Healthy Lemon Bars (Low Carb/Low Calorie/Gluten Free/Paleo/Vegan)

Healthy Lemon Bars

Heck with lemonade. When life gives me lemons, I’m making lemon bars.

Let’s face it: we all have to deal with lemons. And sometimes they’re not even the cool lemons like the ones on 30 Rock played by Tina Fey. Nod your head because you understood that reference. Yes. Good.

Healthy Lemon Bars

I’m sorry posting has been a bit intermittent lately. See that super multi-syllabic word I just used? Four syllables, to be exact. Now you know how much studying I’ve been doing.

The next few weeks will be a bit hectic, but come summer, you are so stuck with me. (Please contain your enthusiasm.) Food overload is coming your way.

Healthy Lemon Bars

Speaking of overload, I’ve gotten into the habit of testing recipes in sudden baking extravaganza spectacular which mysteriously leave a spectacular amount of dirty dishes in the sink. Weird.

These very healthy lemon bars were made at the same time as my new favorite biscotti and, well… I bake in stretchy pants for a reason.

Healthy Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars. I love them so much that I don’t even care whether they’re called lemon bars or lemon squares (it is lemon bars, but whatever). They help me channel my inner Downton Abbey. I envision an assortment of cookies and those cute little tea sandwiches neatly literally handed to me on a silver platter.

I love lemon bars, but I love l.o.v.e. LOVE these lemon bars. The crust, that amazing texture, and the tangy but not too tangy lemony flavor… wow.

Healthy Lemon Bars

Seriously, I cannot recommend them enough. The crust can be made with with whole wheat flour or chickpea flour, and the secret ingredient in the filling is Greek yogurt (or vegan yogurt, if that’s your groove). Plus, they’re 35 calories each. Thirty five calorie lemon bars. Oh my gosh.

This is my go-to recipe. And now it will be yours! I can prove it to you over tea. Shall I have my people call your people?

Healthy Lemon Bars

Dedicated to all cancer patients, survivors, and caretakers. The two year anniversary of my mother’s surgery as a method of treatment for her stage II breast cancer was a few days ago (thanks to the Good Lord, she is currently healing), and I am participating in the Revlon walk for women’s cancer tomorrow. May God bring you healthy and happiness. I wish I could take all the lemons in your life and make them into lemon bars for you.

Healthy Lemon Bars (Low Carb/Low Calorie/Gluten Free/Paleo/Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16 bars
For crust:
  • ¼ cup white whole wheat flour or chickpea flour
  • 1 Tablespoon applesauce
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons of almond milk
  • 1½ Tablespoons erythritol or cane cane sugar OR 1 packet NuNaturals Stevia
  • pinch salt
For filling:
  • 4 beaten eggs, or 2 Tablespoons Ener-g Egg Replacer stirred with ½ cup water until thick
  • 1 cup erythritol or cane sugar
  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ Tablespoon tapioca starch
  • ⅔ cup white whole wheat flour OR almond meal
  • 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) Greek yogurt (I used 0%, but 2% or whole would be lovely as well.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (for color)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crust and stir until completely combined. Spread in a greased or nonstick sprayed 8x8 baking dish. There is not a lot of crust, so you need to be very careful to evenly spread the batter across the bottom of the dish. I used a fork and quite a bit of patience for this. Cook in the oven at 350°F for 18 minutes, or until firm and the edges are crispy. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until smooth. Feel free to add additional sweetener to taste. Pour onto the cooked and slightly cooled crust and bake in the oven at 350°F for about 25 minutes, or until firm. Stick in the fridge for as long as you can stand it, then cut into bars and devour.
For a vegan version, use egg replacer and vegan-friendly yogurt.

For a paleo-friendly version, use almond meal and erythritol. I have not tried almond meal in the crust and therefore cannot vouch for it, by I assume it would work just fine.

Nutritional information calculated using erythritol, egg replacer, white whole wheat flour, and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar Calories: 35 Fat: 0 grams

Healthy Lemon Bars

What is your favorite kind of bar? (Of the food sort, of course)

I love lemon bars. I love them so much that I said the exact phrase “I love lemon bars” four times in this post. You’re welcome. Love you too.




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  1. says

    My favorite bar is a wine bar…oh, wait, is that inappropriate to tell an underaged person? Heh…my favorite bar is actually these iced cappucino brownies I haven’t made in forever…or maybe its oatmeal peanut butter cocoa no-bakes…or…I digress.
    I am loving the looks of these lemon bars. They are the perfect spring tea party type of thing.

  2. chris says

    Would the crust work with protein powder?

    Also, is there a way to replace the erythritol/sugar with liquid stevia? I’m not sure if you need the bulking agent.


    • says

      Hi Jesse! Yes, I think oat flour for the crust and filling would be just fine. I’m not sure about leaving the yogurt out though… it’s pretty important to the texture. Perhaps mashed banana would be a suitable substitute? I’ve never made this recipe without the yogurt.

  3. Charlotte says

    These look so summer-y and amazing! As the fellow daughter of a cancer survivor, I thought your dedication was beautiful. I’m glad your mom is doing well!

  4. Kat says

    Hey. These look good. I love your recipes, but there’s one thing that tends to irritate me. Your serving sizes are usually really small. I know that moderation is key and whatever, but I’d rather have one big 70 calorie cookie that I could sink my teeth into, instead of 7 10 calorie cookies the size of a teaspoon.
    Thanks !

    • says

      I really appreciate the feedback, Kath. As a note in general, you can certainly make fewer, larger servings out of a recipe. In this case, you could make 9 rather large lemon bars for only 65 calories a piece. You brought up an excellent point: as I think about it, I would prefer 10 smaller cookies instead of one large one, but that’s just a personal preference. Would you like me to include nutritional information for both large and small servings? I’m happy to do it, but I already typically include lots of possible recipe substitutions (or even a second version of the recipe) and I just don’t want to overwhelm/confuse people. Thoughts?

      • paleogirl says

        Kelly, that was a very polite answer to a very snarky and frankly just foolish question. If you want to change the serving size, just multiply the number of calories per serving by the number of servings to get the total calories…and then just divide by how many (larger) servings you made and that gives you the calories per serving again. Basic math, people. No need to get pissy about serving sizes.

  5. kristen says

    Hi Kelly- yet another awesome looking recipe. Your site is a regular “go-to” for delicious recipes – keep up the great work! I was wondering if you have an easy way to make one of your recipes single serve? I would like to make the lemon bars but I like making just one so I can have a variety of desserts throughout the week.

    • says

      Thank you very much Kristen! I love the idea of single serve, and do have a variety of single serve recipes, and I’ll try to work on a single serve version of lemon bars. You could try to scale the recipe down, but I can’t vouch for those results.

    • says

      Hello Chef Rachel! In the recipe notes, I give a paleo version. However, I was not aware yogurt was not allowed on palo. Could you please explain?

      • says

        Hi Kelly,

        Sorry, I somehow missed the paleo notes. Now I see them. Milk products are excluded from most paleo diets. Some people draw the boundaries in different places. Some include butter and ghee (because the former contains very little if any of the allergenic properties of milk, casein and lactose, and the latter has all of those removed. Primal diet is the paleo diet with some dairy added (often as cheese, butter, ghee, kefir and other fermented dairy).

        I have not seen any paleo cookbooks using erythritol or other sugar alcohols, probably because they are such a modern food and can cause so much gas and bloating and gut inflammation for many people. It’s far more processed than stevia.

        As for subbing almond flour for grain flour, in most cases you will need a very different amount. It cannot be subbed one for one because it has a very different absorption rate than grain or bean flours.

        I realize that you want to satisfy different people’s requests and I think it is probably best not to offer a substitution that you have not tried when dealing with such diverse foods (meaning not as simple as replace basil with oregano or sage with thyme) and might not turn out pleasing. I mean no offense by this.

        • Rachel says

          Thanks Chef Rachel for pointing this out. I was going to, but wanted to make sure someone else didn’t first :)

          Kelly, I LOVE looking through your recipes! And attempting to paleo-ize some of them :) Keep up the great work! I second what Chef Rachel said – the only paleo approved baking alternatives are almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot flour or casava flour which are very different than other flours and cannot be substituted cup for cup (or tbsp for tbsp hehe). Chickpea flour would not be allowed because we don’t eat anything in the bean/legume/lentil family (which includes peanuts!). As she also said dairy is also not approved (depending on the person.) Some people are also “primal” and include raw dairy. Erythritol and other sweeteners, stevia included in most cases are also prohibited. Approved sweeteners are raw honey and 100% pure maple syrup are allowed in some cases, in moderation.

          Someone who is strictly paleo wouldn’t even have these or any modification of them because they don’t believe in “paleo-izing” anything. But that is insane to me, I have to have SOME goodies 😉

          Anyway, sorry to bombard you and I hope you don’t take any disrespect. Just offering some information :)

          Keep up the good work!!!

        • Selena S says

          Hi Kelly,
          I know this is kind of an old debate from like 8 months ago, but I just wanted to mention that honey is generally an acceptable sweetner for Paleo diets. So, substituting honey here or in other recipes would be acceptable in a Paleo version. Also, the filling could be remade with coconut oil and cashew meal instead of Greek yogurt and tapioca flour, and the filling would not have to be baked. Just a thought!

  6. Rachel says

    Hi there, I like your blog and this is a nice post. But just to clarify, these aren’t vegan at all. They have eggs and yogurt – both are animal products (eggs are from chickens and yogurt is from dairy/cows). Its also not gluten free… or 35 calories per bar. Just to clarify.

    • says

      Hi Rachel! Sorry for the confusion. I leave different options for substitutions to make the recipe vegan or gluten free. You can use vegan yogurt and Ener-g brand egg replacer to make them vegan and chickpea flour to make gluten free. I can give you a full calorie breakdown on these if you would like. Hope this helps!

  7. Jenny says

    Hello which recipe was used to get these at 35 calories per bar?! I’d like to know which recipe you used to get the calorie count that low thank u so much!

    • says

      Hi Jenny! I left a note at the end of the recipe saying, “Nutritional information calculated using erythritol, egg replacer, white whole wheat flour, and nonfat Greek yogurt.” Hope this helps!

  8. Ilana says

    Hello! This recipe looks awesome, and I want to try it right away, but I don’t have almond meal or whole wheat flour…. Could I use another type of gluten free flour like millet or chickpea? Help! My craving for lemony goodness is growing exponentially!

  9. Larissa says

    Hi I made this tonight using CoYo, coconut yoghurt!! Delicious! Thanks so much x

    Only mistake I made was I forgot that there’s a difference in US tablespoon measurements to australian tablespoon ie. 15ml to 20ml
    Think it might have made a difference in the crust… It wasn’t so crusty haha

  10. Bethany says

    Wow!! These lemon bars look so incredibly amazing!!! Oh, and I just happen to have lemons, AND greek yogurt!!! Yes!!! But I don’t have applesauce :( Could I possibly sub mashed banana for the applesauce?

  11. Courtney T says

    I just discovered your site and I already tried this recipe plus some of your other dessert recipes and omg my mind is blown. Healthy AND tasty?! I want to sing from my rooftop with delight 😀

  12. Beth says

    I hate to be the wet blanket at this party, but I made the recipe with only very minor changes and we really didn’t like them at all! We think the bars were too highly flavored with the white whole wheat flour, and we even found the smell to be off-putting! Maybe it was the concentration of eggs and flour–there was a good lemon flavor, but it definitely took second place to the strong whole wheat taste. The changes: 3/4 cups of sugar rather than the whole cup, tapioca flour rather than the starch, and I left out the lemon zest. I used fresh pastured eggs, and Meyer lemons from our own tree. Our local health food store didn’t have tapioca starch, only the flour. Even considering these changes, I really expected something way better.

  13. Jaylene says

    Kelly, after reading a few of the comments, I’ve come to the conclusion that you have the patience of a saint. Mine is not so fine tuned, and caught myself rolling my eyes several times. However, I love lemon, and was in need of a healthier alternative to tend to my craving now and then. This looks great, and I can’t wait to try it. I just made 37 calorie brownies. Horrifying. I brought them to work to see if I could find some starving people that would eat anything. I do think that there are some alterations in this recipe that could improve the brownies as well. Keep smiling and Thank You!


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