Vegan Lemon Bars

4.76 from 37 votes

These vegan lemon bars are creamy, chewy, and absolutely delicious - made with an oatmeal walnut crust and fresh lemons, they make the best lemon squares!

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These vegan lemon bars are a true bite of sunshine! They are tart, sweet, and have the perfect oatmeal walnut crust. The texture is amazing- it’s like biting into a smooth, lemon cloud with just the right amount of crunch from the crust. The best part about this recipe is that it is egg-free, so it’s perfect for those with allergies or who follow a vegan diet.

Stack of three vegan lemon bars on small white dish with half lemon in background

If you are looking for a delicious, healthier-style dessert, these vegan lemon squares are a perfect choice. The oatmeal walnut crust is packed with healthy fats, and the lemon filling is loaded with Vitamin C as well as iron and folate from the coconut milk. I even snuck in a bit of turmeric for an extra immunity boost! It’s egg-free, butter-free, and a literal burst of fresh flavor. What’s not to love? So go ahead and try these delicious vegan lemon bars- your tastebuds will thank you!

why you’ll love These Eggless Lemon Bars

  • Bursting with fresh lemon flavor. These eggless lemon bars have a zesty tart filling that is bright and not overpowered with sugar.
  • Perfect for a summer party or picnic. They’re also great for meal prep – you can make them ahead of time and enjoy them all week long.
  • Healthier version of the classic lemon square. These vegan lemon bars are made with a homemade oatmeal walnut crust full of healthy fats.

Ingredients to make Lemon Bars With An Oatmeal Crust

Another thing I love about this recipe is that most of the ingredients are pantry staples, with a few fresh lemons being the only exception. So you can easily make these vegan lemon bars anytime the craving hits!

Ingredients You’ll Need For Your Oatmeal Walnut Crust

  • Rolled oats: The rolled oats take the place of flour in this recipe and give the crust a lovely, chewy texture.
  • Walnuts: I love using walnuts in this recipe because they add a delicious flavor and healthy fats. You could also use pecans or almonds if you prefer.
  • Coconut oil: This is what helps bind the crust together. You could also use vegan butter if you prefer.
  • Maple Syrup: This is my sweetener of choice, but you could also use agave nectar or date syrup.
  • Salt: Just a little bit of salt helps to bring out all the flavors in the crust.

Ingredients For Your Vegan Lemon Filling

  • Fresh lemon juice & zest: I love using fresh lemons in this recipe, but you can also use lemon juice from a bottle. You’ll want to get at least one fresh lemon for the zest.
  • Sugar: I us organic cane sugar, but you can use any type of sugar you like.
  • Coconut milk: Full-fat coconut milk gives these lemon squares a lovely, creamy texture.
  • Turmeric: This is completely optional, but I love adding a little turmeric to my vegan lemon bars for the health benefits. It also gives the filling a beautiful, yellow color.
  • Cornstarch: This is what helps thicken the lemon filling and keeps it from oozing all over when you go to cut into it.
Ingredients to make the recipe

How to make vegan lemon bars

To kick things off, you’re going to want to start with the crust. It does need to be baked before adding the lemon filling. Once you pop it in the oven, you’ll have plenty of time to get your lemon filling ready.

make the crust

  1. Add oats, walnuts, coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt in the food processor bowl.
  2. Blend until the mixture is crumbly and sticky.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, and spread evenly.
  4. Bake until the edges are golden brown.
4 image collage to show how to make the crust with nuts, oats and coconut oil

make the lemon filling

  1. In a medium saucepan, add the lemon juice, sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, lemon zest, and turmeric.
  2. Whisk well to dissolve the cornstarch. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens.
  3. Pour the lemon filling over the crust in an even layer.
  4. Bake in the oven and let cool at room temperature until cool to the touch.
  5. Transfer to the refrigerator uncovered to let it finish setting up.
  6. Dust the lemon squares generously with powdered sugar and cut them into 9 or 16 squares.
6 image collage to show how to make the lemon filling, then transfer it to baking dish and bake and then slice into bars

Tips for making Vegan lemon squares

  1. Use fresh lemons. This will give your lemon filling the best flavor. If you only have bottled lemon juice, you can still make these bars; they just won’t be quite as flavorful.
  2. Zest your lemons before juicing them. It’s much easier to zest a lemon before juicing it!
  3. Don’t skip the turmeric. I know it sounds strange, but trust me on this one. The turmeric gives the lemon filling a beautiful color, and it has some great health benefits too.
  4. Be patient when cooking the filling. It might seem like it’s taking forever for the mixture to thicken, but if you keep whisking, it will happen. Just be sure to use medium heat, so the mixture doesn’t boil.
  5. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into them. This will help them hold their shape when you cut them.
  • Replace the walnuts with your favorite nut. Pecans or almonds would be great in this recipe. You could even use hazelnuts or cashews if you’d like.
  • Add a little bit of ground ginger to your crust. This will give it a lovely zing. A little goes a long way. About ¼ of a teaspoon is all you need!
  • Try using lime juice in place of the lemon juice. Turn these lemon bars into key lime bars with just a switch of citrus!
  • Use gluten-free oats to make these lemon bars gluten-free. If you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, make sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
  • Switch out the sugar. I’ve made these lemon bars with both cane sugar and coconut sugar. They’re both delicious. If you want to make them refined sugar-free, you could use date syrup, honey, or agave nectar in the filling.
Close up shot of two lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar

how to store lemon bars

Lemon bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days. You can either cut them as you eat them or cut them all at once and even individually wrap them for lunch box treats or an on-the-go snack.

how long will lemon bars last in the fridge?

Storing these eggless lemon bars in the refrigerator can extend their shelf life up to one week. Just be sure to keep them tightly covered, so they don’t dry out.

can i freeze lemon bars

Yes! This is a great way to make ahead and have on hand for last-minute get-togethers or when you need a quick dessert. Layer the bars between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container, and they’ll last in the freezer for up to three months. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to zest a lemon?

The best way to zest a lemon is with a Microplane. You can use a cheese grater or even a vegetable peeler if you don’t have one. Just be sure only to zest the yellow part of the lemon peel; avoid the white pith as it is bitter.

Why won’t my lemon filling thicken?

If your lemon filling isn’t thickening, it’s likely because you’re either not using enough cornstarch or you’re cooking it on too high of heat. Be sure to use the amount of cornstarch specified in the recipe and cook on medium heat, constantly whisking until the mixture thickens.

My lemon bars are too tart. What can I do?

If your lemon bars are too tart, you can add a little bit of powdered sugar to the top of the bars before cutting them. This will help to balance out the tartness and make them sweeter.

Sliced vegan lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar on cutting board

This vegan lemon bars recipe is perfect for all spring and summer gatherings: cookouts and barbecues, birthday parties, baby showers, and anytime you feel like sprinkling a little sunshine on your dessert table. I love that they are vegan but don’t require any hard-to-find ingredients!

For more vegan desserts

If you try this feel good Vegan Lemon Bars recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This Vegan Lemon Bars recipe was originally published on July 23, 2018. The recipe has been slightly modified, and the post now includes new step-by-step photos for how to make the lemon bars recipe.

Vegan Lemon Bars

These vegan lemon bars are creamy, chewy, and absolutely delicious – made with an oatmeal walnut crust and fresh lemons, they make the best lemon squares!
4.8 from 37 votes
Servings 9 servings
Course Dessert
Calories 365
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Ingredients
  

For the Crust

For the Lemon Filling

  • 1 cup lemon juice about 5 lemons
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk using mostly the white part (cooled)
  • cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

For Serving

Instructions

Make the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, add the oats, walnuts, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt, and blend until mixture is crumbly and sticky, about 1 minute.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, and spread evenly. Use the back of a spoon to press it down until it’s evenly distributed and well-packed.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Make the filling:

  • In a medium saucepan without any heat, add the lemon juice, sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, lemon zest and turmeric. Whisk well to dissolve the cornstarch. Then transfer to medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes .
  • Pour the filling over the crust evenly, using a spatula if needed to smoothen. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator uncovered for an additional 1-2 hours, or overnight, until set.
  • Lift the bars out of the pan with the parchment paper, dust generously with powdered sugar and cut into 9 or 16 squares.

Notes

Storage: Store your lemon bars in an air-tight container. If you need to layer place a piece of parchment paper between each row. These will keep at room temperature for up to four days and for a week in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 71mg, Potassium: 225mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 6IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Stack of three vegan lemon bars on small white dish with half lemon in background

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Comments

    1. I haven’t tried this recipe with a nut substitute yet. You could try pumpkin or sunflower seeds?

  1. Love your recipes but so many, we can’t use them because my wife is diabetic. Desserts especially. Do you have any desserts that could be used by diabetics? I am sure we are not the only ones that would appeciate it.

    1. Thank you! While I don’t focus on creating diabetic friendly desserts, there are some other amazing food bloggers out there who do!

  2. I really enjoyed preparing these bars, the recipe is soo easy and the outcome it just delicious!

      1. I loved the original version of these lemon bars. I am quite disappointed from the visual and the color that changed drastically with the removal of the nuts from the filling. I definitely prefer the original recipe.

        1. Thank you for sharing your feedback with me! Did you find the color to not be as vibrant with this new recipe?