Healthy Lemon Bars

4.63

28

Save to FavoritesPrintJump to Recipe

This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

These healthy lemon bars have an almond flour shortbread crust and a creamy, perfectly tart lemon filling. They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened and made with only 6 simple ingredients!

If you’re a fan of lemon desserts you’re in for a real treat (literally!) with these healthy lemon bars. They combine an almond flour shortbread crust with a creamy, tart filling that is chef’s kiss. I can’t wait for you to try them!

Classic lemon bars are usually made with butter, white flour and white sugar (and lots of it!), but to make these lemon bars healthier I used almond flour, maple syrup and no oil or butter! The shortbread crust is made with just 2 simple ingredients (almond flour and maple syrup) and then you only need 4 more ingredients to make the filling. How easy is that?!

Three lemon bars stacked with a bite taken out of the top bar.

Why You’ll Love These Bars

  • They’re bursting with lemon flavor!
  • Super easy to make and only requires 6 main ingredients!
  • These bars are gluten-free, dairy-free and naturally sweetened.
Ingredients measured out to make Healthy Lemon Bars: almond flour, maple syrup, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and baking powder.

Ingredients Needed

  • eggs – the eggs help to bind the filling and create a creamy, custard-like texture.
  • maple syrup – both the crust and filling are naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup.
  • lemon – the star of the show here! We’re using both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in the filling.
  • almond flour – we’re using almond flour to make the shortbread crust and to help provide structure for the filling. I used Bob’s Red Mill super fine almond flour, which is blanched almond flour meaning the skin has been removed from the nut prior to grinding into a powder. I don’t recommend swapping the almond flour for a different type of flour.
  • baking powder – helps these bars to rise!
  • salt – just a pinch to bring all the flavors together.
  • powdered sugar – I love topping these bars with a sprinkle of powdered sugar for garnish. This is optional!
Collage of 8 photos showing the steps to make Healthy Lemon Bars: whisking the filling, baking the crust and then baking the bars with the filling added.

How to Make

Preheat oven: Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Make & bake crust: Make crust by combining almond flour and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Press the dough firmly into the prepared baking dish. Place crust in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Mix filling: While crust is baking, whisk filling ingredients (eggs, maple syrup, almond flour, baking powder, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest) together in a large mixing bowl. Once crust is done baking, remove from oven and slowly pour filling onto crust.

Bake, cool and serve: Return baking dish to oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, until filling looks set and is no longer jiggly in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool completely at room temperature. Then let cool in fridge until the bars set up, about 4 hours. Sift powdered sugar onto bars, cut and serve.

Close up photo of lemon bars in a row with one bar on its side.

Tips For Success

  • Use fresh lemon juice and zest. The flavor of fresh lemon juice and zest is far superior to that of bottled juice and will make a big difference in the final product.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. This will help the ingredients to combine more easily and create a smooth filling.
  • Don’t over-bake. Just bake the bars until the edges are golden brown and the filling is set. The filling should jiggle just a little bit when you shake the pan, but not slosh around.
  • Cool completely. This will allow the filling to set and make it easier to cut cleanly. Also, make sure to cool these bars at room temperature before placing in the fridge to set. If you put these bars in the fridge while the bars are still warm it might cause the top to crack.
  • Garnish with powdered sugar just before serving. If garnishing with powdered sugar do so once bars have completely cooled. If you add the powdered sugar while bars are still warm the powdered sugar will melt into the bars.
Individual lemon bars angled topped with powdered sugar.

How to Store Lemon Bars

In the fridge: Before storing these lemon bars, make sure they’ve cooled completely. You can store them in an airtight sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

In the freezer: If you freeze these bars I recommend storing them with parchment paper in between the bars so they don’t stick together. Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Before serving, let them thaw in the refrigerator.

Three lemon bars stacked.

Lemon Bar FAQ’s

Can I use a different flour instead of almond flour?

Unfortunately not. This recipe was specifically created to be made with almond flour and using another flour won’t yield the same results. I did test these bars with oat flour and they didn’t turn out. The crust was super dry and crumbly, which makes sense because the almond flour has more fat so works better for this simple shortbread crust.

Why do my lemon bars have white air bubbles on top of them?

Sometimes you might notice some white air bubbles on the top of your lemon bars. That’s totally normal and is caused by the air from the eggs rising to the surface while baking. These bubbles shouldn’t affect the taste of the bars and the dusting of confectioners’ sugar will cover those bubbles right up!

Why did my crust turn out soft/soggy?

The crust is going to be soft because of the almond flour, but it shouldn’t be soggy. If your crust mixture is wet before baking it might need to be mixed together a little more. If it’s soggy after baking it probably needs a little more time baking in the oven.

More Lemon Recipes to Try

More Almond Flour Recipes

Check out all of the almond flour recipes as well as the full collection of dessert recipes on EBF!

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

4.63 from 29 votes

Healthy Lemon Bars

These healthy lemon bars have an almond flour shortbread crust and a creamy, perfectly tart lemon filling. They're gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened and made with only 6 simple ingredients!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 16 bars

Ingredients  

Crust:

Filling:

Garnish:

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  • Make crust by combining almond flour and maple syrup in a medium bowl.
    Woman's hands mixing crust for lemon bars.
  • Press dough firmly into prepared baking dish. Place crust in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden.
    Lemon bars crust in pan.
  • While crust is baking, whisk filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
    Woman's hands whisking lemon filling.
  • Once crust is done baking, remove from oven and slowly pour filling onto crust.
    Lemon filling being poured into pan with crust.
  • Return baking dish to oven to cook for 20-25 minutes, until filling looks set and is no longer jiggly in the middle.
    Cooked lemon bars in pan.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely at room temperature. Then let cool in fridge until bars set up, about 4 hours over overnight.
  • Sift powdered sugar onto bars if using, cut and serve.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 bar | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy lemon bars
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
Chicken fajita filling on a sheet pan with a wooden spoon. Tortillas are resting on the bottom of the sheet pan.
Get Your FREE High-Protein Meal Plan
Struggling to eat enough protein? Subscribe to my email list and I’ll send you a 3-Day High-Protein Meal Plan with a Shopping List!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




28 Comments

  1. 3 stars
    I typically love your recipes (I have your cookbook) and am a seasoned chef and baker but this was a swing and a miss for me. The crust was sticky when I put it in the pan and the texture of the topping was rubbery yet granular at the same time (I’m guessing from the almond flour). The flavor was there, but as my husband said, “I wouldn’t serve them to anyone.” I’ll stick to my non-healthy lemon bars in the future. Keep doing what you do! You’ve very good at it!

    1. Hi Michelle! Thank you so much for the feedback, I’m so sorry the recipe didn’t turn out for you. I am going to test this recipe again to see if I can replicate the issue. I will keep you posted!

  2. 3 stars
    I was so excited to find this healthy lemon bar recipe since I love lemon bars. Unfortunately, they did not hold together when cut into bars, they crumbled apart. The flavor was great!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Brittany, thank you for another lovely recipe. I am going to try. Just wondering if this would work with using either oat or coconut flour and which you would suggest I try please. Thank you!

  4. hi Brittany. I want to make these but I was wondering if i could freeze them. made your zucchinni bread and it was really good. bannana bread next.

    1. Hi Terrie – Sure! If you freeze these bars I recommend storing them with parchment paper in between the bars so they don’t stick together. Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Before serving, let them thaw in the refrigerator.Enjoy!

  5. 3 stars
    I tried these out, and I wanted to share my experience as well. I didn’t change anything about the ingredients, and I used everything at room temperature. The crust is very soft in the final product after baking for 25 minutes to golden brown. I didn’t pack my almond flour, but I wonder if listing the amount in grams would be helpful? The crust mixture was a tad on the sticky side while pressing it into the pan. I decided to use an immersion blender for the filling after reading the comments, but that resulted in a LOT of air bubbles on the surface! The top also cracked while cooling at room temperature, and after refrigerating it cracked even more while I cutting them into bars. Overall, the flavor is very good! I just wouldn’t plan on bringing them to a gathering because the presentation isn’t great and the bars are hard to pick up with such a soft crust.

    1. Hi Windee – Thank you so much for sharing your feedback. Can I ask what type of pan you used? I am curious if it would have held together better if you had waited for the air bubbles to clear before pouring. Thanks again for sharing, I really appreciate it!

    1. Hi Lois – Before storing these lemon bars, make sure they’ve cooled completely. You can store them in an airtight sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

  6. 5 stars
    I had all the ingredients on hand and these looked too good not to try. They did not disappoint! So good and so hard not to eat them all in one sitting, but since they’re a healthier version at least I don’t feel as guilty eating them!!

    1. WOO! This is great, Monique. I am so glad you are loving this recipe and that they came out great. Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your review + star rating, I truly appreciate it!

    1. Yay! I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying this recipe. Thank you for sharing your review + star rating, I so appreciate it!

  7. 2 stars
    I always love your recipes, but this one was a problem for me. It was easy but did not turn out the way I expected. Maybe I didn’t mix the filling enough? I baked the base for 25 minutes and it was golden brown but was soggy in the finished product. The filling took about another 25 minutes and the color was much darker than pictured. The flavor leaned too much (in my opinion) to maple; I couldn’t taste a lot of lemon. Also the consistency was not smooth, I think due to the almond flour. I want to try it again…maybe next time I’ll use an immersion blender to mix the filling.

    1. Hi Michelle – I am sorry to hear this recipe did not turn out as you had hoped. Did you change anything or make any adjustments to the recipe?

      1. Thanks for the reply. I did not change anything. Any thoughts? I’m going to try the recipe again.

        1. Hey Michelle – Maybe the filling needed to be mixed more like you said because it should have a smooth texture. Also, I know you said the color was darker… did you use dark maple syrup or amber colored? For the almond flour, what brand did you use? You could try less maple syrup in the crust since you said yours was soggy. Maybe 1/4-1/3 cup? Definitely let me know if you end up making these again!

          1. I wanted to love these… but I ended up throwing the whole batch out. I followed the recipe exactly and they were so soggy when I cut into them the next morning. I’ll try the recipe one more time, but I don’t know what would be done differently to stop the sogginess.

            1. Hi Leigh-Anne. I am so sorry to hear that these turned out soggy for you. Did you change anything about the recipe? Was the crust soggy or did the filling not set correctly? Let me know, I would love to help you out before you make another batch.

            1. oh no! So sorry to hear that, Kathryn. Did you change anything about the recipe that could’ve caused them to be soft?

    2. 3 stars
      My crust was soggy also. Any suggestions from anyone, the flavor was good, but the crust is very soggy. Should I cool the filling first?

      1. Hey Ashley – The crust is going to be soft because of the almond flour, but it shouldn’t be soggy. Was it soggy before or after baking? The crust shouldn’t need to cool before adding the filling.

  8. 5 stars
    Had to try these out ASAP! Such a delicious and easy recipe and taste just as good, if not better, than any other lemon bars I’ve had. Good luck not eating all of them at once!

    1. Woo! This is the best, Lindsay! I am excited to hear that you are loving this recipe. Thank you for giving it a try and for coming back and sharing your review + star rating, I really appreciate it!