An easy Vegan Lemon Bars recipe made with a gluten-free almond flour shortbread crust and a fresh lemon juice and cashew cream filling. Whip up your filling right up in the blender!
There's something to be said about the mood-lifting effects of citrus.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Simple ingredients
- A healthier take on classic lemon bars
- Eggless creamy lemon curd
- Gluten-free buttery shortbread crust
Ingredients and substitutions
Here are a few quick notes about the ingredients in this recipe. You can see a complete list of ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below.
What makes creamy vegan lemon bars possible? Cashews and coconut cream to the rescue.
Lemons - We are using whole fresh lemons here. Lemon zest and juice for lots of tangy lemon flavor.
Coconut oil - Combined with coconut cream, this helps us achieve a "lemon curd filling."
Coconut cream - This rich ingredient can be store-bought or by chilling a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight.
Raw cashews - Once soaked and combined with the other ingredients, cashews create a creamy filling.
Almond flour - The star of the gluten-free shortbread crust. This flour adds a "buttery" crumb.
arrowroot starch - Mixed with almond flour to achieve the best texture for our simple shortbread crust.
Maple syrup - Perfect and unrefined sweetener for the tangy-sweet lemon layer. Honey can be substituted (if not vegan) or agave nectar if needed.
Vanilla extract - I recommend a pure vanilla extract when possible for the best flavor.
Pinch of turmeric - Just a touch of the orange spice gives our lemon squares a more vivid yellow color.
Organic powdered sugar (optional) - An optional light dusting on top of the lemon slices is the perfect finish for this sweet treat.
Before you start: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x8 pan and line it with parchment paper. Place cashews in a high-speed blender and cover with hot water. Set aside while you prepare the crust or for at least 5 minutes.
Step 1: In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour and salt. Add coconut oil or vegan butter and maple syrup. Stir to combine until dough forms and all dry bits are incorporated.
Step 2: Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Press dough into an even layer. Use an extra piece of parchment paper to help smooth it out. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Step 3: While the crust bakes, drain the cashews and place them back into the blender. Place the remaining filling ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into parbaked crust. Bake for 16-18 minutes.
Step 4: Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. When ready to serve, remove from pan, dust with powdered sugar, and cut into squares.
A couple of top tips for these easy lemon squares:
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Don't have a blender? A food processor will work great in its place.
- Lining the baking dish with parchment paper is key to easy and clean removal.
While these lemony bars are great anytime, they are also perfect for special events and holidays!
- Baby showers
- Wedding showers
- Mother's Day
Organic powdered sugar is made from organic cane sugar while regular powdered sugar is made from conventional white sugar. Organic powdered sugar is produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or GMOs. It is also processed without using any chemical bleaching agents or anti-caking agents. Regular powdered sugar is often made from sugar that has been heavily processed and may contain additives like cornstarch.
Traditional lemon bars typically contain butter and eggs, which are not vegan. However, it's possible to make vegan lemon bars by using plant-based substitutes for these ingredients like in this recipe.
Keep brightening things up with these dairy-free lemon desserts or the recipes below!
More lemon recipes
Love this recipe? Please consider leaving a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating on the recipe card below and let me know what you think in the comments!
Easy Vegan Lemon Bars (Gluten-Free)
- 1 ½ cups (174 g) almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup lemon juice (about 3 medium lemons)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted and slightly cooled
- ¼ cup coconut cream*
- zest of 3 lemons
- pinch or two of ground turmeric for color
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- organic powdered sugar, for dusting optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x8 pan and line with parchment paper.
- Place cashews in a high powered blender and cover with hot water. Set aside while you prepare the crust or for at least 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour and salt. Add coconut oil and maple syrup. Stir to combine until dough forms and all dry bits are incorporated. Transfer dough to prepared pan. Press dough into an even layer. Use an extra piece of parchment paper to help smooth it out.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven on.
- Drain cashews and place back into blender. Place remaining filling ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into parbaked crust. Smooth with spatula. Bake for 16-18 minutes. The edges should start to turn golden and the middle should be set.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack. Then, chill bars in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove from pan using parchment handles, dust with powdered sugar, and cut into squares.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Love this recipe!
How long would these last in the fridge, and could they be stored in the freezer and thawed? Thanks!