Everything tastes better with a vibrant splash of citrus. It’s no surprise that these simple lemon bars have become a favorite among home cooks. Lemon squares are indeed a simple but popular treat that is refreshing, sweet, and gently tangy.
Healthy Lemon Bars (gluten-free, dairy-free & Paleo) Recipe by Ambitious Kitchen
The best healthy lemon bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo! The delicious shortbread crust is with a mix of almond & coconut flour, and the light lemon filling is with just 4 simple ingredients. These healthy lemon bars don’t have artificial sweeteners, a perfect spring treat!
What makes these Dairy-free lemon bars healthier?
These healthy lemon bars are:
- Naturally sweetened. Both the crust and the lemon filling are naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup instead of refined sweeteners.
- Gluten free & grain free. We’re using almond flour and coconut flour to keep the crust gluten free and grain free. Plus, these flours add a boost of healthy fats and additional, natural sweetness!
- Dairy free. If you so choose! I have a few different options for adding moisture to the crust that suits any dietary needs.
Everything you’ll need to make the best lemon bars
Here’s everything you need to make them:
- Butter: feel free to use regular butter, a vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) or melted coconut oil in this recipe. The choice is yours!
- Maple syrup: both the shortbread crust and the lemon filling are naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup.
- Almond extract: I love adding a little almond extract to the crust for that true shortbread flavor.
- Flour: we’re using a mix of almond flour and coconut flour to keep the crust gluten free and grain free but give it wonderful flavor and texture. You’ll also use a little coconut flour in the lemon filling to help it set.
- Salt: you’ll need a pinch of salt for the crust to boost the flavor.
- Lemon: the star of the show! We’re using lemon juice and zest in the filling to keep in tangy, lemon-y and delicious.
- Eggs: you’ll need four eggs to create the perfect texture in these healthy lemon bars.
- To garnish: I love sprinkling the bars with sifted powdered sugar and extra lemon zest. So good!
Dairy-free Lemon Bars Recipe
For the crust:
- ¼ cup vegan butter or coconut oil melted
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1½ cup packed fine blanched almond flour (do not use almond meal)
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- ¼ tsp salt
For the filling:
- 1 lemon Lemon zest
- ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2-4 lemons)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp coconut flour sifted (or sub tapioca flour or arrowroot starch)
- Powdered sugar (sifted)
- Lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper. (Do not use a glass pan as it will likely cause the bottom of the crust to burn.)
- First make the crust: whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour and salt. Next stir in the butter, pure maple syrup and almond extract. Mix until a dough forms. Press dough evenly into prepared pan with your hands. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While your crust bakes, you can make the filling: in a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, pure maple syrup, eggs and sifted coconut flour. You want to whisk really well so that no egg white remain visible.
- Once crust is done baking, immediately and slowly pour filling over crust. Do not allow the crust to cool first, this is critical.
- Lower your oven temperature to 325 degrees F, place bars immediately in oven and bake the bars for 20-25 minutes or until filling is set and no longer jiggles. Cool completely on a wire rack then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to firm up bars. Once ready to serve, use a sharp knife to cut into 12 bars. I recommend garnishing them with powdered sugar and a little lemon zest before serving. Enjoy!