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The Best Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Lemony tart and sweet bars are perfect treat when you want a little something. Creamy lemon fill sits atop a lemony shortbread crust. This recipe for the best lemon bars is gluten-free with a dairy-free option.

  • Author: Jessie Shafer
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 16 squares 1x

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour*
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened**

For the Filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 34 lemons)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Optional toppings: Lemon Whipped Cream, powdered sugar, thin lemon wedges, or lemon peels

For the Lemon Whipped Cream (optional)

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an ungreased 8×8-inch glass baking dish with crossing strips of parchment, which will make it easier for you to lift the lemon bars out of the dish after baking.
  2. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest; mix gently until combined. Add butter and mix until the dough is crumbly (it will not come all the way together yet). Next, use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together in a ball. This will take some time, so be patient. The dough will come together as the warmth of your hands lightly melts the butter.
  3. Press the dough into the prepared baking dish over the parchment strips. Again, be patient as you work the dough into an even layer. Make the layer as even as possible, without any rise at the edges, patting it down with your fingers. Bake for 5 minutes and then remove to cool slightly while you prepare the filling. This short baking time just helps to start setting the crust, but it will not be fully baked yet.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice (not the lemon zest yet). Mix until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Strain the mixture through a sieve (this step is not necessary, but makes for a very smooth and nice-looking filling). Stir the lemon zest in and gently pour the filling over the par-baked crust. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes without opening the oven.
  5. Remove baking dish from oven and let bars cool 15 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the outer edge of the parchment, and very gently lift up on the parchment flaps to remove the full slab to a cutting board. If you prefer perfect squares, use a Chef’s knife to cut off the outer 1/8-inch edge on all four sides, then cut into 16 squares. Refrigerate bars at least 1 hour before serving, then top with desired garnishes.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

How to Make Lemon-Infused Whipped Cream: 8 to 24 hours before serving, add 1 tablespoon lemon zest to the heavy cream (you can add the zest right to the heavy cream container; close and store in the refrigerator). Before serving, in a stand mixer or hand-held mixer with whisk attachment, combine the lemon-flavored heavy cream and powdered sugar. Whip until soft peaks form. Serve immediately or store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 4 hours before serving; may need to re-whip before serving.

Notes

* You can use the same amount of regular all-purpose flour for the gluten-free flour if you don’t want or need gluten-free lemon bars. For gluten-free flour options, we like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-for-1 Baking Flour, and King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure-for-Measure Flour Blend.

**To make these lemon bars dairy free, skip the whipped topping and sub 6 tablespoons solid coconut oil for the butter in the crust. You’ll need to work the dough a little more with your hands, because it will be crumbly at first, but it will eventually come into a dough ball with patience. If using coconut oil, press the dough into the pan and then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. Also, par-bake the crust for 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 square
  • Calories: 113
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 55 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 54 mg