The BEST Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

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Picking up a vegan gluten-free lemon bar from a stack

A vegan and gluten-free version of lemon bars that’s shockingly close to the classic? We‘ve cracked the code on the ultimate spring dessert! Just 8 ingredients required for these incredibly delicious lemon bars!

These bars have a super lemony, perfectly set curd resting on an irresistibly buttery shortbread crust. They’re kind of EPIC. Let’s get zesting!

Cashew milk, lemons, salt, turmeric, cornstarch, gluten-free flour blend, sugar, and vegan butter

How to Make Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

We’ve done lemon bars before, but in a naturally sweetened, creamy filling kind of way. This time is different. This NEW version is also vegan + gluten-free, but it’s simultaneously CLASSIC enough to fool lemon bar connoisseurs.

It begins with a shortbread-style crust made by beating together cane sugar and vegan butter, which adds a bit of lift and fluffiness to the dough.

Using a hand mixer to beat together cane sugar and vegan butter

Just two more ingredients (gluten-free flour blend and salt), and the dough is ready to press into a pan.

Lemon bar shortbread crust pressed into a square baking pan

Then it’s on to the filling! It has BIG lemon flavor with lots of lemon juice + zest! Cane sugar balances the tartness and keeps the flavor classic, while homemade cashew milk is the dairy-free milk of choice because it’s thick and creamy, which prevents the bars from developing a rubbery texture.

Whisking together cane sugar, cashew milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, turmeric, and sea salt in a white saucepan

Cornstarch and turmeric come to the egg-free rescue! Cornstarch solidifies the filling like egg does in a classic curd, while a teeny pinch of turmeric lends a vibrant yellow color. The final filling ingredients are salt for flavor and vegan butter to add creaminess and a slight “give” that prevents gumminess.

After pouring the filling over the crust, the hardest part begins: letting the bars cool fully before digging in.

Whisking vegan butter into the vegan lemon curd

We hope you LOVE these lemon bars! They’re:

CLASSIC
Lemony
Buttery
Creamy
Undetectably vegan + gluten-free
& SO delicious!

They would be the perfect dessert to serve for Easter, Mother’s Day, or baby showers or to celebrate the beginning of spring!

More Lemony Desserts

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Sprinkling powdered sugar over homemade vegan gluten-free lemon bars

The BEST Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Vegan, gluten-free lemon bars that taste just like the real thing: super lemony with a buttery shortbread crust! Just 8 ingredients required for this show-stopping dessert!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Stack of three vegan gluten-free lemon bars
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 3 hours 16 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings 16 (Bars)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 1/2 cup softened vegan butter (we like Miyoko's)
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar (ensure organic for vegan-friendly)
  • 1 heaping cup MB 1:1 GF Blend (1 heaping cup = 1 cup + 2 Tbsp // or sub AP flour if not gluten-free // see notes for other GF blends)*
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

CURD

  • 1 ¼ cup cane sugar (ensure organic for vegan-friendly)
  • 1 cup cashew milk (for store-bought, we recommend Forager, Elmhurst, Malk, or another thick, additive-free milk)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp vegan butter (we like Miyoko's)

GARNISH optional

  • Powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • CRUST: To a medium mixing bowl, add the vegan butter and cane sugar. Using an electric mixer, cream together on medium speed for about 1 minute until light and fluffy. Next, add the gluten-free flour and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until fully incorporated.
  • Turn the dough out into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly across the bottom. Use clean hands or the bottom of a glass to achieve an even thickness. Bake the crust for 20-24 minutes until golden.
  • Once the crust is out of the oven, set it aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
  • CURD: To a medium saucepan, add the cane sugar, cashew milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, turmeric, and salt. DO NOT add the vegan butter yet.
  • Read this step fully before proceeding as the timing is important to get the curd consistency just right! Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil, about 4-7 minutes. Remove the curd from the heat and whisk in the vegan butter 1 Tbsp at a time until it is completely melted and the mixture is glossy. Pour the curd over the slightly cooled crust. Place into the refrigerator to cool completely for at least 3 hours.
  • Once completely set and chilled, remove the bars from the pan by lifting up the parchment. Cut into 16 squares (or however many bars you want!). The curd may coat your knife as you cut. You can run your knife under warm water and wipe it clean between slices if you want to ensure clean edges. Optionally, add powdered sugar to a fine mesh strainer or sifter and sprinkle evenly over the top of the lemon bars. Enjoy!
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

Video

Notes

*Our DIY GF Blend and similar store-bought blends such as Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour should also work well in this recipe.
*Loosely adapted from the one and only Ina Garten!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 lemon bar Calories: 190 Carbohydrates: 29.5 g Protein: 0.6 g Fat: 8.4 g Saturated Fat: 6.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 58 mg Potassium: 39 mg Fiber: 0.4 g Sugar: 19.1 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 4.4 mg Calcium: 3.6 mg Iron: 0.4 mg

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  1. Rebecca says

    I made this on Saturday, and it’s just Wednesday, and it’s nearly gone! 10/10 🍋 I recommend making this and following the recipe as written. I ran out of sugar while making these and only used 1 cup in the filling — it was totally fine as I enjoy a tart lemon bar. However, they do get more tart as they sit overnight!

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ll be making it again very soon.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you’re enjoying the lemon bars, Rebecca. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  2. Pamela says

    These really are the BEST! My family agrees that they are they best recipe we’ve had for vegan lemon bars. The filling is so lemon-y and the crumb bottom doesn’t taste gluten free. Will definitely make these again and again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re honored that you and your family voted these the best, Pamela. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  3. Jillyn says

    I am SO thankful this recipe came out right before easter! Lemon bars are a favorite in our family. I made it for our extended family potluck because my daughters and I are dairy and gluten free, and my nice and nephew are egg and peanut free. I also have a cousin who is celiac.
    I used king Arther’s GF flour blend and Nucoa margarine (it’s what I had on hand). For the curd I used Planet extra creamy original oat milk for my milk, because I already had it and it saved me time. I doubled my recipe and used almost 1 cup of fresh lemon juice and used bottled for the remainder. And about 3-4 TBS of lemon zest.
    I was very surprised at the sudden change in the curd as I cooked it. It went from being a liquid for a long time to very suddenly a thick curd. It did take more than 7 minutes for my stovetop to reach boiling, but I just kept stirring it. (I was erring on the side of caution and didn’t want the temperature too hot).

    My curd didn’t set up as firm as traditional lemon bars I have made in the past, BUT, it still set up and was more curd like (a thick pudding really) than a bouncy Jello type. You definitely want to lay parchment paper in the pan because it was essential to lift the whole dessert out for slicing and getting out of the pan in mostly one piece.

    But I got RAVE reviews at the potluck. Even my 91 year old grandma said it was good, which is a huge compliment. She’s very critical of allergy friendly foods. Many who have no allergies loved it and I had more than one person say they wished they had taken some home with them.

    I will for SURE make this again because it was a winner and honestly was easy to make!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Jillyn! We’re so thrilled the lemon bars got reviews, especially grandma’s approval. We appreciate the lovely review! xo

  4. Christine L Read says

    These bars are fabulous! I used Myer lemons and cut a quarter cup of sugar. Also made my own cashew milk but made it thick.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Christine. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  5. Gina says

    Absolutely Delicious!! I will be making these again. All of it was soooo good. Next time I’m going to experiment by swirling in some raspberry coulis into the curd.
    Thank you for an amazing recipe!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe and will be making it again, Gina. Thank you for the lovely review! P.s. raspberry coulis sounds amaaazing! xo

  6. Charlene says

    Made these for Easter dinner-they were a huge hit! No one even suspected they were GF/Vegan. Fresh, bright lemony flavor with perfect texture, and the crust did not get soggy. Served them with option of coconut whipped cream to top. These will be on repeat especially in the upcoming summer months. For anyone wondering-definetly use fresh squeezed lemons, I used 4 medium sized to get 2/3C. Thank you MB for another winning recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      YAY! We’re so glad they were a hit at your Easter dinner, Charlene. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  7. Nadine says

    This is the best egg free lemon square recipe. Dare I even say better then ones with egg!! The lemon curd is DELICIOUS! It is not runny, stays firm very well and holds its shape. The crust stays light and crumbly and holds the bar nicely. I made them the day before Easter dinner and left them in the fridge until time to serve. When I cut the bars the lemon curd did not even stick to the knife. My family LOVED them. These will be on rotation. My family saved me a few, and 2 days later they are sill firm lemon and the crust is still crumbly & flakey-like. Mmmmmm!!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you so much for the amazing review, Nadine! We’re honored that you and your family enjoyed these bars so much! xoxo

  8. Susan Aitchison says

    I made these this morning. Very easy to make. Used all purpose flour. The pan is sitting in the fridge and everything crossed they taste as good as they look. Thanks for the great vegan recipes!

  9. Kaitlin says

    These are really good, I made them this week and they turned out well! I wanted to leave a review because a lot of people are asking about different kinds of milk. I made this using the milk I had on hand (the self-stable Good Karma Flax protein milk) and it set just fine. I was a little worried about it but it worked out well! The texture didn’t come off as jello-like, to me at least, and held together even after being at room temp for a big part of the day at the gathering I brought them to. I also didn’t measure the zest and went rough, so probably added more than a tablespoon and they were super lemony and delicious. Finally, I used AP flour instead of the GF mix and the crust also turned out well.

  10. Matt says

    Can the vegan butter be substituted for regular butter or another dairy alternative? Looking to make these gluten free and don’t need to be vegan.

  11. Alicia says

    Made these yesterday — WOW! They are delicious and the texture was perfect. I followed the recipe to a T (using the metric/weight guidances) and it turned out beautifully. The lemon truly shines — I will be making these again!

  12. Chris says

    Has this recipe been made with. Soy milk? I just found the recipe for cashew milk and it seems to be pretty runny. I did use 6 cups of water and not seven. Please advise.

    Thanks!
    Chris

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Chris, we haven’t specifically tested the lemon bars with soy milk, but we have tested with store-bought almond milk and didn’t like the texture (it was too much like jello).

  13. Robin says

    Hi, these look amazing! I would like to do a sub for the sugar though and it looks important to make it set up. I know coconut sugar turns it all brown so I won’t try that again in a lemon desert! What about Monk Fruit though? Monk fruit comes in various versions, replacing white sugar and raw sugar, even powdered to sprinkle on top. This one perhaps: “Baking Monkfruit and Erythritol Sweetener – Baking Sugar Replacement”. Their new one looks good too; “Classic Monkfruit Sweetener with Allulose – White Sugar Replacement”.
    And would like to use organic butter or ghee too instead of vegan butter, which would be better?
    Thank you,
    ~Robin

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you, Robin! We haven’t experimented much with monk fruit and aren’t sure if it will set properly, but organic butter will work well in this recipe. Let us know if you try it out!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nicky, we haven’t tested with cow’s milk, but whole milk would maybe work? For a dairy alternative, we think canned light coconut would be the next best option, but it may give it a coconut taste, which we were trying to avoid here to keep the flavor more neutral and classic. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jennifer, almond flour could work (you would need to use about double the amount), but the crust won’t crisp up like a classic lemon bar (it will be more tender). Hope that helps!

  14. Steve W says

    I love all your recipes, but can’t you just give the weight of the flour instead of volume? Volume varies depending on what kind of flour is used, but weight is always right. And weight is so much easier to measure! Thanks. I am going to make this for Easter.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much, Steve! You can find the weight measurements by clicking “metric” beneath the ingredients header. We hope you love the lemon bars!

      • Dana Chalamet says

        Ha. I never knew or noticed this. Very cool. Thanks for ALL you do. SO appreciate you and all your yummy fabulous recipes!!! 💞🙏🏼💫🙌🏼💞

      • Alicia says

        I didn’t know this — thank you!! I had the same question. Using the weight measurements I made the bars which are now in the fridge cooling and setting up. The curd is DIVINE!! Can’t wait to try them when chilled!

  15. Jamie says

    I love your recipes! I have tried cutting the amount of sugar in lemon bars in the past and find that they don’t set properly. I like them much more tart and less sweet. Do you recommend adding more zest, or is there any way to reduce sweetness without wrecking consistency? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jamie, you’re spot on that the sugar helps it set properly! This one is very balanced and noticeably lemony even though it seems like a lot of sugar. You could possibly reduce the sugar slightly (to 1 cup), but we would encourage trying it as written first. We’d love to hear what you think when you give it a try!

  16. Caris says

    Hello! Do you have any suggestions for a tree-nut-free substitution for the cashew milk? Coconut milk, while classified as a tree nut, is actually a fruit and is fine for my family — would this work, do you think? The pics look delicious!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Caris, yes! We think canned light coconut milk would be the next best option in this recipe. Let us know if you try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Solveig, we’re not sure if soy milk will work here! Cashew milk works well in this recipe because it is thick and creamy. Using a dairy-free milk with less fat in it produces a filling with a more jello-like vs. creamy filling, which we do not prefer!

      • Solveig says

        The cashew milk was easy to make. :) I used regular flour as I’m not gluten free and they were AMAZING.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          YAY! We’re so glad you enjoy these lemon bars, Solveig. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  17. The Vegan Goddess says

    This looks yummy! I’d like to swap out:

    – the butter for refined coconut oil;

    – all that cane sugar for coconut sugar;

    – corn starch for tapioca starch. (I just learned that tapioca starch is
    extracted from the root of cassova.) Or would arrow root be a better choice?

    I hope that would work.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! We wish we could offer reliable alternatives on this recipe, but it’s not very forgiving to substitutions. Unfortunately, we would not recommend coconut sugar or replacing the corn starch with something else. They are key for getting the filling to thicken and have a classic lemon bar texture and flavor. Otherwise, it will not set properly and may turn out jello-like in texture. Coconut oil might work okay, but it will have a coconut flavor and not be as flaky. For a naturally sweetened option, we would recommend sticking with our other lemon bar recipe (it’s less classic, but still delicious). Hope that helps!

    • Chloe says

      I also would like to be able to replace the corn starch. These look delicious, but 1/3 cup of corn starch is a lot! Wish something else worked as well for thickening. A more obscure ingredient that might work for gelling /thickening is kudzu root. Plus, it has a lot of health benefits. I may have to hunt down some of that again..