Gluten Free Lemon Bars (the Way Lemon Bars Should Be)

Thick, Tangy Gluten-free Lemon Bars | The Baking Beauties

In my mind, I always had this vision of what lemon bars should be like. They should have a light crust, and be topped with a lot of lemon filling, then topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I tried making lemon bars a few times, and was always disappointed with them, because they had this thin, thin layer of lemon. I know some of you may like them that way, but I wanted my lemon bars to be loaded with lemon. After searching around the world wide web a bit, I came across Ina Garten’s recipe for Lemon Bars. These bars looked promising. All I needed to do was convert them to contain no gluten.


The smell when you are preparing the filling for these bars is amazing. I love the smell when you zest a lemon (or any citrus fruit, really), it is so refreshing.

These lemon bars converted really well, and when we had them for dessert last night, my husband just says “They taste just the way I thought they should”. Finally, a lemon bar recipe that lives up to my standards and his. My daughter was sure to ask for some for her lunch kit today. My son has been begging me for a piece since 8:30 this morning. Yes, these gluten-free Lemon Bars are what Lemon Bars Should Be.

Thick, Tangy Gluten-free Lemon Bars | The Baking Beauties


Gluten Free Lemon Bars (the Way Lemon Bars Should Be)
For the crust:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (see Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • pinch salt
For the Filling:
  • 7 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4-6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I needed 6 lemons to get 1 cup)
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (see NOTE)
  • Confectioners' Sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, so the paper rises up the sides (I had it run up the 13" sides, and left the 9" sides bare). (This will make removing the squares much easier, as you can lift them out once they are cooled.)
  3. For the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the flour & salt, and slowly add to the butter/sugar mixture while the mixer is on low. Mix just until it is combined. Dump the dough into your 9x13-inch pan, and using hands dusted with gluten-free flour, press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Leave the oven on.
  5. While the crust is baking, you can prepare the filling. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and gluten-free flour. Pour over your pre-baked crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
  6. To remove from pan, cut along 9" edges, and use the parchment paper to lift the bars out to a cutting board. Using a sifter or wire sieve, dust the top of the bars with confectioners' sugar. Cut into squares, and serve.
The all-purpose gluten-free flour mix that I use is from Cybele Pascal. It is as follows: 4 cups superfine brown rice flour, 1 1/3 cups potato starch (not flour), 2/3 cup tapioca starch.
Adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook



  1. Whit says

    I've done the same thing with a non-gluten free lemon square recipe and they turned out great. The crust was more of a shortbread though, but these look amazing! I'm going to add them to my recipes-to-try list :)

    • Alison says

      Hi Jeanine-I have made these GF Lemon Bars several times and have to congratulate you on a fantastic recipe. Working full time, I don’t have time to come up with GF recipes but your website is my “go-to” place for the best GF recipes. Thanks for making my life easier!! xx

  2. Maggie says

    These look gorgeous. Can you believe I only tried lemon bars a couple of years ago? I was in love (it had a lot to do with the shortbread-style crust of course). I need to work on an egg-free version! Congrats on a lovely looking lemon bar.

    • says

      I made them with egg replacer. They just came out of the oven and are cooling. They look and smell great! I added 10 tsp. Egg replacer and enough warm water to make the egg replacer thick. The rest of the recipe remained the same. My husband is lickng his chops…lol

  3. Jeanine says

    @Maggie Thanks, Maggie! You know, because of you I did a search for an egg-free lemon curd. It is possible, and I'm sure you could come up with something that would work for lemon bars quite well. After seeing your egg free breads, anything is possible!

  4. Anonymous says

    these look and sound AMAZING!!! LOVE your website, thank you so much for yet another great recipe

  5. laurie says

    Your photo looks fabulous. One of the first gf recipes I tried was for lemon bars. Unfortunately I am the only one in the house that likes them, so… I ended up eating the whole pan:( Maybe its time to make another batch, only this time I will give some away!

  6. georgescookie says

    this really inspires me to jump out out of bed and into the kitchen to whip me up a batch of these. they look soooo. delicious.

  7. Couldn't Be Parve says

    Wow! These look amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I have some meyer lemons in my fridge and this might be the perfect place to use them!

  8. singh from dominos india says

    Great photography! I've just discovered your blog and I'm drooling staring at all these beautiful photos and recipes.

  9. betty r says

    Oh Jeanine, these lemom bars are just plain gorgeous and I'm thinking they taste as good as they look!!
    I have tried many lemon bar recipes much to the delight of my daughters. We can't seem to say no to 'anything lemon':)

  10. Jaye Tee says

    Jeanine these look fabulous! Lemon bars are a weakness of mine. I guess I have to come out of my attempt to avoid sugar and whip up some of these! Very beautiful!

  11. Jeanine says

    @Jaye Tee, Thank you, Jaye Tee, I appreciate it. :) Sorry to pull you back to sugar. Eep! I wonder if you could use natural sugars in place of the white sugar?

  12. freeeats says

    Wow! Beautiful photos and the bars look lovely. I will be trying these this weekend with some Meyer lemons that need a job. Mine will have to be dairy-free as well as gluten-free, but that won't deter me! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  13. Katia says

    Yum, they sound delicious. I also love a lot of lemon – that is the best bit, the biscuit should just be there to support the lemon!!

  14. Couldn't be parve says

    These look great. How long do you think they would keep well? I need to make something for Saturday and want to get a head start and these would be perfect.

  15. Kim-Cook it Allergy Free says

    Yes. I will say for sure that this is the way lemon bars SHOULD be. Absolutely gorgeous!! This will be a huge treat for my Mother in Law. She loves lemon bars!!
    And congrats on getting your photo approved for tastespotting!! So cooL! 😉

  16. Jeanine says

    @Couldn't be parve, If you need them for Saturday, I would bake them on Friday, but only dust with confectioners' sugar a bit before serving. Otherwise, the sugar will dissolve into the squares. HTH!

  17. Anonymous says

    These were AWESOME — thanks so much. My 15 yr old GF boy was speachless — no really — all he could say was "OH man" and grab two more squares.

  18. JL says

    These look amazing, I’m planning to make some today, just wanted to double check that the amount of flour in the lemon curd is 1 CUP? Sounded like alot compared to other recipes I’ve read. Thanks for all the amazing recipes you post!! I really think you should open a gluten free bake-shop……preferably in San Diego!!! :)

    • says

      Thanks, JL! I’d love to open a bake shop, but San Diego is far from home for me. 😉
      Yes, it is 1 cup, it probably seems high because, well, these lemon bars have twice the thickness of lemon compared to most bars. Enjoy!!

  19. Linda says

    Made these this afternoon…yummy! I didn’t have any powdered sugar so I added a little granulated sugar to an 8oz carton of Marscapone, spread it on the cooled bars and refrigerated. Creamy and tasty.

    Just happened upon your sight today while Google-ing recipes. I’m already hooked…will return again often I’m sure. Thank you!

  20. JoAnn Bertram says

    I made these bars today with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour. I used the food processor to put together the crust, baked it, and added the filling mix. I had used just half the crust mixture in a 9 x 13 pan and baked it for 15 minutes at 350. The filling I changed slightly, zest of two large lemons, the juice of the two lemons, plus enough bottled lemon juice to equal 7/8 cup, 6 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract, and 2/3 cup GF flour. When I poured the filling in, I almost panicked. The crust broke up as I poured it in. Decided to wait until it was baked, cooled and chilled. It came out great! Wonderfully lemony taste. It’s on our Christmas list for GF cookies for a friend who has to eat GF. (Also the Bon Appetit Peppermint Meringues). Thanks for the great recipe!

    • says

      JoAnn, I had the same problem the second time I made them. I think the crust needs to sit for 5 minutes before pouring the filling in. However, like yours, it worked great in the end. Phew! :)

  21. Melanie says

    These are outstanding! Gifted them around the neighbourhood since I didn’t need to eat the whole pan myself and both my MIL and a neighbor thought these were better than the gluten version. We loved how the crust wasn’t as heavy as normal and it all just becomes a nice lemony melt in your mouth treat. Will be making again for sure!

  22. Sarah says

    My mom has been gluten-free for a while now and she has been testing out different recipes to try and find foods that she can eat that also taste good. I found this recipe and made the lemon bars for her and they came out fantastic she is so excited to share this recipe with a group that she meets with every month!
    Thank you!!

  23. Jamie says

    These were AHmazing! I subbed coconut oil for the butter, and baked the crust until little bubbles were forming (longer than the recommended cook time). Not sure if that was the right thing to do, but they tasted soooo good!! Thank you!

  24. Bryn says

    I hope you don’t mind, but I added this recipe to pinterest. It’s amazing and everyone should know about it. I also added your Lemon Cake recipe. A link to the recipes are included in the pin!

  25. says

    These are fantastic!!! I made these yesterday and am so happy with the results. Great consistency once cooled and loaded with lemon flavor.

    I made a few small changes:

    1) I used salted butter so there was no need to add salt

    2) I used a chopper to grind the lemon zest

    3) I reduced the sugar in the filling from 2.5 cups to 2 cups. I like my lemon bars tart – not sweet – and this was the perfect amount for me.

    Also a note – it took a while for the dough to form.. It just looked like a floury dry mess at first and I was tempted to add almond milk but I’m glad I didn’t, because as I worked with it, it did finally end up being dough-like without the added liquid. I also used a spatula to even out the dough in the pan after pressing it in with my fingers.

    Thanks for a fab recipe!!!

  26. says

    I LOVE lemon bars. The colour of these is just gorgeous! I’m going to make these for my Easter brunch and am excited to have such a wonderful dessert in my gluten free repertoire! If they turn out as well as I know the will, I want to bring these to my next staff meeting as one of our staff members is gluten intolerant. It’s exciting to surprise her with a treat she can have too!

    • says

      Thanks, Lyndsay! That would be so sweet to bring something that the person who can’t eat gluten could enjoy as well. :) I found that you have to pour the filling onto the crust carefully, best to pour it down a spoon. But, even if you think the crust is falling apart when pouring, it still bakes up (and serves) beautifully. :)

  27. Hammy says

    These looked amazing and I had high hopes but they totally didn’t work for me. I used the flour mix you recommended and subbed coconut oil for the butter since I can’t have dairy. I don’t know what went wrong since everyone else seemed to like them but I probably won’t give them another try because the ingredients are too expensive to have to throw away another batch (yeah, they were that bad). Sorry.

    • says

      Sorry to hear that, Hammy. I wonder if something like Earth Balance would have been a better substitute than coconut oil. I’m not sure, since I haven’t used either. Did the filling not even turn out? Odd…

      • Hammy says

        The crust was the main issue. I haven’t tried earth balance because I can’t have soy either and haven’t been able to find their soy-free version anywhere, but I’ll keep that in mind. It looks like a few others used coconut oil as a substitute and liked how it turned out so I’m not sure why mine was such a disaster. It also did this weird thing where part of it separated and seeped through and made a weird tasteless gelatinous rubbery layer UNDER the crunchy part of the crust…that was the main reason I just had to throw them out. I don’t really have any explanation for that.

        • says

          Oh, that is really strange. I have no idea why it would do that, doesn’t really make any sense. Well, one day when you find a soy free, dairy free ‘butter’, you’ll have to try again. 😉 Wonder if it matters if you refrigerate the crust for 1/2 hr before baking, to solidify the coconut oil more? I’m not sure…just a thought.

        • Aisha Alkhani says

          We also have soy allergies in addition to dairy and gluten and use Earth Balance that has a soy free version now. You might also want to try Spectrum Organic Butter flavor shortening. I have had really good luck substituting butter with both of these products!

  28. Laura says


    My daughter made these for Easter along with Cybele Paschal’s ginger carrot cake. We followed the recipe just as it is written and it turned out perfectly. None of our relatives could believe they were gluten-free! Everyone loved the lemon bars!! THANK YOU for sharing your recipe! It will be among our family favorites. Blessings to you and your family!

    • says

      Awesome, Laura! :) I’ve been craving these lemony squares for a while already, I may just have to break down & bake them (I’m sure no one here would mind).

  29. Helen says

    The base was a pretty odd texture so wasn’t quite sure it would turn out ok. But the lemon bars turned out perfectly and were super delicious. I used 1 cup of sugar in the filling instead of 2 1/2 and they still turned out very sweet. When I make them again, I will reduce the sugar even more to suit my European palate. I will definitely make these again though!

  30. Kate says

    These bars were EXCELLENT! Made it for my dh’s Bday and he loved them. The problem with the recipe is that you can’t stop eating the darn things…

    • Kate says

      I should mention that I used salted butter (since that’s what I had on hand), left off the salt, then used Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo flour mix. I used way more lemon zest than the recipe said and a bit less sugar. Also, I didn’t dust the top b/c it just didn’t need it.

    • says

      Haha, perfect, Kate! Glad to hear they were a hit. And thanks for sharing the changes you made as well, nice to know that it still worked with them. :)

  31. Elizabeth says

    Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe!
    As mother of a celiac child, it’s been very hard to find baked goods that he will enjoy and not feel deprived. As for myself, it’s been more than frustrating with all the failures I seem to have. This is defiantly one recipe that will become a staple in my personal GF recipe collection.
    I do have a question though. Can you tell me if it freezes well and if so, how long can I freeze it for?

    Thanks again I’m very grateful!! :) :) :)

    Milaca, MN

    • says

      So glad to hear that it was a success, Elizabeth! :) Make sure you check out the other recipes, I’m sure you’ll find more recipes that will please both you and your child.
      I am sorry though, I have no idea how it freezes, I’ve never tried freezing this version, or a regular, gluten filled version.

  32. Fran says

    These were so good I couldn’t keep them out of my mouth! My family usually shares our GF baked goods with some other GF people we know but we (my two teen daughters and I) kept these all to ourselves. So good and thank you for bringing lemon bars back into my life!

  33. says

    I was hesitant to try these only because lemon bars I’ve tried to bake in the past haven’t turned out well at all. But I had several lemons that had to be used up, so I bit the bullet and forged ahead. The crust dough was pretty hard to deal with due to the consistency but I finally got it spread decently. That was the only challenge. The bars turned out great and everyone loves them. I reduced the sugar in the lemon mixture to 2 cups and it’s just right. Thanks!!!

  34. jessica says

    I made these for a party on Sunday, where I knew there were a couple other Gluten free people were going to be. they turned out great!! Everyone loved them! GF and Those who were not!! Next time I would like to try them with a little less sugar. Have you ever tried using a sugar substitute?? I wonder if they would still work the same? And my crust was a little crumbly. Did I need more Zantham? Thank you though!!!

  35. genie says

    Made this to satisfy the family’s sweet tooth at night. Baked it on a 8×8 glas, baked the filling for 45 minutes. Yum!!!!!!!

  36. Lori F. says

    OMG! I just made these and tried a tiny corner piece! PERFECTION! I’m soooo very glad I found this recipe! THANKS!

  37. says

    FABULOUS. Thanks for sharing the recipe for the gf flour blend. Will try with less sugar next batch for a more tart flavor. Froze a bunch so hope they turn out. Just couldn’t eat the entire batch between the two of us. Not that we didn’t want to gobble them all up!

  38. says

    One more question, for the flour:

    The all-purpose gluten-free flour mix that I use is from Cybele Pascal. It is as follows: 4 cups superfine brown rice flour, 1 1/3 cups potato starch (not flour), 2/3 cup tapioca starch.

    It looks like in the recipe you only require 3 cups total why does it seem like the mixture equated for 6 cups. Does it just make extra?

  39. Rose says

    Hi, if I am making this the night before serving do I need to refrigerate or just cover tightly and leave on counter? Can’t wait to try it…thanks!

    • says

      Hi Rose, I think because it is a curd made with a lot of eggs, it is best to refrigerate it. I’m not sure if it will stay set properly (or stay safe to eat) if it is left out on the counter overnight.

  40. Sherry says

    These were wonderful! A lot of work, but worth it. Gave half the pan to my gluten-free friend, but my husband and I gladly devoured the rest!

  41. Amy says

    The BEST!! When no one knows they’re GF, people I’ve served them
    to prefer them over regular lemon bars and rave about the flavor & texture.

  42. Angelica says

    I made these last night and they were delicious! My crust looked different than yours does in the picture, and I’m wondering if you can add any detail about how you prepare it. Do you add water? Was your crust more like a dough or in pieces when you put it in the pan? And did you bake it until it was set and a knife came out clean, or did you pull the bars out earlier? Thank you!

    • says

      The crust is really quite dry, from my recollection. Sort of a powder dough that you press into the bottom of the pan. I made it exactly as written. I believe I baked it (with the filling) for 35 minutes, then let it cool completely before slicing or removing from the pan. Refrigerating it overnight works well for that.

  43. Tiina says

    This recipe looks delicious and I really want to bake them, but I can’t have eggs. Has anyone found a good way to replace them in the recipe? I’m still a novice to no eggs, and have only used egg replacer but I don’t know that it would work here.
    Thank you!

  44. Felicia says

    These are the best Lemon Squares EVER!! I have always made Lemon Squares for every party or event, and when I had to stop eating gluten, I searched for a great recipe to replace the one that I had always used, this is a fantastic recipe and everyone who ate my gluten squares enjoys these just as much if not more! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!!

  45. Steohanie says

    Hi. These are fabulous!
    Looks like a few people have tried to freeze these but no one has said if they freeze well. Can someone let me know please? I would like to make these for my son’s teacher for the end of the year and I have the time now to bake!! Thanks!

  46. Stephanie says

    I frozen the first batch and pulled them out last night. I tried them this morning and they are great!! Just need to re-dust them with the owed erred sugar as it all melted into the bar. So for those wondering THEY FREEZE VERY WELL.

    • says

      Ack, Stephanie, I’m so sorry! I meant to ask on FB, then forgot. DUH! Just asked now, but I see you’ve already got your answer. :) But I’m really glad that you gave them a try and now we know the answer – they freeze well! Yeah!! :)


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