Gluten Free Lemon Bars – If you’ve been missing Lemon Bars because you’re gluten free, fret no more!
My recipe for Gluten Free Lemon Bars has a really lovely soft gluten free shortbread crust and I promise that you’ll not end up with a soggy crust using this recipe if you follow my simple tips and step by step directions!
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How to Make Gluten Free Lemon Bars
The first step is to add the dairy free margarine (or butter if you are not dairy free) and sugar to a bowl and cream them together, this will form the basis for your gluten free lemon bars shortbread crust.
I find this easier in a stand mixer but a hand mixer will work too.
Then, measure your flours for the gluten free shortbread crust accurately into one bowl, then add the baking powder and xanthan gum and stir together.
The gum is what holds the crust together in the absence of gluten, so don’t forget to add it
Next, slowly add the gluten free flour mixture to the butter and sugar and mix together until you get that a crumbly mixture like you see in the photo.
Then all you need to do is form it into a ball either with hands or using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer.
If you’ve used dairy free margarine instead of butter you may find that it’s really soft at this stage, so if that’s the case let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
Once you’ve done that, press it into the parchment like baking pan like you see in the photo below.
Once it’s all in there, use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to even out the surface.
Now put in into your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the crust for your gluten free lemon bars gets a little brown around the edges.
For the Gluten Free Lemon Bars Topping you need to part cook a lemon curd which will then form the topping.
All you need to do for this is to add the lemon juice, eggs, sugar and butter to a pan and warm over a low to medium heat and stir constantly until it starts to thicken up.
This will take about 5-6 minutes.
Do not panic if it starts to curdle a little or thicken up in the edges of the pan, but take care not to have it on too high a heat.
Once the topping for your gluten free lemon bars has thickened, push it through a sieve and over the top of the baked shortbread crust and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Remove your gluten free lemon bars from the oven and cool for about 20-30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably four hours to let it set up.
It will be much easier to cut if you chill it first.
creating a perfect gluten free lemon bars crust
In response to some reader questions about soggy crusts in their gluten free lemon bars. I set about coming up with a way to prevent that from happening.
The problem arises from the traditional method of pouring the uncooked lemon bar topping over the shortbread crust as it will sometimes seep into the crust during cooking, and then if the lemon bars are refrigerated they can become soggy overnight.
I suspect some of this depends on several factors including the blend of gluten free flour used, the actual temperature of the oven, and the type of bakeware used to bake it in.
A foolproof way to avoid this issue is to part cook the gluten free lemon bar topping in a pan before pouring over the shortbread crust.
The thickened lemon curd type topping will not make the crust soggy during baking and it will not cause problems afterwards of the topping seeping into the crust and making it soft as it chills in the fridge either.
More Tips for Making Gluten Free lemon Bars
Parchment – line your baking pan with parchment and be sure to leave enough coming up the sides of the pan so you can easily lift the lemon bars out once they have chilled.
Xanthan Gum – this is essential to ensure that your gluten free lemon bars will not fall apart so don’t skip it.
Digital Kitchen Scale – I prefer to bake by weight as it’s more accurate so I highly recommend getting a digital kitchen scale.
Lemon Juice – this recipe is best with fresh lemon juice!
Gluten Free Lemon Bars Ingredients Substitutions
Brown Rice Flour – you can sorghum flour for this in the recipe
White Rice Flour – I do not recommend you change this as it forms the bulk of the flour used in the recipe
Cornstarch – you can swap this for tapioca starch, arrowroot, or potato starch. Please note that potato flour and potato starch are not the same, and that tapioca starch and arrowroot tend to be quite sticky and I have not tested it with this.
Ready made Gluten Free Flour – you can use a ready made blend such as King Arthur’s gluten free flour or Bob’s 1:to:1, however I have not tested my recipe with these flours so I can’t say how they will work.
How much lemon juice is equal to one lemon?
One lemon has approximately 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in it.
If a recipe lists the juice of 1 lemon as an ingredient you can use two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice instead.
However, for my gluten free lemon bars recipe freshly squeezed lemon juice tastes better.
Do you keep gluten free lemon bars in the fridge?
I put my gluten free lemon bars in the fridge for at least two hours after they are removed from the oven, this will help them set up.
Technically they do not need to be stored in the refrigerator but it’s warm where I live so that’s where I keep them.
how do you cool gluten free lemon bars
I cool them in the pan that I baked them in for about thirty minutes at room temperature after they are removed from the oven.
Then, I put them in the fridge for at least two hours to four hours to let them set before I cut them.
Related gluten free baking recipes
Gluten Free Lemon Bars
Easy Gluten Free Lemon Bars Recipe with a simple gluten free shortbread crust
Gluten Free Lemon Bar Shortbread Crust
Gluten Free Lemon Bars Topping
- 1 cup sugar , 300g
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice , 150mls - from about 5 lemons
- 2 large eggs , beaten
- 7 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup butter , 112g
- 2 tbsp gluten free powdered sugar , to dust
Recipe newly updated in 2018, for details on previous version please read the recipe notes.
Make the Gluten Free Shortbread Crust
Preheat your oven to 350F
Line the base and sides of a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper
Cream butter and sugar together.
In a separate bowl measure the white rice flour, brown rice flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking powder and mix well to combine
Add flour mix to butter/sugar and mix well until combined. form the mixture into a ball either by hand or using the paddle attachment on your mixer.
The shortbread dough may be soft, especially if you used vegan butter. If this is the case simply refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm up.
Press your dough into the parchment lined baking pan and spread out evenly using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake at 350F for 20 mins or until lightly brown at the edges.
Make the Gluten Free Lemon Bar Topping
Add the lemon juice, eggs, sugar, and butter, to a pan over a low to medium heat and stir constantly until it starts to thicken. It will take about 5-6 minutes.
Don't panic if it starts to curdle, but do ensure that you don't have it on too high a heat.
Once it's thickened up to almost lemon curd consistency, remove it from the heat and pass it all through a sieve.
Pour the sieved Gluten Free Lemon Bars topping over the cooked shortbread crust and return to the oven to bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight to let it set up. The lemon bars will become firmer the longer they are chilled.
Remove from the baking pan using the parchment to carefully lift them out, then cut into pieces.
2015 Gluten Free Lemon Bars Recipe
I recommend the new version of my recipe as it works every time, but if you prefer the old version you'll find the ingredients and directions listed below.
The gluten free shortbread crust is the same in both versions, but the lemon bar topping ingredients and method of cooking have been updated and improved.
Here's the original ingredients for the gluten free lemon bar topping. If you use these ingredients instead of the ones now listed in the recipe, simply mix them together and when shortbread base is cooked, pour over topping and return to the oven to bake for a further 30 minutes or until the center is set and no longer moves when you shake the pan. Chill for at least two hours in the fridge.
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
1/4 cup gluten free flour