The most incredible Vegan Lemon Bars, made with just 8 ingredients and lots of tangy lemon flavor! The buttery shortbread crust is absolutely perfect.

3 stacked vegan lemon bars with pink flowers in background

Classic lemon bars without any eggs? Yup! Today I’m sharing what I think are the best vegan lemon bars, with the perfect balance of shortbread crust to tart lemon filling. And of course, a generous dusting of powdered sugar on top!

If you are a lemon dessert fan, you will love these little squares of sunshine. And while you’re at it, you might want to try my vegan lemon cake, lemon loaf or 1 bowl lemon cupcakes.

lemon bars with powdered sugar on top all lined up.

How to make Vegan Lemon Bars:

First, make the crust. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted vegan butter, sugar and salt. Add the flour and stir to combine. It will be thick. Press it into the prepared pan (lined with parchment paper) evenly and smoothly. Bake for 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees F until lightly golden on the edges.

the uncooked crust in a pan lined with parchment paper.

While the crust bakes, make the lemon filling. In a medium saucepan, add the lemon juice, lemon zest if using, sugar, coconut milk and cornstarch (+tiny pinch of turmeric if desired for color). Whisk well to dissolve the cornstarch, and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. It should look like the photos below, and can take 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat, and spread lemon mixture over the crust, evenly, using a spatula if needed. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the bars cool for about 30 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool another 1-2 hours, or overnight.

collage showing how to make lemon bars vegan

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Can I make these lemon bars gluten free?

I haven’t personally tried these gluten free, but I think it would work with a quality all purpose gluten free flour mix, such as Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour.

How long will vegan lemon bars keep?

They will keep for about a week in a covered container in the refrigerator. They also freeze really well! The powdered sugar will melt into the bars though, so add some fresh when you want to eat or serve them.

Can you make these a day ahead?

Yes, these are the perfect dessert to make a day in advance, as they slice better when they have a lot of time to cool. That being said, they can also be ready in an hour or 2, but they may not be as firm as if you left them overnight.

looking down on lined up vegan lemon bars with powdered sugar.

I hope you LOVE these easy Vegan Lemon Bars! If you are looking for more delicious vegan dessert recipes with a Summer vibe, check these out:

bite taken out of a lemon bar, pink flowers in background

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3 stacked vegan lemon bars with pink flowers in background
4.84 stars (168 ratings)

Vegan Lemon Bars

The most incredible Vegan Lemon Bars, made with just 8 ingredients and lots of tangy lemon flavor! The buttery shortbread crust is absolutely perfect.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 16 bars

Ingredients 
 

Shortbread crust:

Lemon filling:

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice from about 4 large lemons
  • optional: 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups full fat coconut milk, using mostly the white part
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • tiny pinch of turmeric, optional for color (1/8th teaspoon)

For serving:

  • powdered sugar, for dusting the tops

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8 by 8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang for easy removal.
  • Make the crust: In a medium bowl, add the mix together the melted vegan butter, sugar and salt. Add the flour and stir until combined. The dough will be thick. Press it into the pan with your hands, evenly and firmly. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the edges are very lightly browned. Set aside.
  • Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, add the lemon juice, lemon zest if using for even more lemon flavor, sugar, coconut milk and cornstarch + tiny pinch of turmeric for color, if desired. Whisk well to dissolve the cornstarch. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. (see photos in post above for reference)
  • Spread the filling over the crust evenly, using a spatula if needed to smooth. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator for an additional 1-2 hours, or overnight, until set.
  • Lift the bars out of the pan with the parchment paper, dust generously with powdered sugar and cut into 16 squares.
  • Leftover bars will keep for up to 1 week in a covered container in the refrigerator. They freeze well, too. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. For gluten free vegan lemon bars, use an all purpose gluten free flour, such as Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Nora. I have a question. When you select 1x, 2x, or 3x for the recipe, the pan size and baking times do not increase. What is your suggestion for this?

    1. Yes, there is just no way to change all of that information with the click of a button, it only changes the amounts of ingredients. I’ve thought of doing away with it, but then I find it so helpful to people. You can double the recipe, but I actually would not triple this one. To double, use a 9×13 inch pan and increase the baking time to 20 minutes.

  2. I’m not sure what you mean by using “mostly the white part” of the can of coconut milk. Could you please explain? Do you mean not shaking the can and using only the solid part?

    1. Exactly! Don’t shake the can and scoop the very thick and creamy white part out of the top of the can. Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Nora,

    Love your stuff- thank you!

    I tried these but it never turned yellow, more cloudy. It did firm up, but the taste was not quite what I was hoping for. Didn’t substitute anything…any tips?

    Cheers,
    Deb

    1. Hi Deb, sorry to hear they didn’t quite work out. Usually the bars look somewhat clear and light yellow. You may have needed a little more turmeric if they weren’t yellow at all. As for the taste, it’s possible the lemon mixture was burned, but it’s hard to tell without being there.

  4. Delicious! I made these bars gluten free and they taste fantastic but they do not hold together that well. The filling is a bit more like a thick pudding and doesn’t hold together in squares very well (even after 24hrs in fridge). I was hoping to make this dish for an event soon and would prefer that people can easily eat them with their hands. What can I do to help the bars good their shape better? Maybe add another tsp of cornstarch?

    1. The filling should be much more firm than a pudding. Did you use any substitutions in the filling itself? To make the filling firmer, use mostly the thick white part from a can of coconut milk, use the full 6 tablespoons cornstarch, and cook until the mixture thickens in the pan. Adding an extra teaspoon won’t do much.

    2. Hi, Rachel! I had the exact same experience!

      As the lemon filling was cooking, it became glassy, rather than a more opaque yellow, like a typical lemon bar. It thickened, but after several hours in the fridge, it was more like thick honey, making it difficult to eat as a square. (It drips off the side of the crust, once cut. If I sat the pan on an angle in the fridge, I’m sure the cold topping would still slide down to the low side.)

      It tastes fantastic, and is exactly the taste I want in a lemon bar. But I’m not sure how slight variations would give me more success, in the future.

      I used a hard, vegan butter, juiced organic lemons, organic sugar, all-purpose flour, only about 1/2 cup of coconut milk solids (as that’s all I had), a sprinkle of turmeric, 6 Tbsp of corn starch, and I included lemon zest.

      I want these to work, if I give them another try, because I love the taste! (No metallic taste, like so many lemon squares.) Would the full amount of coconut milk solids be the difference, do you think? What about the organic sugar? (It has a small amount of residual molasses, making it a light golden colour.) Could that little bit of inherent molasses in the sugar be messing things up? (I only buy organic sugar, so it’s all I have in my pantry.)

      Any experience would be appreciated. 🙂

      1. Hi Jody! So I believe the problem here is that you only used 1/2 cup of coconut milk, while the recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups. That is a big difference. The coconut milk helps the bars firm up as they cool, and gives them a creamier texture that would be missed using less. I recommend trying the recipe exactly as written for best results, I can’t really guarantee any variation will work.

  5. I have made this recipe several times to rave reviews.

    I’ve also made the shortbread crust separately and cut them into bars for our son who is vegan but doesn’t like lemon. We all like the accidental cookies very much. Have you ever tried rolling the dough and cutting out cookie shapes and baking them on a cookie sheet? If so, can you share specific instructions for that?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Karen. So wonderful to hear the lemon bars a hit! I have never baked the crust separately as cookies. If you do, let me know how they turn out for you! Thanks for your fabulous review, and happy cooking!

    2. I carefully followed this recipe, and when I took it out of the oven, it look like it was soup -inside shaking all over. I very reluctantly stuck it in the fridge bracing for the worst. By the next morning -perfect bright yellow color and perfectly set -I was one happy baker!

  6. I use this filling recipe for lemon bars all the time and it is delicious- thank you! This time I undercooked my crust (my oven temp has been very inconsistent). Will it ruin the filling to bake it more? At this point the dessert has already been in the fridge for hours.

    1. I’m thrilled you love the bars, Vanessa! The bars should be ok if you bake them for an additional 10-20 minutes but I haven’t tested it so I can’t say for sure if it will work or not.

  7. Made these for my sister who just had a baby. She loves lemon and has lots of allergies so I went with these. I used oat flour and followed the conversion on the bag. I also used earth balance butter (soy free.

    She gave them a 12/10. I tried the lemon filling and thought that tasted amazing! I’ll hopefully get the chance to make these for her again.

    1. Hi Hope. How kind of you to make lemon bars for your sister! I’m glad she love them! Congratulations to all on the new baby! Thank you for sharing your feedback and review!

  8. Delish and so easy and quick to make. I refrigerated them overnight. Next time I will use the pinch of turmeric so they look a little brighter.

  9. Fabulous recipe! Love Nora! I swap 1/4 cup of the coconut cream for 1/4 cup JUST Egg. These are still good without the zest, but I leave a container of zest in the freezer because the zest does add a nice depth.

  10. The metric conversion for this recipe is completely wrong. For the base it says half a cup of butter to one cup of flour – so 2 to 1 – in American measurements, but in metric it’s 114g of butter to 125g of flour – so almost the same – creating an oily mess. I added more flour until it looked acceptable, then reverted to the American measurements for the filling. The filling thickened up beautifully and quickly, it spread on nicely, and the flavour is lovely. It’s currently sitting in the fridge cooling, but it looks great.

    1. The metric conversions are correct; it’s just that butter and flour don’t weigh the same, so while it may be 2 to 1 in American measurements, the weighted ingredients won’t reflect that ratio. I’m glad the filling thickened up correctly, and I hope you enjoyed the bars!

  11. Tasted too coconutty, and the texture was pretty glue-y. Also, shortbread crust was pretty dense and felt carboard-y, on account of melting the vegan butter – next time I’ll cut it in like with a pie crust. I also would skip the baking step and go straight to refrigeration, since that seems to improve the texture and make it less gummy!

  12. I followed the recipe, but these unfortunately fell apart for me. The lemon curd itself was delicious but it wouldn’t stay solid. I don’t know if it was the brand of coconut. The crust was mushy and tasted sort of weird. I wouldn’t make this again, but I would possibly make the lemon curd part for another recipe if I could figure out what to pair with it.

    1. Sorry to hear, Hope. Good news: the lemon curd is delicious with everything, so you can pair it with all kinds of desserts! I especially love to use it with scones, crepes, and pound cake.

  13. I just tried them twice today, also, and could not get them to thicken. I was wondering if I was using the wrong kind of coconut milk. Should it be the milk in the refrigerator, or the milk in the can?

    1. Milk in the can. Recipe also mentions to use mostly “the white part” – that’s the part that is very thick.

  14. I just tried them twice today, also, and could not get them to thicken. I was wondering if I was using the wrong kind of coconut milk. Should it be the milk in the refrigerator, or the milk in the can?

  15. Hi, I have tried to make this recipe twice now, and the filling takes significantly longer than what the recipe calls for, sometimes almost an hour, to thicken. I have failed this recipe twice now and am wondering what I am doing wrong, since all other comments seem to have no issue. I really want to succeed with this recipe, but I do not know what to do.

    1. Are you using cornstarch? The right amount of sugar and coconut milk? I wonder if you are making any substitutions at all. The other thing to look at is maybe raising the temperature on the stovetop if it’s taking that long. It shouldn’t take long at all to cook and thicken. It should be like a thickened lemon sauce on the stove, then you pour it in the crust. It will thicken up more in the refrigerator as it cools.

  16. Absolutely delicious!! I made these for my college son who’s Vegan. I visited him in Colorado and made him these, I had to adapt a few things after my first batch because I completely forget I needed to follow high altitude directions in baking!! My first bars were very dense and gummy! Once my son asked if adapted the recipe did I realize what happened! So I learned anything above 3500ft is considered HA. Since pressure is lower, liquids evaporate faster, and the next batch I increased my GF flour and sugar by about 10%, and added extra water to prevent the lemon curd from becoming too moist or gummy. I also added extra lemon juice (2 extra lemons) and used more lemon rind and slowly added the cornstarch (dissolved it in lemon juice before adding to the saucepan).
    I cooked the crust at a higher temperate 400 for less time- checking it every 3-5 minutes to make sure it didn’t burn.

    Voila! Delicious Success! The turmeric gave it that beautiful lemon color without artificial colors.

    Thank you Nora.

    1. You are welcome, Kimberly! I appreciate your high altitude information! Very helpful! Thanks for sharing you wonderful feedback and review!

  17. Love this recipe! We’ve made it twice now. The first time we followed the recipe exactly as written. The second time we doubled it using a 9×13 pan, and did not bake the bars after pouring in the lemon filling. Instead we just let it sit out for 30 minutes then refrigerated for several hours – the result was a more creamy and velvety filling, as opposed to the more firmer and gelatinous texture if the filling is baked. Both are delicious! We prefer the creamier filling so will not be baking them, but I’d probably bake them if I were transporting them to a picnic or bake sale.

  18. I liked these, and my coworkers were over the moon. I myself am SUPER sensitive to spice so even though I only added 1/8 of a teaspoon to a DOUBLE batch, they taste spicy to me. Not quite the profile I’d wanted. Oops.

    Otherwise these are absolutely delicious and I think they’ll be perfect for me as well if I simply embrace the paleness!

    1. Hi Gillian. How wonderful the bars were a hit with your coworkers! Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

  19. 1x the recipe calls for an 8×8 pan. 2x the recipe…still an 8×8 pan? How about a 9×13? What do you recommend!

    1. Yeah, the technology here on my site can only 2x the ingredients, not change all the other information. I’d use a 9×13 inch pan to double it.

    2. We just made them last night and doubled the recipe using a 9×13 pan – worked perfectly! The only change we made was not putting them back in the oven after adding the filling – we prefer the filling to be creamier and when it’s baked it becomes firmer and more gelatinous. Great recipe!

    3. These are absolutely fabulous!!! Kudos to you Nora for this fantastic vegan version of one of my favorites. You’re the best! I’ll be making them again and again.

  20. Hi, Nora! I absolutely love your recipes, I was wondering if there’s any way to substitute the coconut milk out with something different? I’m sadly allergic to coconut. Thank you in advance!

    1. You can use another plant milk, like soy instead of coconut if you want. The lemon topping won’t be quite as rich and maybe not as thick, but it will work quite well. Thank you for loving my recipes!

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