This easy Sugar Free Lemon Bars Recipe comes together in minutes. When you are craving a fresh and vibrant dessert my keto low carb lemon squares will be the perfect fix. This simple bar recipe is also gluten-free, grain-free, and Trim Healthy Mama friendly.
I love when readers send me recipes to test. Last month, I received this dough recipe from John in my email and I was intrigued by the use of milk powder. I gave it a try subbing in the heavy cream powder I had in my cupboard. It was a great dough! Very easy to work with and easier to make than a fathead type dough. It reminded me of the cream cheese dough I use in my pecan tassies.
Add in my current craving for light and refreshing spring flavors and this recipe for low carb keto lemon bars was born. I served these to friends a couple of days after making them and everyone loved them.
Are Lemon Bars Keto?
Traditional lemon squares are not keto friendly. They are full of carbs from the sugar and white flour used in them. That's why I wanted to develop a recipe for low carb sugar free lemon bars!
Ingredients in Almond Flour Crust:
- Almond Flour - Blanched almond flour has a mild flavor that works well in low carb baked goods. It has a tender crumb that is perfect in cakes, crusts, breads, muffins, cookies, rolls, pies, and biscuits.
- Heavy Cream Powder - you can sub in whole milk powder if necessary but this recipe was developed with heavy cream powder. I do offer other crust options in the next sections of this post.
- Coconut Flour - Coconut flour helps to balance the natural oiliness of almond flour since it is drier and absorbs more liquid than other keto diet friendly flours. A little goes a long way.
- Sugar-Free Sweetener - I like to use my homemade blend blend of xylitol, erythritol, and stevia in my recipes. By using a combination of sugar alcohols with stevia you can use half the amount required of 1:1 sweeteners and regular sugar.
- Cream Cheese - This makes the crust soft and tender while giving a boost of flavor!
- Eggs - Eggs are the binder to hold the crust together.
Crust for Gluten Free Sugar Free Lemon Bars
This cream cheese based crust mixes up in no time. Just add the ingredients for the crust to your stand mixer and turn it on. If you don't have a stand mixer you can mix this by hand or with an electric mixer.
This dough is unique in its use of heavy cream powder or whole milk powder. This makes the crust softer and enhances the flavor in the gluten free lemon bars.
If you'd prefer a crust without heavy cream powder try my Low Carb Pie Crust or the shortbread crust in my Pecan Tassies recipe.
How to Make Keto Lemon Bars
The filling for my lemon squares recipe is made easily either by hand or in your stand mixer. You just want to mix the ingredients until they are smooth. As long as you are using softened cream cheese and melted butter the filling comes together quickly.
Ingredients in Sugar Free Lemon Filling
Only 6 simple ingredients to make the perfect lemon custard filling for low carb lemon bars.
- Sugar-Free Sweetener - my sweetener is twice as sweet as sugar so you need less than other brands.
- Butter - regular salted butter is fine. The salt balances the sweetness of the other ingredients and highlights the tang of the lemon.
- Heavy Cream - aka heavy whipping cream. Using cream makes these so creamy.
- Eggs - whole large eggs are necessary for this recipe.
- Cream Cheese - I just use the store brand most of the time. Make sure to use full-fat cream cheese in this recipe.
- Lemon Juice - freshly squeezed is best for the most vibrant lemon flavor. If you must use bottled lemon juice also add some lemon extract.
Expert Tip - for a bolder lemon flavor add a teaspoon or two of lemon extract or lemon zest. You can even add some zest to the crust!
Can I use bottled lemon juice for lemon squares?
I don't recommend using bottled lemon juice for a dessert when lemon is the star flavor. The flavor just isn't as vibrant as squeezing fresh lemons. If you have to use bottled lemon juice make sure to choose one that tastes good. The rest of the ingredients are costly enough you don't want to have boring bland keto lemon bars from using a lesser quality bottled juice.
How to store Sugar Free Lemon Bars
I recommend storing this in the refrigerator since they have a lot of dairy ingredients in them. They will last a week in an air tight container in the fridge.
Can I Freeze Sugar Free Lemon Bars?
Yes! You can freeze lemon bars. Just freeze with a bit of space between them on a waxed paper or parchment-lined cookie sheet for an hour or two. Once they are thoroughly chilled wrap individually with plastic wrap.
Keto Dessert Bar Recipes
I love cookies but a lot of the time it's easier to just press a batter into an 8x8 baking dish. I default to bars and brownies over scooping individual cookies quite often when making low carb recipes. Here are some of my favorite easy keto recipes for bars.
Keto Chocolate Cake Bars with Cheesecake Swirl
Peppermint Cookies and Cream Bars
Tagalong Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Blondies
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- 3 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup heavy cream powder (or whole milk powder)
- 2 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon Joy Filled Eats Sweetener (or see alternatives in recipe notes)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Joy Filled Eats Sweetener (or see alternatives in recipe notes) finely ground
- 6 tablespoon butter softened
- ¼ cup cream light or heavy
- 3 eggs
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Beat softened cream cheese with paddle attachment in a stand mixer, scrape the bowl and then add the remaining ingredients.
- Add remaining ingredients into the mixer and mix all together. Mix until mixture leaves sides of the bowl. It is a very soft and delicate dough.
- Press into the bottom of the 8x8 baking dish. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Mix together the ingredients for the filling in the stand mixer until smooth. Pour over the pre-baked crust.
- Bake for 30-35 min or until the filling no longer jiggles if the pan is gently shaken. Cool completely. Gently lift the parchment paper to remove the bars from the pan. Cut into 12 pieces. Sprinkle with powdered sweetener right before serving if desired.
Originally Published April 10, 2019. Revised and Republished June 18, 2021.
Krissy W says
Taryn!! These are amazing!!!! Mine haven’t completely cooled, but I had to steal a small piece… OMG! I can’t wait to have one tomorrow. I was nervous about the dough/crust. I did use the heavy cream powder 👍🏼 Thank you for your time and sharing your fabulous recipes!!
I really appreciate all your great recipes. can the lemon bars be made without the cream cheese? If so do I need to replace it with something else, like butter for the crust?
Yes, try butter in the crust, but only a few tablespoons. For the filling, you can try ricotta cheese, mascarpone, or maybe sour cream. But I haven't tested them.
I am wondering about using whey protein powder? I already have that and wouldn’t have to buy additional ingredients. Thoughts?
Good idea! Yes, I think that would work. I would use half the amount though because it has a stronger flavor.
Samantha Whitson says
Oh my, yes~ these are likely next in my kitchen! I have a decent lemon bar recipe which I've developed somewhat over the years, but I'm intrigued by the addition of the heavy cream powder & cream cheese in both layers. I have it in my filling, but not the crust~ *which I do add a pinch of crushed, dried lavender to. Lavender does for lemon what tarragon does for blackberry, imho. Anyhow, just cruising your site, becoming more joy-filled by the minute....Samantha
P.S. Forgot to mention in my first comment that I found your sweetener blend a couple years ago, but didn't realize then that you had an entire recipe blog/website. I think I read it under someone else's youtube video~ another commenter had shared it as an alternative~ & I had already been working on various combinations of my own. I've been making & using yours ever since~ so thanks for that too!
I love the combination of lemon and lavender too 🙂
Do you think coconut milk powder would work instead of the cream powder? I can’t seem to find even milk powder. Thanks!
Yes, I think that would work.