Low-Carb, Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Lemon Bar Recipe

Low-Carb Lemon Bars
Low-Carb Lemon Bars. Richard Jung/Getty Images
Total Time 65 min
Prep 30 min, Cook 35 min
Yield 12 squares

There are two kinds of lemon bars in this world. First are the bright yellow ones that usually have a lot of lemon and a lot of sugar (I've seen as much as 3 1/2 cups of sugar for a 13 X 9" pan of lemon bars!). Then there are ones with a lighter yellow hue, the bright lemon yellow mellowed by the addition of milk. It turns out that the milk or cream rounds out the sharpness of the lemon, so that less sugar is required, but you still get plenty of lemon flavor.

Fresh lemon juice is much better than bottled for this recipe, and the zest of the lemon adds lots more flavor. Plus, these lemon bars feature an almond flour crust and powdered sugar substitute, making them low-carb, sugar-free, and gluten-free. This is a rich dessert -- good for those on ketogenic diets who are trying to add fats.


  • Crust
  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour (the kind without almond skins ground into it)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar substitute (not granulated)- I use erythritol 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter
  • Filling
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (this should be the amount from 5 lemons, depending on the size and the juiciness of them)
  • Add enough water to the juice to make a total of 1 1/4 cups liquid
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon zest (a microplane grater works best for this)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup erythritol or similar powdered sugar substitute
  • More zero-carb sweetener to taste -- You should use the equivalent of 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, depending on your preference. I use liquid sucralose (the sweetener in Splenda).
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • dash of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare a 13 X 9" pan - either just butter it very well or line it with greased parchment paper or foil. I find that no matter what, they are easier to cut after chilling for several hours, and I can usually remove them from the pan no problem.

1. For the crust, put the almond meal, erythritol, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the lumps are gone.

Alternatively, use a bowl and whisk.

2. Cut the cold butter into medium cubes (16 cubes is about right). Add a few at a time to the mixture, either pulsing the food processor or, if mixing by hand, using a pastry blender or two table knives. Blend until the mixture looks like a crumbly meal.

3. Pour the mixture into the pan. Smooth with your hand until crust is even, then press until firm.

4. Bake until just golden brown, about 15 minutes, but start checking at 10 minutes, as once it starts to brown it goes quickly. Remove the pan, then turn the oven down to 300 degrees F.

5. Cool the crust on the counter for a few minutes, and then pop it into the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, until firm (don't wait until it's totally cold).

6. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a blender, and pour over the crust.

7. Bake until the egg mixture is just set (the center should barely jiggle when you gently shake the pan).

This should take about 15-20 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter until room temperature, then chill completely before cutting (at least two hours). If you like, sprinkle powdered erythritol over the top (sift through a sieve).

Nutritional Information (per square): 3 grams effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber (5 grams total carbohydrate), 6 grams protein, and 226 calories.


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