Gluten free lemon bars are made with coconut for a lightened-up version of everyone’s favorite springtime dessert! A crunchy topping, soft custard-like filling, and crispy shortbread-inspired crust combine to create the perfect easy lemon bars for holidays, bake sales, and more! Dairy free.
Do you love lemon desserts? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for the taste. With recipes like Lemon Blueberry Cake, Lightened Up Lemon Pudding Cake, and Lemon Glazed Macadamia Nut Cookies, how could I not be?! It’s a seriously underrated flavor in my opinion. So, to help you join the lemon lovin’ side, I decided to whip up a classic dessert with this easy lemon bars recipe – with a Cotter twist of course!
Just like the classic version, these easy lemon bars are sweet, tangy, and totally irresistible. The only difference is, that I made a few simple swaps for a bit of a lightened-up gluten free treat that’s just as delicious! What resulted was a crunchy coconut topping, a soft gooey center, and a crisp golden crust holding it all together.
Are you drooling yet? Me too. Keep reading to find everything you’ll need to know to make your new favorite gluten free lemon bars!
What Makes this Easy Lemon Bars Recipe Different?
Traditionally, lemon bars are made with lemon, butter, sugar, and all-purpose flour, and although they’re tasty, they are not suitable for a wide variety of dietary needs. I knew I could do better! So, I made a few substitutions such as replacing all-purpose flour with almond flour. Then, I added in unsweetened coconut flakes. The result? A soft gooey lemon bar with less sugar, and even some healthy fats! Plus, they’re gluten free, dairy free, and grain free! You can thank me later.
They’re Pretty Tasty, Too! – Thanks to the addition of the coconut, these easy lemon bars have a slight added crunch that pairs perfectly with the gooey center. Combined with the sweet lemon flavor you know and love, it’s a match made in heaven!
Simple Ingredients & Dietary Swaps
For this easy lemon bars recipe, we break the ingredient list down into two parts – the base and the filling. Both components use similar ingredients to create a light lemon flavor.
However, you don’t want to combine them! Otherwise, your filling might turn out stiff, or your base will be too gooey.
For the Base
- Liquid Refined Coconut Oil
- Maple Syrup
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Extract
- Blanched Fine Almond Flour
- Tapioca Starch or Arrowroot Starch
- Raw Sugar or Sugar Substitute
- Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
For the Filing
- Egg Yolk
- Arrowroot Starch
- Lemon Juice
- Caster Sugar (Fine Granulated Sugar) or Sugar Substitute
- Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
No-Bake VEGAN Swap: No time to turn on the oven? Try these No Bake Lemon Coconut Energy Bars for all the lemon flavor with none of the baking!
Easy as 1, 2, 3…How to Make these Gluten Free Lemon Bars
To create this easy lemon bars recipe, we’ll work in three steps. First, we’ll create the crust-like base. Then, we’ll move on to the filling. To finish, we’ll combine the two, and pop it all in the oven! Don’t worry, though. Each component is super simple and comes together in no time at all!
1. The Base
Melt and Mix. Melt your coconut oil before mix it in with the rest of the liquid ingredients.
Sift and Stir. In a separate bowl, sift the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt together. Then, mix in the sugar.
Combine. Gently add the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, and stir until smooth. Gently fold in the coconut flakes.
Bake. Add the batter to an 8×8 inch pan, and let it bake in the oven at 350° F for 15-18 minutes or until it is golden brown. Let it chill once while you move on to the filling!
2. The Filling
Whisk. Add all of the ingredients except for the coconut to a bowl and whisk or blend until they are smooth.
3. Putting It All Together
Pour. Add the prepared filling to the base by gently pouring it on top, spreading evenly.
Bake. Pop it back in the oven at 350° F for 20-25 minutes or until the filling has set.
Chill. I know it’s hard to wait, but once removed from the oven, you’ll want to place your lemon bars in the fridge for 15 minutes. This helps the center set completely so your gluten free lemon bars don’t fall apart!
Yes! Store your bars in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.
Yes! You don’t want them to be so soft that they fall apart. However, the center of your lemon bars should be soft and slightly gooey.
No. Unlike cake, brownies, or cookies that rise and expand as they cook, these easy lemon bars will stay the same size in their pan.
No, fresh lemon juice will give you the best flavor. However, store-bought lemon juice can be used as well.
Team-Tested Tip! If you’re thinking about using a different sized pan, don’t. Our team member, Shyanne, tried it and did not have a great time. The baking time and temperature alter, and it turns into a bit of a headache.
These gluten free lemon bars are quickly becoming a springtime staple in my house! If you try them out too, I would love it if you let me know in the comments below!