These vegan lemon bars are easy to make, delicious, and full of lemon flavor thanks to a finger-licking vegan lemon curd.
This is a colorful and fun dessert recipe, perfect to make for your family and friends.
What to expect
Vegan lemon bars are a simple dessert made with an easy, lemony shortcrust pastry as a base, and finger-licking lemon curd on top.
We use everyday ingredients for this recipe, and we simplified the steps to make these bars as much as possible, so you can have this delicious treat whenever you want to, without much work at all.
These vegan lemon bars are a colorful and fun dessert that will surprise everyone with their light lemony crust and irresistible lemon curd.
Ingredients and substitutions
Vegan shortcrust pastry
- Flour: you can use all-purpose flour or a blend of half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour.
- Sugar: white sugar or brown sugar.
- Oil: any neutral vegetable oil. We like to use sunflower seed oil.
- Lemon zest: to add a pleasant lemony flavor to our crust.
- Baking powder: just a tiny bit, to make the crust more friable.
Vegan lemon curd
- Plant milk: you can use any plant milk, such as oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and so on.
- Sugar: any.
- Cornstarch: this is essential to thicken the curd.
- Lemons: lemon curd requires lemon juice and lemon peel. Make sure your lemons are ripe, and I would also recommend to get organic ones, since we are using the peel.
- Turmeric: to add the yellow colour to our vegan lemon curd. You won't taste it, it's just for color.
Vegan shortcrust pastry
Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
Line the baking pan with parchment paper. I'm using a squared 10 by 10 inches or 25 by 25 cm pan, but a round one of 10 inches or 26 centimeters in diameter is also totally fine.
What’s important is to let some of the parchment paper go over the edges of the pan so that it will be easier to remove the pie from it once baked.
To a bowl, add ¼ cup or 50 grams of sugar, 3 tablespoons or 45 grams of water, 3 tablespoons or 40 grams of vegetable oil, and the grated zest of one lemon.
Mix with a spatula to combine the ingredients, then sift in 1⅓ cups or 200 grams of all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon or 5 grams of baking powder.
We mix with a spatula till the flour absorbs the liquids, then with our hands, we knead the dough for just a minute. We can do this in the bowl since we really just have to bring the ingredients together.
For this pie crust, we don’t want to knead the dough too much because we don’t want to develop the gluten that would make our pie crust less crumbly and too compact.
Next, we transfer the dough into the baking pan and compress it with our hands to create a base layer of dough, making sure the dough sticks together.
Now make some holes with a fork, then bake in the oven at 350F or 180C for 15 minutes.
Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before adding the lemon curd on top. Do not turn off your oven, as we'll need it again in a minute.
Vegan lemon curd
So, while the pie crust cools down, we can make the lemon curd.
The secret to great lemon curd is, well, good lemons, or better, their peel and juice. So as a first step, remove the peel from one lemon and add it to a medium saucepan.
Then take 3 medium-size lemons, you can reuse the zested lemon and the peeled lemon, cut them in half, and squeeze their juice.
You’ll need ⅓ cup or 80 grams of lemon juice. Pass it through a sieve and into a small container and set aside.
Filtering the lemon with a sieve is important because we don’t want any lemon pieces or seeds in our lemon curd.
Now to the medium saucepan, add 2 cups or 500 grams of plant milk of your choice, we use rice milk, ½ cup or 100 grams of sugar, we use cane sugar, and ½ cup or 60 grams of cornstarch to help the lemon curd thicken.
Then if we want to give it some yellow color, we can add a pinch of turmeric powder.
Whisk to remove all lumps, then bring onto medium heat and keep stirring till the curd thickens up.
Remove the lemon peel, then add the lemon juice and keep stirring for another minute until the lemon juice is fully absorbed by the custard. And here you go, that’s our vegan lemon curd and It’s absolutely incredible!
The final step in making our vegan lemon bars is to pour the lemon curd onto the baked crust and level it off with a spatula.
Bake in the oven at 350F or 180C for another 15 minutes then let cool down for about an hour before taking it out of the pan.
Cut the big square into smaller squares or bars, and serve. Right before serving, we can sprinkle with powdered sugar on top of the vegan lemon bars, keeping in mind that it will dissolve after a few seconds.
Vegan lemon bars can be easily turned into a vegan lemon tart with a crunchy base,
or into a vegan lemon crostata with a soft base.
Dinner menu ideas
Serve these vegan lemon bars as a dessert with:
Mini pizzas as a starter.
Oven-baked chickpea stew as a main.
Cauliflower rice with lemon and parsley as a side dish.
You can keep the vegan lemon bars at room temperature for about half a day.
To keep them for longer, store them in the refrigerator, flat on a plate, for a couple of days, and don’t stack the bars on top of each other, or they’ll get soggy.
Vegan lemon bars
- baking pan 10 by 10 inch (25 by 25 cm)
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower, canola, or other)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 lemon (the grated zest)
- 2 cups plant milk (almond, oat, rice, soy, or other)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 pinch turmeric (for the yellow color)
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar optional to sprinkle on top
- Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. Line the baking pan with parchment paper, letting some of the parchment paper go over the edges of the pan so that it will be easier to remove the pie from the pan.
- To a bowl, add the grated zest of one lemon, sugar, water, and oil. Mix with a spatula to combine.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix with a spatula till the flour absorbs the liquids.
- With your hands, knead the dough for just a minute. You can do this in the bowl.
- Transfer the dough into the baking pan and flatten it and compress it with your hands to create a compact base layer of dough.
- Make some holes with a fork, then bake in the oven at 350F or 180C for 15 minutes. Keep the oven turned on once baked.
- To a medium saucepan, add the peel of one lemon (not the grated zest, the peel), plant milk, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of turmeric to add a light yellow colour.Stir with a whisk till there are no lumps.
- Squeeze the lemons to produce ⅓ cups (80 grams) of lemon juice. Filter it with a sieve and set it aside (you don't want small bits of lemon in the curd).
- Bring the saucepan onto medium heat and stir the liquid with a whisk until it thickens.
- Add the lemon juice and keep stirring with the whisk to incorporate the lemon juice in it until it's fully absorbed by the custard.
- Let the crust cool down for 10 minutes, then pour the lemon curd onto the baked crust and level it off with a spatula.
- Bake in the oven at 350F or 180C for another 15 minutes.
- Let cool down for about an hour before taking it out of the shape.Cut into squares and serve. Right before serving you can sprinkle with powdered sugar, but keep in mind that it will dissolve after a seconds.