Healthy Lemon Bars Recipe (5 Ingredients)
Healthy Low Sugar Lemon Bars | Gluten Free Option
How to Make Lemon Bars with 5 Ingredients
Chow down on these healthy lemon bars for a treat that’s deliciously sweet yet low in sugar! And, complete with a gluten free crust option. Made with freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest, every bite is bursting with bright, vibrant, refreshing citrus flavor. Best of all, they couldn’t be easier to prepare. I’ll show you how to make lemon bars with only 5 ingredients!
A comforting, crispy, buttery shortbread crust, topped with a tangy-yet-sweet lemon curd filling—this is seriously one of my favorite sweets of all time. I first made these healthy lemon bars years ago, and the recipe just gets better and better. And believe it or not, a gourmet goodie like this isn’t as complicated as it seems. This is truly a 5 ingredient lemon bars recipe, made with just flour, butter, granulated sweetener, eggs, and lemons. That’s literally it!
Personally, I love a glutinous shortbread crust, but I’ve also made this crust with oat flour for a gluten free option and they turned out great. For low sugar lemon bars I recommend using granulated erythritol or stevia, but you’re also welcome stick with classic sugar as well. Whichever route you choose, the result will be equally scrumptious and equally irresistible!
Healthy Lemon Bars 5 Ingredients
- All-Purpose Flour (or whole wheat, or oat flour)
- Butter (or solid coconut oil)
- Granulated Sweetener (erythritol, stevia, sugar)
- Lemon Juice & Zest
Personally, I absolutely love a buttery, glutinous, crispy shortbread crust, so I prefer to make my healthy lemon bars with all-purpose flour. It’s the most resilient and versatile flour! Or, use whole wheat flour for a whole grain option and it should work just as well. Previously, I’ve also made gluten free lemon bars by using oat flour for the crust (and coconut oil instead of butter), and it turned out tasty! In my opinion, though, all-purpose flour is the best bet.
In the past, I needed to make an oat flour and coconut oil crust because the prospect of enjoying a crust made with real flour and butter was too stressful. Over the years, I’ve made major shifts in my relationship with food and health, and now I can see that I enjoy the real flour and butter! To learn more about how to make peace with food and embrace your food freedom, check out my Food Freedom course.
Similarly, I’m a fan of real butter in this lemon bar recipe—and it’s got to be cold, not softened. Butter is an easy fat source to work with, and it produces flakier, crispier crusts in my baked goods overall. But, as mentioned, I’ve also made the crust using solid coconut oil in the past, and they turned out great. Just keep in mind, your coconut oil MUST be in a solid state—not melted or liquid-y. (As a solid, it’ll function more like real butter.)
I made my low sugar lemon bars using granulated erythritol, and I’ve also used granulated stevia in the past. Both turn out delicious! Or, if you don’t want a low sugar treat, stick regular granulated sugar. However, I don’t recommend using coconut sugar as it tends to be stickier and moister than regular sugar, which isn’t ideal for the crystallization in the lemon curd filling. Same goes for sticky sweeteners like honey or maple syrup!
I haven’t yet explored or tested any substitutions for the eggs in this healthy lemon bars recipe. When making a curd like this, eggs are essential to getting the right texture and color. But, if you’d like to do your own experimenting with egg alternatives, go for it! (And leave a comment below to let me know how it goes!)
Of course, any lemon bar recipe requires lemons for their flavorful juice and zest! This particular recipe requires ⅔ cup of lemon juice, which you can get from around 4-6 lemons, depending on their size. You may want to buy a few extra if you’re worried about them being too small or not being very juicy!
How to Make Healthy Lemon Bars from Scratch
Homemade lemon bars are easier than you might think! First, you’ll make and bake the simple shortbread crust in your square glass baking dish. Then, after the crust has cooled, you add the sweet lemon curd filling on top of it. Pop the dish back into the oven, until your curd has gelled together and cooked through, and they’ll be ready to devour after cooling for a few hours!
How can you tell if lemon bars are done?
After baking at 350°F for 35 minutes, the filling will still be a bit soft and gooey, but it should be gelled together and cooked through. (It’s okay if there are some cracks on top!) The key is to then allow the lemon curd to cool completely in the pan, so it has time to set. I recommend letting it sit for 2 hours at room temperature, then another 1-2 hours in the fridge. You’ll know your healthy lemon bars are done when you move the pan slightly and the filling doesn’t jiggle.
Should lemon bars be served cold and stored in the refrigerator?
Yes, I recommend serving these 5 ingredient lemon bars chilled for the best texture and taste. Also, don’t them slice into bars until after the pan has cooled and chilled in the fridge! Once chilled, you can then sprinkle with powdered sugar (if desired), slice into bars, and serve immediately.
Like most custard or curd desserts, your lemon bars should also be stored in the refrigerator. I recommend storing any leftover bars in an airtight container with some separation between bars, so they don’t get stuck to each other. If you’re serving your low sugar lemon bars for a party or gathering, it’s fine to leave them out on a serving dish for a few hours!
See how this recipe is made in my Vegetarian Bento Box Lunches video!
Healthy Lemon Bars Recipe
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, or whole wheat, or oat flour*
- ⅓ cup butter, solid, cut into chunks**
- ¼ cup granulated sweetener of choice, I used erythritol
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sweetener of choice
- ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour, or whole wheat, or oat flour*
- powdered sugar, once chilled
- *I have made a version of this recipe using oat flour in the past and it turned out well, though all-purpose flour works best!
- **I’ve also made this crust with solid coconut oil in the past, though I prefer butter.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Add crust ingredients to food processor and pulse together for about 30 seconds, until mixture holds together when pressed.
- Press crust into a square 8×8-inch glass baking dish that’s sprayed with cooking spray. (A metal dish may leave a metallic flavor with lemon bars.) Poke all over surface of crust with a fork to aerate.
- Bake for 14-17 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Squeeze lemons to get ⅔ cup juice.
- Combine all filling ingredients, whisking to integrate thoroughly. Pour on top of your slightly cooled crust.
- Return to the oven for 35 minutes, until the filling has gelled and is cooked through.
- Allow to cool completely—rest 2 hours on the counter at room temperature, then another 1-2 hours in the fridge.
- Dust with powdered sugar and slice into bars. Best served chilled!
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.
What other lemony treats can I try?
Lemon is a delicious ingredient to use in tons of different recipes—sweet and savory! If you end up with extra or leftover lemons, here are some of my favorite ways to use them:
- Cayenne turmeric ginger lemonade
- Iced peach green tea lemonade
- Healthy lemon poppy seed muffins with zucchini
- Homemade lemon drop candy
- Lemon tahini salad dressing & spinach salad
- Lemon garlic green beans