Lemon tart recipe

(484 ratings)

Our classic lemon tart is easy to make and comes in at under 300 calories a slice.

lemon tart
(Image credit: Future)
  • healthy
Preparation Time35 mins
Cooking Time50 mins (plus chilling time)
Total Time1 hours 25 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories281 Kcal14%
Fat17.4 g25%
Sugars16.2 g18%
Saturated Fat10.2 g51%
Protein4.3 g9%
Carbohydrates26.5 g10%

Our lemon tart is a citrusy classic and it is easy to prepare ahead for dinner parties.

Our lemon tart recipe is mouth-wateringly good. It's creamy, sharp and sweet and making your own pastry is easier than you might think. If you want to cheat you can also use shop-bought pastry but if you're using the pre-rolled sheets you might need to roll it a little thinner to fit your tin so a block is best. 


  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g (3½oz) unsalted butter
  • 50g (1¼oz) caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • Few drops of vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
  • 142ml double cream
  • Finely zested rind and juice of 3 lemons
  • Icing sugar, for dusting




  1. To make the pastry: Put the flour, salt, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor and whizz until the mixture starts to bind together.
  2. Tip the dough onto a floured worktop and knead it very lightly to give a smooth surface, then roll it out and use it to line a 23cm (9in) fluted tin. Chill the pastry case for at least 15 minutes. Set the oven to 190C (170C fan, Gas 5) and place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
  3. Line the pastry case with a sheet of scrunched baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for 12 minutes, then carefully lift out the parchment paper with the baking beans and return the case to the oven for a further 3-5 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4).
  4. To make the filling: Beat the eggs, then add sugar, cream and lemon rind and juice, and mix well. Pour mixture into the pastry case, filling it almost to the top.
  5. Bake the tart in the centre of the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges of the filling have set and it is just slightly wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven, slide the tin on to a wire rack and leave the tart to cool in the tin for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.
  6. Chill the tart well, and dust it with icing sugar just before serving.

Watch how to make a lemon tart

Top tips for making lemon tart

Try to keep the pastry cool as this will make rolling it out much easier. You also want to handle it as little as possible if you want to achieve a very short, crumbly texture. For more tips that will help you make the best lemon tart, continue reading below. 

How do you make pastry by hand?

Tip the flour and salt into a bowl, and add the butter and rub it together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and then add the beaten egg and vanilla extract, and mix to bind the ingredients together.

You might find it easier to use two cutlery knives to quickly and efficiently combine the wet ingredients with the dry. It’s less messy too. 

What can I use instead of baking beans?

If you don’t have ceramic baking beans you can use dried rice and pulses such as lentils or seeds. This is a great option if you often have little odds and ends of packets that you don’t know what to do with. You can’t cook the grains again but you can keep them in a jar for all future blind-baking. 

Why did my pastry case shrink?

If there is too much liquid in the pastry or you stretch it when lining the case it is likely the pastry will shrink once baked. Chilling the lined case until very firm helps to reduce this.

For this recipe you need to roll your pastry into a circle that is just bigger than your tin. Using a large rolling pin with thickness guides helps ensure it is even.

Super Kitchen Adjustable Stainless Steel Rolling Pin with Silicone Thickness Guide Rings - View at Amazon

Super Kitchen Adjustable Stainless Steel Rolling Pin with Silicone Thickness Guide Rings - View at Amazon

This stylish rolling pin is practical too. The smooth, stainless steel material won’t colour or absorb odours. It is hollow making it very light to hold and it is 40cm long which ensures you can roll your pastry into large shapes without the ends of the rolling pin causing indents. 

Once you’ve mastered this recipe you might like our lemon meringue pie. Alternatively, if you’d prefer something simpler our lemon creams are lovely and use a handful of ingredients. Our lemon pudding recipe is great in autumn or winter and we think a slice of lemon drizzle cake is good at any time of year. 

Rosie Conroy
Food Writer

Rosie is an experienced food and drinks journalist who has spent over a decade writing about restaurants, cookery, and foodie products. Previously Content Editor at Goodto.com and Digital Food Editor on Woman&Home, Rosie is well used to covering everything from food news through to taste tests. Now, as well as heading up the team at SquareMeal - the UK's leading guide to restaurants and bars - she also runs a wedding floristry business in Scotland called Lavender and Rose.