These healthy lemon bars are made with a buttery crust and topped with a gooey and creamy lemon filling! No dairy and no sugar needed, it’s the perfect gluten free lemon dessert that has less than 100 calories per serving!
Healthy Lemon Bars
Having a lemon tree in my family home meant that my sister and I grew up having plenty of lemon heavy dishes. My mom loved to spend her Saturday mornings picking lemons and our refrigerator would be brimming with them. She’d use them in all our salads (they make a fabulous dressing) and use them in many of her savory dishes. However, it was her desserts that we went crazy for!
Mom loves making lemon flavored desserts, especially because she’s not a fan of chocolate. We enjoyed lemon muffins, a lemon loaf (her favorite), and of course, her lemon bars. Mom’s lemon bars are easily one of my all-time favorite desserts. Whenever she made a batch of them, my sister and I would hoard the leftovers to fill our lunch boxes with! I recently begged her for the recipe so I could give it a healthy makeover and I must say, I am very impressed with the results!
Having a healthy lemon bars recipe on hand is perfect when you find yourself with lemons yet want something a little bit wholesome. This dessert is quick and easy to make, and needs just one bowl! No sugar and no dairy are needed, but you’d never tell. The texture of the crust is thick and buttery and the filling is smooth and rich. It’s sweet and with a gorgeous lemon flavor!
My mom always asks me to make some healthier desserts to bring into her office so I sent her off with a Tupperware container of this and NO ONE believed her when she told them they were healthy- They tasted absolutely sinful! She was quick to remind them where the inspiration for the recipe started!
Ingredients to make this recipe
For the crust
- All purpose flour– Use a gluten free all purpose flour with added xanthan gum (like Bob’s Red Mill). I haven’t tried with a homemade blend so cannot vouch for alternative results.
- Granulated sweetener of choice– Any sweetener can be used. Erythritol and monk fruit sweetener are two fantastic low calorie options.
- Salt– Just a pinch to balance out the sweet ingredients.
- Dairy free butter– Use a dairy free butter from a block instead of a tub or spread. Butter from a block has fewer fillers in them and makes a tastier crust.
For the filling
- All purpose flour– Again, use a gluten free all purpose flour with added xanthan gum.
- Granulated sweetener of choice– I used allulose, but any sweetener can be used.
- Eggs– Room temperature eggs.
- Lemon juice– Freshly squeezed lemons are preferred, but bottled lemon juice can be used in a pinch.
- Powdered sweetener– Optional, but to sprinkle on top. I like using keto powdered sugar.
How do you make healthy lemon bars?
Start by preparing the crust. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix very well. Transfer into a lined 8 x 8-inch pan and bake at 170C/325F for 20-22 minutes, until just golden. Remove the crust from the oven and prepare the filling. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and sweetener until combined. Add in the eggs and lemon juice and continue whisking until mostly smooth.
Now, pour the filling onto the still-warm crust. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the filling doesn’t jiggle when shaken. Remove the lemon bars from the oven and let them cool completely. Sift the powdered sweetener on top and refrigerate for an hour, to firm up even more.
Tips to make the best dairy free lemon bars
- For thicker lemon squares, refrigerate the cooked lemon bars for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- If you don’t follow any dietary restrictions, you can use standard all purpose flour and white sugar.
- For an even more intense lemon flavor, add some lemon zest to the crust.
Storing and freezing gluten free lemon bars
- To store: Lemon squares are best stored in the refrigerator, covered. They will keep well for up to 1 week.
- To freeze: Place leftover lemon bars in a shallow container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More healthy dessert recipes to try
Healthy Lemon Bars (Under 100 calories!)
For the crust
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients and mix together until combined. Transfer it into the lined pan and press down until mostly smooth. Place the crust in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until it begins to go golden.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl, add your flour and sweetener and mix well. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the lemon filling over the par-baked crust and spread out evenly. Place back into the oven for 23-25 minutes, or until the filling remains firm once lightly shaken.
- Remove the lemon bars from the oven and let them cool completely. Once cool, sift the powdered sweetener all over the top. Refrigerate the bars to firm up more, before slicing into bars.