Easy Vegan Lemon Squares » Joyful Dumplings

These little slices of heaven—Vegan Lemon Squares—are a perfect mix of tangy lemon and sweet, buttery goodness. The lemon filling is so smooth and creamy, thanks to the coconut milk and cornstarch, and the crust? Oh, it’s like biting into a piece of buttery, crumbly cloud!

easy vegan lemon bars

Plus, they’re great for any occasion; a lazy Sunday, a fancy brunch, or even to just wow your friends, they’re always a hit!

The best part? You don’t need to be a pro baker to whip these up. It’s all about mixing, pouring, and baking – as simple as that!

With just a few simple steps, you’ll have these tangy, sweet squares ready in no time. Trust me, once you try these vegan lemon bars, you’ll be making them over and over again. Let’s get baking!

vegan lemon bar recipe
  • If you love lemon, these squares with their bright and tart lemon flavor will be a real treat.
  • Fresh lemon juice and zest give these bars a classic lemon taste with just the right amount of tartness.
  • Involve the kids in the kitchen; they’ll love helping to press the crust or sprinkle icing sugar on top.
  • Their vibrant color and neat squares dusted with sugar make them a visually appealing dessert.
  • The lemon filling, enriched with coconut cream and thickened with cornstarch, creates a luscious, creamy layer.
  • Packed with ingredients that are good for you, like coconut oil and lemon juice, these squares are a healthier dessert choice.
  • These lemon squares are a testament to how delicious vegan desserts can be, satisfying even the most discerning sweet tooths.
  • The process of making these bars, from making the crust to pouring the lemon layer, is enjoyable and a great way to spend some time in the kitchen.

Makes: 16 squares | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 35 minutes | Chill Time: 2 hours | Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

vegan lemon bar

Shortbread Base:

  • ¾ cup/90g oat flour
  • 6 tbsp/50g white rice flour
  • 5 tbsp/63g granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp/30g shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp/60ml coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ tsp/2g salt
  • 1-2 tbsp/15-30ml water

Lemon Curd:

  • ¾ cup/180ml lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cup/315ml coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 1/3 cup/267g granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp/48g cornstarch
  • 2 tsp/4g lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp/ ½ g ground turmeric (optional, for color)*
  • More powdered sugar for shrinking on the top

eggless lemon bars

1. Preheat oven to 350° F/175 C. Line an 8” x 8”/20cm x 20cm baking pan with parchment so there is some overlap (for easy removal). Make the shortbread base: In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, rice flour, 5 tbsp/63 granulated sugar, shredded coconut, and salt. Stir to evenly distribute.

2. Stir in the coconut oil until small clumps form. Add in 1 tbsp/15ml water and stir until dough begins to hold together. Add more water as needed, just until holding together but still crumbly.

3. Press dough into a lined pan, forming an even layer. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly brown at the edges.

4. While the base is baking, prepare the lemon curd layer: In a medium pot, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and turmeric. Whisk to distribute.

vegetarian lemon bars

5. Add just enough coconut milk while whisking to form a thick slurry with no lumps. Once smooth, add the rest of the coconut milk and lemon juice.

6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick and translucent.

7. Pour curd over baked base and return to oven for 15 minutes until there is slight browning around the edges.

8. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature before covering and moving to the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Once completely cool, remove from pan. Dust with a generous layer of powdered sugar just before serving and cut into 2”/5cm squares. For the easiest cutting, heat a very large knife under hot water (and dry it) and wash the knife between slices.

Cook’s Note:

  • In standard lemon bars, the color comes from the egg yolks. To get a rich lemon color here, you can use turmeric or a couple of drops of food coloring. This has no impact on taste. Without it, the curd layer will just be a very pale yellow.
creamy vegan lemon bars

🍋 Almond meal or ground hazelnuts – For a different twist on the buttery shortbread crust, try adding almond meal or ground hazelnuts for a nuttier flavor.

🍋 Vegan butter -If you prefer a different type of fat, use vegan butter like Earth Balance butter, or even margarine, in both the crust and the lemon curd.

🍋 Agave syrup, date syrup, or maple syrup – Experiment with different sweeteners in the crust and filling. Agave syrup, date syrup, or maple syrup can be used as alternatives to sugar for a unique flavor profile.

🍋 Vegan cream or vegan whipped cream – Swirl some vegan cream or dollop vegan whipped cream on top of each square for extra decadence.

🍋 Lemon curd adjustments – To enhance the lemon flavor, add extra lemon juice or lemon extract. For those who like lemon but prefer a milder taste, reduce the lemon juice slightly.

🍋 All-purpose gluten-free flour or regular all-purpose flour – If oat flour isn’t available, you can use all-purpose gluten-free flour or even regular all-purpose flour.

best vegan lemon bars

Here are some creative ideas to make your lemon squares stand out:

🍋 Edible Flowers: For a sophisticated and spring-like appearance, decorate the top of your squares with edible flowers such as pansies, violas, or marigolds. This is perfect for special occasions like brunches or garden parties.

🍋 Berry Accents: Place fresh berries like raspberries, blueberries, or sliced strawberries on top for a pop of color and a complementary fruity flavor.

🍋 Mint Leaves: Small mint leaves can add a fresh green contrast and a hint of minty freshness, enhancing the citrus flavor.

🍋 Coconut Flakes: Sprinkle toasted or untoasted coconut flakes over the squares for a tropical twist and additional texture.

🍋 Lemon Slices or Wheels: Thinly sliced lemon wheels or half-slices can be placed on each square for a visually appealing and citrusy touch.

🍋 Chocolate Drizzle: For a bit of decadence, drizzle melted vegan chocolate over the squares. Lemon and chocolate create a surprisingly delightful combination.

🍋 Nut Topping: Chopped almonds, pistachios, or walnuts provide a crunchy contrast to the soft filling. They can be sprinkled over the top or along the edges.

🍋 Whipped Cream Dollops: Add a dollop of vegan whipped cream to each square just before serving, especially if you’re serving them as a plated dessert.

🍋 Candied Lemon Peels: Create thin strips of candied lemon peel for a gourmet garnish that adds a sweet and tangy bite.

🍋 Stencil Designs: Use stencils to create patterns or designs with powdered sugar on the top of your lemon squares. This is a simple way to add a professional touch.

🍋 Serving Style: Serve each square in a cupcake liner for individual presentation, making them easy to handle at gatherings.

Here’s how to ensure your lemon squares stay as delicious as when they first came out of the oven:

🍋 Cooling Down: After you remove from the oven, it’s essential to let the bars cool completely at room temperature. This allows the lemon filling to set properly and makes it easier to cut the bars cleanly.

🍋 Using Parchment Paper: When placing the squares in a container, line it with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. This also makes it easier to lift the bars out when you want to serve them.

🍋 Air-Tight Container: Store the lemon bars in an air-tight container to keep them fresh and prevent them from absorbing odors from the fridge. This way, the bars will keep their flavor and texture for several days.

🍋 Keeping Track: Label the container with the date you baked them, so you know how long they’ve been stored.

🍋 Refrigeration: Then, transfer to the refrigerator. The chilled environment is perfect for setting the lemon filling further. 

🍋 Serving Suggestions: When ready to serve, let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly for the best texture.

  1. Cranberry Orange Loaf Bread Recipe – This recipe brings a wonderful combination of tangy cranberries and zesty orange in a moist, tender loaf. It’s a perfect addition to your breakfast table or as a sweet snack with your afternoon tea.
  2. Easy Vegan Blueberry Lemon Cake – Enjoy the delightful fusion of ripe blueberries and zesty lemon in this moist and fluffy cake. It’s an easy one-bowl recipe that’s as healthy as it is delicious.
  3. Banana Snickerdoodle Bars – These bars are a creative twist on the classic snickerdoodle cookies, combining them with the creamy taste of bananas. They’re easy to make and perfect for sharing.
  4. Vegan Almond Flour Cookies – Made with almond and oat flour, these cookies offer a nutty flavor and a delightfully chewy texture. They’re a guilt-free treat for anyone with a sweet tooth.
  5. Vegan Truffles – Indulge in these rich, decadent vegan truffles, perfect for a luxurious treat or a special gift.
  6. Apple Hand Pies – These hand pies are a delightful and portable way to enjoy the classic flavors of apple pie, with a vegan twist.
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lemon squares vegan

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CAN I USE A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CITRUS IN THIS RECIPE?

Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with other citrus fruits like lime, orange, or even grapefruit to make the lemon layer. Each will give a unique twist to the classic lemon taste.

CAN I DOUBLE THIS RECIPE FOR A LARGER BATCH?

Definitely! If you need more servings, you can double the recipe. Just use a larger pan and adjust the baking and cooling times accordingly.

HOW LONG WILL THESE LEMON BARS LAST?

When stored properly in an air-tight container in the fridge, these lemon bars will keep for up to a week. Ensure they cool slightly before storing and let the bars cool completely before refrigeration.

HOW CAN I ADJUST THE SWEETNESS IN THE LEMON CURD?

To adjust the sweetness, you can reduce or increase the amount of granulated sugar according to your preference. Remember, reducing the sugar too much can affect the texture, so adjust in small increments.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ADD MORE LEMON FLAVOR TO THE BARS?

For a more intense lemon flavor, you can increase the amount of lemon zest in the curd. Another option is to add a few drops of pure lemon extract to the mixture.

best vegan lemon bars

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  • 1. Preheat oven to 350° F/175 C. Line an 8” x 8”/20cm x 20cm baking pan with parchment so there is some overlap (for easy removal). Make the shortbread base: In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, rice flour, 5 tbsp/63 granulated sugar, shredded coconut, and salt. Stir to evenly distribute.

  • 2. Stir in the coconut oil until small clumps form.Add in 1 tbsp/15ml water and stir until dough begins to hold together. Add more water as needed, just until holding together but still crumbly. 

  • 3. Press dough into lined pan, forming an even layer. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly brown at the edges.

  • 4. While the base is baking, prepare the lemon curd layer: In a medium pot, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and turmeric. Whisk to distribute.

  • 5. Add just enough coconut milk while whisking to form a thick slurry with no lumps. Once smooth, add the rest of the coconut milk and lemon juice.

  • 6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes thick and translucent.

  • 7. Pour curd over baked base and return to oven for 15 minutes until there is slight browning around the edges.

  • 8. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature before covering and moving to the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Once completely cool, remove from pan. Dust with a generous layer of powdered sugar just before serving and cut into 2”/5cm squares. For easiest cutting, heat a very large knife under hot water (and dry it) and wash the knife between slices.

*In standard lemon bars, the colour comes from the egg yolks. To get a rich lemon colour here you can use turmeric or a couple drops of food colouring. This has no impact on taste. Without it the curd layer will just be a very pale yellow.

Serving: 1pc | Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbohydrates: 30g

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