Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

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These lemon bars have a gluten-free shortbread-like crust and a bright, luscious filling that’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy!

Gluten-free lemon bars on a wooden board.

When spring is in the air, you must make these fresh lemon bars. In fact, I’d say it’s almost a requirement to acknowledge sunnier days with these slightly sweet, slightly tangy lemon bars.

Yes, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo friendly, but I can assure you that if you don’t mention that little detail to anyone, they’ll never know. Because these healthier lemon bars taste just as good as their classic counterpart!

Ingredients for gluten-free lemon bars on a table.

Lemon Bar Ingredients

This recipe uses my triumvirate of flours (my “go-to’s” for all baked goods), along with a little sweetener and fresh lemons.

  • Almond Flour: This makes up the bulk of the crust and creates that almond shortbread-like flavor.
  • Coconut Flour: Coconut flour keeps the crust firm and structured and prevents it from going soggy.
  • Tapioca Flour: This super-fine flour is the best for the filling as it’s not gritty and helps it firm up.
  • Honey or Maple Syrup: You can use either sweetener here, it’s up to you!
  • Lemon Juice and Zest: Fresh lemons are a requirement for this recipe. DO NOT use jarred lemon juice, it will taste blah. Trust me.
  • Eggs: Just a few large eggs help to create the lemon custard filling.
  • Vanilla Extract: Just a smidge helps to sweeten the crust.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

A wooden board with gluten-free lemon bars

How to Make Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

This recipe is really two parts, the crust and the filling. It’s quite easy to make, but there is some nuance to ensure success. So make sure to read all the tips below as well!

Make the crust. Whisk together the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla to combine those together. Then add the almond flour, coconut flour, and salt, and dig in with your hands to mix it all together until you have a crumbly dough.

Mixing crust in a bowl for gluten-free lemon bars

Press the crust into the pan. Pour the dough into the parchment-lined pan and then use your hands to press it firmly on the bottom and all the way to the edges and corners.

Pressing lemon bar crust into a pan.

Pre-bake the crust. Preheat your oven to 350F and prebake the crust for about 15 minutes, or until it’s lightly golden around the edges.

Crust in a pan for lemon bars

Make the filling. The order of mixing is really important here, to not get white bits that look like scrambled eggs on top. Start by whisking together the eggs and honey, until the eggs are completely smooth. Then add the lemon juice and zest, whisk again. And lastly add the tapioca flour and whisk again until there’s no flour clumps.

Mixing lemon bar ingredients in a bowl.

Pour the filling into the pan. Once the crust has pre-baked, remove it from the oven and while it’s hot, pour the filling on top. Then place it bake in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.

Pouring lemon bar filling into a pan with the crust.

Let them cool! Don’t be overly anxious and try to cut into the bars too soon. Once you remove them from the oven, let them cool on the counter for one hour. Then chill them in the fridge for another 2 hours.

Baking lemon bars in a pan.

Slice and garnish. Slice the bars and if you’d like, add a little dusting of powdered sugar. This is completely optional, but it really does make the lemon bars look pretty!

A board with lemon bars on top and lemons.

Must Read Lemon Bar Tips!

Truth be told, I made this recipe three times before I was happy with it. During my test batches I ran into issues with the crust being too thin and too soft, and had issues with the filling being too gritty or not firming up. Yes, you want a soft filling, but not so soft that it’s sorta mushy. I also played around with the level of sweetness and tartness. So let me share a few tips!

  • Flours: Honestly, I don’t recommend substitutions here. Each flour serves an important purpose for the best texture. I did try coconut flour in the filling and I didn’t love the texture as much as the tapioca flour.
  • Pans: Glass, metal, and ceramic pans all bake a bit differently. Glass pans take longer to heat up, but stay hotter and can burn faster. I used a metal baking pan for this recipe. If you’re using glass you may need to reduce the temperature a little and bake longer.
  • Don’t Under-Bake: You don’t want the filling too jiggly or soft when you remove it from the oven. If you see other recipes which say the filling should be jiggly, remember that they’re likely using regular flour in the filling. We’re not. So it should be cooked through to the middle, with a firm Jell-O-like texture. Otherwise, the bars will be too soft once cooled.
  • Don’t Over-Bake: Alternatively, you don’t want to over bake as you might end up with a weird texture of slightly scrambled eggs in the filling instead of a smooth lemon curd. All ovens cook slightly differently, so just keep an eye on yours. If you bake between 20-25 minutes, you should be golden! (I bake these to 25 minutes in my oven).
  • Crust Popping Up: Your crust may poof up a little as it’s pre-baking. That’s fine. Just press it down again as soon as you remove it from the oven, before pouring the filling on top. You don’t want to prick the crust with holes, otherwise your filling may seep through.
  • Sweetness Level: This is definitely a tart, zingy recipe. You can always add a couple tablespoons of more sweetener if you’d like. Alternatively, you can reduce the lemon zest if it’s just too lemony for you.
  • Lemon Varieties: I’m using regular lemons, which are quite strong, but if you can find Meyer lemons they will have a naturally softer, less tart flavor. If you use Meyer lemons, I recommend reducing the sweetener by a couple tablespoons.
  • Resting Time: When you remove the lemon bars from the oven, let them cool on the counter for an hour. Then, place them in the fridge to another 2 hours. Don’t transfer them from the oven straight to the fridge and try to speed things up. Also, some cracks may occur on top as the lemon bars cool, that’s normal. But if you slice them too early, they’ll likely be too soft.
  • Want a buttery crust? You can sub butter or ghee for the coconut oil.
A pile of lemon bars on a wooden board.

How to Store Them

If you and/or your family and friends don’t devour all these bars in one sitting (which often happens), you can store them to enjoy again in the future.

  • In the fridge: the lemon bars will stay good for up to one week in the fridge in a sealed container. If you stack them, just be sure to place parchment paper in-between.
  • In the freezer: You can freeze these for up to 3 months. Just defrost them in the fridge the day before you’d like to enjoy them.
A bite out of a lemon bar.

More Sweet Lemon Recipes

If you’ve got an abundance of lemons, give these other sweet treats a try!

Lemon Bars Recipe Video

Want to see how I make this recipe step-by-step. Give the video below a watch!

If you make these lemon bars, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Sliced lemon bars on a wooden board.

Lemon Bars (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

4.93 from 65 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 9 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

These lemon bars have a gluten-free shortbread-like crust and a bright, luscious filling that's the perfect balance of sweet and tangy!

Video

Ingredients 
 

Crust

Filling

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup lemon juice, from 3-4 large lemons
  • zest from one lemon, about 1 tablespoon of zest
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/177C. To make the crust, whisk together the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, and salt. Stir together or use your hands to mix everything together, until you have a crumbly dough.
    Making lemon bars crust in a bowl.
  • Pour the dough into an 8×8-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Use your hands to press the dough flat in the pan. Make sure it's pressed down very firmly.
    Making the lemon bar dough in a pan.
  • Bake the base crust for 13-15 minutes in the oven, or until lightly golden on top and slightly darker around the edges, then remove.
  • The order of whisking the filling is important. Whisk the eggs and honey together in a bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk again. Then add the tapioca flour and whisk again, until smooth, and no flour clumps remain.
    Whisking lemon bar filling in a bowl.
  • Bake the lemon bars for 20-25 minutes, or until the center of the filling is set.
    Baking lemon bars in a pan.
  • Let the pan cool on the counter for an hour, then transfer to the fridge and let cool another 2 hours before serving, to firm up. Slice into bars and serve plain, or with a dusting of powdered sugar.
    Lemon bar slices on a board.

Lisa’s Tips

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 106IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free lemon bars, healthy lemon bars, lemon bars
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




190 Comments

  1. Have made this countless times, definitely one of my favorites! I typically use 1/3-1/2 of recommended sweetener and still so delicious.5 stars

  2. I’m not 100% sure what I did wrong. I followed the recipe even picking up some Meyer lemons. I just took them out of the oven. It almost looks like the filling seeped into the crust and there’s not the separation between the crust and the filling it as if it’s all is one I’m sure it’s going to taste amazing . Any advice on what you think I might’ve done wrong so next time I may have better luck.5 stars

    1. Hi Christie – Honestly, I don’t recommend substitutions here. Each flour serves an important purpose for the best texture. I did try coconut flour in the filling and I didn’t love the texture as much as the tapioca flour.

  3. These were delicious but the very top layer had a texture of gummies. Kind of chewy but the bar was smooth. Any ideas?

  4. Delicious as always Lisa!!!
    I will make them again for Christmas to add a new -and gluten free- twist to our traditional dinner.
    Quick question:
    I watched your powdered sugar video; I too use only coconut sugar and I wonder if tapioca flour is the same as tapioca powder!?
    You mentioned it in the video… Thank you so much!5 stars

  5. I made these lemon bars today and they were incredible!!! Very easy, not that many ingredients, and most of all, SO MUCH FLAVOUR!!! My husband and I love them!! He couldn’t believe they’re GF DF SF!! The base is so great I think I could use it to make pies or other recipes?? (Lisa do you also use this base for other recipes?) Am curious about experimenting with them – maybe adding basil with the lemon or lavender honey?? And probably for my husband will get some vanilla ice cream!! Will definitely be making them again – maybe even next week!!!! Thanks so much, Lisa!! :o)5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried using this base for other recipes yet. But I will definitely do some testing!!

  6. This is my favourite dessert on your entire website. Love, love, love! When I have a sweet craving, I make these for myself and freeze them and pick one out at a time whenever the craving strikes. It is to die for! It’s not a “cheap” treat to make, but it’s well worth it.5 stars

  7. I made the lemon bar for Easter. Absolutely fantastic!! I did not have tapioca flour so I used chickpea as a sub. My picky family loved them. So much so that I giggle at your hints of how to store leftovers. Thank you 5 stars

  8. Delish! I made one adjustment of substituting tiger nut flour because I’m allergic to almonds. Absolutely the lemon bar I had been craving!5 stars

  9. This is one of my favorite desserts. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it in this version though. Well I was happily surprised. Delicious and easy. 5 stars

  10. Thank you Lisa, I just made them last night and am enjoying them with my morning coffee right now. I followed the directions and they came out amazing. I used maple syrup instead of the honey. Wow, soooooo lemony good!!!!! 5 stars

  11. Hello Lisa,
    I just tried this recipe, but there is a rubbery layer at the bottom of the filling. Maybe the tapioca flour I used is actually tapioca starch since the label says both. Do you know if there is a difference between tapioca flour and tapioca starch?
    Thanks for your answer and your amazing recipes!

    1. Hi Kim – Tapioca flour and starch should be interchangeable. But it sounds like maybe the bottom layer didn’t bake long enough on its own before adding the filling.

  12. These look delicious and I can’t wait to try making them! 

    Can you use olive oil instead of coconut oil?5 stars

  13. This recipe is delicious. It takes me back to my old favorite cheesecake made with dairy. I haven’t had it in years (I’ve found out my body is somewhat intolerant to dairy). Anyway, without trying to be a cheesecake, these lemon bars are a delightful treat. I’ve tried another recipe that I don’t like as well. Plus this recipe uses 4 eggs, compared to 10 (!) In the other recipe I have tried for paleo lemon bars.5 stars

  14. These are deviously delicious so thanks for sharing ^^,
    with my food intolerances I usualy do not get to indulge. The cakes I can make are usualy a bit dense and dry or grossely gummy like . . . . these are nothing like that. No compromises at all, the crust holds well, the filling is lushious and bight and perfectly balanced between tart and sweet for my taste, I did not add powdered sugar though. I added cardamom to the crust and will keep experiment with adding herbs and or spices for I like a bit complex flavors, though it is not needed. the lemon flavor is already amazing as it is.5 stars

  15. Hello Lisa,
    on first trial the crust and curd turned out just like yours on the video, with one huge difference: most of the curd got under the crust, though in the right final consistency! How could I succeed better next time? (…as it is a marvelous dessert which I love! and will certainly try again!)

    1. That can happen if you don’t push down and make sure the crust is packed into the bottom. Otherwise, the curd will seep through!

  16. This is the best GLUTEN-FREE LEMON BARS recipe ever. I love it, my family love it and the dog as well lol. I also used the Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Powdered Sugar. Thank you Lisa 5 stars

  17. I made these for a bbq last summer & people have been talking about them ever since & asking when I was going to make them again! They are fantastic! I just made a triple batch for a bbq tomorrow. Thanks Lisa! 5 stars

  18. I was very excited to try this recipe since it is a healthier version of my favorite baked dessert which are lemon bars. I did not have tapioca flour for the filling , so I used all purpose instead. In addition, since I don’t have a stovetop oven, I had to bake this in a convection cuisinart hybrid oven. Its one of the ovens that are multifunction can be for baking toasting, and air frying.
    My lemon bars filling did not really set, I am not sure if its because the honey I am using or I might under/ overbake. Because , since this is a small convection oven , I baked it 25 degrees lower to prevent burning , with the same amount of time which was 20 minutes. I wish I knew what the problem was , whether it is the honey I used or maybe its because the temp/ heat of the oven .
    Nonetheless, taste wise, I love the crust , and the filling isn’t too sweet which I love. Thank you for the recipe!4 stars

  19. I only have a glasls baking dish, and you say to reduce the temperature “a little” and “bake a little longer”. Can you please be specific about what temperature to use and how long to bake it for? I’m not an experienced baker, so this would be helpful to know.

    Do you line the bottom of the pan, as well as the sides with parchment paper? I just bought several bags of meyer lemons and look forward to making these in the next few days. Thank you!

    1. Hi Joanne – I’d recommend reducing the oven by 25 degrees and just checking on it after the allotted time, continuing to bake as long as necessary. And yes, I line the bottom and sides of the pan. Make sure to watch the video above to see how I do it! Hope you enjoy it!

  20. I’ve been on the look out for lemon recipes since my lemon tree has been dumping tons of lemons. So glad I found this, as the bars turned out fantastic! Had absolutely no issues with the crust popping up. Used melted butter instead of oil for the crust and smooshed it down real good. Only used honey in the crust and custard, may try out maple syrup just to switch it up next time. The lemon bars turned out nicely sweet and just a little tart, looked pictured perfect especially with some powdered sugar dusted on top. My family loved it, will be making again!5 stars

  21. I don’t usually comment, but………the crust rose to the top and now the filling is in the bottom of the pan. Wondered if anyone else had that problem.
    Making it for guest tomorrow. 😒

    1. Your crust may poof up a little as it’s pre-baking. That’s fine. Just press it down again as soon as you remove it from the oven, before pouring the filling on top. You don’t want to prick the crust with holes, otherwise your filling may seep through.

    2. I’ve just made mine today and the same thing happened to mine! My base cooled quit a bit before I got the liquid on top, so it may be that??? Otherwise I don’t have a clue. Still very tasty, just upside down!5 stars

  22. Has anyone tried…
    * Using Oat or Rice flour instead of the Coconut flour?
    * Let the filling set, putting it through sieve, precooking/thickening, & spreading while hot, rather than baking twice?

  23. what do i use in place of the coconut flour? i’m allergic to coconut, the oil doesnt bother me but coconut milk, flour and sugar do.

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend substitutions here because each flour serves an important purpose for the best texture. But I will keep that in mind for future recipes!

  24. These were delicious but I unfortunately had the same problem as a few other reviews with the liquid sinking in and baking “upside dow”. I followed the directions and video exactly. The only sub was using melted ghee instead of coconut oil. I’m wondering if it’s best to cool the crust fully before pouring the liquid on top.4 stars

  25. Hi Lisa,
    I made this recipe once and they turned out almost perfect. The only issue was that the filling did not look ”bright yellow” as seen on your pictures. I used Maple Syrup instead of Honey in the recipe, could that have been the issue or potentially the type of Lemons I used?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi – yes, maple syrup can definitely mute the color of the lemon layer a bit. Give it a try with honey next time and see if you notice a difference!

  26. These are so delicious! Thank you for creating these healthy recipes! But, mine also had the same problem of seepage through the base. The taste is good though! I am wondering why it happened because I followed the recipe exactly. The only thing I can think of is that I used a 9×9 pan instead fo 8×8 would that have made the base thin? If I use 9×9, by how much should I increase the flours for the base? Also the bake of the whole thing (with lemon) came out brownish on the edges (unlike yours). I baked at 350 for 25 minus … maybe I should do 20 mins next time? Would love your feedback. Many thanks!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed them! Yes, changing the pan size could have very well contributed to the seepage with a thinner base. In terms of the browning, all ovens cook slightly differently, so I’d try 20 minutes in your oven next time. Hopefully they turn out even better in the future!

      1. Thanks Lisa! If I keep using the 9×9 pan, would it help if I increased the almond flour to 2 cups and the coconut to 1/2 cup? Just wondering. Also for some reason, my base was not crumbly like yours – I used maple syrup as the sweetener along with the other wet ingredients. Thanks! 5 stars

  27. So. Good.
    I made these twice in one week. They were such a hit at game night that I’m making it for our fourth of july dinner too :D
    I sub’d tapioca flour with arrowroot and it worked just great. I did probably 2/3 cup lemon juice for more lemon flavor and zest. Also did 1/2 c gluten free flour with 1 c almond flour to make it a little lighter of a crust (instead of 1 1/2 c almond flour alone). Loved it. Thank you!!5 stars

  28. These were delicious! I was nervous about the “upside down” problem mentioned by others but mine were fine and only had a little leakage from the corner of the parchment. The crust was a little underdone so next time I’ll bake it longer. Personally, I would prefer a thinner crust but from what others say that would potentially disrupt the layers of the bars setting up correctly. The lemon filling was delicious.4 stars

  29. Hi Lisa,
    I love your recipes, specially Paleo Blueberry cake. Today I decided to make the Lemon bar. However, the filling siped under the crust, and nothing left on top. still it tasted delicious. Any thought on that.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Nahid – you have to make sure you flatten the crust as much as possible so that there’s no room for the liquid to seep through next time.

  30. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve made these now. Also tried them with lime which was lovely. Thank you for this delicious recipe. 5 stars

  31. Lovely recipe, Lisa. I used rice flour since I didn’t have tapioca and filling turned out great. I also increased the size of the filling since the crust got a bit thicker than I had anticipated. Appreciated that you didn’t use any refined sugar or butter. Super easy instructions. Thanks!5 stars

  32. Made these today; just incredible!  They are the best lemon bars that I have ever had.  You’ve really perfected this recipe.  Thank you Lisa for developing and sharing all of your recipes.  I really appreciate all that you do to make it possible for average people to be successful in the kitchen.5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m glad your lemon bars turned out perfectly Gary. Thanks so much for your kind words as well. My goal is to help everyone make healthy cooking simple and easy :)

  33. Delicious! I’ve made the Lemon Bars twice so far and love them! The first time, I made the bars as directed and used maple syrup in the base and honey in the filling. They were excellent but I wanted a little thinner crust and more filling so then made them using the same crust but doubled the filling. I really like those proportions.

    These Lemon Bars are the best! Thanks for your wonderful reliable recipes!5 stars

  34. They were perfect! I used all maple syrup and they came out great (I was reluctant to share with my family!). I also cut them into 16 squares instead of 9 and I liked having the smaller portion sizes. It helped them last a little longer! I am not GF but the crust was just wonderful. 5 stars