Sweet and zesty, creamy vegan lemon bars that are easy to make and perfect for any special occasion.

Stack of 3 creamy vegan lemon bars on a small white plate on a marble countertop.

These delicious eggless lemon bars feature a buttery shortbread crust and creamy lemon curd made from soaked raw cashews and coconut cream, with a pinch of turmeric for colour! f you love lemon, these bars are perfect combination of tart and sweet.

They’re relatively easy to make, though you’ll need to plan in advance to soak the cashews. First, you’ll create the 3-ingredient dough for the crust and bake it until golden brown. The next step is to blend up the lemon cream, pour over the crust and bake the bars a second time.

Finally, the hardest part, waiting for them to cool before slicing and enjoying your delicious vegan lemon bars.

Recipe Features

  • Dietary: This lemon bars are made without eggs and are completely dairy-free.
  • Amazing creamy texture and fresh, tangy lemon flavour that’s not overly sweet.
  • Crispy, crumbly, buttery shortbread crust that’s perfect with the tart creamy filling.
  • Perfect for holidays! Try them for Christmas, Mother’s Day or Easter.

What You’ll Need

Complete list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is located in the recipe card below.

Visual of all the ingredients needed for making a creamy vegan lemon bar recipe.
  • Cashews: Use plain, raw cashews with no added oil or salt.
  • Coconut Cream: You can use canned coconut cream or make your own coconut cream using a can of full-fat coconut milk (see FAQ section).
  • Cornstarch: This can be substituted with arrowroot powder if needed.
  • Lemon: You’ll need a few lemons to make 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp plus 3 teaspoons of lemon zest (see FAQ section for how to make lemon zest).
  • Maple Syrup: Any variety works (dark, amber, light, etc). but be sure to use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup. It can be substituted with agave syrup if needed.
  • Turmeric: This is used to add yellow colour to the filling. Use about 1/8-1/4 tsp.
  • All-Purpose Flour: This recipe has not been tested with a gluten-free flour. If you’re experienced with gluten-free flour substitutions, go ahead and give it a try, however, I can’t guarantee how they’ll turn out.
  • Sugar: You can use coconut sugar, cane sugar or any other granulated sugar.
  • Vegan Butter: For a dairy-free recipe, I used Earth Balance but any brand of vegan butter works. I have not tested the recipe with coconut oil. If you’re not vegan, regular butter works as a substitution.
One creamy vegan lemon bar on a small white plate with a fork.

How to Make Lemon Bars

Before You Start: This recipe requires soaked cashews, so you’ll need to plan ahead for that. If you have a high-speed blender, you can soak for 4 hours. If you have a regular blender, I’d suggest soaking overnight or for 12 hours.

Step One: Make the crust.

When you’re ready to begin, preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking dish with 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper so it sticks out over at least two of the edges.

Add the crust ingredients to a mixing bowl or food processor and mix into a uniform consistency that you can shape into a ball. If the mixture seems to dry or crumbly, you can add an additional 1-2 tbsp of butter.

A ball of raw dough in a glass mixing bowl.

Use your hands to press the dough into the baking dish in an even layer, working it firmly into all the corners.

Hand pressing dough into a parchment paper-lined baking dish.

Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, then let cool completely before proceeding with the lemon filling.

A golden brown baked crust in a square baking dish lined with parchment paper.

Step 2: Make the lemon cream filling.

If you turned the oven oven off, preheat again to 350 F.

When you’re ready, drain and rinse the cashews then add them to a blender with the rest of the filling ingredients. Start blending on low then slowly increase the speed to high and blend until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy.

Give it a quick taste and see if you’d more lemon flavour or extra turmeric for colour.

A creamy lemon bar filling mixture in a blender container.

Pour the lemon cream over the cooled crust in the pan.

Overhead view of an unbaked lemon bar in a square baking pan lined with parchment paper. 2 slices of lemon are beside the pan.

Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the centre is set.

Vegan lemon bars in a square metal baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Let the bars cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge for at least one hour before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Numerous vegan lemon squares on an upside down baking tray on a marble surface. Slice of lemon and a lemon zester are in the background.

FAQs


Do I have to use a high-speed blender?

No, but the bars will be creamiest using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec.

If you don’t have a high-speed blender, make sure you soak the cashews at least overnight or for 12 hours.

Do I have to soak the cashews?

You don’t have to but the bars may be grainy if you skip it, so I would recommend soaking.

If you have a high-speed blender, you can do a “quick soak” by bring the cashews to a boil in a pot of water then removing from the heat and letting soak for 15 minutes.

If your blender isn’t all that powerful, I would suggest an overnight soak.

How do I make lemon zest?

If you don’t have a citrus planer, use a handheld or box grate to finely grate 3 tsp of peel from of a lemon.

If you don’t have a fine grater, you can slice a few chunks of peel off a lemon and chop as finely as you can using a sharp knife.

Where do I find coconut cream?

I like to buy canned coconut cream for convenience. You’ll need a little less than 1 full 14 oz can. The extra can be used in a smoothie, soup, oatmeal or curry or other dessert.

If you can’t find canned coconut cream, place 2 cans of good quality full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to make the recipe, open the cans and scoop the thick coconut cream off the top, leaving the watery portion behind.

The leftover water can be added to soups, smoothies or curries, etc.

Can you freeze vegan lemon bars.

Yes. To freeze these bars, make sure they’re completely cool then either freeze on a baking tray before transferring to an airtight container or store in an airtight container with a square of parchment paper between each bar to prevent them from sticking together.

The bars will keep in the freezer for 3-4 months and can be thawed at room temperature before enjoying.

3 vegan lemon squares stacked on an upside down baking tray with more lemon bars in the background.

Storing & Freezing

Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for 3-4 months. Frozen bars can be thawed at room temperature or in the fridge until serving.

Related Recipes

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Numerous vegan lemon squares on an upside down baking tray on a marble surface. Slice of lemon and a lemon zester are in the background.

Vegan Lemon Bars

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Creamy vegan lemon bars with a buttery shortbread crust for the perfect combination of sweet and tart.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, 180 g
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 67 g 
  • ½ cup vegan butter, softened, 113 g

For the Lemon Cream

  • 1 ⅓ cup raw cashews, 250 g
  • 1 cup coconut cream, 235 mL
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 25 g
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 122 mL 
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup, 113 g
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 5 mL
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest 
  • pinch of turmeric, for colour

Instructions

  1. Soak the Cashews: Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak in the fridge or covered at room temperature for at least 4 hours up to overnight (recommended 12 hours or overnight if you do not have a high-speed blender). 
  2. Prepare: When you’re ready to proceed, preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper so it sticks out over at least two of the edges. This will help with easy removal after baking.
  3. Mix the Crust: Mix all of the crust ingredients together with a spoon or a food processor until you get a moldable dough. You can add an additional 1-2 tbsp vegan butter if the dough seems too dry. 

  4. Press Dough into Pan: Use your hands to evenly press the dough into the prepared baking dish, firmly working it into all of the corners.
  5. Bake Crust: Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  6. If you turned the oven off while waiting for the crust to cool, preheat to 350 F.
  7. Blend Filling: Drain and rinse the soaked cashews then add them to a high-speed blender along with the rest of the lemon cream ingredients.
  8. Bake Bars: Once the crust has cooled, pour the lemon cream on top and bake the bars for 20-25 minutes, until the centre is set. 
  9. Cool: Allow to cool completely at room temperature and then transfer to the fridge for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving. Serve with a light dusting of sifted powdered sugar on top, if desired.

Notes

Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 186
  • Sodium: 76 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Keywords: vegan lemon bars, vegan lemon squares