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Tender and citrusy Gluten Free Lemon Bars are full of tangy flavor and perfect for any spring occasion, especially Easter or Mother’s Day! An easy dessert made with a thick layer of creamy lemon filling on top of a zesty gluten-free shortbread crust.
These Meltingly Tender Lemon Bars Are Gluten-Free!
With spring around the corner, I was inspired to make these perfectly citrusy, gluten-free lemon bars! These dessert bars are positively exploding with lemon flavor, from the creamy lemon filling right down to the zest in the shortbread-style crust.
I’m already planning to bring these lemon bars along to all my springtime gatherings, from Easter to Mother’s Day. This recipe is so easy and the resulting lemon squares are deliciously tender, sweet, and tangy. The smooth and zesty filling just melts in your mouth! Like a little taste of citrus heaven in every bite.
If you’re as crazy for lemon desserts as I am, you’re going to love these gluten-free lemon bars!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s everything you’ll need for the crust as well as the lemon filling for these bars:
For the Crust
- Butter: Unsalted butter, brought to room temperature. This will make it easier to mix with the other ingredients!
- Lemon Zest: Adding zest to the crust gives these bars even more fresh lemon flavor. Use a microplane to get a finely grated zest.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure, natural vanilla will give your crust the best possible flavor.
- Gluten-Free Flour: Your prefered brand of gluten free all-purpose flour blend (I use Bob’s Red Mill). You can also substitute this with regular flour if you’re making bars that aren’t gluten-free.
For the Filling
- Eggs: For richness, and as a binder for the filling ingredients. Use room temperature eggs for the smoothest possible filling.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed. You’ll need about 4 medium-sized lemons or 3 large lemons for a half cup of juice.
- Gluten-Free Flour: Same as above, use your brand of choice.
- Lemon Zest: These bars aren’t cutting any corners when it comes to lemon flavor!
You’ll also need Powdered Sugar, for garnishing the bars. While most powdered sugar (a.k.a. Confectioner’s sugar) is gluten free, always check the ingredients list to be sure!
What’s the Best Way to Juice a Lemon?
When it comes to the citrusy filling for the most amazing lemon bars, nothing beats the flavor of freshly squeezed lemons! Here’s how to get the maximum amount of juice from a lemon:
- First, microwave the whole lemon for about 30 seconds. Heat helps break down the membranes inside the lemon that hold all the juice.
- Roll the lemon against a countertop or other hard surface for a few seconds. This loosens up the lemon flesh and further releases the juice.
- Cut the lemon lengthwise and use a lemon squeezer or juicer to extract the lemon juice.
How to Make Gluten-Free Lemon Squares
Prepare the Crust: Beat together the crust ingredients, adding the flour and salt last. Mix until you have a smooth dough, then press the dough evenly into a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Use a fork to prick holes in the dough, and then bake the crust in a preheated oven until it’s firm and golden.
Make the Lemon Filling: While the crust is cooling, combine and mix the filling ingredients. Pour the filling over the crust and place the bars back into the oven for another half hour or so, until they’re set in the center.
Cool and Cut into Bars: Once the bars are out of the oven, leave them to cool in the pan for a while, before transferring them from the pan onto a wire rack. Wait until the slab of lemon bars has cooled completely before dusting the top with powdered sugar and slicing into squares.
Tips for Success
- Use the Right Pan: I recommend an 8×8 inch glass baking pan for these lemon bars (rather than a metal baking pan, which can darken the crust). Alternatively, you could use a 9×9 inch square pan, but this will result in thinner bars that may need an adjusted baking time.
- Line the Pan: I include this tip in my recipe because it really makes a difference! Lining the pan with parchment paper helps to achieve perfect edges, plus you can lift the whole slab out of the pan for cooling and cutting.
- If Your Filling Has Air Bubbles: It’s normal to have air bubbles in the baked lemon bars. While it doesn’t always happen, if it does, it doesn’t affect the overall texture or amazing taste of these bars! Plus, you can easily cover up any bubbles with a little extra dusting of powdered sugar.
These gluten free lemon bars are the ultimate springtime dessert, perfect to serve with a dollop of whipped cream. I like to give my slices an extra sprinkle of lemon zest for good measure (and because I’m admittedly lemon-obsessed).
They’re wonderful to serve with coffee or tea. You can even dish these bars up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a little extra indulgence!
How to Store Homemade Lemon Bars
These lemon bars are best stored airtight in the fridge, for up to one week. They will also keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, but I definitely recommend refrigerating them. Chilling not only extends their shelf life, but also enhances the flavors!
Can I Freeze These?
These lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once cut into squares, flash freeze the bars until solid. Next, wrap the bars individually (in either aluminum foil or plastic wrap) to store in a freezer bag. Thaw the lemon bars in the fridge and then dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Shop the Recipe
Here are a few of the kitchen tools that I like to use to make these bars. Sometimes gadgets help make gluten free baking even easier!
BAKING PAN: As I mentioned earlier, an 8-inch square glas baking dish is perfect for this recipe and I use the one from Pyrex.
MICROPLANE: The best tool to get plenty of lemon zest but none of that bitter white pith.
CITRUS JUICER: I use my handheld juicer all the time and love that it has inserts for different sizes of fruits.
DUSTING WAND: This little gadget allows you to get a nice light and lovely dusting of powdered sugar with not big clumps.
Easy Gluten Free Lemon Bars
For the Crust
For the Filling
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (grated on a Microplane)
- ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- Powdered sugar for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish and line with overlapping rectangles of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and mix until uniform.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer with your hands (wet them to prevent sticking). Use a fork to poke holes in the crust all over. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and firm in the center. Cool for about 10 minutes.
- To make the filling, in a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, flour, and salt until uniform.
- Pour the filling over the semi-cooled crust. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until the filling is set in the center.
- Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and slice into 2-inch bars.