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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Lemon Bars With Graham Cracker Crust

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These lemon bars with graham cracker crust have a perfectly tart, sweet and creamy lemon filling nestled in a buttery graham cracker crust. The perfect dessert for lemon lovers, these easy lemon squares are simple to make, and are great for picnics, bake sales, and more! They also happen to be gluten free and come with a dairy free option too!

Lemon bars with graham cracker crust stacked on parchment paper.

These classic lemon bars have a buttery homemade graham cracker crust and are bursting with fresh lemon flavor.

Fresh lemons give me all the spring & summer vibes and make me want to whip up all of my favorite lemon desserts, like my vegan lemon tart, vegan lemon cupcakes, and of course now my new favorite, these creamy lemon squares!

Many lemon dessert bars are made with a shortbread crust, but I love graham cracker crusts in baked goods, so I decided to switch up the classic recipe to make these lemon bars with graham cracker crust!

These make a great summer dessert but they’re great to enjoy anytime, and are perfect to take to a party or get-together. They’re perfectly sweetened and super kid friendly too. There are several variations you can check out below, including a way to make this a gluten free dairy free lemon bars recipe!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Simple ingredients
  • Ready in just 30 minutes
  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free option
  • Kid friendly
  • Great for any occasion
  • Can be frozen
  • Best lemon bars with graham cracker crust ever!

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

You can find all of these ingredients at most grocery stores! For a full list of ingredients and instructions to make these lemon bar bites, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients for lemon bars with graham cracker crust on a white background.

For The Crust

  • Gluten-Free Graham Crackers: To make this delicious recipe gluten free friendly, I used gluten free graham crackers. Graham crackers are not naturally gluten-free, so you’ll have to specifically buy them gluten-free. But you can use regular graham crackers if you don’t need this recipe to be gluten-free.
  • Light Brown Sugar & Melted Butter: Dark brown sugar has twice the amount of molasses in it and more of a rich caramel flavor. Light brown sugar is recommended for this recipe to keep the flavor light and not overbearing. Melted butter is used to combine the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar for this delicious crust.

Lemon Filling & Topping

  • White Sugar & Vanilla: White granulated sugar sweetens up these gluten free lemon squares and counters the tartness of the lemons. Vanilla extract adds more depth, richness and brings out the sweetness of this recipe.
  • Tapioca Flour & Gluten Free Flour: Tapioca flour is very fine, not gritty, and helps keep the lemon filling smooth while firming it up. Gluten free flour helps thicken up the lemon filling for these creamy lemon bars with graham cracker crust.
  • Large Eggs: Eggs act as a binding agent for these lemon bar bites and the egg yolks especially gives the lemon curd a richer flavor.
  • Lemon Juice & Lemon Zest: Fresh regular lemons give this lemon squares with graham cracker crust recipe its bold lemon flavor. And a little lemon zest goes a long way! I absolutely love meyer lemons and recommend using them in this recipe if you can find them!
  • (Optional Topping) Powdered Sugar: This ingredient is not part of the lemon filling, and is optional, but powdered sugar adds a touch of soft sweetness and decoration to these lemon graham cracker bars.

🔪 Instructions

Preheat Oven, Prep Graham Crackers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C. Line an 8”x8” square baking dish or cake tin with baking paper, set aside. Add enough graham crackers to make 1 cup of finely ground crumbs to a high speed food processor and blend until finely ground.

Graham cracker crumbs in a food processor.

Mix Crust Ingredients: Add the crumbs, butter and brown sugar to a mixing bowl, mix until well combined.

Graham cracker crumbs mixed with butter and sugar in a bowl.

Press Crust Into Prepared Baking Pan: Firmly press the press graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Graham cracker crust baked in a baking dish.

Create Lemon Mixture: While the graham crust is cooking, whisk the lemon filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until it’s smooth and has no lumps.

Lemon curd mixture combined in a mixing bowl.

Pour Filling Into Base: When the crust has finished cooking and is lightly golden brown, remove from the oven and gently pour the lemon curd filling into the baked crust.

Lemon curd poured into graham cracker crust in a baking dish.

Bake Again: Reduce the oven temperature to 320 degrees F / 160 C. Return the bars to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes. You’ll know the bars are done when the center is no longer jiggly and the outside edges are just starting to turn a light golden color.

Lemon squares still in the baking dish, fresh out of the oven, ready to be cut.

Cool At Room Temperature: Remove and cool slightly at room temperature (about 15-20 minutes) transferring to the fridge to cool completely. Chill for at least 5 hours in the fridge (or overnight) before slicing into 16 small squares with a sharp knife. Once chilled, lightly dust the tops of the bars with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Note: These easy lemon bars with graham cracker crust are best served chilled. Keeping them cool will prevent them from getting runny or mushy.

Gluten free lemon bars with graham cracker crust cut into squares on a cutting board.

💭 Expert Tips

  • To cut these bars into extra clean slices, fill a bowl with warm water, dip the knife in the warm water, wipe it dry, and make one cut. Repeat this process for each cut. Make sure to chill the bars before cutting them.
  • To avoid your crust falling apart, make sure your graham cracker crumbs are crushed into super fine crumbs, line your baking dish with parchment paper, and firmly press the base ingredients into the baking dish using the bottom of a measuring cup or the back of a spoon. Finely crushed crumbs + pressing the base firmly together will prevent it from falling apart when cutting or eating. And the parchment paper is key for easy removal and for not breaking the bars accidentally.
  • Use fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest for the best flavor. Note: Each lemon has about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. 
  • Use room temperature eggs and whisk the custard continuously to avoid clumps. Be patient, and continue to whisk until a custard like consistency forms.
  • To make sure your lemon filling sets properly, make sure the bars are baked completely (check by shaking the pan slightly when you think the bars are done – you don’t want the filling to jiggle like Jell-O – that means the bars aren’t done). You also want to make sure to allow for at least 5 hours in the fridge so the bars have time to set before slicing.
  • Use the spoon & level method for measuring. When measuring your flour, use the spoon and level method for accuracy (spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then level it with the back of a knife).
  • Dust with powdered sugar right before serving. Make sure the bars are completely cool before dusting them with powdered sugar to prevent condensation from forming on top.

📖 Variations

  • No Bake Lemon Bars: No bake lemon curd bars are made with lemon pudding and shortbread cookies. These are a great option for summer when you don’t want to use the oven.
  • Low Sugar Lemon Bars: These bars can be made low sugar by using granulated monk fruit or stevia instead of regular sugar. The only thing is, you’ll have to taste as you go, since monk fruit has a different sweetness level than sugar. Alternatively, you can make healthy lemon bars by cutting the total amount of regular sugar in this recipe in half and just use half the amount of sugar. Keep in mind that the bars will be more tart than sweet if you do this!
  • Dairy Free Lemon Bars: To make these dairy free, all you need to do is use vegan butter instead of regular butter.
  • Vegan Lemon Bars Recipe: These can easily be made into vegan gluten free lemon bars by making the crust of the bars without butter and using vegan butter instead. For the filling, you’d use full fat coconut milk or canned coconut cream to make eggless lemon bars. I’d recommend trying this recipe!

❓Recipe FAQs

Why do my lemon bars taste eggy?

If your lemon squares with graham cracker crust tastes eggy it’s probably because it’s been overcooked. Make sure that the custard is no longer runny but only cook these graham cracker lemon bars until the custard is set.

Why are my lemon bars not setting?

Lemon graham cracker bars are usually only runny if they are undercooked. Try cooking them a bit longer. If this is not the problem, you may have gotten a little off on the measurements for the lemon filling. Chilling them for longer in the fridge and keeping them cold will help them stay thicker.

Why are my lemon bars mushy?

If the lemon bar recipe with graham cracker crust is still mushy, give it some more time in the oven. The filling should no longer be jiggly, it should be completely set. Be careful not to overcook, as this can alter the flavor.

How do you thicken lemon bar filling?

You can add a little cornstarch to your gluten free lemon bar filling to thicken it up a bit. Of course, this should be added before pouring your filling into the crust.

How do you make a graham cracker crust not soggy?

The best way to avoid a soggy crust is to pre-bake or blind bake your graham cracker crust for lemon bars before adding the filling.

How to store leftover lemon bars with a graham cracker crust?

Lemon squares with graham cracker crust should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Serve them chilled, straight out of the fridge.

Leftover bars can also be frozen. To freeze the bars, let them cool completely, and cover them tightly with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or in a freezer bag for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge for at least a few hours before serving.

Graham cracker lemon bars served on a white tray.

🥮 More Easy Desserts!

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

Lemon bars with graham cracker crust stacked on parchment paper.
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

Lemon Bars With Graham Cracker Crust

These lemon bars with graham cracker crust have a perfectly tart, sweet and creamy lemon filling nestled in a buttery graham cracker crust. The perfect dessert for lemon lovers, these easy lemon squares are simple to make, and are great for picnics, bake sales, and more! They also happen to be gluten free and come with a dairy free option too!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Chill time5 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 16 squares
Calories: 197kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Graham Cracker Crust

For The Lemon Filling

Optional Topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C. Line an 8”x8” square cake tin with baking paper, set aside.
  • Add enough graham crackers to make 1 cup of finely ground crumbs to a high speed food processor and blend until finely ground.
  • Add the graham cracker crumbs, butter and light brown sugar to a mixing bowl, mix until well combined.
  • Firmly press into the prepared cake tin and bake for 10 minutes.
  • While the crust is cooking, whisk the lemon filling ingredients (white sugar, tapioca flour, gf flour, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla) together until smooth and no lumps.
  • When the crust has finished cooking and is lightly golden brown, remove from the oven and gently pour the filling over the base.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 320 degrees F / 160 C.
  • Return the lemon bars to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes.
  • Remove and cool slightly at room temperature before transferring to the fridge to cool completely.
  • Chill for at least 5 hours or overnight before slicing into 16 squares.
  • Optional topping: Lightly dust the tops of the chilled lemon bars with a sprinkling of powdered sugar before slicing (if using).
  • Store lemon bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • It’s important that the crumbs used for the base are finely crushed otherwise the base will fall apart when cutting.
  • Firmly press the base ingredients into the prepared dish using the bottom of a measuring cup or back of a spoon. Pressing the base firmly together stops it from falling apart when eating.
  • Gently pour the filling mixture over the cooked base while it’s still hot.
  • It’s recommended to use fresh lemon juice for this recipe.
  • Use room temperature eggs.
  • The lemon bars are cooked when the center is no longer jiggly and the outside edges are just starting to go a light golden color.
  • To make it easier to remove the cooled bars from the cake tin, be sure to line the tin with baking paper.
  • Lemon bars can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost for 1 hour before serving.
  • Lemon bars are best enjoyed after chilling in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  • Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Note: Nutritional info doesn’t include powdered sugar topping. Adding the powdered sugar topping will likely add about 15-20 calories and 4 grams of sugar per bar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1lemon bar | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g

24 responses to “Lemon Bars With Graham Cracker Crust”

  1. Lemon desserts are always my favorite, but lemon bars are at the top of that list! They are so brightly flavored!5 stars

  2. Hi, these sound fantastic. Can I swap out the rice malt syrup for something else? I can’t find any where I am. Thanks!

      • The ingredients to make crust says use maple syrup, yet in the instructions you say add rice malt syrup, which is in the ingredient list for the lemon curd. Where is the error?

      • Thanks for catching that Esther! The error was in the instructions – you will add the maple syrup to the crust mixture, the rice malt syrup to the curd mixture. I have updated the recipe to clarify that now! Thanks again!

  3. What a killer combo! Lemon and coconut are so fresh, there’s just everything to love about this recipe. Love how it’s a natural food colouring (tumeric) for this too!5 stars

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