My niece turned nine this weekend and requested Strawberry Cake for our family birthday party. Not because she wanted to eat it – which she did not, she had Neapolitan ice cream – but because she wanted her guests to have Strawberry Cake. A girl who unapologetically knows what she wants for herself and others – I am here for this kind of energy!
After eating half of a pan of Gluten Free Lemon Bars, I can confidently say that I want you to enjoy this sweet-tart lemony treat, as I am officially cutting myself off. They are as incredible as they are irresistible!
Gluten Free Lemon Bars
Old fashioned Gluten Free Lemon Bars are perfection in a pan. A glossy, lemon filling sits atop a buttery, gluten free shortbread crust. They are rich, tart, and taste like a treat your Grandma would serve while you’re visiting. Translation: they’re SO cozy and easy. The lemon filling tastes like lemon curd but you don’t have to stand at the stove stirring and praying your eggs don’t curdle. You know what we call that – an upgrade!
Aside from the lemons, I can almost guarantee you already have all the ingredients on hand to make this Gluten Free Lemon Bar recipe, plus several ingredients are used in both the shortbread crust and lemon filling.
- Butter: Softened butter gives the shortbread crust richness. I haven’t tested these bars with vegan butter, but I’m sure the swap would work just fine.
- Sugar: Sugar is an essential ingredient in the shortbread crust, plus it balances out the tart lemon juice in the filling.
- Vanilla: I add vanilla extract to the shortbread for an oomph of coziness.
- Gluten Free Flour Blend: A gluten free flour blend WITH added binder is used in both the shortbread crust and lemon filling to give it structure. I have tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour Blend. If you use another blend your results could differ slightly.
- Lemons: Both lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice give this lemon bar recipe it’s pretty yellow hue and tart, bright flavor. Lemon zest won’t make the bars taste more sour – it just packs in the lemon flavor.
- Eggs: Eggs give the lemon filling structure and silkiness.
- Powdered sugar: The lemon bars will come out of the oven with a thin white crackle on top, plus some little bubbles from the eggs. This is totally normal, and completely undetectable with a dusting of sweet powdered sugar on top.
What Size Pan to Use
I feel like the debate over how thick or thin Lemon Bars should be is a hot one – eep! I prefer thicker bars because I really love huge bites of that sweet-tart lemon filling, while Ben likes a more subtle, thinner bar. SO, I tested this recipe two ways:
- 9×13″ pan: This will give you a thinner bar that’s easier to eat with a fork. Very elegant and so, so delicious (this is the pan I had to cut myself off from – it’s so easy to take little bites here and there!) The edges will get kind of buttery and browned which, omg, might actually be better than a center slice.
- 7×10″ pan: This pan will give you the results you see in these photos. Nice, fat, thick slices. ‘Nuf said!
- Any size pan in between: I don’t want to say this recipe is fool proof…buuut it’s fool proof. Use any size pan in between a 9×13″ and 7×10″, such as a 9×9″, and your bars will turn out great. Just look for lightly browned edges on the shortbread, and a set center of the lemon filling.
Alrighty – let’s bake!
How to Make Gluten Free Lemon Bars
Start by making the gluten free shortbread crust. To the bowl of an electric mixer, or a large glass bowl if using a handheld mixer, add softened butter, sugar, and vanilla then beat until smooth. Next add a gluten free flour blend WITH added binder plus a pinch of salt then mix again to combine. Again, I tested this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour Blend.
Check out my little helpers! I think Cam’s got a future in food blogging. 😍
Scoop the dough into a parchment paper lined baking pan then spread into an even layer with your fingertips. Use a fork to make shallow pricks all over the dough then bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on the size of your pan) or until the edges are just barely turning golden brown.
Let the crust cool for 10 minutes while you whisk up the lemon filling – this will prevent the mixture from soaking into the crust. To a large bowl add lemon zest, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and eggs then whisk to combine. Next add more gluten free flour blend plus sugar then whisk for 1 minute.
Pour the 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.
Let the bars cool completely – COMPLETELY, ya hear?! – then use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan, slice, dust with powdered sugar, and serve. I hope you love these deliciously sweet-tart Gluten Free Lemon Bars – enjoy!
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Gluten Free Lemon Bars
Gluten Free Lemon Bars are a simple yet outstanding treat made with everyday ingredients. This bright and easy dessert will be loved by all!
- For the shortbread crust:
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups gluten free flour blend WITH binder (see notes)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the lemon filling:
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3 - 4 lemons)
- 4 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup gluten free flour blend
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 7x10" or 9x13" baking pan, or a baking pan somewhere in between in size (see notes) with parchment paper then set aside.
- To the bowl of an electric mixer, or a large glass bowl if using a handheld mixer, add softened butter, sugar and vanilla then beat until smooth. Add flour and salt then beat until combined. Scoop dough into prepared baking dish then spread into an even layer with your fingertips. Use a fork to poke shallow holes all over the top then bake until the edges are just barely turning golden brown - a 9x13" baking pan will take ~20 minutes while a smaller pan like 7x10" will take ~25 minutes.
- Remove crust from oven then let cool for 10 minutes.
- For the filling: While the crust is cooling, add lemon zest, lemon juice, and eggs to a large bowl then whisk to combine. Add sugar and flour then whisk for 1 minute. Pour over partially cooled crust then bake until the center is set and no longer jiggly - a 9x13" pan will take ~20 minutes, while a smaller pan like 7x10" can take ~32-35 minutes. The top will have a white, crackly appearance with tiny bubbles - that's normal!
- Let Lemon Bars cool COMPLETELY - several hours or overnight - then use the parchment paper to lift bars out of the baking pan. Slice, dust with powdered sugar, and then serve. Store covered on the counter or in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- I tested this recipe using Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
- If you like thinner Lemon Bars, use a 9x13" pan. If you like thicker Lemon Bars, like in these photos, use a 7x10" baking pan (or a pan in between these sizes, such as a 9x9".) I would not use an 8x8" or smaller baking pan as the crust will be very thick.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.