These healthy lemon bars taste so rich, creamy, and luxurious, you’ll never know they are made without grains or processed sweeteners.
Nutty almond flour is mixed with coconut flour to form the base of our paleo lemon bars. They are sweetened with nothing but high-quality, natural maple syrup, yet they pack a flavorful punch thanks to a generous helping of lemon in the batter, according to food blogger and photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant’s Table. The result tastes decadent while actually being quite virtuous — the hallmark of a good healthy dessert.
These healthy lemon bars have height and hold their shape together really well, making them perfect as a portable dessert for a potluck or a picnic. Serve these sweet delights with your afternoon tea, or enjoy them at the end of a delicious lunch or brunch with your favorite people, and reap the compliments for this effortless, chic treat. Keep in mind that although the prep time of this recipe calls for three hours and 15 minutes, a good part of that time is needed for the lemon bars to chill in the fridge.
Gather the ingredients to prepare these healthy lemon bars
Our healthy lemon bars are made up of nothing but the best clean-eating ingredients, with zero refined sugars or processed grains. They are low carb, dairy-free and paleo, which means nearly anyone can enjoy them.
The ingredients you will need to make the crust for our lemon bars include almond flour, coconut flour, salt, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. For the filling, you will need six eggs, two large lemons (or three smaller ones) and more maple syrup, salt, and coconut flour.
Finally, for decorating the tops of these healthy treats and making them as attractive on the outside as they are on the inside, you will want to use powdered sugar, lemon slices, or raspberries, or any combination of the three.
Make the base for the lemon bars
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a square 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. It helps to cut parchment paper longer than your pan. This way, you can remove the bars out of the pan simply by lifting the parchment paper.
To make the crust, in a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, and a pinch of salt. Add melted coconut oil, ¼ cup of maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix with a spatula until everything is combined into a dough. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem like a lot — you don’t want a thick base on your bars, anyway.
Bake the base at 350 F for 15 mins
Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, ensuring it forms one equally flat layer. This should be fairly thin — try to keep it about ¼ of an inch thick, or even less. You can use your hands to press and spread the dough, or use an offset spatula for a cleaner look on the top.
Transfer the base of the lemon bars to bake in the oven for 15 mins. The base should look golden-yellow after baking, and feel hard and baked through if pressed on top.
Make the healthy lemon filling
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk six eggs very well. There should be no visible separation between the egg yolks and egg whites — this is important for the proper texture of the bars. Failure to do so will result in visible baked white streaks through your bars, which has no effect on taste, but looks far from appetizing.
Gradually add the rest of the ingredients to the filling, whisking after each addition: lemon zest, lemon juice, ⅓ cup of maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 4 teaspoons of coconut flour. Whisk thoroughly to ensure the eggs and flour are fully incorporated.
Pour the lemon filling over the base
After 15 minutes of baking, remove the crust from the oven. Immediately proceed to pour the filling over the crust, without letting the crust cool. This is crucial for binding the base with the filling and ensuring you don’t just end up with two cooked, separate layers. It also helps achieve that look of proper definition between the layers when the bars are cut. In short, don’t wait long before pouring the filling over the base of your lemon bars!
Bake the healthy lemon bars at 325 F for 20 mins
Lower the oven temperature to 325 F. Transfer the tray of healthy lemon bars to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until the filling is firm and set.
Remove the bars from the oven after 20 minutes, and check if the filling jiggles by gently moving the pan. Transfer the pan of lemon bars to a wire cooling rack, waiting until they cool completely.
Cool the lemon bars in the refrigerator for a few hours
After the bars have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to the refrigerator to cool for three to four hours and up to overnight, until the bars firm up completely.
Although we know that waiting can be annoying — especially when you want to bite into those delicious bars — it’s important for the texture of your dessert. If you attempt to cut the bars before cooling them in the fridge, you will end up with jagged edges, uneven cuts, and possibly even a not-fully-set filling that could ooze all over the place. So, get yourself set up with a good book or some work you’ve been meaning to catch up on, and let those bars rest up in the fridge.
Serve these zesty lemon bars topped with lemon slices, powdered sugar, raspberries, or all three
Congratulations! You’ve patiently waited for your healthy lemon bars to cool in the fridge, and now you’re going to be awarded with a delicious dessert to enjoy.
Using the edges of the parchment paper, pull the lemon bars from the pan. Using a sharp, warm knife, slice the bars into nine or 12 equal pieces (nine pieces will result in squares, while 12 will make lemon bars).
Garnish each healthy lemon bar with some powdered sugar, a lemon slice, or some fresh raspberries, or any combination of the three. We love the combination of tart lemon squares with fresh, luscious berries on top, but if you are more of a purist, then just some good old lemon slices will look absolutely beautiful!
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons + 4 teaspoons coconut flour, divided
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup + ⅓ cup maple syrup, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup lemon juice (juice of 2 large or 3 small lemons)
- powdered sugar, for serving
- lemon slices, for serving
- raspberries, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a square 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- To make the crust, in a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, and a pinch of salt. Add the melted coconut oil, ¼ cup of maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix with a spatula until all combined into a dough.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, ensuring it forms one equally flat layer. Bake at 350 F for 15 mins.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk 6 eggs very well. Gradually add the rest of the ingredients, whisking after each one: lemon zest, lemon juice, ⅓ cup of maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 4 teaspoons of coconut flour. Whisk thoroughly to ensure the eggs and flour are fully incorporated.
- After 15 minutes, remove the crust from the oven. Immediately pour the filling over the crust, without letting the crust cool.
- Lower the oven temperature to 325 F. Transfer the tray of healthy lemon bars to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until the filling is firm and set.
- Let the lemon bars cool completely on a wire cooling rack, and then refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, until bars firm up completely.
- Using the edges of the parchment paper, pull the lemon bars from the pan. Using a sharp, warm knife, slice the bars into nine or 12 equal pieces (nine pieces will result in squares, while 12 will make lemon bars).
- Garnish each healthy lemon bar with a lemon slice, raspberries, and powdered sugar, if desired, or any combination thereof.