A buttery, gluten-free shortbread crust with a fresh, lemon custard filling. These are the best Gluten-Free Lemon Bars. They are the perfect treat for any occasion, everyone will love them!
These classic Lemon Bars feature a smooth, lemon filling on top of a buttery, gluten free shortbread crust. They are rich, tart, and taste like spring in a dessert.
If you love lemon and lemony desserts, then this recipe is for you! There’s something so refreshing about lemon desserts, it gets me all ready for spring and summer. We enjoy these bars all year long but especially for Easter.
- Butter: Softened butter gives the shortbread crust richness. I haven’t tried these bars with dairy-free butter, but I think you could substitute it just fine.
- Sugar: Sugar is an essential ingredient in the shortbread crust, plus it balances out the tart lemon juice in the filling. You can use granulated white sugar, organic cane or sucanat-whatever your preference. I do not recommend using honey.
- Vanilla: I add vanilla extract to the shortbread for added flavor. I, personally, love the taste of vanilla and think it makes everything better!
- Gluten Free Flour Blend: A gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum already added is used in both the shortbread crust and lemon filling to give it structure. For this recipe, I used my favorite gluten-free flour blend, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour Blend. Your results could differ slightly if you use a different blend.
- Lemons: I use both lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice to give this lemon bar recipe it’s pretty color and bold, tart flavor. The zest amps up the lemon flavor without making them too tart. If you do not have access to lemons, you can use bottled lemon juice. I have used this method several times and it works just fine. I just prefer to use fresh ingredients when I can.
- Eggs: Eggs give the lemon filling structure and silkiness. Unfortunately, I have not found an egg substitute that works for this recipe.
- Powdered sugar: As a finishing touch, a light (or heavy) dusting of powdered sugar sends these bars over the top! I love to use my fine mesh strainer for this, it gives it such a pretty dusting.
*If you have air bubbles on top of your baked lemon bars, that is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about. This happens when the air from the eggs rises to the surface. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it does not. Either way, the gluten-free lemon bars taste the same and the powdered sugar covers it up!
Now to start baking!
How To Make The Best Gluten Free Lemon Bars
Step 1. Make the Crust. Preheat oven to 325F. Start by making the gluten free shortbread crust. To the bowl of an electric mixer, or a large mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer, add melted butter, sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Next add a gluten free flour blend (it’s important to use a gluten free flour bend with a binder already added). I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour.
Once the dough is well combined, place it into a baking pan lined with parchment paper then spread into an even layer with your fingertips. There’s a bit of ‘controversy’ over what size pan to use for these bars, but I prefer to use an 9×13 pan. If you prefer a thinner bar with a more crispy crust, feel free to use a bigger pan. My family happens to like a thicker, more decedent bar, but use whichever you prefer. They are going to taste great, no matter what size pan you use!
Step 2. Bake the Crust. Once the dough is in the pan, use a fork to make shallow pricks all over the dough all the way to the edges this will prevent the crust from puffing up while it bakes. Then bake for ~12 minutes (depending on the size of your pan) or until the edges are just barely turning golden brown. Let the crust cool for at least 30 minutes, so as not to disturb the lemon custard filling.
This is the most ‘difficult’ part of the whole process….waiting!
Step 3. Make the Filling. While the crust is cooling, make the lemon filling. To a large bowl add lemon zest, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and eggs then whisk to combine. To the egg mixture add more gluten free flour blend plus sugar then whisk for 1 minute until there are no lumps and its nice and velvety smooth.
Step 4. Bake. Pour the lemon mixture over the partially cooled shortbread crust then bake for an additional 20-35 minutes (again, depending on the size of your pan,) or until the center is set. Give the pan a little shake – if the center is still jiggly just keep baking.
Step 5. Cool. Once the bars are baked and no longer jiggle, set them aside and let them cool completely. This, again, is the most difficult part of this recipe-patience! But it’s worth it in the end, trust me.
Remove bars from the oven and cool completely at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover the bars with plastic wrap and place them into the refrigerator for 2 hours until fully chilled.
How To Store and Serve
Once the bars have cooled completely lightly dust them with powdered sugar. I prefer to use my ultra fine sifter, it makes the powdered sugar so powdery and perfect. Cut into squares before serving. Then it’s time to dig in! Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator (if you have any left!).
You can also store these bars in the freezer. Simply place bars on a baking sheet, flash freeze them in the freezer for ~ 15 minutes, wrap individually in plastic wrap. Place in large freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
These truly are the best Gluten Free Lemon Bars, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Happy Baking!
Looking for more delicious gluten free recipes? Find them here!
The Best Gluten Free Lemon Bars
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 Cups Gluten-Free Flour with xanthan gum (I prefer Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour)
For the Filling
- 6 Eggs
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup Lemon Juice (about 4 lemons)
- 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Flour blend with xanthan gum (I used Bob Red Mill's 1:1)
- Powdered Sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325*F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Making sure some hangs over the side so you can lift the bars out of the pan.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Slowly add the gluten-free flour and mix until the dough forms.
- Gently press the dough into pan lined with parchment paper until. Being careful to make sure it is even. Gently poke with fork. Bake at 325 for ~22 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- For the filling, start by whisking the eggs. Once the eggs are whisked, add the sugar and whisk again. Next add the lemon juice and vanilla and whisk. Add the gluten free flour and whisk until well combined.
- Once crust is slightly cooled, add the lemon filling and bake for ~26 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles. Set aside to cool for ~1 hour.
- Once the bars are cool, it is best to cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for another hour or two. Lightly dust them with powdered sugar and cut into squares before serving.