Healthy Lemon Bars - gluten free with low-carb, paleo, AIP, & vegan options

These Gluten-free Lemon Bars are a lighter version of the oh so popular dessert. They're lower carb with an egg-free option so you can indulge without the guilt!

gluten-free lemon bars on a white plate

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 Eggnog Cookies, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, and Vegan 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 also tried out a new recipe.

And boy did we get a winner!  Luscious Lemony Goodness!

Gluten-Free Paleo Lemon Bars

The inspiration for these bars is the Lemon Coconut Bars from Amy Green.  I showed the recipe 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.

Healthy Paleo Lemon Bars - Gluten-free Lemon Bars

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 batches of Vegan Lemon Bars so that my oldest wouldn't be left without a special treat :-).

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

Vegan Lemon Bars

Vegan Lemon Bars

The Vegan Lemon Bars don't look nearly as pretty and the filling pretty much soaked into the crust, but they were still quite tasty and my egg-allergic son loved them.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Flour Options: I try not to be a gluten-free flour purist--meaning that I don't typically spend much time trying to get the "perfect" gluten-free flour blend.  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 it.
    See my Gluten-Free Baking Tips for more on that. Use organic almond flour for grain free or paleo,  Any nut or seed flour would work.
  • Soaking and dehydrate the sunflower seeds first makes them lighter and adds a boost of nutrition.
  • Arrowroot Alternatives: Tapioca starch or cornstarch for the arrowroot. Rice flour will work in a pinch. For low-carb or THM, omit completely.
  • I grate my lemon zest with this super microplane grater.
  • Here's my Easiest Coconut Milk which is a great homemade option for coconut milk.
  • Instead of topping the lemon bars with coconut, you could just dust them with some powdered sweetener. Read here how to Make Your Own Powdered Sweetener / Sugar Substitute.

Sweetener Options

Special Diet Options

  • Keto / Low-carb / THM:S: Use almond flour (reduce the fat in the crust by 1/2). Use a low carb sweetener like xylitol works well for low carb, organic erythritol does as well and we love this low carb sweetener. Get 20% off using code wholenewmom.
  • AIP: Use organic tiger nut flour instead of regular GF flour and the seeds as well. I haven't tried this but I think it would work out fine with a little tweaking. Use AIP sweeteners like honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup.
  • Grain-free / Paleo: Use almond flour as instructed above.
  • Egg Alternatives: Use Powdered Egg Replacer for an egg free, or use a gelatin egg for an egg-free version that is low carb. If you use a gelatin egg, you might end up needing to blend the filling in a high-powered blender to get it to be pourable.

Other Healthier Desserts

Here are some other healthified desserts you might enjoy!

- "Almond Joy" Bars - Seriously delicious--we make these all the time!
- Homemade Chocolate / Carob Chips--ditto on the above. Make them all the time!
- Almond Butter Cups - like Reese's but healthier!
- Chocolate Chunk Coconut Macadamia Cookies


gluten-free lemon bars on a white plate

Luscious Lemon Bars (gluten free with low carb, paleo, AIP, and vegan options)

These Gluten-free Lemon Bars are a lighter version of the popular dessert. They're lower carb with an egg-free option so you can indulge without the guilt!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, Vegan
Keyword: gluten-free lemon bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 36
Calories: 94kcal





  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (I use coconut oil to do this.) You can also use 2 8x8's with not much difference in the end result.
  • Place the flour, sunflower seeds, and gelatin in the bowl of a food processor and process until the seeds are finely chopped.
  • Add the coconut oil and sweetener and pulse until the mixture is crumbly meal, similar to a pie crust. Be careful not to over-process.
  • Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan(s).
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until crust is lightly browned.
  • While the crust is baking, start preparing the filling.
  • Put the eggs (or egg substitute) in the food processor and pulse until the yolks are broken. Add sweeteners, arrowroot (or cornstarch) lemon zest and juice, and milk. Pulse several times until combined.
  • When the crust is finished, pour the lemon mixture over the crust (no need to wait for it to cool).
  • Sprinkle shredded coconut or sweetener evenly over the top of the bars.
  • Bake 15–20 minutes, until the filling is set. Cool completely. Cut and serve. Store in the refrigerator (especially the ones with eggs in them :-))


For a vegan filling, substitute in agar powder for the gelatin powder.


Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 28IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 8g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

I'd love to hear what you think about these bars once you try them!

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  1. I feel like I just got a tingle in the back of my mouth! Can't wait to try these delicious looking treats!

    I'm your newest follower from Foodie Friday. When you have a chance, please come and meet us.

  2. Adrienne, I just love the sunflowers in the crust. These lemon Bar's look so good! Hope you are going to have a wonderful week end and thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    1. Hi Helen!
      I thought the seeds were great too, though I must admit that it wasn't my idea. I did have to adjust the recipe quite a bit as it just wouldn't work out the way that the original recipe was. I guess tinkering is my specialty :-). See you next week! - Adrienne

  3. These look absolutely delicious! Wow, I'm impressed.

    Your blog is great! Two very important people in my life are GF. It's hard to find tasty stuff, but not anymore! New Networked Blog follower!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I just linked up. I hope to see you around more! More gluten-free recipes to come :-)!

  4. we have gone CF in our home and are headed to GF with lots of other limitations - such as sugar. So, this is a helpful recipe. Thanks!

  5. I love lemon anything and these sound amazing. Thank you 🙂 And by the way, I have xylitol in my home and I have dogs, but now I think I'm chucking it out cause I had no idea about it being deadly for animals.'s gone now LOL

  6. LOL.. I saw your picture and said the same thing -- "mmm.. lemon bars". heh.. They really do look quite mouthwatering! Thanks for sharing this treat at this week's Sugar Free Sunday!

  7. Do you have any ideas on a subsititue for the coconut oil I cannot have it, also nothing like a tree nut oil I cannot have anything like that. Any help I would be greatful for.
    Thanks Beth

    1. Hi Beth!

      Hmmm...Well, I have several options for you. First of all, what is the nature of your situation regarding coconut oil? My son has life-threatening food allergies, so I am familiar with these kinds of issues (though I am for sure not a doctor :-)). Anyway, if it is the protein that you are allergic to, maybe you could find a coconut oil that is not expeller or cold pressed. Those kinds of oils are generally considered safe for those with allergies to the food proteins.

      Also, palm oil should be fine as should butter or ghee. I can get you in touch with a healthy option for the palm oil if you are interested.

      Hope that helps!

  8. These bars sounds amazing! I have two gf children and one lactose intolerant children so I appreciate all of your options. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

    1. I'm so glad! I hope you like them! We have so many dietary issues that it makes it a challenge, but when you find something that works, yippee!

  9. Your lemon bars have been very popular at the HomeMade Monday party today! Thanks again for linking up. These look delicious!

  10. We love lemon desserts at our house too.
    We can't use Xylitol in our home since even the smallest amount of it is deadly to dogs, but I love to substitute with organic honey (they feed corn syrup to bees these days, so it has to be organic for us.)
    You are so creative with all the substitutes. Amazing. 🙂
    Thank you for linking up at Joy of Desserts. Come back soon.

    1. I knew about xylitol being a problem for dogs, but not to the extent that dog owners couldn't have it in their homes! Wow. I wish I could eat honey.
      I hope to be back next time!

  11. This sounds so good and something different from all the almond flour treats I've been making! Will try it soon but I'll need to get some gelatin and soak my seeds.

  12. OHHHH! My friend just told me that after I delivered I should try the hospital's lemon tort. Sounded good, but yours would be a safe nutritious option! One more thing to pack when I go in labor.

    1. We LOVE lemon here. I just found another great lemon recipe that I hope to share soon! Blessings on you and your little one :-)!

  13. these look fantastic! gluten free and healthy! 😀 how did they taste? btw you still have to email me about your 8x10 yellowartheart picture!

    1. Hi Junia!
      Well, they tasted so good that my son was asking me if I would make them again :-). I'll get back to you on the 8x10!