Lemon Bars with Oatmeal Cookie Shortbread Crust

by Erin @ Food Doodles on March 30, 2020

These lemon bars have an amazing oatmeal cookie shortbread crust that’s a nice change from the usual super sweet crust! The filling is sweetened with honey and not overly sweet.

Most of my readers on my other blog are gluten-free and / or dairy-free so I tried to convert this recipe, just to offer some allergy-friendly options.

Lemon Bars

It just didn’t work. If you want something allergy-friendly, check out my paleo vegan lemon bars. They’re also no-bake, naturally sweetened and the filling tastes like regular lemon bar filling! (although it’s cashew-based)

Using coconut oil in place of butter in crusts is always a challenging sub and I didn’t get it to work here. I suppose vegan butter might work but I haven’t tried it.

Lemon Bars
I also tried using a gluten-free baking mix in place of the flour in the crust but it didn’t work, either. Which is really a bummer because the crust is super delicious!

I’ll just have to come up with a gluten-free crust similar to the one below at some point because it’s too good to not use in more recipes. If you need a gluten-free recipe, check out these gluten-free strawberry lemon bars.

Lemon Bars
One thing I don’t normally like about lemon bars is that they’re too sweet. For me, anyway.

These are pleasantly sweet. Not ridiculously sweet but just right.

If you give these lemon bars a try, I’d love to hear how they come out!

Lemon Bars

These lemon bars would be great for Easter! If carrot cake is more your thing, try my Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Skinny Cream Cheese Frosting or for breakfast, Carrot Cake Overnight Oats.

I’ve also got these Raspberry Lemon Bars if lemon isn’t your thing.

Lemon Bars
Oat Shortbread Base:
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (92 grams) rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (31 grams) all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk optional
Lemon Filling:
  • 4 large (50 grams each, out of shell) eggs
  • 1/2 cup (160 grams) honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (31 grams) all-purpose flour
Oat Shortbread Base:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Lightly grease an 8"x8" pan.

  2. Take half the oats and grind in a blender or mini-food processor till fairly finely ground.  Set aside till later. 

  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the oats, ground oats and flour. Beat until everything is incorporated.

  4. Add the milk only if needed to get the dough to stick together. Be careful not to add too much milk if using any at all as the dough should be very dry and crumbly, but should stick together when pressed.

  5. Press into the prepared pan and poke with a fork a few times before putting in the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden and until the top isn't oily looking anymore. 

    The shortbread will not be completely cooked at this point. Remove from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes while preparing the lemon filling.

Lemon Filling:
  1. Whisk together all the filling ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Pour over the already baked oat shortbread and return the pan to the 350-degree F (175-degree C) oven for 18-20 minutes. The edges will brown fairly quickly but don't worry. Once the filling is set and doesn't jiggle anymore it's done.  Remove it from the oven and cool before serving with a light dusting of powdered sugar over top if desired.

Leave a Comment

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeneique March 13, 2013 at 22:21

Love these bars! I made two diffrent batches your recipe and another. Your recipe won me over:) I added a little more lemon juice and lemon zest . They came out amazing! I would double the the lemon filling 🙂 . Thank you for this recipe. This is my go to recipe for lemon bars


2 athena August 1, 2011 at 11:25

i’ve been really craving lemon anything lately; i think lemon bars are in my near future… lovely pics 🙂


3 Aubrey July 30, 2011 at 14:42

These look so delicious! The yellow of the lemon is so vibrant, and I just love oatmeal crusts.


4 Angela G. (Adesina's Kitchen) July 27, 2011 at 15:35

That crust looks ridiculously good! And the lemon topping is a bright ray of sunshine. I will definitely be making these soon 🙂


5 sally July 27, 2011 at 15:21

Yum! I love love love lemon bars! These look fantastic and I like the oat base.


6 Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} July 27, 2011 at 14:45

I love lemon-flavored treats and these are so pretty!


7 dulcie @ two tarts July 27, 2011 at 13:41

Yum! The oat shortbread base sounds really delicious.


8 anda July 27, 2011 at 13:31

Whoa!! Those look absolutely phenomenal! And I don’t mind at all the raspberry avalanche. Bring it on!:)


9 Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) July 27, 2011 at 13:23

How perfect for Summer, love the lemon 😀


10 Amy @ Gastronome Tart July 27, 2011 at 12:50

I have a major love affair with all things lemon in desserts. Sure, as you mentioned lemon bars are everywhere. But, not every lemon bar is created equal! These look delicious!


11 Rawkinmom July 27, 2011 at 07:13

I used to love the boxed lemon bar mixes!!! I haven’t had them in years though!! These look way better….very creamy looking!!!


12 Dinks July 27, 2011 at 06:30

Gosh, these look yummy! I reckon my dad would really like these as he loves lemon meringue pie and lemon curd. Will definitely be making these for him next time I see him although I might try to make a gluten free base. Thanks you!


13 Liz @ iheartvegetables July 26, 2011 at 20:50

I always put xanthan gum in my smoothies! It makes them so thick and tasty!!!

Those lemon bars look really tasty!


14 kankana July 26, 2011 at 20:45

Can u believe I never had a lemon bar ..but now that i at it I want to make it .. looks so delicious.


15 Marsha @ The Harried Cook July 26, 2011 at 20:17

I LOVE lemon bars… and these look phenomenal! I could probably polish off more than half the tray single-handedly! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


16 Reeni July 26, 2011 at 19:23

Your lemon bars look nothing short of heavenly! I love the oat crust too!


17 Lauren July 26, 2011 at 13:37

I am a lemon freak. These would not last long at my house. YUM.


18 DessertForTwo July 26, 2011 at 13:23

Lemon bars are one of my alltime favorite desserts. We’re so lemony this week 😉


19 Carissa July 26, 2011 at 12:50

Lemons are so refreshing for summer eats! I love lemon curd so I know I’d love these bars.


20 Maria @ Scandifoodie July 26, 2011 at 12:07

These look beautiful – I love citrusy desserts!


21 Jenn July 26, 2011 at 10:49

Hi Heidi, thanks for stopping by my blog. Those lemon bars looks yummy – love the 1st photo.


22 anncoo July 26, 2011 at 10:13

What a gorgeous lemon bars! Looks so delicious with that pretty lemon color. love it!


23 Kaitlin July 26, 2011 at 08:50

Not exciting? Lemon bars are ALWAYS exciting! The crust for this sounds great (I love whole wheat flour, but it’s certainly under-utilized in my kitchen), and I’m intrigued about the brown rice flour in the filling. Thanks for sharing!


24 Joanne July 26, 2011 at 06:20

The tart sweetness of lemon bars never fails to get some drool dripping down my chin! I’m so glad these worked out! They look super delicious.


25 Claudie July 26, 2011 at 06:07

Your lemon bars definitely do not look like the average ones 🙂 They’re really tempting me!


26 Lauren at Keep It Sweet July 26, 2011 at 04:24

These lemon bars do look great, I like that thick crust!


27 Angie@Angiesrecipes July 26, 2011 at 04:22

Those lemon bars look wonderful! The filling is extremely tempting.


28 Maris(In Good Taste) July 26, 2011 at 02:53

I share in your excitement because these look fabulous!


29 Reese@SeasonwithSpice July 26, 2011 at 01:09

This looks lovely, Heidi. Perfect for a summer party. Look forward to seeing your raspberry recipes. Yum!


30 Sarah July 25, 2011 at 21:45

They look great and it’s so timely as I was only looking at lemon curd in the shop today and thinking I wanted to make some.
I’ve saved the recipe and look forward to making them!


31 Ellena July 25, 2011 at 20:41

Gorgeous Lemon Bar you have over there. This is always one of my favourite tea-snack to go with a cup of good English tea. Shall give your recipe a go once i get some lemon!!!


32 Pure2raw Twins July 25, 2011 at 18:43

yum lemon bars! we love anything with lemon! We have done a lemon bar before – I believe based out of cashews and remembering it being delicious. Your filling looks so creamy – yum!


33 Jess@Healthy Exposures July 25, 2011 at 17:18

hehe…i don’t have a go-to lemon bar recipe 😉 i think i might now, though. these look great! love the oaty shortbread base.


34 Charissa July 25, 2011 at 16:56

Oh my….this looks sinfully delicious. I kinda want to just have a whole plateful…to share, OF COURSE. (I just lied.) haha


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