Vegan Lemon Bars

Grey circle with the letters GFA grey circle with KFGrey circle with letters V e
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Calories
270

Made with a crunchy maple almond crust and a smooth, tangy lemon curd filling, these Easy Lemon Bars are a vegan and gluten-free twist on the classic treat. Even if you don’t have a dietary restriction, this recipe will win over your heart as soon as you taste your first square.

Do you love a good lemon dessert? Then this Creamy Lemon Tart is a must and my Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal Bars are a close second.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Vegan Lemon Squares

Whenever I go to my metaphorical happy place, there’s a platter full of lemon bars waiting for me. Specifically, these ones! Just daydreaming about them puts my mind at ease while my mouth waters in anticipation. Thankfully, I can make that happy place a reality with just 10 minutes of light prep work.

The bright and zesty lemon flavor of the soft, gooey filling will have you relishing each and every bite. The cinnamon-spiced almond crust adds such a satisfying contrast of flavor and texture. I like to dust my squares with a little powdered sugar to make them look as luxurious as they taste!

A close-up shot of a lemon square with a bite taken out of it

Why This Recipe Works

Eggs play an important role in traditional lemon bars, so creating a vegan version was kind of a challenge. But once I figured out the right amount of cornstarch to use, everything else fell into place. The cornstarch thickens the curd filling and thus eliminates the need for eggs.

A bunch of homemade lemon squares on a piece of parchment paper on top of a marble countertop

What You’ll Need

Making flawless vegan and gluten-free lemon bars involves a bit more than just cornstarch – here’s a complete list of all the ingredients you’ll need. The amounts can be found in the printable recipe card toward the end of this post.

For the Maple Almond Crust

  • Unblanched Almond Flour: “Unblanched” means the flour uses almonds that have not been peeled or skinned.
  • Coconut Oil: Melt this down and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Maple Syrup: Reach for pure maple syrup for the best (and healthiest!) results.
  • Ground Cinnamon: This adds a touch of warmth to complement the tartness of the filling.

For the Lemon Curd Filling

  • Sugar
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: You’ll have to squeeze 5-6 lemons to get the right amount of juice.
  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk: From a can.
  • Cornstarch: This naturally gluten-free thickener is sometimes processed in facilities that handle goods like wheat and barley. If needed, make sure your cornstarch is guaranteed to be gluten-free by choosing a product with that certification symbol on the packaging.
  • Fresh Lemon Zest: It’s best to gather all the zest you need for these vegan lemon bars before you juice any lemons.
  • Turmeric: The flavor of the turmeric won’t be detectable in the filling – it’s only there to brighten the yellow color.
A batch of homemade lemon squares lined up on a sheet of parchment paper

How to Make Lemon Bars Without Eggs

Before the lemon curd filling is poured over the almond crust and baked, the crust has to pre-bake by itself. This ensures that it cooks properly and comes out perfectly crispy.

Prepare the Crust

Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease & Line Pan: Spray the sides of an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine Ingredients: Add the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup and ground cinnamon to a small bowl. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined and the mixture is somewhat sticky.

Spread Into Pan: Add the almond crust mixture to the prepared pan, spreading it out evenly along the bottom and pressing it into the pan as you go.

Score: Use the prongs of a fork to poke little holes throughout the assembled crust mixture. This will prevent the crust from bubbling up while it bakes.

Par-Bake & Let Cool: Place the pan into the oven and bake the crust for 15-17 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.

A maple almond crust in an 8x8-inch baking dish with small holes poked throughout it

Add the Filling & Bake

Combine Ingredients: Add the lemon juice, sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, lemon zest and turmeric to a small saucepan. Whisk everything together until the cornstarch is dissolved.

Cook: Turn on the stove and heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens. This should take around 7-10 minutes.

Pour Over Crust: Once the lemon filling is thick, pour the mixture over the prepared crust and gently smooth it out with a spatula until the filling is evenly spread across the pan.

Bake: Bake the bars at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Let Cool & Refrigerate: Remove your vegan lemon bars from the oven and let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until they’re settled. Place them into the fridge for 1-2 hours (or overnight).

Slice & Serve: Cut out the squares, dust them with powdered sugar if desired, then serve them immediately or return them to the fridge. Double-check that the powdered sugar is certified gluten-free if necessary.

Vegan and gluten-free lemon bars piled onto a plate on top of a kitchen counter

Tips for Success

Make your vegan lemon bars as tempting as possible by taking note of these helpful tips.

  • Don’t Zest the Pith: Make sure you’re only grating the yellow skin off of your lemons and not the white substance underneath it. Known as the pith, this bitter substance will detract from the fruitier tang of the lemon zest.
  • Microwave the Lemons: Trust me on this one – pop your lemons into the microwave for 20-30 seconds before you squeeze them. The heat will break the juice capsules inside of the fruit, helping you get more bang for your buck.
  • Crust Mixture Sticking? If you find that the crust mixture is sticking to your fingers as you try to work with it, add a little bit of oil to your hands to stop this from happening. You could also put on food-safe gloves if preferred.
  • A Little Turmeric Goes a Long Way: Feel free to add up to 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric to your filling. This will give the bars a bright yellow color, which becomes even more vibrant once they’re baked. If you want them to look a bit less intense, stick with closer to 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric.
Sixteen vegan lemon bars on a sheet of parchment paper with a little powdered sugar sprinkled over them

Storage Instructions

These lemon squares should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge at all times. They’ll stay fresh this way for a whole week! As they sit, the powdered sugar will dissolve into the filling, so you may want to add a fresh dusting before you dig into those extras.

Can I Freeze These?

Once your vegan lemon bars are fully set, they can be frozen for up to 1 month. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them in an airtight container or storage bag. Thaw them out in the fridge before you enjoy them.

Print
A batch of vegan and gluten-free lemon squares on a countertop with fresh mint leaves and lemon slices

Vegan Lemon Bars

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 55 minutes
  • yield Yield: 14 1x
  • category Category: Dessert
  • method Method: Oven
  • cuisine Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Made with a crunchy maple almond crust and a smooth, tangy lemon curd filling, these Easy Lemon Bars are a vegan and gluten-free twist on the classic treat. Even if you don’t have a dietary restriction, this recipe will win over your heart as soon as you taste your first square.

Scale

Ingredients

For the Maple Almond Crust

  • 2 cups fine unblanched almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Lemon Curd Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, about 5 to 6 lemons
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk from the can
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • zest from 2 lemons (around 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/81/4 teaspoon of turmeric (depending on how yellow you want it)

Instructions

Prepare the Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray an 8″x8″ pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl mix together almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup and ground cinnamon. Mix until all the ingredients are combined and the mixture is somewhat sticky.
  4. Add almond crust mixture to the pan. Spread the mixture out evenly along the bottom. Pressing into the pan. (if the mixture sticks to your hands just add a little oil to your hands)
  5. Poke the crust with a fork all over the bottom. This will prevent the crust from bubbling up.
  6. Place pan in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

Add the Filling & Bake

  1. In a small sauce, add lemon juice, sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, lemon zest and turmeric. Whisk together until cornstarch is dissolved. 
  2. Now, turn on the stove and heat the mixture over medium-high heat whisking frequently until sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens, between 7-10 minutes.
  3. Once the lemon filling is thick, pour the mixture over the prepared crust and gently smooth with a spatula until the filling is evenly spread across the pan.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Remove and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature until settled. Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  5. Cut into bars and dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Makes 12-16 bars.
  • To Store: Refrigerate bars in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • To Freeze: Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge before enjoying.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 270
  • Sugar: 19 g
  • Sodium: 7 mg
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: gluten free lemon bars, lemon squares, lemon bars easy

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Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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