Lemon Bars (gluten and grain-free, dairy-free)

Lemon Bars (Grain-free) - She Cooks, He Cleans

Lemon bars seem to be a nice, light dessert, with their innocent-looking sweet tartness and summery color.  However if you spend anytime browsing recipes, you know that they are evil – usually full of sugar and flour (up to 3 cups of sugar in a small pan)!  I had written them off, until I came across a recipe from Paleo Newbie for these Lemon Bliss Bars.  The ingredients were simple – a nutty crust covered with lemon custard.  No processed sugar, and a shockingly low amount of sweetener (1/2 cup honey).

I made a different crust, but followed the lemon topping recipe exactly (well, almost…I had to use a mixture of lemon and lime juice).  We LOVE these bars!  It may be the addition of lime juice, but they are very reminiscent of key lime pie.

Note:  Since this lemon custard is made with whole eggs instead of just yolks, you may notice some strands of cooked egg white in the mixture as it thickens.  You can strain these out if you’d like, before spreading the custard on the crust.  I chose to leave them in, and have not really noticed them while eating the bars.



  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 5 or 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter (see note in instructions)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Lemon topping:

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice and/or lime juice
  • 6 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and dates until they resemble coarse meal.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until just combined, taking care not to turn it into a nut butter.  [Note: if you don’t have coconut butter, you can just use 1/2 cup of coconut oil.]  Spread the mixture evenly into an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

In a heavy saucepan, combine the lemon juice, eggs, and honey over medium heat.  Slowly stir in the coconut oil.  Stir continuously until the mixture thickens – this happens very quickly so watch closely.  When thickened, spread evenly over the baked crust.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until completely chilled.  Cut into squares and be prepared to enjoy!  Store in refrigerator.

jitterbugGot just the thing to go with these heavenly bars! The Jitterbug Vipers with Phoebe’s Dream. This is “viper jazz”, a throw back to the ragtime age, music made to dance to after you’ve had a “stick of tea”. (And if you don’t know what that is, I ain’t gonna tell ya…). Featuring the legendary swing guitarist Slim Richey and sultry vocalist Sarah Sharp, this is wild stuff. With numbers such as “That Was The Sauce Talking” and “Stuff It”, the Vipers are hip, funny and swing like…well, you understand. Or you don’t. Get hip to Jitterbug Vipers!


16 thoughts on “Lemon Bars (gluten and grain-free, dairy-free)

  1. WANT….This lemon lusciousness…and..WANT…the Jitterbug Vipers latest CD…

    Question….if I have mysteriously “run out of” Medjool dates…could I sub in fresh, very ripe figs?…Or “figues moelleuses”…soft dried figs?..Quantity if so?…I COULD be patient…I suppose and actually wait until I get myself to the market to buy said dates….but am feeling so inspired to make these wonders…asap…Thank you very much for the generous share…beautifully photographed by-the-by!!!!

    1. Ah, Donna…thank you, as always! I think you could substitute another dried fruit, and figs should be delicious. The purpose is to add a little bit of sweetness to the crust, with moisture being secondary. I would guess the figs are approximately the same size as pitted dates, so try 5 or 6. The quantity is not critical to the recipe. Hope you love the treats!

      1. Thanks for the ultra-quick response!!…Will give my little figs a shot stat!! I’ll also let you know if mine are as utterly gorgeous as your own.

    1. Hi Dave! Coconut butter is solid at room temp and in the refrigerator, so I’m not sure if coconut cream would accomplish the same thing in the crust. It might, however, work in the filling – – although I can’t vouch for it since I haven’t tried it. I don’t have much experience with coconut cream. If you try it, let us know!

  2. These look so tasty! I love lemon desserts for something sweet and bright but not to overbearing like chocolate can be sometimes. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate!) The crust looks like it could be versatile for many things as well in the future. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. I think these lemon bars aren’t too much of an extravagance! The main sugars are dates and honey, and they are spread out over many lemon bars. (I love carbs too. It’s a struggle.)

  3. Hi. I made the bars and they were VERY tasty. Just one problem: the lemon topping didn’t really set. It did get thicker while I was cooking it but it remained somewhat liquidey even after a couple hours in the fridge. Any suggestions?

    1. The only thing I can think of is maybe it needed to be cooked longer. I remember it getting very thick in the pan, to the point it was difficult to spread out evenly. If it needs help thickening, scoop out a little of the filling (while cooking) and mix it with a teaspoon or so of tapioca starch (or arrowroot, cornstarch, etc), then add back in to the pan and cook until it is thick.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply! I thought of adding cornstarch but didn’t do it. Next I will. Thanks!

  4. Do you have any ideas for what I might be able to use instead of Almond Flour? I have an allergy to almonds…

    Thank you!

    1. I think about any flour would likely work here, but I wouldn’t use something with a strong flavor that does not go with lemon. The dates, egg, and coconut oil will hold it together. Hope you enjoy!

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