch.

    You can easily double this recipe for larger gatherings or bake sales. Use a 9×13 pan and increase the baking time until they are fully set.

    The squares will also come out a bit thicker this way.

Slicing Lemon Brownies with Lemon Glaze

If you struggle trying to cut brownies and other bar desserts into clean slices, this will be helpful!

  1. Line your pan with parchment before spraying it with cooking spray. 

    Leave some parchment paper overhanging the edges, so you will have something to hold on to later.
  2. Once baked, grab the parchment and lift the dessert straight up and out of the pan!
  3. Press down into the dessert with a sharp, warm knife to create clean slices. I use a tall glass filled with warm water to dip the knife into between each slice I cut.
lemon glaze on spoon

Serving, Storing, and Freezing Instructions

You can serve the lemon brownies warm,, or after chilling in the fridge for a couple of hours. They’re scrumptious either way!

Because lemon glaze for brownies is made without dairy (just powdered sugar and lemon juice), it keeps well at room temperature.

Store the iced brownies in an airtight container and enjoy within 3 days. 

Or tightly wrap them, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the lemon brownies out on the counter before serving.

Alternatively, let them thaw in the fridge a day or so in advance, then serve them cold. 

3 lemon brownies stacked

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lemon brownies covered with glaze and stacked on a blue plate

Other Fantastic Lemon Desserts


stacked lemon brownies with lemon glaze

Lemon Brownies

Donna Elick
Lemon brownies are soft and sweet, topped with a tangy citrus glaze. This lemon brownies recipe is easy to make from a lemon cake mix!
4.41 stars from 5 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 12 mins
Cook Time 24 mins
Total Time 36 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 9

Ingredients
 

Brownies:

  • 15.25 ounces yellow cake mix, I used Betty Crocker
  • 3.4 ounces lemon instant pudding mix
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if needed for desired consistency
  • lemon zest, for garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

For the Brownies

  • Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, and also use non-stick cooking spray so that the brownies lift out easily.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Using an electric hand mixer, combine the dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, lemon juice, eggs, and lemon zest together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and use a spatula to spread evenly.
  • Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only moist crumbs (no wet batter).
  • Remove lemon brownies from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Holding both sides of parchment paper, lift the brownies up out of the pan and allow them to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

For the Glaze

  • Whisk the powdered sugar and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl until smooth. If needed, thin the glaze by adding a few more drops of lemon juice to reach desired consistency.
  • Slice brownies into squares, then drizzle glaze over the top and sprinkle with lemon zest.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 286cal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 420mg | Sugar: 34g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
lemon brownies with lemon glaze closeup on plate

Originally published July 2022

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39 Comments

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble, Susan. The recipe card is located at the bottom of the post. When you arrive on the page, simply scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see it.

  1. You do mix the cake mix with the ingredients and instructions on the box right? Also what about the pudding mix??

    1. Hi Carol, thanks for your comment. No, the dry cake mix and pudding mix are combined together in step #4 of the instructions, as shown in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
      “Using an electric hand mixer, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, lemon juice, eggs, and lemon zest together in a medium sized mixing bowl.”
      Hope this is helpful!

      TSRI Team member,
      Becca

  2. Can you poke holes in the brownies and pour the glaze over them and let it soak in before serving? Has anyone tried it?

    1. Hi Natalie-
      Although I haven’t tried making this recipe as “lemon poke cake brownies”, it’s a neat idea! Please come back and let us know how it goes! In the meantime, we do have a scrumptious lemon poke cake recipe that you may like 🙂

      TSRI Team member,
      Becca

  3. should a yellow cake or a lemon cake mix be used? Both are referenced in the recipe. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sherri,
      I imagine that the brownies will taste very lemony, but you can definitely substitute lemon cake mix for yellow cake mix!

      TSRI Team member,
      Becca

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe makes cookie dough !!! Not brownie batter ! How am I supposed to pour this thick dough into my brownie pan ?

    1. Hi Mary,
      Sorry to hear you are having issues with this recipe. It is easy to pour the batter into the pan and smooth it out with a rubber spatula. These Lemon Brownies are have fudgy texture and are absolutely amazing!
      TSRI team member,
      Holli

    2. Hi Mary,

      Mines came out very thick as well and it took awhile to spread out in the pan. In the end the texture and everything came out very well after I baked it. I’m hoping yours came out good despite the initial thickness/texture.

    1. Hi Nina,
      We have only tested this recipe with instant pudding, although the only difference in the cook-and-serve pudding mix is the starch used, it should work just fine. Hope this helps!
      TSRI Team Member,
      Holli

    1. Hi Kim,
      We have not tested it like this but if you do please let us know how it goes.
      TSRI Team Member,
      Holli

    2. 3 stars
      I’m doing sugar free right now and the dough is very crumbly not coming together at all. I’m going to press in the pan and bake it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    3. 4 stars
      Up-date on sugar free ingredients. The dough started crumbly put I kept mixing it, for a while and it came together. The dough was still very thick and extremely sticky, but I pressed it into the pan, and they turned out great. I used Truvia powdered sugar for the glaze and it required a lot of lemon juice to get it to a great glaze consistency. They taste lemony and make a great summer dessert. However, I still like my lemon blueberry Easter cake more.

  5. How thick are these brownies? Seems an 8×8 pan with a whole box of cake mix will create THICK brownies. The pictures do not indicate that.
    I so look forward to trying them.

    1. Hi Kim,
      They actually come out the same as a regular brownie and are absolutely amazing! Enjoy and let us know how it goes!
      TSRI Team Member,
      Holli

  6. I have a question. You said in the narrative that lime or orange could be used instead of lemon. What kind of pudding mix would you suggest for each of them, as there are no pudding mixes available in either of these flavors to my knowledge?
    Thanks!

    1. I would still use lemon and it would be a little more ‘citrusy’. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

  7. 5 stars
    I’m giving this recipe 5⭐️ because in the end it was very good and a big hit. Had I left a review while making it, which I was so tempted to do, I wouldn’t have been so generous. I knew I was using boxed ingredients which I’m not too keen on, but I followed the recipe exactly. Others should know that the dough was so think it was almost impossible to work with- but I kept on, telling myself”maybe that’s what make it fudgy. And I guess it was! Knowing this I will make a single batch next time. Icing measurements were also spot on too. So this is a keeper.

    1. Hi Chris,
      We are happy you enjoyed the lemon brownies! The batter is thick but yes, it is what makes them “fudgy” and absolutely delicious! Thank you for rating our recipe.
      TSRI Team Member,
      Holli

  8. Something missing from receipe? Batter not even close to “pouring” into pan. No spreading whatsoever.. consistency like sticky sticky glue, very thick. Two eggs, and small amount of lemon juice just not even close to brownies. Baked to at correct amount of time they turned out gooey and rubbery. What ingredient did I miss?

    1. Hi Shelia,
      Without being there when you made the recipe, it’s impossible to know for sure what, if anything, you might have missed in the instructions. We have had many readers successfully make the recipe without any problems. We hope you’ll give it another try. 🙂

      TSRI Team member,
      Becca

  9. I mixed lime and lemon juice and used cheesecake pudding with lemon cake….. agree – batter is very thick and hard to do with a hand mixer… came out more like a cake but very good!!!

  10. Would I be able to use the gf cake mix to do this ? Or will I have to revamp the eggs and such ? It sounds so good and would love to try it.

    1. Hi June!
      We haven’t tested this recipe using gluten free cake mix, so I’m uncertain how to help you with ingredient adjustments. If you try it, please come back and let us know how it worked for you!

      TSRI Team member,
      Becca

  11. Okay, i was very skeptical because the batter was sooo thick it crawled up the beaters. Had to use spatula to remove from beaters to get in pan. No ‘pouring’ was happening here, but I added another egg to compensate. They turned out DELICIOUS!!!

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