The BEST sweet and tangy strawberry lemon bars are made with fresh strawberries and sit on top of a buttery gluten-free oat flour shortbread. They have a thick, melt-in-your-mouth crust and smooth, creamy lemon filling. The easiest summer dessert!
The best gluten-free strawberry lemon bars
I love lemon desserts! From these three-ingredient lemonade popsicles to these lemon drizzle cupcakes, and this lemon poppy seed crumb cake, lemon makes for the perfect sweet and tangy dessert. That’s why I am so excited to share this fun lemon bar recipe with you!
These strawberry lemon bars are so delicious! They have a pink-colored smooth, tangy lemon and strawberry custard filling and a buttery, thick oat flour shortbread crust. Each bite literally melts in your mouth.
This lemon bar recipe is so easy to make too. Follow my simple step-by-step instructions below, and you’ll feel like an expert baker!
This is the best, secretly gluten-free Summer dessert! The best part about these strawberry lemon bars is that you cannot tell they are made with healthier ingredients like oat flour, coconut sugar, honey, and fresh strawberries. Everyone will love them (trust me).
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Strawberry lemon bars are easy to make.
- They have a smooth, creamy, and custard-like filling.
- The perfect Summer dessert.
- The shortbread oat flour crust is buttery and gluten-free.
- Easily make these strawberry lemon bars dairy-free.
- The ideal birthday, party, brunch, Mother’s Day, Easter, and BBQ treat.
- Make them ahead of time.
- Easily freeze lemon bars for up to 3 months.
- Try these mini cheesecakes or lemonade popsicles next!
The taste and texture
These strawberry lemon bars are zesty, lemon-flavored, and not overly sweet. They taste very similar to classic lemon bars but have the added brightness and flavor of fresh strawberries. The primary flavor comes from the lemons, strawberries, and buttery shortbread crust.
Once baked and cooled, the strawberry lemon bars have a creamy, gooey filling and a thick, buttery shortbread crust. They are not runny or fluffy like a brownie or cake. The base of these lemon bars is crisp but soft with a similar texture to a shortbread cookie. The lemon filling is tangy, smooth, and custard-like.
Ingredients needed & substitutions
These strawberry lemon bars call for nine simple ingredients. You need oat flour, eggs, honey, lemons, butter, fresh strawberries, and a few other baking ingredients. You probably have everything in your pantry already. Here is a list of everything you need so you are prepared:
- Oat Flour: We use oat flour for the shortbread crust and to help set the lemon strawberry custard filling. I used store-bought Bob’s Red Mill oat flour which is naturally gluten-free. You can also use homemade oat flour; I left instructions in the FAQ section and recipe card notes for you.
- Coconut Sugar: To sweeten the buttery crust. You can also use light brown sugar.
- Butter: I love using salted butter. It makes the oat flour crust buttery and soft. You can also use dairy-free vegan butter or coconut oil to make these strawberry lemon bars 100% dairy-free.
- Vanilla Extract: For flavor.
- Eggs: For the base of the lemon filling.
- Lemons: You need about 10 or 12 lemons to make 1 cup of lemon juice.
- Strawberries: You also need 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries to flavor and naturally color these lemon bars.
- Strawberry Jam: For flavor! I love the Bonne Maman brand. You can also use strawberry preserves.
- Honey: To naturally sweeten the lemon strawberry filling. You can also use maple syrup.
How to make strawberry lemon bars
Strawberry lemon bars are super easy to make in a few simple steps. First, we’ll make the gluten-free oat flour shortbread crust. Then, we’ll blend all the filling ingredients together. And, finally, we’ll bake the bars. Here are detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures for visual reference so any level baker can make them. The full recipe and ingredient measurements are in the recipe card’s bottom of this page.
First, preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8×8′ baking dish with butter and then line it with parchment. (TIP: I highly recommend leaving an overhang of parchment paper on the sides of the dish so you can easily lift the bars out to cut them).
In a mixing bowl, combine all the oat flour shortbread ingredients. Start with 6 tablespoons of butter and mix the ingredients together. The crust should hold together well when squeezed & not be too soft. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons more melted butter if it is too crumbly.
Then, dump the dough into the greased pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the dish. I like to press mine flat with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup. Bake at 325°F for 15 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Gently poke the crust with a fork immediately after removing it from the oven. Don’t poke through to the bottom; just make indents.
While the crust is baking, make the strawberry lemon filling. In another bowl, whisk together eggs. Then add them to the blender with all filling ingredients and blend for 30 seconds on high. I like a few strawberry flecks, but blending until smooth works too.
Pour the filling over the warm crust (poked with holes) and bake at 325°F for 20 – 25 minutes or until the center barely jiggles.
Let cool completely on a wire rack. I usually cool them for 2 hours at room temperature, then place the baking tray into the refrigerator for 1 – 2 more hours until fully chilled.
Once the bars are cooled, lift the parchment paper out of the pan, then dust the tops of the bars with powdered sugar. For clean-edged, neat squares, wipe your cutting knife between each cut.
Serve chilled, and enjoy!
Expert baking tips for perfect lemon bars
- Line your baking dish with parchment paper. I highly recommend leaving an overhang of parchment paper on the sides of your baking dish so you can easily lift the bars out after they have cooled to cut them.
- Whisk your eggs before adding them to the blender. This ensures that the bars have a smooth filling without egg flecks. If you blend whole eggs with the rest of the ingredients, the lemon custard filling will not be smooth.
- Let the bars cool for at least 3 hours. This ensures the strawberry lemon bars have ample time to set and chill. Make sure to cool them in the fridge before serving.
- Clean your knife between each cut when slicing the lemons bars. If you want “perfect” lemon bars with crisp edges, clean your knife with a dish towel between each cut.
- Don’t overbake lemon bars. Ensure your oven temperature is at 325°F (a lower temperature than normal) to avoid overbaking the lemon bars.
- Use fresh lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best, most natural-tasting lemon bars. Do not use store-bought lemon juice; it is overly tangy.
- Make these lemon bars dairy-free. Easily make these strawberry lemon bars dairy-free by using dairy-free, vegan butter or melted coconut oil instead of salted butter in the oat flour shortbread crust. The custard filling is already dairy-free.
How to make these strawberry lemon bars dairy-free:
You can easily make these strawberry lemon bars dairy-free with one ingredient substitution. Use dairy-free, vegan butter instead of salted butter in the oat flour shortbread crust. You can even use melted coconut oil too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen strawberries?
No, I do not recommend using frozen strawberries for these lemon bars. It will turn the lemon filling into a runny slushy, the baking time will increase, and the bars will not set properly.
How do you know if the strawberry lemon bars are set?
Strawberry lemon bars are done baking when the center filling barely jiggles. The bars should have firm edges and should NOT be runny. As the bars cool, the filling will set further.
Is it normal that there are little bubbles on top?
Yes, little bubbles are completely normal since we are blending and whipping all the filling ingredients together. As the bars cool, the bubbles will lessen. You can also run a spatial over the top of the bars before baking them to reduce the number of bubbles.
Can I make them dairy free?
Easily make these strawberry lemon bars dairy-free by using dairy-free, vegan butter or melted coconut oil instead of salted butter in the oat flour shortbread crust. The custard filling is already dairy-free.
What’s the best substitute for coconut sugar?
You can use light brown sugar instead of coconut sugar.
What’s the best substitute for strawberry jam?
You can use strawberry preserves or raspberry jam. If you use raspberry jam, the flavor will change.
Can I use homemade oat flour?
I used store-bought oat flour for the shortbread crust; however, you can use homemade oat flour too. Add around 3 cups of old fashion rolled oats or quick oats to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 30 – 90 seconds until it resembles a flour-like consistency. Then measure out what the recipe calls for by spooning into a measuring cup and leveling it with the back of a knife. There shouldn’t be any oat grains left; make sure to blend it completely so it’s soft and smooth.
How many lemons are in a pound?
There are about five large lemons in one pound.
Can I make them ahead of time?
Yes! Easily make these strawberry lemon bars ahead of time to serve at a BBQ, party, brunch, or event. Just follow the recipe instructions below, bake, and chill them. I like to cut them right before serving.
What’s the best temperature to bake lemon bars?
It’s best to bake lemon bars at a low oven temperature to avoid overbaking the custard filling. The best temperature is 325°F.
How do you cut lemon bars with clean edges?
For clean-edged, neat lemon bar squares, wipe your cutting knife between each cut.
Can lemon bars be frozen?
You can easily freeze lemon bars for up to 3 months. To freeze the bars, let them cool completely in the fridge; then, individually wrap them tightly with plastic freezer wrap or aluminum foil and freeze for up to three months.
How to store them:
For best results, store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. I like enjoying these strawberry lemon bars chilled straight out of the fridge.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Lemonade Popsicles
- Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes
- Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes
- Healthy Lemon Pound Cake
- Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Mini Protein Cheesecakes
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Strawberry Lemon Bars
Oat Flour Shortbread Base:
Strawberry Lemon Filling:
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice, about 10 lemons
- ½ cup fresh strawberries, destemmed
- ½ cup strawberry jam, I love Bonne Maman
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup oat flour, I used Bob’s Red Mill
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8×8’ baking dish with butter and then line it with parchment. I highly recommend leaving an overhang of parchment paper on the sides of the dish so you can easily lift the bars out to cut them.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the oat flour shortbread ingredients. Start with 6 tablespoons of butter and mix the ingredients together. The crust should hold together well when squeezed & not be too soft. If it is too crumbly, add 1 – 2 tablespoons more melted butter.
- Dump the dough into the greased pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the dish. I like to press mine flat with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup. Bake at 325°F for 15 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Gently poke the crust all over with a fork immediately after you remove it from the oven. Don’t poke all the way through to the bottom; just make indents.
- While the crust is baking, make the strawberry lemon filling. In another bowl, whisk together eggs. Then add them to the blender with all filling ingredients and blend for 30 seconds on high. I like a few strawberry flecks, but blending until totally smooth works too.
- Pour the filling over the warm crust (poked with holes) and bake at 325°F for 20 – 25 minutes or until the center just barely jiggles.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack. I usually cool them for 2 hours at room temperature, then place the baking tray into the refrigerator for 1 – 2 more hours until fully chilled.
- Once the bars are cooled, lift the parchment paper out of the pan; then dust the tops of the bars with powdered sugar. For clean-edged, neat squares, wipe your cutting knife between each cut.
- Serve chilled and enjoy!
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