Luscious Lemon Bars (gluten & dairy-free with egg & sugar-free options)


Luscious Lemon Bars - Gluten, Dairy, & Sugar-Free with Egg-Free option. A super-tasty treat with a lighter feel than traditional brownies and cookie bars, these Lemon Bars really fit the bill for a special-diet-friendly special treat.

Since I am a super busy mom like many of you, I don’t have time to do much baking–but I do love to treat my family to healthier versions of baked goods when I can. These Grain Free Cookies, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, and Egg free Macaroons are some of our favorites.  Lemon Bars are another treat that I loved when I was younger, so I was thrilled to be able to develop a healthier version for us to enjoy.

I pulled this recipe together in the summertime, which isn’t the best time to bake, of course, but two weeks ago, the temperature “dipped” down into the 70’s and so I grabbed the opportunity to do some quick baking (I made my simple Oat Bran Muffins) and try out a new recipe.  And boy did we get a winner!  Luscious Lemony Goodness!

The inspiration for these bars are the Lemon Coconut Bars on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.  I showed them to my son and well, both of us were inspired to give them a whirl!  In fact, he jumped up and down with the sweetest smile on his face, so I just had to bake them.

The only problem was, my oldest has a life-threatening allergy to eggs, so I just had to create two versions and then bake several batches with eggs and several without so that my oldest wouldn’t be left without a special treat :-).

Well, even with all of those batches, these taste soooo good, that they were gone in a flash!

Sugar and Gluten Free and Vegan Lemon Coconut BarsEgg-Free Version

Notes: The egg-free version doesn’t look nearly as pretty and the filling pretty much soaked into the crust, but they were still quite tasty.  <p>Once it gets cooler, I will take another run at these bars with a different type of filling to see what can be done about making the egg-free version better :-).

*I try not to be a gluten-free flour purist.  I do, however, like using sweet brown rice since it adds a bit of “hold togetherness”.  Too much buckwheat doesn’t taste great, though, so be careful if you choose to bake with this!  Use almond flour for a low carb option.
**I think any nut or seed would work.  Let me know if you try others!  I’ll try to let you know if I do too!
***Stevia extract comes with a small 1/32nd tsp scoop.
****I LOVE Dream Foods International’s lemon juice and that is what I linked to.  Buy the huge bottle at most Costco stores for a great deal!

Other “Healthier” Desserts

“Almond Joy” Bars
Homemade Chocolate / Carob Chips
Almost “Reese’s” Candy
Chocolate Chunk Coconut Macadamia Cookies
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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  1. Wondering if you have tried making these with coconut flour? And, if so, how did they turn out??

    • Hello Shannan. I haven’t tried them w/ coconut flour. It absorbs more liquid so perhaps you could try it and add some liquid to the crust? I really haven’t tried converting recipes from GF to coconut flour, but maybe try adding 1/4 cup liquid per cup of flour converting? I’d be interested in hearing how they turn out if you try them :-)

  2. I made these this past weekend and they were yummy. I did have the problem of the custard soaking into the crust.

    Did you ever come up with a solution? Also they weren’t lemony enough for my family. Do you think if I added more lemon, I’ll have to add more thickener too?

    I also substituted ground almonds for the sunflower seeds because i didn’t have the latter.

    I really appreciate all your efforts on your website and blog.

    • Hi Kelly. Did you change anything at all? I’m assuming you made the GF version, right? I haven’t found a solution but I think adding a thickener like gelatin or agar agar would take care of it. The eggs are basically coagulating the mixture and keeping it from soaking in.

      I think adding a tad more lemon wouldn’t mean you need much more thickener, but since it’s already kind of runny you probably should. Just adjust it proportionally to how much liquid you are increasing the whole recipe by. I don’t think the almonds would make too much of a difference but I think they are typically more dry than sunflower seeds so they might soak up more moisture. Hope that helps.

  3. Great to find another blog focused on rethinking our diet!
    Just wanted to share some thoughts on replacing the eggs (and gelatin). Have you tried agar? It is completely tasteless and similar in finished texture to gelatin, but softer, and used frequently in candy. I think adding that would help keep the pie filling from soaking in so much and make it look more like a ‘proper’ lemon bar. It is fairly expensive in health food stores, but cheap in asian markets (it is a kind of seaweed).

    Another favourite egg replacer of mine is psyllium husk or powder. Not sure how that works with your son’s allergies (my total sympathies), but it is a fantastic binder! Mixed up with water it takes on a mucous like texture, which is gross but makes cookies super chewy! The added benefit is that psyllium helps keep things moving along in the bowels (it’s the main component of Metamucil).
    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    • Thanks! I have used agar and I also have been working with glucomannan recently — I started using them later so I should possibly redo the recipe – thanks!

  4. LaDonna Lateadah says:

    What would be a vegan gelatin option? I always have trouble with that.

  5. I love how you recreated this recipe, Adrienne! I am always inspired by the way you work so hard for your kids. You are incredible!

  6. In the oven as I type….I only made one change, we do not tolerate sunflower anything, so I used pumpkin seeds instead. It looks like it will be just fine. Can’t wait to taste it. Will post when I am enjoying them.

  7. I just wanted to point out that this recipe is neither vegetarian or vegan as the Great Lakes Gelatin is an animal product. Great Lakes has 2 varieties of gelatin. They have a beef variety and a porcine variety which is derived from pork.

  8. Makes me wish I liked sweets! I love lemon!