Thick Raw Lemon Bars (Vegan, Paleo)

Lemon bars have always been a favorite dessert of mine.


My mom got me hooked on them as a little girl, and I pine for them whenever I cruise by a bakery display…out of desire necessity is born a recipe! :-D


This raw version is made up of a chewy, sweet, and slightly tangy bottom layer topped with a rich and creamy layer of lemon-y goodness…the sweetness offsets the lemon enough to keep you from puckering, while still maintaining the citrus flavor that makes these bars so fresh and clean.

Thick Raw Lemon Bars
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 12 bars
  • BASE:
  • 1 c. walnuts or pecans
  • ¼ c. unsweetened coconut
  • 6 large, soft dates (I used Medjool)
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 T. lemon zest
  • ½ t. water, as needed for combining
  • 6 T. coconut oil
  • 3 T. coconut butter
  • 3 T. maple syrup or raw honey
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. lemon zest
  • 9 drops stevia, to taste (or another 2-3 teaspoons of liquid sweetener)
  • dash of turmeric, for color (optional)
  1. Process together the ingredients for the bottom layer (add a little water if necessary to bring everything together).
  2. Make sure it is well combined, and press it into a small glass dish (I used a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
  3. Gently melt together the coconut oil with the coconut butter.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients, adding stevia to taste.
  5. Pour atop the bottom layer.
  6. Place into the fridge or freezer until set.
  7. Cut and enjoy!
Nutrition facts are based on using 120 grams of pecans and a combination of honey and stevia. Weight Watchers points (new system): 6
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/12 of recipe Calories: 191 Fat: 17.1 g Saturated fat: 9.5 g Unsaturated fat: 7.6 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 10.4 g Sugar: 7.8 g Sodium: 53 mg Fiber: 2.1 g Protein: 1.6 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

I have literally sat on my couch with a dish of these bars and a spoon and ate half of the pan! They are so addictive and surprisingly light that I didn’t even feel heavy after eating them.

…the obligatory bite shot…


My husband and I often fight over these, so they tend to get hidden stored in the vegetable drawer where certain bridegrooms don’t ever venture. Teehee.


What’s your favorite bakery pastry?

I also love the huge cookies!…oatmeal raisin is my favorite. :-)

Shared with: Make Your Own Monday, Natural Living Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Healthy 2day, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Eco-Kids Tuesday, Gluten-Free Friday, Raw Foods Thursday, Healthy Vegan Friday, The Pennywise Platter, Whole Foods Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Wellness Weekend

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Comments: 111

  1. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom April 8, 2013 at 6:33 am Reply

    These look great! I have a lemon bar on my site too….I’ll have to try yours :).
    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom recently posted..Cream of Rice Cereal (Rice Porridge)My Profile

    • Lauren April 8, 2013 at 8:10 am Reply

      Thanks Adrienne! I will have to check yours out as well. I’ve been meaning to try your bean fudge, but haven’t yet due to illness. Hopefully, this will be the week for it! :-)

  2. Linda Ortega April 8, 2013 at 8:28 am Reply

    Sounds wonderful! I will try that receipe soon!

    • Lauren April 8, 2013 at 8:41 am Reply

      Thank you Linda! :-D

  3. Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl April 8, 2013 at 10:34 am Reply

    Love this recipe for Spring…would be perfect for Mother’s Day! Pinning now!!
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted..Yes to the Dress!!My Profile

    • Lauren April 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm Reply

      Thank you Kim! Great idea about Mother’s Day too. :-D

  4. lori April 8, 2013 at 11:51 am Reply

    yes yes yes I can not waite to make these……………….& I agree lemon bars are the best……… :)

  5. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets April 8, 2013 at 11:51 am Reply

    I love lemon bars (really all citrus desserts) and these sound really good and pretty damn healthy too. Thank you so much for the recipe. I pinned them, and I can’t wait to try them.

    • Lauren April 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm Reply

      Thanks Meghan! I hope you enjoy them! :-)

      • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets April 17, 2013 at 9:13 am Reply

        You probably know by now, but I did really enjoy them and they were my first encounter with eating raw coconut. Once I got over the mental hurdle, I realized they were delicious. Thanks again.

        • Lauren April 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm Reply

          Hi Meghan,
          Haha, yeah, you definitely need to like coconut oil here! I’m glad you eventually enjoyed them though…thanks for sharing your experience! :-)

  6. lori April 8, 2013 at 11:52 am Reply

    yes yes yes ……………….& I agree lemon bars are the best……… :) perfect recipe

    • Lauren April 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm Reply

      Thanks Lori! :-)

  7. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate April 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm Reply

    Yes please!

    • Lauren April 9, 2013 at 3:24 pm Reply


  8. Gabby @ the veggie nook April 9, 2013 at 3:52 am Reply

    I hated lemon bars as a child, but now that I’m older I am obsessed with lemon-flavoured treats! I love these :)

    • Lauren April 9, 2013 at 3:24 pm Reply

      Haha, my husband and I were just saying how we can’t get enough lemons and limes lately! :-) They’re so refreshing!

  9. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat April 10, 2013 at 4:08 am Reply

    Oh wow! That lemon cream looks so good! I miss lemon bars so much, and yours sounds wonderful! Please come share tomorrow at Raw Foods Thursdays! Again, wow!
    Heather @Gluten-Free Cat recently posted..Pre-Workout Snack at The Balanced PlatterMy Profile

    • Lauren April 10, 2013 at 8:51 am Reply

      Thanks Heather, I definitely will! :-)

      • Heather @Gluten-Free Cat April 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm Reply

        Thanks so MUCH! I’m highlighting these bars at tomorrow’s Raw Foods Thursdays event. I still need to make them. They’re on my list for this weekend. Thanks again for sharing with us! I hope you come back and link up more of your raw creations!
        Heather @Gluten-Free Cat recently posted..Crazy for Kale!My Profile

  10. Dina April 10, 2013 at 4:08 am Reply

    these look yummy! great recipe.
    Dina recently posted..Breastaurant is a TrademarkMy Profile

  11. Justine@cookingandbeer April 10, 2013 at 8:14 am Reply

    These like positively AMAZING! They just scream summer! Definitely a must try. Thanks for sharing.
    Justine@cookingandbeer recently posted..So it snowed today…And as a result…Ramen Noodle SoupMy Profile

  12. Amber April 10, 2013 at 11:18 am Reply

    Um, okay, I could kiss you for this recipe. OMG! I have to tell you, lemon is my FAVORITE. I would pick this out of a thousand chocolate cakes any day, Lauren. Just LOVE lemon bars, but hate the sugar laden ones. I used to make a lemon bar recipe with eggs, but it was always too egg-y for me. I will be making these this week. Can’t wait. They look so delicious and refreshing. Thank you for your awesome recipes, girl. YOU ROCK!!

    Amber recently posted..3-Ingredient Grain Free Banana Pancakes (SCD, Paleo, GAPS)My Profile

    • Lauren April 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm Reply

      Wow! Thank you so much Amber! You write the nicest comments. :-) I hope they live up to your expectations. :-D

  13. Hannah April 10, 2013 at 11:35 am Reply

    Oh my! These look amazing! I’d love if you’d come share your recipe with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday!!

    • Lauren April 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Hannah, I’ll do it right now! :-)

      • Hannah April 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm Reply

        Thanks for sharing your recipe with us!! Hope you come link up again today!

  14. Nickie H. April 10, 2013 at 11:37 am Reply

    I love lemon bars, and I was so excited to find this recipe for a lighter version! yay! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    By the way I featured your recipe on my Top 15 Healthiest Tasty Treats list. If you want a badge for your site or just to check it out feel free to look at it out here: Have a good day!
    Nickie H. recently posted..The Top 15 Healthiest Tasty TreatsMy Profile

    • Lauren April 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Nickie! :-) I hope you enjoy the bars!

  15. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) April 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm Reply


  16. […] with a Fork’s Thick, Raw Lemon Bars. Lauren – you had me at lemon. I love that these bars are made from whole foods and minimal […]

  17. Rogene Robbins April 12, 2013 at 8:55 am Reply

    Bob loves lemon bars. Will have to give these a try.
    Rogene Robbins recently posted..Orgeenic for Healthier Cooking: Gluten Free Pancake Recipe updated Fri Mar 22 2013 6:37 am EDTMy Profile

  18. Tammy/Our Neck of the Woods April 12, 2013 at 9:27 am Reply

    Wow, these look soooo great! I love your photos. Lemon bars are one of my favorites so I’ll have to try these out.

    Visiting from Healthy Vegan Friday!
    Tammy/Our Neck of the Woods recently posted..Feathered Friend FridayMy Profile

  19. janet @ the taste space April 12, 2013 at 10:17 am Reply

    I recently made a lemon bar with tofu but it was baked… I think your version looks great when I don’t want to turn on my oven. :)
    janet @ the taste space recently posted..Meyer Lemon Cheesecake SquaresMy Profile

  20. April 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm Reply

    Oh my goodness these look super tasty!
    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

  21. Sunday Snippets April 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm Reply

    […] Thick Raw Lemon Bars from Oatmeal With a Fork. These look really good! […]

  22. Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures April 14, 2013 at 11:33 am Reply

    Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  23. Linda April 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Lauren, these look amazingly good! I’ll be sharing your photo on Facebook with a link to you, if you don’t mind.
    Linda recently posted..Gluten-Free Menu Plan 4-14-13My Profile

    • Lauren April 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm Reply

      Not at all Linda, thank you so much! :-D

  24. marla nitti April 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm Reply

    these look wonderful!

  25. […] made vegan lemon bars out of coconut oil. I went with pistachio nuts instead of walnuts in the crust because […]

  26. Carrie- young living oil lady April 15, 2013 at 6:23 am Reply

    YUM! Pinned and liked and tweeted! Come back to Healthy 2Day Wednesday to see if you were picked as one of my top 3 favorites! :)
    Carrie- young living oil lady recently posted..Envision Essential OilMy Profile

  27. Rachel @ day2day joys April 15, 2013 at 7:28 am Reply

    Lauren, these look amazing! I love all things lemon! Thanks so much for linking up at H2W! I’m going to pin this now!

  28. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) April 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm Reply

    Wow, YUM, not much more I can say than YUM! Seriously, I can’t stop staring at the picture!! So very excited with all the entries this week! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Cindy from
    Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) recently posted..Vegetable Noodle Soup – #glutenfree #veganMy Profile

  29. Amber April 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Well, I could not WAIT to make these so I made them last Wednesday. Just love them! The whole family loved them too. And I have the say, the crust is super tasty.

    Thanks for a great recipe!

    Here is my FB picture:
    Amber recently posted..Spring Inspired Organization: An IntroductionMy Profile

    • Lauren April 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm Reply

      Thank you, thank you! You’re such a sweet girl! I was honestly worried that they wouldn’t live up to the hype they were getting, so it’s nice to hear when someone truly enjoys them! :-D Thanks for sharing too!

  30. […] Thick Raw Lemon Bars from Oatmeal with a Fork […]

  31. […] Lauren‘s lemon bar recipe, which I found on Meghan‘s page: […]

  32. […] Thick Raw Lemon Bars (grain free) from Oatmeal with a Fork I’d swap out the the dates in the crust and would use the crust from my Luscious Lemon Bars.  You can see why I don’t use dates in this series on Candida – What it is and Why I Went Sugar-Free. […]

  33. […] Favorite: Raw Lemon Cream Bars @ Oatmeal with a […]

  34. Marit - Superfoodmama April 17, 2013 at 5:48 am Reply

    These look awesome!!! I have used this bottom for my raw cheesecake, soo delish. You can use that mixture for anything… my favorite is bite-size balls :) Unfortunately I don’t make the cheesecake anymore, since I found out I’m allergic to lemon and cashews… but you’ve inspired me to try these bars with some other fruit! <3

  35. Sabrina April 17, 2013 at 11:05 am Reply

    Do you have any sub ideas for walnuts as my daughter is allergic to them? Thanks for sharing this yummy looking recipe!

    • Lauren April 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm Reply

      Hi Sabrina,
      I think pecans would be a nice substitute! :-)

  36. saniel April 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm Reply

    i will try these for my birthday friday as a treat for myself

  37. Katherine Natalia @ Green Thickies April 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm Reply

    Oh wow, I’m completely sold. I’ve been craving lemon desserts recently and this one looks very easy and too hard to resist. I’m going to have to make these! Thank you for sharing this with Healthy Vegan Fridays. Check back on Friday to see if you were one of the Top 3! We hope to see you again this week. You can submit a post from Friday to end of Tuesday:
    Katherine Natalia @ Green Thickies recently posted..Chocolate Chia Dairy Free Ice Cream and living below the lineMy Profile

  38. […] Thick Raw Lemon Bars by Lauren of Oatmeal With a Fork […]

  39. Lorelei April 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm Reply

    OK, this may be a silly question but what is the “1/4 cup unsweetened coconut?” Is it coconut milk, flakes, cream? Thanks so much!

    • Lauren April 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm Reply

      Not silly…it is unsweetened shredded coconut. :-)

  40. Miz Helen April 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
    Hope to see you soon!
    Miz Helen
    Miz Helen recently posted..Whats For Dinner Next Week 4-21-13My Profile

  41. […] think Lauren loves dessert as much as I do! Her sweet treats usually find a place in my highlights! Thick Raw Lemon Bars from Oatmeal with a […]

  42. Devin @ Nom Yum & Free April 23, 2013 at 9:48 pm Reply

    You’ve done it again – these look amazing!! Just saw these on Wheat Free Wednesday. Lemon bars are also one of my FAVORITES – I can’t wait to try your recipe! I’m going to have to PIN and share on FB (and with my sister who also loves lemon bars). YUM!

    • Lauren April 24, 2013 at 7:08 am Reply

      Thanks Devin! I hope you enjoy them! :-)

  43. Becca April 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm Reply

    If I don’t want to use stevia, what can I substitue?

    • Lauren April 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm Reply

      Hi Becca,
      Another teaspoon or so of maple syrup should work! :-)

  44. Raw Lemon Bars | Avventura April 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm Reply

    […] following text and images are courtesy of Oatmeal with a Fork. See the full article here. […]

  45. J April 29, 2013 at 12:25 am Reply

    These look great, but I’m a bit nervous about making them. Won’t they just fall apart at room temp since coconut oil is the main ingredient in the topping? I can put them in the freezer to set, but I had hoped to set them out for a party…

    • Lauren April 29, 2013 at 8:04 am Reply

      They do need to be kept cold to maintain their shape…

  46. […] Thick Raw Lemon Bars ~ from Oatmeal with a Fork […]

  47. […] Raw Lemon Bars from Oatmeal with a Fork. Fits perfectly with my new focus on “raw”–thanks, all, for choosing this one, too! […]

  48. Michelle May 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm Reply

    BEST. LEMON-SQUARES. EVER!!!! some of my notes on substiutions: u can use lime instead of lemon, or both. I had to use 1/3 to 1/2 of what the recipe recommends so as not to burn my tongue from lemon acid, (but I am perhaps sensitive to this). You can use apricots instead of dates (cheaper and lower glycemic), and the crust can be cashews mixed with walnuts; doesn’t have to be entirely made of walnuts. It’s really important to let this sit in the FREEZER for 30 minutes, and do NOT substitute any other kind of oil or butter for the coconut oil. Coconut butter completely changes the flavor ,but it’s OK and will do in a pinch (use less of it, spread it thinly, and freeze it for longer). Freezing also considerably cuts the acid of the lemon, interestingly enough.

    • Lauren May 16, 2013 at 9:31 am Reply

      Thanks Michelle! I love all your substitutions too. :-D

  49. […] to make a cheesecake-type dish since going dairy-free. A couple of weeks ago Lauren shared her Thick Raw Lemon Bars on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. They struck something inside of me, and I began conjuring up recipes […]

  50. […]  Thick Raw Lemon Bars […]

  51. […] I have nothing against fat, as evidenced by this recipe and this recipe, but I do have a difficult time digesting copious amounts of it. It often leaves me feeling sated […]

  52. […] Happy Wednesday, everyone.  Today I am I am featuring a guest post from Lauren who creates magic over at Oatmeal with a Fork.  Be sure to check out her site for her beautiful and amazing recipes.  One of my recent favorites was her Thick Raw Lemon Bars. […]

  53. Cathy May 31, 2013 at 7:04 am Reply

    Hi Lauren made these bars this morning and my base hasn’t set when I cut a slice off the base was left in dish with just a few crumbs attached to topping what am I doing wrong topping is divine though !

    • Lauren May 31, 2013 at 7:16 am Reply

      Hmmm…was the base at room temperature when you poured on the topping (it should be)? Also, when the top layer gets too cold, it has a tendency to separate. I had to let mine thaw just a bit before cutting into them. I’m happy to hear you like the taste though! :-)

  54. Cathy May 31, 2013 at 7:51 am Reply

    I will try taking them out of the fridge for a while before I cut my next slice don’t get me wrong it won’t go to waste just wish it didn’t taste so good when I next make afresh batch will let you know outcome x

  55. […] soon as I saw this recipe for thick raw lemon bars featured on a couple of my favorite allergy friendly recipe websites, I […]

  56. Devin @ Nom Yum & Free June 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm Reply

    I finally had a chance to try out these raw lemon bars — tart and delicious!! I slightly modified the recipe to make it nut free ( Not only will I be making these bars again, but I hope to use the nut free bottoms in other desserts. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Devin @ Nom Yum & Free recently posted..Raw Nut Free Lemon BarsMy Profile

  57. […] From […]

  58. Devchenka October 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm Reply

    I used almonds because that is what i had for nuts, i would deff use double the amount lemon juice, i could not taste lemon enough the crust was taking over the flavor =) I will make this recipe again with some changes!

    • Lauren October 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm Reply

      You may want to just add more lemon zest?…that way the ratio of liquids isn’t thrown off. :)

  59. Raw Lemon Cups October 23, 2013 at 9:43 am Reply

    […] of sweet and sour to satisfy my needs – oh and they are pretty guilt free! Thanks to Oatmeal With A Fork for this incredible recipe. […]

  60. Lara December 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm Reply

    Do you think I could leave out the 1/4c of coconut in the bottom layer?

    • Lauren December 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm Reply

      I think so! :)

      • Lara December 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm Reply

        Thank you! What about the stevia? I do not have liquid. I have powder form. How much would you say to use?

        • Lauren December 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm Reply

          I would think just a pinch? If you have one of those tiny spoons that come with the stevia, maybe one scoop with that?

  61. […] those of you allergic to eggs, these Thick Raw Lemon Bars may be more your speed. They’re a delicious […]

  62. […] made a batch of my Thick Raw Lemon Bars a few nights ago and have been snacking on one (or two) after […]

  63. Tami March 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm Reply

    I just made these for the first time tonite, they taste great, lots of lemon flavor but they didn’t seem to set well. The recipe I followed called for 6T of coconut oil, there was no mention of coconut butter, did you happen to update the recipe tonite?

    • Lauren March 13, 2014 at 7:53 am Reply

      Hi Tami,

      I updated the recipe a while back because so many people were having trouble with beating the oil. I’m not sure why you would have still seen the old version… As far as setting, it sounds like you just didn’t chill them long enough? That recipe actually get very firm. It needs a few hours though. Sorry for any confusion!

  64. Tami March 13, 2014 at 9:45 am Reply

    Ok yes I will have to chill them longer next time and try it with the coconut butter, Thanks! :)

  65. Nikki April 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm Reply

    Please help! Am I missing a step or something? I’ve tried these twice and all I get on top is a thin crunchy layer that cracks apart after it’s cooled. Nothing like your thick, creamy filling. I’m a newbie with coconut oil and butter so maybe I just asked a really dumb question! :-) but my husband LOVES lemon bars so I want to figure these out.

    • Lauren April 29, 2014 at 9:22 pm Reply

      Hi Nikki,

      To get them even thicker, just double the filling ingredients. :-) I hope you enjoy them!

  66. […] 1. Thick Raw Lemon Bars […]

  67. Paula May 18, 2014 at 9:37 am Reply

    Sorry this might be stupid but does the T stand for tablespoon or teaspoon?

    • Lauren May 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm Reply

      T is for tablespoon. :)

  68. […] This recipe is adapted from Oatmeal with a Fork. […]

  69. Donna June 8, 2014 at 9:26 am Reply

    Are there any replacements for the use of coconut? all of it?

    • Lauren June 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm Reply

      The only replacement that might work here is butter. :)

  70. Mandy D July 7, 2014 at 9:30 am Reply

    Oh man! These are so perfect! The ingredients are right up our alley and the pictures look soooo good! I’m making these this week for sure! Thanks for the recipe!

    Mandy @

  71. Laura July 12, 2014 at 11:13 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’ve made them twice now. My lemon-loving Mom really liked them.

    • Lauren July 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm Reply

      That’s awesome, Laura, I’m so happy you guys enjoyed them! :)

  72. […] Thick Raw Lemon Bars, click here. […]

  73. Paleo Lemon Bars | The Paleo Recipe Blog November 14, 2014 at 10:09 am Reply

    […] Thick Raw Lemon Bars (Vegan, Paleo) | Oatmeal with a … – Lemon bars have always been a favorite dessert of mine. My mom got me hooked on them as a little girl, and I pine for them whenever I cruise by a bakery display…out …… […]

  74. […] Adapted from Oatmeal With a Fork […]

  75. Laura February 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm Reply

    They don’t just look amazing. They are amazing. I find so many recipes can please the eye and the pallet and still be considered healthy. These do all of the above.

    • Lauren February 6, 2015 at 6:02 pm Reply

      Thanks Laura! I’m happy you’re enjoying both recipes (they are among my faves as well). :-)

  76. […] Thick raw lemon bars (vegan, paleo) | oatmeal with a fork […]

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