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
4.82 stars (171 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, so I’m making the lemon bars now, and my lemon filling does not look like yours. Mine is clear and darker yellow where as you’re a looks creamy and pastel yellow. What do you think could be the reason. I’m hoping they still come out alright!

    1. Did you use granulated sugar (like white sugar)? Or a darker colored sugar? I use organic white sugar to ensure it’s vegan. I hope the lemon mixture didn’t get burned, I think you would taste that right away though. Also, I add a tiny pinch of turmeric for color, but it’s possible you used too much, making it a different color. Those are my best guesses. Usually the bars look kinda clear but not totally and light yellow. Hope that helps!

  2. I’ve made this recipe a few times in a row now and even my very non vegan partner loves it.
    I absolutely love how tart this is and I put extra lemon zest because I just love lemon.
    I have also done it with condensed coconut milk instead of coconut milk and it makes it sweeter for those with sweet tooth 😉
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe!

  3. Hi Nora…I actually need some help. I made these and while the flavor was AMAZING, the custard did not set up in the fridge. It was very gummy…would you know how to fix that (or what i did wrong haha). Thanks! Can’t wait to try the recipe again:)

    1. Hi Abby. The lemon filling likely didn’t set properly because it wasn’t cooked long enough on the stove (this can take some time, so patience is key!).

  4. I’ve made these twice now and I love this recipe so much! The first time was a while ago, using regular sugar as written. The second time was today, using sugar substitutes and about 1/4 c more lemon juice.

    I will say that the extra lemon juice was overkill (I figured I would juice all the lemons I had and get more lemon flavor right? Well, they are VERY tart and VERY lemony, I also added lemon zest but pretty sure the tartness is from the juice).

    I used a combination of 3tb Truvia sweetener (that comes in the little squarish plastic tubs) and 1c Stevia in the Raw, which is supposed to be a cup-for-cup substitute. I don’t think the Stevia in the Raw was quite sweet enough, and it has a bit of a bitter aftertaste, so next time I make these I will probably just use all Truvia, as it’s the best-tasting sugar substitute I’ve tried. It’s not a cup-for-cup sub though, you use much less Truvia by volume than you would sugar, so it will reduce the volume of the filling somewhat, but it’ll probably also taste better! 🙂

    This is a fantastic recipe no matter how you make it, and I can’t wait to try it again! Thank you Nora for this gem and all your other awesome recipes! Whenever my mom eats something I’ve made from this site and it’s delicious, I always tell her “Nora knows what she’s doin’!” 😀

    1. Hi Jack. I appreciate you using my recipes, and am thrilled you are loving them! Thanks for sharing your comments and review! Happy cooking!

  5. They’re currently in the oven with two changes: a rectangular pan (don’t have a square) and made the crust with gluten free oat flour because why not? The filling is absolutely gorgeous and so good I could eat it by itself with a spoon (ok fine I did!) there’s the timer! We’ll see what happens when they cool!

  6. These lemon bars are incredible! I don’t actually own a square baking pan, but I do have a 9-inch round pie dish, so I used that and cut them into pie-style slices, and it still worked really well. The lemon curd texture is unbelievable – firm enough to cut and bite into, but still so soft and luscious! Definitely a new favorite.

  7. Absolutely love these! They were enjoyed by all, vegans and non vegans. Will definitely make them again. They are also easy to make-another plus!
    Thank you so much!

    1. You are welcome, Philecia! These are one of my favorites, and I also love easy! Thanks for your fantastic feedback and review!

  8. Is there any replacement for the sugar in the filling? Maybe maple sugar, maple syrup, or honey? Thank you!

    1. I’m not sure how the recipe will change with a liquid sweetener, but it might alter it quite a bit. You could try using maple syrup or maple/coconut sugar to taste. A granulated sugar of some kind will work best, but note that the lemon bars will likely turn out rather brown.

  9. Hi there! I’m making this recipe and realized my vegan butter is past its prime. What would be the best alternative in the crust? I have applesauce, ripe bananas, and grape seed oil. Not sure if the taste of each will affect the crust?

    1. Butter is very crucial to the structure and texture of the crust, so I don’t think either of those would work well, unfortunately.

      1. You can use oil. I had to once in a pinch for a friend who has a dairy allergy. It works out okay. Like an oil-based shortbread.

  10. All of your recipes are amazing! The lemon curd took me about 20 minutes to thicken up because I doubled the recipe, but patience definitely paid off, it turned out so good. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

      1. This recipe is great and I use it frequently. Thank you!

        I’m not sure if I’m doing something incorrectly, but it usually takes me closer to 12 min for my filling to come together.

        1. You’re so welcome, Grant! It doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything wrong. The time for the filling varies but all that matters is that it comes together in the end!

        1. I would suggest a 9×13 pan for a doubled recipe, They may need an extra 10 minutes or so in the oven. Hope this helps!

          1. Nora, when you say it will need an extra 10 minutes or so, is this for both the crust as well as when I add the filling? I doubled the recipe and am using a 9 x 13 pan. Thanks

          2. Yes, exactly. I would bake the crust for an additional 5 minutes, then the crust with the lemon filling for an extra 5 minutes again. Keep a close eye on them just in case.

  11. These are the best ever! I come back time and time again to this recipe. Didn’t make any subs-just had to be patient as the lemon filling thickened on the stove. Thanks Nora, your recipes never miss! 😊

        1. I am not vegan but my son and his fiance are. I’m learning a few recipes to accommodate their choices. I have made quite a few of yours. Excellent! Every one. (Stuffed Shells with your Ricotta cheese recipe for Christmas! Their favorite vegan dish EVER. Pumpkin Pie? A very tasty success!) I will be making these lemon bars for the fourth time! I actually prefer yours now over my non-vegan recipes. Always comes out perfectly: outstanding taste, texture & tartness, just how we like them (yes to the zest!) They set up predictably and cut like a dream. So clean! And I do believe I use Coconut Cream. 😁

  12. These were so delicious!!! I was going to make them in a larger batch but I think the recipe isn’t correct when I looked to triple it. It says to use 4 large lemons on all three size batches and it also says to use the 8 X 8 pan on all of them! I do t think it’s going to fit. Also will the baking time change if I triple the recipe! Thank you!

    1. Hi Linda! I’m glad you enjoyed the bars. Yes, unfortunately when you hit the 3x button, it can’t change all the instructions, just the ingredients. You are right, they will not fit. I’ve never tried tripling the recipe so I really can’t say what time or size pan would work there. The baking time would increase if you double or triple the recipe, yes.

  13. Hi! I made these for a vegan friend and will give to her today. I did try one, as a non-vegan, and think they are good. A little tart for my taste though but some people like tart. Is there a way to make them a little less tart? Maybe it’s because I put the zest in? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Nancy! They should be a little less tart without the zest, yes. Or you could reduce the lemon juice just a little bit.

  14. Amazing !! Made these for NYE and it made staying home sick 100 times better. I didn’t get a chance to add the lemon zest but the bars definitely were NOT lacking any sourness or lemony flavor. I’m going to add zest next time and see if I don’t die from how good these bars are haha.

    1. Hi Kat. I hope you are doing better! I’m glad the lemon bars brought fun to your NYE! I think you’ll love them with the zest! Thank you for sharing your fabulous feedback!

  15. These are sooo good! I didn’t use lemon extract as I wanted to have a natural taste. It was very tangy solely from the lemon juice and rind. These will be made again! 🍋

    1. Hi Sandra. Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback about the lemon bars! I’m really glad that you loved them and will be making them more often!

    1. Hi Olivia. I’ve only made these bars with coconut milk, but coconut cream should work too. It should make them a lot creamier!

      1. Coming back here to say that i did end up using the coconut cream that had been in my fridge foreverrrr and just microwaved it a bit and used a little bit of the water and seriously these lemon bars .. came out SOOOOOOO GOOD!!! I would make these again and again. it was a fun process making the crust myself; i’d never done that before. i followed the directions and the photos exactly, i personally wanted to refrigerate mine overnight.. and everyone i served them to really really enjoyed them. thanks for the bomb recipe again and also for the quick reply! hehe i’ve never commented on a recipe before. take care xoxoxo

        1. Hi Olivia. Thanks for getting back to me and letting me know your lemon bars turned out amazing! I appreciate you taking time to share your comments and ideas! Happy cooking!

    2. Yes! I always make them with Coconut Cream. They always come out perfectly. Good taste, texture, and cut.

    1. These are sooo good! I didn’t use lemon extract as I wanted to have a natural taste. It was very tangy solely from the lemon juice and rind. These will be made again! 🍋

  16. I heard this is delicious and would love to try! What can I substitute for coconut milk (allergy)? Also allergic to nuts. Thanks!

    1. I’ve only ever made these with coconut milk and I don’t think there’s a plant milk that has enough fat or is creamy enough to replace it. I have had a couple of comments from bakers who used oat milk, though I have not tested it myself. Sorry!

  17. I’m trying these out but it’s been 15min and the lemon curd is not thickening on the stove! Is there anything I can add to help them thicken?

    1. Hi Cami. You could try adding an extra 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of cornstarch but having the patience for it to thicken is usually the best strategy. It does take some time to thicken… you could even try placing it in the fridge overnight to help it set even more. Hope this helps!

      1. Yes! I always make them with Coconut Cream. They always come out perfectly. Good taste, texture, and cut.

    1. How wonderful that the lemon bars were a hit! Your positive feedback makes me happy! Thank you for your wonderful review!

  18. The taste is amazing! But even after overnight the bars were still very gooey not firm to stay as a bar- should I bake longer?

    1. Hi Erin, did you make any changes or substitutions to the recipe? If not, they likely didn’t set because the lemon filling wasn’t cooked long enough on the stove (this can take some time, so patience is key!).

  19. If you follow the recipe precisely (it is very well explained), it works and it’s absolutely delicious. Thank you Nora :).

  20. Hi,

    I am going to try and make these tonight. Do I need to use canned coconut milk or can I just use typical coconut milk i.e. simpletruth or Oatmik Oatly.

    Thanks!

      1. Hi Nora, I love these lemon bars and wanted to share my own sub – I use about 1/3 cup of coconut oil instead of the 1/2 cup vegan butter in the crust and it turns out delicious. Also, I wanted to flag that I misread this recipe the first two times I made it and popped it right in the fridge after putting the lemon curd on top of the crust (ie. I never did a second bake of the crust+filling). After chilling overnight, it turns out great and cuts really well, still holds its shape and everything. So I’m not sure that it needs the second bake… but let me know if I am missing the purpose of baking twice (am I poisoning my family LOL) …

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