This recipe for Low-Carb Coconut Lemon Bars makes easy, tangy treats. These bars boast a gluten-free cookie crust, sweet-tart lemon custard, and a toasted coconut topping. These treats are refined sugar-free, and can be part of a low-carb, keto, diabetic, Atkins, grain-free or Banting diet.
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The recipe for Low-Carb Coconut Lemon Bars
This recipe starts with a sugar cookie crust scented with vanilla. This crust comes together in minutes using a food processor.
After baking the crust, we pour a tangy lemon custard batter on top, then bake it once more.
Finally, after chilling the bars, we sprinkle toasted coconut on top to add texture, flavor, and make them even prettier.
I have made several attempts to make a lemon bar recipe for the blog over the years. Lemon bars are such a tradition–These treats are found at just about every bake sale, family reunion, and picnic in this country. I felt like the blog was missing something without a low-carb version!
Of course, I wanted to have a low-carb version that was just as delicious as the real thing and after several failures, I gave up on this recipe for a while. I still enjoyed other lemon recipes like Low-Carb Lemon Mousse with Strawberries, Low-Carb Blueberry Lemon Cream Tart, Low-Carb Lemon Donuts with Cheesecake Frosting.and this keto lemon pound cake from Joy Filled Eats.
The most recent copy of Southern Living magazine reawakened my goal to have a lemon bar recipe on the blog. They had a recipe for Coconut Lemon Chess Bars that looked divine. The photos got my tastebuds craving that sweet-tart flavor and gave me that push to finally get this recipe right.
After three more tries, I finally have a coconut lemon bar recipe I can be proud of and wanted to share with all of you. The crust for this recipe is based on my Low-Carb Sugar Cookie recipe. The custard recipe was developed through trial and error in the kitchen.
How to know when lemon bars are done.
One important thing with lemon bars is to bake them the correct amount of time. To check doneness, jiggle the pan a little bit. If the center seems watery and jiggles, the bars are not yet done.
When you jiggle the pan and the center of the bars is set and does not appear fluid, the bars are done.
Can these lemon bars be made ahead?
You can make these lemon bars ahead of time. In fact, you need to make them at least five or six hours ahead to allow the custard to set. I like to make them the day before I actually want to serve them. You could easily make them two days before serving as well.
How to store lemon bars.
Be sure to cool the lemon bars completely before refrigerating. Cooling completely prevents the cookie crust from soaking up the excess moisture.
I store these coconut lemon bars in a covered container in the refrigerator. Don’t let the cover touch the tops of the bars as this may create marks in the tops of the bars. These treats should easily last about 3 days.
Tips and tricks
For the crust, I used my faithful sweetener, Pyure baking blend. This sweetener is twice as sweet as sugar. If the sweetener you use is the same sweetness as sugar (like Lakanto blend or Swerve), you will want to double the amount.
I made several tries using Pyure to sweeten the lemon custard and was disappointed each time. Pyure made the texture of the custard a bit granular.
Finally, I used a powdered sweetener called Just Like Sugar for this recipe. This sweetener solved all of my problems and the custard layer was smooth and creamy, just as it should be.
You can easily substitute other powdered sweeteners, just be sure to adjust the amount per sweetness level. I am not sure that pure stevia or pure monk fruit has enough bulk to make this recipe work.
Just like Sugar is a little less sweet than sugar. If you use a powdered sweetener that measures cup for cup like sugar, you can use the one cup for the custard if you like your desserts sweet, or use a little less (about 3/4 cup) if you like things less sweet.
How to remove the coconut lemon bars from the baking dish
Using parchment paper to line the baking dish makes it easy to get these bars out of the pan and keep them in one piece.
First of all, be sure that the parchment paper comes all the way up the sides of the pan so you have room to grab onto it.
Next, be sure to chill the lemon bars completely before attempting to remove them. Chilling them stiffens them up so they won’t fall apart when you remove them.
After completely chilling, take hold of the parchment on both sides of the pan and gently lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. I like to remove them from the pan, cut them into bars, then add the coconut on top.
What if I don’t like coconut and want to make “normal” lemon bars?
You can easily alter this recipe to make regular lemon bars. Simply use heavy whipping cream instead of coconut milk. Instead of topping the bars with coconut, dust the tops with a bit of powdered sweetener instead.
This recipe for coconut lemon bars makes a delicious make-ahead dessert. I don’t eat them just for dessert, however. I love having them for breakfast. Sometimes I even enjoy a bar with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Enjoy!
Low-Carb Coconut Lemon Bars Recipe
This recipe for Low-Carb Coconut Lemon Bars makes easy, tangy treats. These bars boast a gluten-free cookie crust, sweet-tart lemon custard, and a toasted coconut topping. These treats are refined sugar-free and can be part of a low-carb, keto, diabetic, Atkins, grain-free or Banting diet.
For the crust:
For the filling:
For the top:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or chips toasted
For the crust:
Add the almond flour, sweetener, baking soda, and salt to a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the vanilla extract and the butter. Pulse several times until the mixture balls up into a dough.
Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Do not go up the sides.
Bake crust in the preheated oven for 16-19 minutes or until crust is brown in the center and provides some resistance when touched lightly. Remove crust from oven, place the baking dish on a cooling rack and allow to cool while preparing the custard.
For the filling:
Place sweetener and eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Beat together, using a hand mixer, on low speed until combined, then on high speed until slightly fluffy.
Blend in the coconut milk, lemon zest, and the lemon juice.
Pour custard mixture over the cooled crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness by shaking pan slightly to see if the center has set. Remove from oven and place baking dish on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
After the dish has cooled completely, cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours before continuing.
For the topping:
Using both hands, grab opposite sides of the parchment paper and lift up gently to remove from pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into twelve bars. Sprinkle the tops with toasted coconut chips or flakes. Store bars covered in the refrigerator.
*Refer to the text for substitution information. Pyure is twice as sweet as sugar.
**use coconut milk that has not separated. If yours has separated, place the entire can of coconut milk in a saucepan and heat it gently, while whisking. This will recombine the liquid and the fat.