Low Sugar Lemon Bars Recipe
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Low Sugar Lemon Bars Recipe

These low sugar lemon bars by Registered Dietician, Lauren Marucci (@theperfectpairr) are a refreshing treat, especially when the weather starts to warm up. These lemon bars contain less sugar than traditional recipes but you wouldn’t even notice!

LOW SUGAR LEMON CURD

The key for this recipe is to make a low sugar lemon curd. Lemon curd is simply lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, a little bit of flour, and some sugar. You could completely omit the sugar in this recipe but they would be very tart!

All you have to do is whisk the curd ingredients until smooth and pour into the cooled crust. That’s it! I don’t recommend eating the curd before cooking because of the raw eggs. If you want to make just the curd, I’d cook on low heat while stirring frequently for about 20 minutes.

CREAMY LEMON SQUARES

These low sugar lemon bars are bursting with tart lemon flavor. You won’t even realize they’re lower in sugar than other lemon bar recipes!

The crust is rich and buttery, which provide a great texture to contrast with the filling, which is tart yet a little sweet. The end result are creamy lemon squares that are hard to stop eating!

 

INGREDIENT HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Almond + white whole wheat flours – this combo gives the crust a rich, buttery flavor and keeps it soft once the bars are done baking and cooling.

  2. Butter – you can’t have lemon bars without a shortbread-like crust so butter is necessary here!

  3. Lemon juice + zest – I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice in this recipe. It will give the best lemon flavor! The combo of juice and zest really gives a strong lemon flavor.

  4. Eggs – letting the eggs come to room temp before mixing into the filling will allow them to evenly combine with the rest of the ingredients and prevent any chunks from forming while the bars bake.

  5. Sugar – while these are “low sugar,” you still need some to balance out the tartness from the lemons. White sugar works best but you can sub honey or maple syrup!

 

RECIPE FAQ

Do you have to cool the crust before adding the filling for lemon bars?

Yes. This will prevent the eggs in the filling from cooking too quickly and forming scrambled eggs. Let the crust cool completely before adding the filling!

How do you know if the lemon bars have cooked long enough?

You want the lemon bars to be slightly jiggly when you’re taking them out of the oven. They can over-bake if you wait until they’re completely stiff in the oven. They will firm up as they cool!

Does homemade lemon curd need to be refrigerated?

Yes! If you make the curd filling ahead of time, store in an air-tight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. There are raw eggs in the filling, which require it to be refrigerated. I also recommend storing the bars in the refrigerator after they’ve been baked!

 

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SHORTBREAD CRUST

  1. 1 cup (102g) almond flour

  2. 1/2 cup (82g) white whole wheat flour

  3. 1/3 cup (82g) unsalted butter, cubed

  4. 2 Tbsp honey

  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract

  6. 1/4 tsp salt

 FOR THE LEMON CURD FILLING

  1. 2/3 cup (170g) fresh lemon juice (~4-6 lemons)

  2. 1/2 cup (112g) granulated sugar

  3. 3 large eggs, room temperature

  4. 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour

  5. 2 tsp lemon zest

  6. 1/4 cup powdered sugar, optional (for topping)

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE SHORTBREAD CRUST

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Mix crust ingredients in a large bowl until the mixture resembles wet sand.  You may need to use your hands!

  3. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown.

  4. Let cool while you make the filling.

FOR THE LEMON CURD FILLING

  1. Whisk filling ingredients until there are no clumps.

  2. Pour into completely cooled crust.

  3. Bake 20-22 minutes or until filling is mostly set (a little jiggle is okay).

  4. Let cool for 45 minutes at room temp and chill for ~5 hours or overnight.

  5. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.

Enjoy!