Healthy Lemon Bars

It’s officially Spring! Well it may not feel like it everywhere but don’t worry for those in cooler climates it’s coming!

And with the warmer temps approaching there are so many delicious and refreshing treats I know I’m looking forward to!

Certain foods just start to sound so good and with all the local and fresh ingredients popping up you just can’t help yourself… whether its some refreshing slices of watermelon, tomato mozzarella salad, fresh corn on the cob, anything on the grill sign me up!!!

And in this case super fresh, light and creamy healthy lemon bars!

I’m usually a straight up chocolate girl but this time of year something fresh tasting like key lime pie or something with lemon its just the perfecting treat to have on spring/summer night with a nice glass of white wine… I know I’m painting quite the picture (insert a fire pit and soft music playing haha).

Healthy Lemon Bars Ingredients:

For the Crust:
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups gluten free flour (or all purpose flour)

For the Filling:
8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. cane sugar
1/4 lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest

cooking spray
muffin pan
muffin liners


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Line the muffin pan with muffin liners, set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer (or using hand mixer) add softened butter and start to beat on medium speed.
  4. Add sugar and beat for a minute or so until fluffy.
  5. Add in applesauce and vanilla, beat for 1 more minutes.
  6. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the flour to the wet mixer a little bit at a time, until fully incorporated.
  7. Take dough and measure out 2 tablespoons and press into the bottom of each muffin cup, repeat until you have filled all muffin tins. (NOTE: There will be leftover dough, you will use that later)
  8. Place into the oven for 15-18 minutes. Cool completely in the muffin pan.
  9. Take the remaining dough and press into an even layer in any baking pan (spray with cooking spray) you have and bake 15-18 minutes, this will be used later to crumble on top of the lemon bars.
  10. In the meantime beat together softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. cane sugar for 1-2 minutes.
  11. Add in lemon juice and lemon zest and beat for an additional minute until fully incorporated and creamy.
  12. Take lemon cream cheese filling and pour evenly over the cooled crusts. Place into the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  13. Crumble the remaining crust pieces over the top of the finished lemon bars and add a bit more lemon zest for a punch!

Nutritional Information:

Servings: 12
Serving Size: 1 lemon bar

Calories: 169
Fat: 11 g
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Sodium: 152 mg
Sugar: 16 g
Protein: 1 g


EMILY NESS is a full-time food and lifestyle author who’s passionate about developing simple yet mouth-watering recipes that anyone can make. Since founding her website in 2013, she’s went on to share her passion for cooking healthy and tasty recipes with the thousands of people around the world.
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Emily Ness - Cruise

Sharing a passion for food and fitness to live a healthy lifestyle - with the occasional hint of chocolate.