My personal favorite dessert is anything LEMON! I just adore its tangy flavor, which is why I recently created a versatile lemon curd recipe for use in several new recipes I’ll be unveiling this summer, the first of which is this luscious grain-free lemon bar.
It takes a bit more time to make this recipe, because it’s made with freshly prepared lemon curd. However, I assure you, it’s worth the extra few minutes. Its rich, decadent flavor and light, cake-like crust make this dessert a scrumptious summertime treat! Enjoy!
Update! I also use this decadent lemon curd as a base for creating a wonderful Lemon Berry Tart and my delightful Little Lemon Custard Cups. And if you’re really a lemon lover, I highly recommend whipping up my Lemon Drop Cupcakes with Creamy Lemon Frosting – YUM!
P.S. These luscious lemon bars made it on the “Top 10 Reader Favorites of 2012!”
Step One: Prepare the Crust
Using a food processor, pulse ingredients until it starts to form a dough ball. Then press the dough evenly into the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking dish, as described below.
Step Two: Prepare the Lemon Curd Topping
If you don’t have a double boiler, just be sure to use a heat-safe glass bowl. It’s also important to make sure the water under the bowl is at a very gently simmer, not a rolling boil.
- 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/4 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp pure honey (I prefer sage honey due to its mild flavor)
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature (pastured eggs are best)
- 1/2 cup pure honey (I prefer sage honey due to its mild flavor)
- 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 2 Meyer lemons)
- 2 tbsp filtered water
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
- Optional: Garnish with unsweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the almond flour, butter pieces, arrowroot powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 6-8 times. Then add the honey and vanilla and pulse until it starts to form a dough ball.
- Use a rubber spatula to remove the dough and place into an 8x8-inch baking dish.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.
- Bake crust for 8-10 minutes, until puffy, but not browned. Allow to cool before filling.
- In a double boiler, or in a heat-safe glass bowl resting above a pot of gently simmering (not boiling) water, whisk together the egg yolks, honey, lemon juice, water, lemon zest and vanilla until well blended.
- Slowly add the butter, 2-3 pieces at a time, while constantly whisking. Add more pieces as the previous ones melt.
- After all of the butter pieces are melted and incorporated, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, cook for 15-18 minutes, stirring just occasionally, until it thickens like a pudding. Please note: It’s very important to cook the lemon curd until it’s very thick and custard like in order to ensure it sets properly.
- Place the lemon curd in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool to touch (but not cold), add the lemon curd to the cooled crust, using a spreader to smooth it out evenly.
- Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, until filling begins to set and slightly puffs up.
- Once baking is completed, remove from oven and allow to cool about 20 minutes. Then, refrigerate for at least 3 hours until completely cold, before cutting into bars. Lightly sprinkle bars with unsweetened shredded coconut, if desired.
Time-Saving Tip: Whenever a recipe calls for lemon juice, I always zest the lemon first and place the lemon zest in a freezer-safe container to freeze for future recipes – then I proceed with juicing the lemons. This works vice-versa too ... If a recipe calls for lemon zest, after zesting the lemon, I squeeze the lemon to extract the juice and place the lemon juice in a freezer-safe container for future recipes. Taking a quick minute to do this not only helps to eliminate waste, but also helps to reduce the prep time for future recipes.
Thanks, Denise! 🙂
Jen Ferguson says
I am passing along this recipe to 2 of my GF friends!! Thank you for sharing at Soli Deo Gloria!
Thanks so much, Jen, for passing this on to your friends! And thanks for hosting Soli Deo Gloria – you all are such a blessing! 🙂 Kelly
Oops! I just realized that I didn’t include all my links up in this post. Thank you for commenting as it totally jogged my memory! That’s what I get for staying up too late 🙂
This look wonderful – I can’t wait to make them! I was wondering if you think the crust would turn out fine without the arrowroot powder – we’re on the GAPS diet, where no starches are allowed. Thanks!
Hi, Jennifer. I think the taste will be just fine. It just may be a bit more crumbly since arrowroot acts as a binder. But again, should not impact the flavor at all and the honey and butter are the main ingredients that hold it together. Hope you enjoy it! Blessings, Kelly
OMG! These look awesome! So glad I came over from the hop, these are going in the keeper file. Can’t wait to try them!
Tamara @ http://hisperfectpromises.blogspot.com
Thanks, Tamara! So glad you came over to check these out! Welcome! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
Rachel @ Rediscovering the Kitchen says
These look perfect! I recently tried a gluten free lemon bar recipe and it just didn’t come out right. This looks like a much more solid recipe, I will be trying these very soon.
I hear you, Rachel! I tried several GF recipes that just didn’t work – mainly the liquid lemon mixture ran to the bottom and created a big mess. Then it dawned on me to form a lemon curd first, then add the curd to a semi-baked cake-like crust and finish baking. Hooray! The taste and texture of these healthier GF lemon bars are nearly identical to the unhealthy white flour and powdered sugar based recipes. Hope you enjoy them too! 🙂
Debbie @ Easy Natural Food says
Hey Kelly, just got your comment on my Double Chocolate Date and Almond Cookies and had to laugh….because I had clicked on your recipe because I saw it right next to my linkup and just HAD to check it out!!! 🙂 I love the tangy lemon curd flavor too, but have never tried making it. But I will now, thanks to your fantastic recipe!
So funny, Deb! Looks like we’re each other’s own fan club! LOL! 🙂
Would it work with coconut flour instead of almond flour? I can’t get almond flour here in Scotland.
Hi, Maria. Coconut flour behaves very differently, so I would recommend finding a coconut-based crust recipe and then only partially baking it so you can use the lemon curd with the required bake time. Here’s one from my friend Jessica at Delicious Obsessions that may work … Blessings, Kelly 🙂
April @ The 21st Century Housewife says
I love anything with lemon too – it’s so refreshing! It’s wonderful these lovely lemon bars are gluten free as well!
These lemon bars look and I am sure taste divine! Thank you so much for sharing this incredible recipe on Allergy-Free Wednesdays!
My pleasure, Laura! I always enjoy popping over for a visit! Appreciate you hosting! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
This sounds lovely! I love lemon anything!
Thanks, Vicky! I feel exactly the same 🙂 Appreciate you taking time to leave a kind note! Blessings, Kelly
Trish @ MyBigFatBundt says
Holy Cow. These look SOOOO good! And MUCH healthier than the lemon bar recipe I use! I love the idea of an almond flour crust. I’ve successfully made my G-free, but I love the idea of being grain free all together. And the lemon curd made with honey instead of sugar–I think these will be on the menu for my upcoming EFT workshop. Most people attending are fairly health conscious, so this should be a real treat for my guests. 😉
Hi, Trish! Thanks for your sweet note! I hope your guests enjoy these as much as we do! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures says
Now you have me drooling. I have to make these!!!
Thanks so much, Lea! I’m excited to give your coconut-pineapple ice cream a try! It looks so refreshing!! Hope you have a super weekend! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
These are so delicious!!! I made them yesterday and they were a hit with the whole family!! Thanks for the great recipe!! 🙂
Hooray! So glad you all enjoyed them! Thanks for taking time to leave a kind note! 🙂
Yum!!! I am off to make this!
I made these lemon bars today, and they were great! I was surprised, because I’ve made lemon bars before, using almond flour, and didn’t have as good of results. Very pleased with this recipe!
I shared this recipe on my blog.
Thanks so much, Bella! So great to get to know you better! Appreciate you sharing this recipe with your readers! Many blessings, Kelly 🙂
Thank you, thank you, for this yummy recipe. My daughter made them last night and they are so delicious! Better than any other lemon bars I’ve had before:) A lot of insane groanings coming from me and my girls after the first bite!
Woo hoo! So glad you and your girls are enjoying these! Thanks for taking time to leave a kind note! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
Rebecca Miller says
I am in love with these lemon bars! They are incredible. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you and please keep posting I cannot wait for more lemon recipes!
I’m so glad you like them, Rebecca! And I am going lemon-crazy next week, so stay tuned … I share your love for the LEMON! 🙂 Kelly
Just curious, how long will these hold up once made? Is 3 – 4 days too long? Just trying to find a make-ahead, take with us dessert for camping!
Hi, Kristina. As long as you are able to keep these well chilled, they should last at least three days. To be honest, whenever I’ve made these, they’ve never made it past a day or two in the frig, because we can’t stop eating them!! LOL! 🙂 Have a great camping trip! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
This recipe is SO good thank you! My husband made these for my birthday & they were
So light & fluffy. Thank you!
WOW, that’s so sweet and awesome that your hubby took the time to bake these for you! Happy Birthday! I’m honored that this recipe blessed you on your special day! 🙂
I was wondering if the curd would turn out the same if we substituted coconut “shortening” or something else for the butter? My son is allergic to soy and dairy so I can’t use any butter or margarine. Have you or anyone else tried it yet?
Hi, Valerie. I haven’t tried this using coconut oil or shortening, so I’m not sure how it would turn out. If you do decide to give it a go, please let us know the result? Blessings to you, Kelly 🙂
Thank you for a glimmer of hope that I might once again gorge myself with lemon bars and not wind up in the hospital!
Mikeh – we certainly do not want that to happen. But take it easy with these – they’re really decadent and it’s hard to eat just one! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
Jackie Vetter says
You just gave me an idea for a raw, lemon pie! I’m going to make it with a nut crust and then use chia seeds and lemon for the filling! I think it will be delicious! I’ll let you know how it goes!
So glad to be a source of inspiration for you, Jackie! I would of course love to hear back on your results. Blessings, Kelly 🙂
what about heating an almond flour, I read that it causes fat to oxidize, while heating above 118 degrees . it’d not that healthy . you thoughts on that ..?
Hi, Eli. Although I do have several raw food recipes on this site and am a huge proponent of raw fruits and veggies, this is not a raw foodie site. I know there are many out there that would be a better option if you are looking for a site dedicated to the raw food lifestyle. My real food recipes are based upon WAPF/SCD principles. Blessings, Kelly
When you zest lemons, do you use reg. grocery-store (non-organic) or organic lemons — or both? The only kind of lemons available where I live in my small community is the “regular” kind, as USUALLY organic is nowhere to be found. I have been avoiding zesting lemons for that reason. In lieu of that, I have added extra essential lemon oil to recipes that call for zest. HOWEVER, I would LOVE to use the lemon zest if I thought I could safely/healthfully do so without invoking a toxic problem in recipes. Your comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Although lemons are not listed on the “Dirty Dozen” chart(http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/), like you, I have concerns about using the zest of any citrus fruit unless I know the citrus is organic. You can certainly experiment with substituting with lemon oil – the flavor will be different as lemon oil tends to be very intense, so I would recommend adding small amounts to the curd toward the end of the cooking time (as the curd is thickening) and taste test until you get the desired strength/flavor you prefer. Lots of blessings, Kelly 🙂
Sarah W says
I know almond meal and blanched almond flour don’t perform the same… but in a crust such as this, do you think almond meal would substitute all right? (I like to use slightly less expensive and easier to buy almond meal when I can! ) thanks!
Hi, Sarah. Yes, I think almond meal won’t cause much issue in this, as you stated. I haven’t personally tried it. But agree that in a crust it’s not as noticeable. Hope you enjoy these! Lots of blessings, Kelly 🙂
Mer P says
These are incredible!! Meyer lemon season is upon us and I’ve been doing full paleo until this weekend when I was having guests at a BBQ and needed something crowd pleasing. For my purposes, I would say that I wish I would have baked it about 10-15 minutes longer to really get the custard to set up (mine was a little drippy when cut and served), but everything else is really spot on. in fact, I think that crust might be the best paleo cookies I’ve had as well!
Good to hear you enjoyed these and that your friends did as well. Next time, cook the custard on the stovetop a bit longer until it’s ultra thick. This will result in a nice set. The oven bake time doesn’t do as much for the set, as cooking it until well thickened on the stovetop. Hope this helps! Lots of blessings, Kelly 🙂
Lisa J. says
Hi Kelly. My son is allergic to almond. What would be a suitable replacement flour? Thanks.
Hi, Lisa. Since almond flour behaves differently than other GF flours (in fact all GF flours require differing levels of ingredients to have good results), there isn’t a one-to-one substitute that I can recommend. Instead, I’d recommend finding a lemon bar crust recipe that utilizes a flour that is appropriate for your son’s dietary needs and then adding my honey-based lemon curd to that crust. A simple google search for lemon bar crust (making sure to name the flour you prefer to use) should give you some good options to choose from. Hope this helps. Lots of blessings to you, Kelly 🙂
These look so yummy but I need to know the nutritional information on them as my granddaughter has to eat gluten free but she is also a diabetic.
Hi, Cecelia. You can plug in the ingredients of any recipe into a nutritional calculator online like this one:
and you will be given the nutritional breakdown. Hope this helps! Blessings to you and your granddaughter! 🙂
My country of origin has a bakery which use to sell lemon bread. N I miss having it. It’s part of my childhood memories. I saw ur recipe. It’s looks so much like it can u use it in a bread roll as stuffing. N also can I use sugar instead of honey. Plz advice can wait to bring back good memories. Thanxxxx
Hi, Hira. I’m sure you could use the lemon curd with bread for a delicious treat. As far as using sugar, this recipe was developed with honey, so you may want to look for a lemon curd recipe that uses sugar instead just to be sure the measurements are correct. Blessings, Kelly 🙂
I made these last night for about the 5th or 6th time. Amazing as always! I use maple syrup instead of honey and they are soooo good.
Thanks, Amy! You are making me crave these 🙂 So glad you enjoy the recipe so much! Appreciate you taking the time to leave a kind note!
This recipe is a KEEPER!!! I looked up a few similar recipes online and I’m so happy I decided to try this one first. Unbelievably good! And so versatile – I would use both the base and the curd on their own too in the future!! The base is delicious and the curd is now my go-to curd recipe, hands down. It seemed like it could be complicated but it was so easy. Thank you for creating such a perfect recipe! I can’t wait to check out more of your recipes…. (My husband actually just told me it was one of the best things I have made…)
Hi, Vittoria. Thank you for your kind words! I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed these bars. I actually can’t help myself in letting you know that I wrote a published cookbook with more than 100 delicious and easy grain-free baking recipes. If you’re interested, you can find out about it here: http://thenourishinghome.com/cookbook/ And yes, I do hope you’ll become a new friend. You can always subscribe to get free recipes and meal plans here: http://eepurl.com/LFIpf Thanks again! 🙂 Kelly
Hi! I am planning on making this again this week, but only have regular lemons at the moment – not meyer lemons. Have you tried it with regular lemons? If so, did you need to make any adjustments (more honey, etc)? Many thanks in advance!
Hi, Vittoria. Regular lemons will work just fine. The difference is that Meyer lemons are less acidic and a tad sweeter. So your lemon bars made with regular lemons may have a bit more tang to them. You can always taste the custard mix once you’ve combined the ingredients and if you feel it needs a little more honey to balance the tanginess, you could add an additional tablespoon, if you feel it’s needed. Enjoy! 🙂
Thanks for your quick response, Kelly! Just wanted to report back that the regular lemons worked great, just like you said! It had a bit more “tang” than the custard made with meyer lemons, but it was still soooo delicious. I didn’t need to add any additional honey and everyone loved it again.
I would also caution anyone making this to not overcook the tart base in the first baking. I cooked it way too long – about 17 minutes (because I was attempting to make this with a small infant) and it was quite crunchy at the very end after the second baking. Still totally delicious actually but a lot of it stuck to the bottom of the plate when I was serving it. But this also reminded me that I actually can’t wait to use that recipe to make some cookies! Thanks again Kelly!
You are so welcome! Thanks for taking the time to leave a note with your experiences in making this recipe. I truly appreciate it! So glad you all enjoyed the recipe! Have a blessed weekend! 🙂
Hi there! I am making these for tomorrow, and they are not setting up after coming out of the oven. VERY runny. Any advice? Bake a bit longer? Set in fridge? They taste great, but cannot be served as it.
Hi, Teal. Happy to help … As noted in the recipe, it’s very important to cook the lemon curd until it’s very thick and custard like, then it’s ready to bake in oven to help the custard further “set.” But you cannot cut the bars until you first cool them completely on the countertop and then refrigerate them for at least 2-3 hours (or overnight) before cutting them into bars. They will not completely set and be able to be cut until they are cold. Once they are cold, they should not be runny, but look just like the picture, if you cooked the lemon curd until it thickened into a custard. I hope this helps to further clarify. Blessings to you, Kelly 🙂
Thanks for featuring these on Sunday Snippets! So glad you enjoy them! Blessings, Kelly