The Best Vegan Lemon Bars recipes are made with a zesty Lemon Curd. This recipe offers a perfectly proportioned shortbread crust topped with a lightly sweet, tart, lemon curd filling. This vegan lemon tart recipe is made with minimal ingredients. Vegan lemon desserts are non dairy and eggless, making them perfect for so many people. Make these dessert bars into gluten free vegan lemon bars as well.
Being vegan can involve some sacrifice, but not where dessert is involved. If want to have a special treat for the weekend, try these dairy free lemon bars.
At first I wasn’t sure if I could make square bars vegan. But it didn’t take me long to realize how quick, easy, and delicious eggless lemon bars can be!
I was never a fan of the lemon earlier in my life. When the waitress would ask, “Would you like some lemon with your tea?” I’d respond, “No thanks.” But with a little more emphasis on the NO, if you know what I mean.
I think that’s the thing with converting your diet to a more plant-based, whole food way of living, your taste buds changes. For some reason, now I love lemons.
How to Make Vegan Lemon Bars
Making vegan lemon bars is a simple process. I’ll walk you through it step by step!
Step One: Make the Vegan Shortbread Crust
Let’s start by making the vegan shortbread crust. The ingredients are: vegan butter (I use Earth Balance), flour, and powdered sugar. Combine those in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Press this into the bottom of your prepared pan.
Step Two: Choose Your Vegan Lemon Custard
I’m providing two options for the lemon curd: The first option is a tofu lemon curd. This is what the tofu lemon bars looks like.
Or you can choose to make the simple vegan lemon curd:
As you can see, the simple vegan curd creates lemon bars that are much more translucent. Both bars taste amazing, but the simple vegan curd bars have a more traditional look.
Option One: Tofu Lemon Curd
To prepare the the tofu lemon custard, otherwise known as lemon curd, combine silken tofu, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, nutritional yeast flakes and turmeric in a food processor. (I didn’t even bother cleaning out the food processor from step one).
I know it sounds odd adding nutritional yeast flakes and turmeric to a lemon curd, but it’s only a little bit and it gives it a nice, sunny yellow color.
Pulse this until smooth and then pour it over the crust.
Option Two: Simple Vegan Lemon Curd
I like the look of the traditional lemon bar with its more translucent lemon curd. My question was could I make the traditional lemon bars vegan? After some experimentation I was so pleased with the results! I call it a simple vegan lemon curd.
Besides, sometimes you need vegan lemon bars no tofu, if you’re dealing with people with allergies. So, if you’re making your lemon bars with the simple lemon curd, in a bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar, milk and cornstarch.
Stir to combine the cornstarch. Pour into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar and to prevent lumps as the mixture thickens. Bring it to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat, add the lemon zest, coconut oil, and turmeric. Stir to combine. Pour this curd over prepared crust.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. After it’s cooled, transfer to the fridge and chill for 2 – 3 hours. Once chilled, grab both sides of the aluminum foil and remove the bars from the pan.
Step Three: Bake, Cool and Sprinkle
For the tofu lemon curd bars: Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges of the crust are golden.
For the simple lemon curd bars: Bake for 30 minutes, until the sides are golden brown and the filling is slightly firm. It may be a little jiggly.
Once done, remove the vegan squares from the oven, allow them to cool for a little bit and then transfer to the fridge to chill for 1 – 3 hours. Once chilled, remove from the fridge. Grab the foil and remove the bars from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut bars.
What You’ll Love About these Healthy Vegan Lemon Bars
Lemon bars are sort of like a lemon tart, except baked in a square pan. The nice thing is then you can cut the slices into squares which is much more convenient for packing in lunches, etc.
These dairy free bars are also egg free as well. That’s right, these vegan lemon bars are made with no eggs. The lemon curd is made with silken tofu and it tastes so good!
These dessert bars are a sweet treat that are easy to make and an amazing sweet treat.
Of course l used fresh lemons. I think it would be interesting to try a meyer lemon to make it even zestier!
I love simple vegan desserts, and I’m sure you do too! Use these tips and tricks to make these healthy vegan lemon bars the best every time:
- Make these into vegan gluten free lemon bars by using gluten free baking flour in place of the flour in the crust
- For a change of pace, use a graham cracker crust in place of this shortbread crust. Combine 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup of vegan butter or coconut oil. Press that into the bottom of your prepared pan.
- If you’re concerned about sugar, substitute Swerve for the sugar in this recipe. It subs in a 1:1 basis for sugar and I’ve had great success with it
- I use vegan butter in this recipe but if you prefer you can make the crust with coconut oil instead
- Be sure and prepare your pan by lining it with foil, then spraying with vegetable spray. This helps you remove the bars from the pan after they’ve cooled
- Be sure to tamp down the crust before adding the curd, this will prevent the crust from rising to the top while baking.
- If you want to prevent the bars from cracking, place a cookie pan below it in the oven and fill with water. The steam from the water will add moisture to the oven.
- You can find silken tofu in the produce section of most grocery stores. It may or may not be refrigerated. It’s often found in a small box rather than the larger tubs. If you can’t find silken, just use medium tofu instead
- For Curd Option #2, I call for coconut oil. Be sure to use the kind that is solid at room temperature rather than the kind that is liquid.
- I use just a bit of nutritional yeast flakes to add color and a little flavor
- I like to top these bars with powdered sugar, but that’s optional
- For the best egg free lemon bars, you want a perfect ratio of crust to filling. I love these tips from Cooks Illustrated on the science of lemon bars!
Love Vegan Lemon Recipes?
If you love these easy vegan lemon bars, you’ll definitely want to try these other vegan lemon dessert recipes too:
- These Vegan Blueberry Lemon Pie Bars are amazing!
- You’ll fall head over heels for this Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie!
- Everyone loves these bite-size Lemon Cookies!
- Top it all off with this refreshing Italian Basil Lemonade!
That’s it for this vegan lemon bar recipe!
I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!
Vegan Lemon Bars
Vegan Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup vegan butter sliced
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Tofu Lemon Custard (Option #1)
Simple Vegan Lemon Curd (Option #2)
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups plant-based milk
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- pinch ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8X8" square pan with foil. Give the foil a light coating of vegetable spray.
- Combine flour, butter, and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse for several seconds, until combined, but still crumbly. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Top with either the Tofu Lemon Curd OR the Simple Lemon Curd.
For the Tofu Lemon Curd (Option #1)
- If you're making your lemon bars with the tofu lemon curd: in the same food processor bowl (no need to wash it out), add the tofu, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, and turmeric. Pulse until completely smooth. Pour the lemon filling over the crust and evenly distribute across the pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the sides are golden brown and the filling is firm (if it's still overly jiggly, you should cook it a few more minutes).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. After it's cooled, transfer to the fridge and chill for 1 – 2 hours. Once chilled, grab both sides of the aluminum foil and remove from the pan.
For the Simple Lemon Curd (Option #2)
- If you're making your lemon bars withe the simple lemon curd, in a bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar, milk and cornstarch. Stir to combine the cornstarch. Pour into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar and to prevent lumps as the mixture thickens. Bring it to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should get fairly thick. If you get lumps, simply pulse the curd in a food processor or use an immersion blender.
- Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat, add the lemon zest, coconut oil, and turmeric. Stir to combine. Spoon out the lemon curd over prepared crust.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the sides are golden brown and the filling is slightly firm. It may be a little jiggly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. After it's cooled, transfer to the fridge and chill for 2 – 3 hours. Once chilled, grab both sides of the aluminum foil and remove the bars from the pan.
- Sprinkle the tops of the bars with powdered sugar. Slice into bars and serve.
- Store lemon bars in the fridge. They will keep up to 5 days.