A luscious low carb lemon bars recipe that is very close to the real thing. But it's a sugar free treat made with gluten free coconut and almond flour.
While I was away on a work trip, there were so many sweet temptations. Of course, none of them were low carb desserts. One of the items that caught my eye were some triangular lemon square bars. They had a shortbread crust with a thick lemon topping on top.
My mind started churning on how I could make my own low carb lemon bars when I got home. Based on an old recipe my mother used, I noted some potential recipe ideas I could test when I got home.
One recipe used all Carbquik for the crust, the other used a blend of almond flour and coconut flour. The recipe could likely be made with one flour or the other, but I like to combine both low carb flours.
How to Make Low Carb Lemon Square Bars
For the crust, I ended up using a mix of almond flour and coconut flour to keep the bars gluten-free. I simply mixed the flours with low carb sweetener and butter with a pastry cutter. To help the crust hold together better, I added a little xanthan gum but that can be left out if desired.
The crust mixture was then pressed into a square 8x8 pan. After baking for about 18 minutes, the crust turned a nice golden color. I let it cool a bit on a rack before preparing the lemon topping.
I blended eggs, low carb sweetener, baking powder, salt, lemon juice, dried lemon peel, gelatin, and lemon extract to make the lemon topping. The ingredients were just dumped in a large bowl and blended smooth with an electric hand mixer.
This mixture was then poured on top of the baked crust and spread into an even layer. Then I put the pan back in the oven to cook the topping.
It took about 15-20 minutes of baking for the lemon topping to set. After cooling on a baking rack, I was able to cut the low carb lemon bars into squares.
Keto lemon bars recipe variations
The amount of lemon topping isn't a lot, so I may try doubling the amount of topping the next time I make these bars. However, the thin topping on the finished squares was perfect. It was chewy and the crust was similar to a shortbread.
If you are looking for more of a traditional lemon bar with the thicker topping, I would try doubling the amount of topping, using a full packet of gelatin. But, I preferred the thinner lemon layer.
I wonder how a layer of cheesecake would taste. Maybe I'll experiment with low carb lemon cheesecake bars. That does sound tasty, doesn't it?
Overall, these low carb lemon bars were just as I had hoped. Although I made these gluten-free, those who aren't concerned with gluten can replace the coconut flour with Carbquik.
Final thoughts on these sugar free lemon bars
The gluten free crust on used to make these sugar free lemon bars would be great for other recipes too. I'm thinking it might taste better than the pecan crust I used on my chocolate chip cheesecake bars.
Any recipe for low carb cookies could also be used to form a crust for these bars. I think my gluten free ginger cookies or my keto coconut macaroons would work perfectly. Lemon goes well with both ginger as well as coconut.
A basic shortbread crust would work well too as the base for these bars.
Low Carb Lemon Bars Recipe - Gluten Free Option
If you try these out, I'd love to know what you think of this easy low carb lemon dessert. And I'd also be interested in hearing about treats you've seen lately that you'd like to see made low carb?
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Low Carb Lemon Bars
- ¾ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup low carb sugar substitute
- ¼ cup softened butter
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum optional, just helps hold it together better
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup Swerve Confectioners Powdered Sweetener
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon dried lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon grass-fed gelatin about half packet
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- Blend crust ingredients using a pastry cutter. Press crust into a 8 x 8-inch baking pan spayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake for about 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
- Beat the ingredients for the filling for about a minute then pour evenly over the baked crust.
- Return to oven and bake again for about 15-20 minutes or until set.
- Let cool at room temperature, cut into 16 even squares. Keep cool in the refrigerator.
Low Carb Sweeteners | Keto Sweetener Conversion Chart
Array ( [serving_size] => 1 [calories] => 71 [carbohydrates] => 2 [protein] => 2 [fat] => 6 [saturated_fat] => 2 [cholesterol] => 31 [sodium] => 94 [potassium] => 12 [fiber] => 1 [vitamin_a] => 100 [vitamin_c] => 1.7 [calcium] => 20 [iron] => 0.4 [serving_unit] => square )
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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Post updated in February 2019. Originally published December 2010.
These look great, next on my list to try.
As for something to make low carb next, how about German Chocolate cake frosting.
Here's the recipe for that frosting: German Chocolate Cake
I am kust wondering about dried lemon peel...could you explain what this is.... dried lemon zest ? Peel without the pith ? We do not have it in our grocery stores.
Cannot wait to make them !
Dried lemon zest is pretty much tiny pieces of the peel that have been dried.
Why is there a thicker layer on top when I double the filling? Fantastic recipe.
A layer does form on top after baking so I'd guess it gets thicker if the filling is doubled.
Is that normal for lemon bars ?
It is for these.
You have the most amazing recipes! Thank you so much for sharing them with us. Someone just recommended your cream cheese cookies, which I am going to make for a family gathering soon- will test them out first, but I know they will be great as I have tried a couple of other recipes of yours recently.
Now, lemon bars. Did someone say lemon? My ears and eyes perk right up when I see anything with lemon! I am printing this off and will make these over the weekend- I can't wait to try them. Lemon is one of my favorite fruits!
Hope you love the lemon bars! I was having such a craving for them that I had to make a low carb version.
Where in the world are you guys finding dried lemon peel?
It's in the spice aisle but you can make your own too or just use fresh.
I made the Lemon Bars today. I loved the crust. Held together real well. I think 18 mins is too long. I'll cut back on time next time. I will double the filling next time. I appreciate the feedback to use 3 eggs not 4. I used Xanthan Gum in the filling instead of Gelatin. My family loved them. They said they weren't too sweet and had a perfect Lemony flavor
I'm making this right now..how much xantham gum did you use in the filling?
It's only like 1/2 teaspoon.
Hi. Is there a placement for the grass fed gelatin? For example would regular unflavored gelatin work?
Yes. Regular gelatin works too. However, the amount may differ slightly.
Can agar be used instead of gelatin? If so how much? In fact, how about for your ice cream recipes? Thank you.
Agar agar is a great sub for gelatin. From what I've read 1 tablespoon of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 teaspoon of agar agar.
THese are wonderful! The crust is outstanding and I love the lemon filling. Next time I will double the lemon portion, but I enjoyed these even with the smaller amount of filling. Thank you!!
You're welcome! So glad the recipe worked out well for you.
Can I use all coconut flour as can’t have nuts?
You can try about 1/3 to 1/2 cup coconut flour and more butter. It may take a little experimenting. You may also want to try adding an egg.
What is the carb content each serving?
It depends on the size of the squares. I cut into 16 small squares and get 2 grams carbs each.
These look amazing! Do you think it would be possible to make the crust with coconut flour only? Would it be the equivalent to 1/4 cup of coconut flour (instead of 3/4 almond flour)? I cannot eat the almond flour.
Try 1/3 to 1/2 coconut flour only. But you may want to up the butter and or add an egg.
Since I've gone low carb over a year ago, my husband has been begging me for a lemon bar. I can't wait to try this. I love the idea of adding coconut flour to the crust, it will pair so well with lemon. Thanks so much for sharing.
Hope you and your husband enjoy the recipe!
Could you use fresh lemon peel?
I don't see why not.
These look so delicious, I love lemon desserts at this time of year!
Can I use gentle sweet in this?
I'm not familiar with Gentle Sweet, but it should be fine.
Can Splenda and the liquid Splenda be used instead of the swerve and stevia extract?
It can, but I'm not sure if the liquid sucralose amount needs to be adjusted. I don't recall if it's a one for one replacement for liquid stevia.
Whoa buddy. If you're looking for some excellent low carb lemon bars this is it. I don't have carbquick so I did the almond and coconut flour method. I also really love lemon filling so I doubled everything in the filling except for the eggs. I used 3 eggs, added some xanthum gum to the filling, and also added some regular swerve for extra sweetness. Using 3 eggs instead of 4 really kept the filling from tasting eggy. It took a little over 20 to bake but they are perfect! I am so glad I tried these. They are so close to the real thing they really satisfy the craving.
Thanks for sharing the results with the modifications you made. Must have been amazing with the extra filling!
E. Darlene Lundy-Veo
How much xanthum gum and Swerve did you add to the filling?
I stumbled across your website and was so excited to see you had a delicious looking low-carb recipe for lemon squares! They have been one of my most missed treats since going low carb and yours are very delicious 🙂 I made them tonight and the had such a great flavor! only problem is I doubled the recipe and I think that was just too much egg topping because it had a very eggy texture, I'll have to try them again with the normal recipe and get your perfect product, thanks for sharing!
yum-yum! I love Lemon Bars! I'm loving your low carb recipes and will be adding you to my blog roll. Hope this is okay. 🙂