Best Vegan Lemon Bars Recipe with Lemon Curd

This Vegan Lemon Bars recipe features a zesty lemon curd with a perfectly-proportioned shortbread crust. You’ll love that this vegan lemon tart is made with minimal ingredients. Vegan lemon desserts are non-dairy and eggless, making them perfect for so many people.

Serve these lemon bars with drizzles of blueberry syrup over the top for color and flavor!

A stack of lemon squares with the text above them reading, Best Vegan Lemon Bars!
These vegan lemon squares are amazing!

Being vegan can involve some sacrifice, but not where dessert is involved. If you want to have a special treat for the weekend, try these vegan lemon bars.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I could make lemon squares vegan. I mean, lemon curd is almost pure eggs! But soon I realized how quick, easy, and delicious egg-free lemon bars can be!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Adding vegan butter to the shortbread crust produces a rich and buttery crust
  • Using fresh lemons makes the curd taste zesty and fresh
  • Two ways to make the lemon curd gives you options for a delicious and easy dessert recipe, regardless of the ingredients you have on hand!
Several lemon squares with powdered sugar on top on a white counter.

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)
  • all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar.

Combine these ingredients in a food processor and pulse in short bursts until it’s all combined. Press this into the bottom of a prepared pan.

The crust is pressed into the bottom of a baking dish for lemon bars.

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 look like.

A stack of lemon bars on a wooden tray.

Or you can choose to make a simple vegan lemon curd:

Several slices of lemon bars on a white counter.

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 tofu 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).

A zester with lemon zest sits on top of a food processor bowl with silken tofu in it.
Use silken tofu to create no egg lemon bars!

I know it sounds odd adding nutritional yeast flakes and turmeric to lemon curd, but it’s only a little bit and it gives it a sunny yellow color.

Pulse this until smooth and then pour it over the unbaked crust.

Option Two: Simple Vegan Lemon Curd

I like the look of the traditional lemon bar with its more translucent lemon curd. Besides, sometimes you need vegan lemon bars without tofu if you’re serving people with soy allergies.

To make it, combine the lemon juice, sugar, milk, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Place this over medium heat and 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 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat, add the lemon extract, coconut oil, and turmeric. Stir to combine. Pour this curd over the prepared crust. 

Regarding the coconut oil, be sure to use the kind that is solid at room temperature.

Quick Fix Tip

If your sauce develops lumps, finish cooking it in the saucepan and then remove it from heat. Add the remaining ingredients and transfer it to a food processor or blender and pulse in short bursts until the lumps are gone.

Step Three: Bake

For the tofu lemon curd bars: Place the pan in the oven and bake 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 lemon bars from the oven, allow them to cool for a little bit and then transfer to the fridge to chill 1–3 hours. Once the bars are chilled, remove them from the fridge. Remove the bars from the pan and sprinkle the top of the dessert with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

Powdered sugar is being sprinkled on cut dessert bars.

What are Vegan Lemon Bars?

Lemon bars are sort of like a lemon tart, except baked in a square pan. The nice thing is you can cut the slices into squares which is much more convenient for packing in lunches, etc.

These vegan lemon bars are a sweet treat that is easy to make and a real crowd favorite.

Marly’s Tips

  • For a change of pace, try using a vegan graham cracker crust in place of the shortbread crust
  • Make gluten-free vegan lemon bars by using gluten-free baking flour in place of the flour in the crust
  • 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 the crust, but if you prefer you can make the crust with coconut oil
  • Be sure to line your pan with foil, then spray it with vegetable spray. This helps to remove the bars from the pan after they’ve cooled
  • 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 shallow pan below it in the oven and fill with water. The steam from the water adds 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 tofu, use medium-firm tofu instead
  • For the best 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:

A stack of several lemon bars with two lemons behind it.

That’s it for this vegan lemon bar recipe!

A stack of several lemon bars with two lemons behind it.

Vegan Lemon Bars

These Vegan Lemon Bars are a delicious, healthy, egg-free treat for the whole family to enjoy!
5 from 8 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 204kcal
Author: Namely Marly

Ingredients

Vegan Shortbread Crust

Tofu Lemon Custard (Option #1)

  • 12 oz package silken tofu
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes for color
  • pinch ground turmeric (for color)

Simple Vegan Lemon Curd (Option #2)

  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups plant-based milk
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • teaspoon ground turmeric

For Serving

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 9×9-inch 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 the 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 to 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 to 2 hours. Once chilled, grab both sides of the aluminum foil and remove it from the pan.

For the Simple Lemon Curd (Option #2)

  • 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 to 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 extract, coconut oil, and turmeric. Stir to combine. Spoon out the lemon curd over the 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 to 3 hours. Once chilled, grab both sides of the aluminum foil and remove the bars from the pan.

To Serve:

  • 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.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Video

Notes

Be sure to tamp the crust down in the pan. This can help prevent the crust from rising to the top while baking.
A note on tofu: Option #1 calls for “silken” tofu. You can find that in the produce sections of a lot of U.S. grocery stores and definitely at health food stores. It may or may not be refrigerated and most typically I find it in a small “box” type container rather than a plastic tub. If you can’t find silken tofu, then buy a soft or medium regular tofu. 
The nutritional estimates are provided for the tofu curd.
For Simple Curd (option #2), be sure to allow the curd to thicken in the saucepan before proceeding. Also, use the kind of coconut oil that is solid at room temperature.
You can sub coconut oil for the vegan butter in the crust.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Lemon Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 204 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Sodium 83mg3%
Potassium 87mg2%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 480IU10%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

52 Responses to Best Vegan Lemon Bars Recipe with Lemon Curd

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKelly F Reply

    These look delicious and I am not even a fan of lemon really- I will definitely have to make these! 🙂

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Maybe this will be the recipe that will win you over. Welcome to team Lemon! 🙂

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRonda Reply

    These look wonderful! I can’t wait to make this! I already have all the ingredients. Thanks!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I hope you love these lemon bars as much as we do!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDeborah Baker Reply

    Thanks, Marly!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      You’re welcome! We love making lemon squares, especially for spring and summer desserts!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAngela Reply

    Your lemon bars look YUMMY but I can’t tolerate soy products 🙁
    Any substitutions?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Angela. You can use my coconut sweetened condensed milk to make the lemon curd without soy.It’s a delicious bar, but it won’t have that same distinct creamy layer that this one does.

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLucia Reply

    Hi there. I love everything lemon and would love to give this recipe a go but was wondering if I may use coconut butter instead of margarine which I am not a big fan of. Thanks!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Lucia. I haven’t made this with coconut butter before, but I think it would do fine. One idea would be to try Earth Balance’s Coconut Spread. I think it’s formulated to do well in baked goods. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAngela Reply

    These look amazing and easy! (two pluses in my book!) I was wondering, do you drain the silken tofu before using for this recipe? I know draining silken tofu on paper towels is pretty standard, but I wanted to make sure the extra liquid wasn’t needed for this recipe! I’m going to a BBQ next weekend, and I’m thinking of making and bringing these. 🙂

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Silken tofu comes with a very small amount of liquid in the container. I drain that out. But I don’t press the tofu or drain it out on paper towels. It’s a easy recipe and so tasty too. I hope you enjoy your BBQ. Sounds like fun!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAngela

      Thank you for replying! Our family BBQ was postponed until next weekend, but I wanted to try these, so I made them just for me. SO GOOD! And I even was naughty and impatient, and cut them well before they were cooled. They were super soft, but still tasty, and they firmed up beautifully in the fridge. These are just AMAZING. I’m super excited to bring them this weekend! Great recipe. Thank you!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Angela! I LOVE that you made these just for YOU! You are my hero! I mean, we’re always doing things for other people. We deserve a little Lemon Bars hot out of the oven for ourselves. 🙂

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBree Reply

    I have these in the oven right now and I’m so looking forward to it! Will post a follow up. 🙂

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBree

      I love my lemon so I’ll be adding a tad bit of lemon extract on the next batch. I love how it has a custard consistency. I couldn’t wait for it to cool down so I had a hot lemon bar. lol, it was still yummy! I put the rest in the fridge and can’t wait to try a cold slice of this goodness. 🙂

      Thank you for the recipe! <3

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks for letting me know how it went Bree! That’s a great idea to add some lemon extract. Sometimes it’s nice being bold with it! Oh, and I’m with you – I can never wait for things to cool like I’m supposed to. Gah! 🙂

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I love the anticipation you created. I’m sitting by the computer. Waiting. Hmm. I wonder if I should paint my nails while I’m sitting here. Or maybe I could get some work done. Nah! 🙂

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLoyd Clayton Reply

    What firmness tofu did you use? Soft, Firm, Extra Firm…?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      It says in the recipe that it calls for “silken” tofu. You can find that in the produce sections of a lot of U.S. grocery stores and definitely at health food stores. It may or may not be refrigerated and most typically I find it in a small “box” type container rather than a plastic tub. If you can’t find silken tofu, then buy a soft or medium regular tofu. Hope this helps.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBecky

      I intend to make these soon, but in #2, you say Lemon extract, then say zest later. I think video says extract. Confusing. I’m just going to use zest.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Becky, Yes, you’re right. The recipe instructions should say lemon extract. It’s fixed now. Thanks much for pointing that out. I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJulie Burge Reply

    Hey Marly! These look fantastic. Thought the same thing about Meyer lemons . I wondered how much powdered sugar goes into the shortbread crust? Did I miss that somewhere? Thank you for another beautiful, easy recipe! Cannot wait to try.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Julie! Thanks for your comment! I know the powdered sugar was originally in the recipe, so it must have accidentally gotten deleted when edits were made. Thanks for letting me know – it’s fixed now! 🙂

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyD. Payne Reply

    Hello! I love your recipes, especially your Potato Salad!
    I eat oil free and wondered if you had any suggestions for the crust besides butter or oil? Thank you!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi there Dede! I have not tried this but this is what I would do to create an oil free crust: Substitute 1 cup almond flour for the all-purpose flour (to keep some fat in the crust), add a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water), and the sugar. I think this should work. In fact, I may add this as an option for folks! 🙂

  11. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlysusan gordon Reply

    You left the lemon zest out of the recipe for Option 2? Did you write lemon extract by mistake, or do you need both zest and extract?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Susan! Actually, I was trying to keep Option #2 for the vegan lemon curd super simple so I used lemon extract and it worked amazing! However, you can add a teaspoon of lemon zest too if you’d like. Hope you love these vegan lemon bars!

  12. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDina Payne Reply

    Awesome idea! Much Thanks!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Dina! So glad you like this lemon bars recipe too!

  13. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJay Reply

    I made these today using option #2 the simple lemon curd and not sure where I went wrong but they have not firmed up at all. I even left them in the oven for way longer. They are in the fridge now but they are basically soup with a slight crust on top. Any suggestions or ideas where I might have goofed?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Jay! Did the curd get thick in the saucepan? Most of the thickening occurs in the saucepan for this recipe. Also, the coconut oil should be the kind that is solid at room temperature. To prevent the crust from ending up on top, be sure to tamp down the crust in the bottom of the pan. I’ll add a note to clarify this in the instructions.

  14. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJay Reply

    The coconut oil I used was indeed solid. I thought the curd thickened up in the pan but maybe it wasn’t enough? What consistency should I be looking for? And when I say “crust” on top I don’t mean the shortbread crust that makes up the bottom of the lemon bar. I meant that the curd was slightly solid on top but fully liquid underneath.

  15. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAnamika @ Supplement Crunch Reply

    I love this recipe. It takes a party appetizer to a whole new level and so darn easy!

  16. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLexie Reply

    Hey, can I use coconut oil instead of vegan butter for the crust?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Lexie. Great question. Yes, absolutely you can use coconut oil. I’ll add this to the notes.

  17. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJuanita Reply

    Amazing love the regular lemon curd version and have made it a few times using fresh lemons!

  18. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyPuja Reply

    Hi Marly,
    Hope you are safe and staying at home. Your recipe is amazing and delicious too. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My mom is very picky in desserts but when I made this (curd version) she couldn’t help but to share with other people that my daughter made this
    Since I am trying my hand in kitchen in this quarantine mode, this recipe was an ultimate saviour.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Puja! Thanks so much for your feedback. I’m honored to get a review from your mom too! Please give her a hug for me (at least a virtual one). We are in the same boat – staying home – and there is no flour to be found anywhere! Well, I did find some gluten-free flour and it works too. So glad we could connect. Stay safe!

  19. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAmanda Snyder Reply

    You’ve mentioned how you use silken tofu for dips, creamy soup, etc..Does the tofu melt??
    Reason I’m asking, I’m thinking queso..

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Amanda. I like the way you think! You can make something like that using silken tofu. Or you can use vegan cream cheese that is made from tofu as well. Here’s a link to my vegan queso recipe. Hope this is helpful!

  20. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRylyn Reply

    hi! do you like option 1 or 2 more? can you taste the tofu in option one?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I prefer option #2 because I like the translucent look of the lemon curd made with cornstarch. I did not notice a tofu taste with option #2, so it’s great, especially if you have some silken tofu on hand. Hope that’s helpful Rylyn!

  21. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyElizabeth Reply

    Hi,

    For the crust can I use plain flour or self raising flour and vegetable oil instead of all purpose flour and coconut oil with powdered sugar? But no graham crackers used. Hope to hear from you soon, thank you.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Elizabeth. Let me see if I understand the question correctly. You’d like to use plain flour and I think that will work. I’ve never tried self-rising flour with this recipe, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work too. I’m assuming you’re hoping to use either vegetable oil or coconut oil in stead of the vegan butter? If so, I think either should work just fine, although I would lean toward the coconut oil. You’re correct, in that there are no graham crackers used in this crust. Hope this helps!

  22. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCristina Reply

    I used option 2 and I don’t think there was enough crust to cover my 9×9 pan. I will make again in a smaller pan, but will not use the lemon extract. I think it gave too much of an artificial flavor. The consistency of the filling is perfect.

  23. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBridget Reply

    These are the BEST vegan lemon bars! I made a half batch today using the Simple Lemon Curd (Option #2). The crust and curd were very easy to make. I baked it for 40 minutes instead of 30 because the curd seemed very jiggly… I let it cool to room temperature and then put it in the fridge for 4 hours. I was afraid that they’d be terrible because of the jiggly curd but the curd set perfectly! I topped them with powdered sugar and they were delicious! I’m excited to make them this weekend for Easter!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Bridget. I’m so glad you like this recipe. Sometimes a little jiggle is good! I think these lemon bars are perfect family dinner food. Wishing you the best!

  24. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLinda Reply

    Hi Marly! In option 2, can I use vegan butter instead of coconut oil? Thanks for sharing your ingenious recipes!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Linda. Yes, absolutely you can substitute coconut oil for the butter. Use refined coconut oil for a more neutral flavor and virgin coconut oil if you want some of that coconut flavor. And you’re so welcome. I’m so glad to hear from you and to see you like this recipe!

  25. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyjanelle Reply

    Hello, I was wondering if it was possible to use both lemon curds on the base? or would that be a lemon overload!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Janelle. This is an interesting idea, and one I have not tried. I bet it would be great. I would put the tofu layer on the bottom and the lemon curd layer on top. I would also increase the bake time a bit. Let me know how it goes!

Rate / Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.