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Gluten-free lemon bars with a sweet-tart filling on top of a zingy lemon shortbread crust. This recipe is also dairy-free, nut-free, and can easily be made with regular flour if you’re not gluten-free.
Lemon desserts have always been a favorite of mine. Between their sweet/tartness, zippy lemon flavor, and vibrant yellow color, they’re an instant mood booster.
I think lemon bars are especially popular in the springtime after you’ve just endured several months of gray weather and are in serious need of some sunshine. Which, can we take a second to admire that color?
All the heart eyes.
After a few rounds of recipe testing these gluten-free lemon bars, I think I’ve ironed out all the kinks and found the key to getting truly mouthwatering, undeniably lemony, sweet-tart lemon bars. You won’t even need to mention that they’re completely dairy and gluten-free because you honestly can’t even tell.
Or feel free to slip that little tidbit of info in after they’re going for seconds.
- gluten-free all-purpose flour – I love King Arthur’s Measure for Measure – it uses a blend of different flours to ensure great texture and flavor.
- organic cane sugar – my favorite unrefined granulated sugar for baking when you want a neutral color.
- melted coconut oil – a great dairy-free replacement for the butter that would typically be in a shortbread crust. Use refined coconut oil for no coconut flavor.
- lemon zest – adds a nice burst of lemon flavor to the crust.
- pinch of salt
- organic cane sugar – just enough to lightly sweeten the filling, but still keep it tart.
- lemon zest and fresh lemon juice – both are key in getting that bright lemon flavor to come through.
- eggs – help bind all the ingredients together and give the filling its creamy, luscious texture.
- gluten-free all-purpose flour – helps thicken the filling as it cooks.
Make It Your Way: Ingredient Substitutions
Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.
How can you make these gluten-free lemon bars using what you already have? Here are some ideas…
- Not gluten-free? ➝ substitute regular all-purpose flour
- No coconut oil? ➝ use melted dairy-free unsalted butter in its place
- 8×8 baking pan
- parchment paper
- citrus reamer
- fine mesh strainer – for the filling and for sprinkling powdered sugar on top
- measuring cups and measuring spoons
Helpful Tips For Making The Best Gluten-Free Lemon Bars
What Type of Pan Should I Use?
There are many conflicting opinions about which type of pan is best for making lemon bars. But, the best pan to use is the one you have, just make sure you line it with parchment paper no matter what. This will help make it easier to remove the bars from the pan after they’ve completely cooled.
Zest Your Lemons First
It’s really difficult to zest a lemon that’s already been cut, so make sure to zest them first before juicing them.
Sift The Filling Flour
The flour in the crust doesn’t need to be sifted, but the flour for the filling does. This will ensure you don’t have any lumps in your filling. Do this by putting through a fine mesh strainer if you don’t have a flour sifter.
More Gluten-Free Desserts You’ll Love
- Carrot Cake Glaze With Zesty Citrus Glaze
- Blood Orange Curd (Dairy-Free)
- Strawberry Grapefruit Popsicles
Gluten-Free Lemon Bars (Dairy-Free)
Lemon Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup organic cane sugar
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup organic cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free AP flour, sifted
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F while you make the crust. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Mix in the melted coconut oil until a wet dough forms and press into an even layer in a parchment paper-lined 8×8 baking pan.
- Bake the crust for 20 minutes. When done, place the pan on a cooling rack while you finish making the filling, and turn the oven down to 325°F.
- To make the filling, combine the sugar and zest in a large bowl and massage the zest into the sugar with your fingers. First, add in the eggs and whisk until the sugar and eggs are well combined before adding in the fresh lemon juice and the sifted flour. Whisk until smooth and pour onto the warm crust.
- Carefully place the lemon bars back in the oven (it'll be very liquidy) and bake for another 18-25 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles.
- Cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 1 hour before placing them in the refrigerator for another 2 hours to cool completely. Once cooled, dust them with powdered sugar and cut them into 9 or 16 squares, wiping the blade clean with a damp paper towel between each cut.
- Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.