The most incredible Vegan Lemon Bars, made with just 8 ingredients and lots of tangy lemon flavor! The buttery shortbread crust is absolutely perfect.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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:
- Vegan Lemon Loaf
- Vegan Lemon Cake
- 1 Bowl Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
- Vegan Strawberry Pie
- Vegan Smores Cookie Bars
Vegan Lemon Bars
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 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)
- powdered sugar, for dusting the tops
- 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!
- For gluten free vegan lemon bars, use an all purpose gluten free flour, such as Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour.
How long are they typically good frozen for? Thanks!
They should freeze well for about 3 months.
I made this and it came out so gelatinous it was inedible. I wondered if 6 tbsp cornstarch was too much and it seems it was as I could hardly taste the lemon and the consistency was not good 🙁 followed the directions to a t.
Sorry to hear it didn’t work out, Erin. It’s hard to know what went wrong without being there, but it’s possible the filling was overcooked if it turned out gelatinous.
I love lemon bars and has used a different recipe a while back that didn’t work out so I was a bit fearful. These came out absolutely amazing!! I substituted lite coconut milk because it was cheaper and added a little more thickener along with the rest of the can (which was about 1/8 cup more). I also added a tad more lemon rind because I love the flavor. Thank you for always have great recipes that create consistent products. Yours is my go to site for all things vegan.
Hi Michael. I’m happy to hear that you loved the lemon bars! They are a favorite of mine! It makes my day to hear that you love my recipes, and it’s really great that you notice the work involved to create them! I appreciate you taking time to share your fantastic feedback! Happy cooking!
I’m not sure what I did wrong but it didn’t thicken as much as I thought it would. It’s currently in the fridge. Hopefully tomorrow will be amazing after refrigerating overnight.
The lemon filling can take some time to thicken (about 5 to 10 minutes usually or a little longer if needed). Patience is key! Regardless, it should set and thicken a little more after sitting in the fridge overnight.
AMAZING. I have made a lot of vegan desserts and this is one of the best recipes. I substituted all-purpose flour for the cornstarch (2:1) and used oat milk instead of coconut milk and they still came out heavenly.
Absolutely delicious! All of my (non-vegan) coworkers rave about them. I end up adding more cornstarch to thicken the mixture. Perhaps I’m not patient enough, but it takes a while to whisk until it’s thick.
Thanks so much for your feedback and review, Jennifer! Yes, the lemon filling can take about 5 to 10 minutes to thicken, but it’s worth it in the end!
Making this right now and I just can’t wait to eat it with dinner tonight. We love this recipe so much! It’s very easy and party-friendly.
Hi Emily. What a great dessert choice! I’m so glad to hear that you guys love the lemon bars! Thanks for you sharing you great feedback!
Did the recipe always call for baking again once the lemon icing was on it?? I did that and I have to say they came out dry and tasteless.
I thought ( I can’t remember for sure) the icing went on when the dough was cooled and then just cooled in the refridgerator?
One more note: YOUR RECIPES ARE AWESOME!!!! 🙂
Hi Kris. The lemon bars are meant to be baked once the shortbread crust and lemon filling are layered in the pan, then left to set in the fridge. Perhaps you’re thinking of another recipe? Sorry it didn’t work out for you!
I’m confused too. In the recipe you say to bake the crust for 16-18 minutes, and then spread the filling over the crust and bake for 15 minutes. But now you’re saying just bake it once? Help!
No, you bake the crust for 16-18 minutes first, then bake again with the filling. This has always been the recipe. I make it exactly as written. Hope that helps!
I was wondering if I’d be able to switch out the vegan butter for coconut fat? It’s just what I have on hand and I was hoping to not run to the grocery.
I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure, but I don’t think it will work very well, sorry!
I didn’t have coconut milk so used oatmilk and it is very delicious! I wish crust could be thicker but i could try again. The top part is very lemony and like a thickened pudding. Just put in freezer to see if it hardens more on top. very nice recipe!
Thank you for your feedback and review, Jessica! A smaller pan next time will help thicken the crust. I’m sure they’ll set nicely in the freezer!
i am trying to make these for a bbq. will they be good or will they melt?
They don’t melt or get soft too quickly. Perhaps if they’re in the sun on a hot day for hours they will get a bit weird, but they should be okay for quite a while.
This is my all time fave vegan recipe. I’ve made it at least six times and everyone loves them, including my brother with dairy and egg allergies – it was his first ever lemon bar! (Of course the non vegans love it too.) Thanks so much!
I’m so glad the lemon bars are your favorite recipe, and that your brother got to enjoy them as well! Thanks for your wonderful review!
Just made this last night and tried it today and wow ! Really love this and tasted so good and just like lemon bars ! Turned out perfect.
I’m so happy to hear the lemon bars turned out perfect for you! They are so good for a summertime treat! Thank you for sharing your great feedback!
These were great! I haven’t had a lemon bar in 20 years and finally decided to find a vegan recipe. Nora has never ever steered me wrong on any vegan recipe I’ve tried. I’m glad I found this one. I do prefer slightly higher crust to curd ratio so next time I’ll double the crust recipe and make it in a bigger pan maybe. Thanks!
Hi Daisy. Thanks for your positive feedback regarding the lemon bars! I’m so glad you enjoy my recipes! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!
Prep takes 2h, not 15m. Nice recipe tho.
I just made these. DELICIOUS AND PERFECT!!!
So glad you loved them, Janice! Thank you for your amazing review!
Would the filling be good in a premade Graham cracker crust?
I haven’t tried it but probably yes.
Is there anything that can be subbed for the coconut milk? *Coconut allergy here :/
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. Sorry!
I use oat milk which typically turns out just fine! the filling maybe takes a little longer to thicken but they still turn out delicious
I attempted to make these, but sadly they didn’t turn out. They tasted wonderful, but I couldn’t get the filling to “set.” Apart from swapping out the granulated sugar for monk fruit sweetener and cornstarch for arrowroot (which are 1:1 exchanges from my understanding and have used them as such in past recipes), I followed this recipe to a T. The filling was so gooey and runny no matter how long I cooked it, cooled it, or left it in the fridge (nearly a week in there and still a gooey mess). They were so gooey that the crust managed to float to the top of the filling while cooking (vegan upside down lemon bars, anyone?!). The only issue I could think of is the coconut milk — I only had one can of full fat coconut milk and did my best to separate the white from the liquid; it didn’t quite make 1 1/4 cups, however. Could that be the sole reason my bars didn’t set? Any advice for the future? Thank you 🙂
Unfortunately, substituting monk fruit for sugar and replacing cornstarch with arrowroot are your problem here. Both ingredients are crucial to the filling. I haven’t tested them with either of those changes, but I don’t think it would go well. Sometimes arrowroot can be subbed for cornstarch, but I have a feeling here it’s a problem. As well as not using real sugar. Sorry!
Flavors all there, texture not so much. I’m giving this a 4 because I clearly did something wrong and most others had a good experience.
Food blogs these days have posts that are too lengthy so I tend to jump straight to the recipe and unfortunately for this one I did not look at the reference photo for how think the curd should’ve been. Mine cooked for at least 15 minutes but was nowhere as thick so it did not fully set, even overnight. Im sad because it was for someones birthday, but I suppose I shouldn’t experiment with recipes if I’m not certain they’ll turn out! My bad. I might try this again another time.
Hi! I’ve made these several times and they are PHENOMENAL.
Is it possible to use arrowroot instead of cornstarch?
Hi Ally. I’m glad you love the lemon bars! I have not tired arrowroot with this recipe, so am not sure. I don’t have much luck substituting arrowroot in most recipes. Some have reported this works for them in the lemon bars recipe, others have said it doesn’t. I wouldn’t think it would work as well. I hope this helps!
Flavor was spot on and the crust was just how I like it, however I felt the filling was too firm for my liking. Would the filling have a hard time setting if I put maybe 3-4 tbsp of cornstarch instead of 6?
You could try it, but also make sure to not overcook the mixture in the pot. Once it thickens, stop cooking immediately. If you over cook something with cornstarch it will get thick and weird. Hope that helps!
O My Gosh!! So delicious! Definitely the best Lemon Bars that I have ever made! So gooey and a little crunch from the crust. It just melts in your mouth. What I love most about this recipe is that it is vegan! Such an amazing recipe! Definitely a must make dessert!
I loved reading your feedback! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m thrilled you love the lemon bars, and wish you happy cooking!
Amazing!!! I also added a bit of almond extract to the crust and it was incredible!
The almond extract addition sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback!
Hi Nora! These look so tasty and I can’t wait to make them, but quick question. Can I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk?
I’ve only made them with coconut milk, but coconut cream should work too. It should make them a lot creamier!
Got a great deal on lemons at the store, so I made these today and they turned out delicious! I added some dried lavender and poppy seeds into the crust for a spring-y vibe. Glad to see gf versions have worked for others, because I’ll definitely make these for gf friends.
Sounds delicious, Megan! Thanks for using my recipe and for leaving such a great review!