Gluten Free Lemon Bars

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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Buttery shortbread crust plus honey-sweetened, creamy lemon filling makes these lemon bars a must-make that will have everyone going back for seconds!

Y'all know how much I love lemon, whether it's lemony kale, a squeaky clean soup, or this lemon poppyseed pound cake, lemon has the ability to make a dish sing like nothing else does. So, it should come as no surprise that one of my all-time favorite spring/summer desserts is gluten free lemon bars! There's just something about lemon desserts. As much as I love rich, chocolate-y concoctions, I feel like lemon desserts deliver the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors while also feeling light and refreshing. That's why they're so perfect this time of year, especially for outdoor gatherings and BBQs!

Ingredients

The ingredient list for these luscious lemon bars is really quite simple, and I’d be willing to bet that you even have several of these ingredients on hand already! Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Crust

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – to start, you’ll need 1 cup of gluten-free flour blend. Our very favorite GF flour is King Arthur’s Measure for Measure flour. We pretty much exclusively use it and haven’t been disappointed yet! 
  • Chilled Butter – in addition to the flour, you’ll also need to make sure that you have a ½ cup (1 stick) of chilled butter on hand. It’s important to keep it chilled and in the fridge until you’re ready to use it!
  • Powdered Sugar – lastly, you’ll need a ¼ cup of powdered sugar to finish off the crust. You can definitely swap in coconut sugar here, but know that it will yield a more crumbly crust.

For the Lemon Filling

  • Eggs – to start the lemon filling, you’ll want to grab 4 eggs.
  • Lemon Juice – what’s lemon filling without lemon juice?! You’ll need a ⅓ cup (about 3 lemon’s-worth) of lemon juice here. Fresh is best!
  • Honey – to add a touch of sweetness, you’ll also need ¾ cup of honey. Feel free to use cane sugar if you’re out of honey.
  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – a ¼ cup of gluten free flour blend (again, we love King Arthur’s Measure for Measure flour) will help to thicken and bind everything.
  • Baking Powder – you’ll also need a ½ teaspoon of baking powder for the filling.
  • Powdered Sugar  – after everything is done cooking and completely cooled, you’ll top with your desired amount of powdered sugar!
gluten free lemon bars

How to Make Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Desserts can be intimidating, but with just 15 minutes of prep time, these lemon bars are actually super easy. You’ll start with the crust and then move onto the filling, and before you know it, you’ll have a dish of baked lemon bars staring you in the face! Here’s what you need to do:

For the Gluten Free Shortbread Crust

  • Prep – preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and butter – in a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour and powdered sugar. Then, cut the chilled butter into ¼-inch pieces, add the butter chunks to the bowl, and using a pastry cutter or your hands, combine the butter with the flour-sugar mixture until a crumbly dough forms.
  • Press into a pan and bake – press the crust mixture into the bottom of the parchment paper-lined 8-inch square pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

For the Lemon Filling

  • Beat the wet ingredients – add the eggs, lemon juice, and honey to a large bowl (or the base of your stand mixer) and beat on high-speed until the honey is fully incorporated.
  • Add the flour and baking powder – mix the flour and baking powder into the bowl with the beaten eggs, lemon juice, and honey.
  • Pour and bake – pour the lemon filling over the baked crust and bake for 25 minutes, until the filling is set.
  • Let cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve – let the lemon bars cool for at least one hour, then sprinkle a dusting of powdered sugar over top, serve, and enjoy!
gluten free lemon bars

Tips for Making Gluten Free Lemon Squares

While this recipe is fairly straight-forward and easy, you’ll definitely want to keep these tips in mind:

  • Use fresh lemon juice – this is a big one! There is such a distinct difference between fresh and bottled lemon juice. If you’re lucky enough to shop at a grocery store that sells bottled *freshly-squeezed* lemon juice in the produce section, feel free to grab that. If it isn’t freshly-squeezed, though, opt for buying whole lemons and using a lemon juicer to juice them yourself. It may seem like a pain, but it is totally worth it!
  • Keep an eye on the lemon bars – you’ll know that the lemon bars are done baking when the top is golden brown and the filling just barely jiggles. Be sure to pull them from the oven at this point to keep them from overcooking.
  • Let them cool in the refrigerator – if you need your bars to set up faster, place them in the refrigerator after removing them from the oven. This will accelerate the process and allow you to slice and serve them a bit sooner.

FAQs

Can I use almond flour?

Unfortunately, no, but the almond flour crust in these apricot bars may be a good substitute for the shortbread crust here. 

Can these be made dairy free?

They can! Feel free to substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for the butter in the crust.

Can I make these without powdered sugar?

Definitely. You’ll just leave the powdered sugar sprinkle off of the top of the bars and use coconut sugar or white sugar in the crust. Do note that if you use coconut sugar or white sugar in the crust, the taste will still be spot-on, but the crust will be a tad bit crumblier – definitely not a deal-breaker, but it is something to be aware of!

Can these be made egg-free?

They can’t. Unfortunately, the custard needs eggs to set up properly, so we don’t have an egg-free option here.

We hope this gluten-free lemon bar recipe makes an appearance at your next special occasion gathering – we guarantee they'll win over your guests at first bite!

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars

The perfect light, fresh, and tangy spring dessert!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 00:15
  • Cook Time: 00:45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 9 lemon bars 1x

Ingredients

Scale

For the crust:

For the lemon filling:

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine flour and powdered sugar in a medium sized bowl. Cut butter into 1/4 inch pieces and add to flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, combine the butter with the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly.
  3. Press crust mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  4. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and honey to a large bowl or the base of your stand mixture and beat on high speed until the honey is fully incorporated, then mix in the flour and baking powder. Pour the lemon filling over the crust and bake for 25 minutes, until set.
  5. Let cool for at least one hour, then sprinkle powdered sugar over top and serve!

Notes

**You can use coconut sugar in place of the powdered sugar called for in the crust, but just note that it will result in a more crumbly crust.

**For a dairy free option, you can substitute ghee for butter.

**For a low FODMAP option, you can substitute white sugar for honey.

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Recipe rating

  1. Wendy says:

    YESSSSS! I adore lemon bars and I’m so glad that I now have a GF and trusted recipe to try 🙂 Thinking about making them for Easter- do you know how far in advance I can make them, and how well they’ll travel?

    1. Madison Trammell says:

      Thank you so much for the recipe! If you make them in advance do you refrigerate or leave out over night?

      5.0 rating

    2. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Store them in the fridge, Madison – enjoy!!

  2. Miranda says:

    Would gluten free flour and regular flour substitute at the same amount? Same with the honey, will white sugar substitute at the same for honey? I want to make these as decadent as possible, no calorie counting here.

  3. Annie says:

    These lemon bars are delicious! I had a whole bunch of lemons to use up, so I ended up doubling this and making it in a 9×13 pan (plus a tiny bit in a loaf pan otherwise I think my crust would have been too thick). Everything came out delicious! I’m a sucker for any lemon dessert and these made me so very happy.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Can you swap in almond or coconut flour instead of the gf flour blend?

  5. Natascha C says:

    I’m obsessed with lemon bars and these are the best I’ve ever had. Just made those 30 minutes ago and half the pan is gone already :)) I had to make a few modifications based on what I had in my pantry, and it still turned out amazing.

    For the crust, I used oat flour instead of gluten-free flour and honey instead of sugar. For the filling, I used 2 tbsp arrowroot starch instead of 1/4 cups flour, and I added 1 egg and about 3 tbsp lemon juice because I’m all about the custard LOL.

    Thanks again! This will become a staple in our household!

  6. Ellen Gaddie says:

    This is the second GF dessert that I cared for and bot did it impress. I agree with another comment to double the filling as I too like more lemony curd. I added lemon zest for even more lemon power. This will be a go to recipe for me.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad to hear that, Ellen! Thank you for sharing this with us!