Gluten-Free Lemon Squares: The Perfect Pop of Lemon

I’ve been on a real lemon kick lately.

I think it’s the changing weather – as we’re making our way into spring, I’m finding myself craving that bright citrus flavor in practically everything. I’ve been baking up a storm – and feel like I’m up to my ears in lemon-flavored treats, making cookies, cakes, breads, muffins, you name it. And while each one has been totally delicious, it’s these lemon squares that I keep coming back to.

If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free lemon squares, then today is your lucky day –  here they are.

With their buttery, shortbread cookie-like crust, their luxurious lemon custard filling, and just the faintest dusting of powdered sugar, these bars have it all. They’re sweet, with just the right amount of tang, all atop a perfectly nutty crust.

The filling, which is bursting with lemony goodness, is just a blend of eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and a little cornstarch. It almost seems too simple to be this delicious.

And then there’s the almond flour crust. You’ve probably already read about my love for almond flour – it’s one of my favorite flours to bake with, and honestly, it’s just a bonus that it’s gluten-free. I adore the texture that almond flour brings to baked goods – it helps keep them tender and moist, but has that subtle nuttiness that really heightens the other flavors it’s paired with.

Plus, it makes a mean shortbread crust – which is the perfect bottom layer for these lemony bars of bliss. I know you’re going to enjoy these, so let’s hop into the recipe!

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8″ square pan or 9″ round pan and set it aside.

How to make a simple Almond Flour Crust via @kingarthurflourStart your crust by combining the following ingredients in a small bowl:

2 cups almond flour
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons gluten-free cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk the ingredients together until combined.

How to make a simple Almond Flour Crust via @kingarthurflourAdd 6 tablespoons diced cold butter and work the mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender until it’s combined and crumbly.

How to make a simple Almond Flour Crust via @kingarthurflourDump the crumbly mixture into the prepared pan and shake it to distribute. Press the crust into the bottom and about 1/2″ up the sides of the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and bake the crust until it’s light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

How to make the ultimate Gluten-Free Lemon Squares via @kingarthurflourWhile the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, whisk together:

2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons gluten-free cornstarch
pinch of salt

Once the crust is done baking, remove it from the oven and pour the filling over the hot crust. Return the squares to the oven and bake them for 14 to 18 minutes, or until the filling appears set.

Remove the squares from the oven, and allow them to cool completely in the pan before cutting them into 2″ pieces. Cover the squares and refrigerate them until you’re ready to serve.

Perfect Gluten-Free Lemon Squares with an Almond Flour Crust via @kingarthurflourPlease bake, rate, and review our recipe for Gluten-Free Lemon Squares.

Print just the recipe.

Alyssa Rimmer
About

Alyssa grew up in Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she bakes and writes recipes for her blog Simply Quinoa. She’s been living gluten-free for over four years. Alyssa also authors her own food blog and enjoys ...

comments

  1. Dieselle

    These sound and look wonderful!
    Can I substitute potato starch for the gluten free corn starch in both the crust and the filling as my family does not tolerate cornstarch?

    Reply
  2. Lisa

    I have just had my allergy test and tested positive for allergies to both wheat and almonds. I am not gluten intolerant, though.
    Can I substitute oat or rice flour for the almond flour? What do you think? I could use regular cornstarch, so I’ve been looking at recipes that are more pudding like.

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Lisa – thanks for the message. Do you have access to another nut flour (say hazelnut)? That would be the best option as they have similar properties. If not, then I think oat flour would be better than brown rice flour. You’re going to have to play around with the proportions though – it won’t be a 1:1 as the flours are very different. I’d start with 1 1/2 cups of oat flour and if it seems too wet, keep adding 1 – 2 tablespoons at a time until you get the right texture. Hope that helps! Please come back and let us know how they turn out 🙂 – Alyssa

    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Erin, thanks for the note! Almond meal and our almond flour don’t have quite the same texture, so I can’t guarantee that they will work the same. If you do you almond meal, you might want to try adding a touch more cornstarch to help bind the crust. Hope that helps and I’d love to hear how they turn out for you! – Alyssa

  3. MaraGratia

    Those look wonderful. I would likely add lemon zest to the filling – I love what that can add. I will pass these along – I know folks who will swoon over these! Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Susan Brooks

    So great to have a gluten free baker. I have been a fan of King Arthur for close to 50 years. Now that I can’t eat gluten King Arthur is my go to choice again. Gluten free is so expensive I am reluctant to try new products. So I hold back and look for reviews.

    Reply
    1. Elaine Wilk

      They’re dessert. It’s a spiritual thing. Nutrition doesn’t need to enter into it. :o)

  5. Sharon

    hmm… going to try adding the lemon zest and wondering if that is confectioner’s sugar sprinkled on top?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Yes, that’s confectioners’ sugar on top – apply it just before serving, so it doesn’t soak in, OK? Good luck, and enjoy! PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Not for this custard, Amy. You may be able to find one that uses only starch online. Jon@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sadly no, Dana. Eggs are a requirement for the type of custard used for this bar. You may have luck finding a lemon bar recipe that only uses starch online, though they tend to be a little “gluey” for me. Jon@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tried palm sugar in our baking, Cindy. If you give it a try, let us know how it turns out. Jon@KAF

  6. littlemissblogger

    These look scrumptious!
    Please could you check out my cake, food, reviews and diy blog:
    Littlemiss-blogger.blogspot.co.uk
    Thanks xx

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      I have not tried them without butter, but I think the best replacement would be a vegan butter – like Earth Balance. I find that their sticks are pretty good in most recipes. Hope that helps! – Alyssa

  7. Cheryl

    Thank you for a recipe without potato starch. I’m allergic to potatoes and am so discouraged when the gluten free recipes and mixes contain potato starch.

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Cheryl, you’re welcome! I know that many gluten-free flours do contain potato starch, but have you tried making a blend at home? We offer an alternative, DIY flour blend at the end of many of our gluten-free recipes, that you might want to try. While it does contain potato starch, and for something like a bread recipe you’ll likely want to keep the potato starch because it will provide a bit more structure, but you could substitute 100% tapioca for many of the other baked goods and have great results. For things like pancakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, etc., that don’t need to rise a ton, I think tapioca would work great. Check out our Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe and read down in the directions for the blend. Hope that helps! – Alyssa

  8. Karen

    I made two batches of these this week! One to take to a church potluck and one to have here at home. Here at home ended up being made in a my tart pan and was reminiscent of the lemon tarts we got in France. I ended up using cashew flour because it was what I had on hand. It was a huge hit.

    Reply
    1. Renee

      I used arrow root and it worked out fine, only thing that I didn’t like is that the lemon yolk liquid absorbed into the crust–bummer!

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      To prevent the filling from sinking into the crust, try baking it for just a few minutes longer: 12-15 minutes so that it can set up better. Also, consider giving it an egg wash before par-baking. This can help create a seal that prevents the bottom crust from getting soggy. Good luck! Kye@KAF

  9. Michael B

    I use Meyer lemons for my bars. These lemons give a unique, fantastic flavor variation that I just love. You can get these lemons only for a short time every year, so buy a bunch and squeeze them and freeze the juice so you can make bars any time throughout the year. Your fans will cheer!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      I really love the idea of using Meyer lemons with these bars. Whenever they’re in season, I too take advantage of it, but I would have never thought of freezing the juice. Such a great idea! Thanks, Michael. – Alyssa

    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Kitty, another commenter mentioned that they substituted coconut sugar in the filling and used less sugar in the crust and they turned out really well. I haven’t tested it myself, but I think you could also try a low-carb option like Truvia or something similar. Hope this helps! – Alyssa

    2. Taniia Beverly

      Try using xylitol.The measure is1 for 1 in a recipe, and it doesn’t cause a diabetic spike when cooking with this product. It also doesn’t decay the teeth. I’m a pastry chef in Florida and I’ve been cooking and baking for diabetics a long time.

  10. Karen

    Two questions: how long do you think these will last in the fridge? (Want to make a batch for myself to nibble on, not to share!) And could you freeze them?

    I love the idea of using little tart pans for something fancy. That would be a good way to use the ones I have in storage, and not using. Maybe with a little blueberry or two on top right before serving?

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Karen, thanks for the comment! I’d say that they’d last at least a few days in the fridge (and would certainly make the perfect snack!). As far as freezing goes, I’m not sure about that one. My preference would be to not freeze them as I wouldn’t want it to mess with the filling. Let us know how they turn out! – Alyssa

  11. challah007

    Yum! I try hard to find gf recipes that will appeal to everyone in the group I bake for, since only one person is gf and this will work great. Assuming that one follows the recipe to the letter, how to produce those beautiful, clean pieces like those in the picture? Are there any special tips or tricks you can share?

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      My best suggestion would be to cut the squares with a knife that has been dipped in hot water. This tends to give you a clean edge and prevents the filling from sticking. You also might want to cut off the outer crust which will help give you a more even square to work with. Hope that helps! – Alyssa

  12. Robin E. Leal

    My came out so delicious. I used 5 T sugar for the crust instead of 6. I used 3/4 cup sugar(palm sugar) instead of 1 cup for the filling.
    Next time I’m going to try even less sugar!
    Robin

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Thanks for sharing, Robin! I’m really excited to hear that they worked with less sugar AND coconut sugar. Many of our readers look for lower sugar options, so thank you for sharing your success! – Alyssa

    2. catiebaker

      Alyssa,
      In your reply, you thanked Robin for her comment on lessening the sugar in the recipe, and mentioned her using coconut sugar. I don’t see that in her comment. Are you referring to something else? I didn’t think palm sugar and coconut sugar are the same either. What am I missing here?

      I was going to make these in the AM, so wondered if you would clarify please?
      Many thanks for your wonderful recipes and tips! I have been reviewing your blog too. I can see your previous life as a marketer in your work. Your presentations, and attitude come through! All to the good for us as your audience, and cooking fans!

      All the best,
      Catherine

    3. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Sorry for the confusion on this one! Coconut sugar and palm sugar are the same thing. I tend to call it coconut sugar, but others refer to it as palm sugar. I think that’s where the confusion is 🙂 Does that help? Let me know if you have other questions! – Alyssa

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      To see the recipe in ounces or grams, just click on the bullet for whichever you choose, located above the word “ingredients” in the recipe. ~ MJ

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Those pan sizes are comparable, and the recipe should be just fine. Add a few minutes to the bake time so they’re fully done. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  13. Kat

    I made these last night and I used Glucomannan instead of cornstarch and truvia instead of sugar. Maybe bc of these substitutions, I’m not really sure, but I found I had to cook my crust for about 35mins before adding the filling and even then, even though the edges of the crust were starting to brown, the crust in the bottom of the pan was very mushy still. When I poured in the filling it actually mixed WITH the “crust” that was along the bottom and I kind of went with it and incorporated it all together with a spoon. Then I baked it all together for about 25-30mins bc I wanted to be sure it was good and set. It turned out BEAUTIFULLY and I’ll definitely be making it again – especially since it is so decadent, yet guilt-free. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello, Kat. I would say with a recipe such as this (gluten free!) it is best to stick to as written for best results. We hope you will try again! Elisabeth@KAF

  14. susanallain

    I just made these. Very tasty. I added lime zest too and 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract because that is what is in my citrus bar recipe. The only bad thing is the 8×8 pan is too small for the crust. It is very thick and went up an inch or more up the sides. The filling took a lot longer to cook also. I cooked it first for 24 min and after it cooled it was still gooey. I had to put it back in to cook. I cooked it for another 15 minutes. I should have figured that because my other recipe cooks for 25-30 min for a 9×13 pan. I didn’t use metal or glass either. I will try again in a bigger pan. The crust is very good too.

    Reply
  15. Lila

    Thank you so much for this recipe, I followed directions exactly except I used tapioca starch instead of corn starch. It was delicious everyone raved about them.
    Is it possible to freeze them?

    Reply
  16. Colleen

    Not sure I understood your reply as to pan size. Do you have to double the recipe if you want to use a 9×13 instead of a 9″ round pan?

    Also, is there any reason not to use KAF non-melting sugar for dusting the squares? I love the non-melting sugar and use it regularly for dusting cakes, cookies, etc.

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Colleen – I would suggest doubling the recipe for the larger pan size. And yes, the non-melting sugar would certainly work! – Alyssa

  17. nlwhite911

    I made these for a gluten-free friend of mine. Later I asked him how they were. His comment was: My friend and I sat down and polished off the whole pan, and I don’t even like lemon bars but these were sooooo good. I’ve made these again and substituted 1/4 cup limoncello and added lemon juice to make up the 1/3 cup. I also added 1-2 tsp grated lemon zest. yummmmm!

    Reply
  18. Rita Horn

    Why are the crusts on my almond bars turning soggy after a few hours in the fridge? Should I prebake the crust longer? Add more cornstarch?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Rita,
      Yes, it may be that your crust is slightly underbaked. Try a few more minutes in the oven to see if that helps. ~ MJ

  19. Alexandra

    It was amazing! I really let all my ingredients come to room temp ( I read ain a few comments that their liquids didn’t set and had to add extra time) could room temp be the reason it turned out .. Perfectly?!

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Most baked goods benefit from a room temperature start, so it sounds like you did the right thing! Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  20. Kathi S.

    This recipe sounds great! I’ve been using lemons lately for lemon cello and need to use the juice. Made a great lemon sorbet to die for. Now I’ll try these lemon bars next!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We had best success with this recipe as written, using granulated sugar instead of confectioners or powdered sugar. Wishing you well in your smooth lemon square success! Irene@KAF

  21. Megan

    I used arrowroot instead of cornstarch. And stevia instead of sugar. It came out awesome. My family loves it.

    Reply
  22. RLR

    I noticed at least one comment requesting nutritional values. Since I am figuring them I thought I’d share what I came to with. I used calorie count to analyze the recipe as written above and not including the dusting of powdered sugar.
    Calories 122
    Fat 5.0
    Saturated fat 3.0
    Cholesterol 35.0
    Sodium 76.0
    Carbs 19.4
    Fiber 0
    Sugar 17.2
    Protein 0.9
    And for those that track it, potassium is 16.
    No, it’s not the healthiest thing out there, but it is a good once in a while treat! I appreciate all the other tips and suggestions in the comments before mine and can’t wait to try it with lime juice.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jaya, coconut flour behaves very different than almond flour does—it’s very absorbent and won’t create the same sturdy texture that almond flour will. You could use 1 1/2 cups of almond flour along with 1/2 cup of coconut flour, if you’d like to incorporate some coconut flour into the mixture. I hope that helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We find there’s plenty of zesty lemon flavor that comes from the lemon juice, so lemon oil is not needed in this recipe. If you really want to add 1/4 teaspoon to the filling, you’re welcome to go for it—there’s no baking police! 🙂 Kye@KAF

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