The creamiest vegan blueberry lemon bars with a classic shortcrust base, a custard-like lemon filling and plenty of fresh berries!
Spring is in the air which means plenty of light and zesty desserts. These vegan blueberry lemon bars (or vegan blueberry lemon slice) has the texture of a classic custard vanilla slice. Melts in your mouth but with an easy shortbread base!
They can be kept at room temperature and can be served to vegans and non-vegans alike. They are just like lemon slice from your corner bakery! Or if you prefer lemon in TART form, see my recipe for vegan lemon tart.
Making the easy base for the blueberry lemon bars
We need a firm base for these to hold up the custard. I used 3 simple ingredients: flour, melted butter (or coconut oil) and sugar.
I simply mixed them all in a bowl until combined. You can do this in a food processor for ease!
Then press the mixture into a lined baking tin. I found it easiest to use my fingers first then to flatten and smooth it with a cake scraper. Try to make sure the base is as firm as possible because any gaps will cause your slice to crumble.
I baked the base in the oven for around 10 minutes until it was golden brown. This firms up the base!
How to make the filling for the blueberry lemon bars
For the filling, we need:
- Thick canned coconut cream (if you're in Australia, Woolworth's branded cream works well)
- Corn starch aka corn flour
- Sweetener such as rice malt or maple syrup or sugar
- Blueberries (I used local Australian blueberries)
The natural fats in the coconut cream and the thickening ability of corn starch helps the filling to set.
It's *very* important that you use only the thick part of the cream otherwise your lemon bars will be a puddly mess.
If you prefer less of a 'pudding-like' texture and more of a firm slice, I'd recommend adding another setting agent such as coconut oil or vegan butter (this is in the recipe card below)
Simply add all the ingredients to a heavy-based saucepan (except the blueberries) overheat and stir until it thickens. The custard is ready when:
- The mixture *thickly* coats the back of a spoon
- It is a pourable custard consistency
- You can drizzle the custard on the surface and the drizzle marks stay there for around 10 seconds (as pictured)
When I make vegan custard that needs to set, my 'motto' is to make sure it's a little thicker than necessary (so cook it for a little longer)!
Tips for cutting the blueberry lemon bars
The bars are easy to cut with a sharp knife! However, here are my top tips:
- Sharpen your knife before you cut the bars
- If the custard of your bars are 'sticky', run your knife under warm water and cut them while the knife is wet and warm
- Clean your knife between each cut to ensure the edges are clean and smooth
More vegan lemon desserts
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Blueberry Lemon Bars
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose plain flour
- ½ cup (115g) vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, or coconut sugar
Filling and topping
- 2 ¾ cups (660g) thick scoopable canned coconut cream, (note 1)
- ½ cup (160g) maple syrup or rice malt syrup, or cane sugar to taste
- ½ cup (120g) lemon zest and juice (about 2 lemons)
- ½ cup (55g) corn starch / corn flour
- 2 tablespoons (30g) vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil, optional for a firmer filling
- Pinch of turmeric, optional for colour
- 2 cups (300g) fresh blueberries
To make the base:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20 cm or 23 cm (8 inch or 9 inch) baking tin with baking paper.
- Add all the base ingredients to abowl or food processor. Mix until combined. Press very firmly into the base of your baking tin. Bake for 15 minutes or until the base is slightly brown and is firm to the touch. Set aside
To make the filling:
- Add all ingredients except the blueberries to a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Whisk to combine the ingredients and allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring for another 5 minutes to thicken the mixture. The filling is ready when it thickly coats the back of a spoon or is the consistency of pourable custard.
- Pour the mixture into your baking tin and smooth the top. Quickly sprinkle half of the blueberries on top. Allow the slice to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- When the slice is firm, top with the extra blueberries. Use a sharp knife to cut servings. Tip: A slightly wet or warm knife makes this easier. Enjoy!
- This is about 2 to 3 x 400mL cans, depending on the brand and how much thick coconut cream is in each. Make sure you chill the coconut cream in the fridge overnight and use only use the thick part of the cream which has floated to the top of the can!
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Hi, I can’t wait to try this recipe. Would the base work with a gluten free flour or almond flour? Thanks!
Hi Kylie! I think the base will work best with half gluten-free all-purpose flour and half almond flour. I find that all gluten-free flour bases are a bit dry so almond flour balances out the texture and helps it taste 'buttery'. I hope that helps!
Thanks so much for your reply Anthea! I tried this yesterday and it was indeed very buttery and crumbly! The lemony filling is so delicious.
Thankyou for your amazing recipes. I have had to eliminate dairy while nursing my son, and your site is my go-to for enjoying some dairy-free treats. It’s a joy trying them out 🙂
What other baking dishes can I use? I don’t have a 8 or 9 inch baking tin
Hi Emily, 9 x 13 inch rectangular tin will work (your bars will be thinner), or even a round 10 inch pan.
Ok thanks!! Will the baking time for these be different if I only have glass bakeware?
Yes it might! Generally glass bakeware takes a little longer to heat up. However, if you're baking the base in a larger dish, the base will be thinner and can cook in a shorter amount of time (which cancels my previous point haha). Try checking the crust at 10 minutes and baking it for longer, if needed :).
Made these, everyone liked them, although we made the recipe for 12 servings but maybe should have made half of it since after cutting into twelves, the pieces were around twice as large as pictured.
note: the gram amounts do not update with the slider so we had to manually calculate from the base recipe
Glad that you enjoyed these bars! I used a 9-inch baking tin for these so if you used a smaller tin, they would be a lot thicker. For example, an 8-inch tin is 20% smaller in volume. With the grams measurement, yes unfortunately the recipe plugin doesn't update the grams measurement so I also calculate it manually if I need to change quantities.
Natalie M+ller says
I was skeptical about how I would go wit this recipe, having not attempted any vegan tarts/slices yet but thanks to the very details instructions (including pictures) it turned out to be actually quite simple. Not only that, IT'S DELICIOUS!!! the gooey lemon filling is just the right amount of sour and not too coconutty (I used 4 cans which wasn't the full amount in the recipe but it still worked) the slices are the perfect balance of flavors and crumbly texture on the bottom and chewy fresh lemon on top. I will definitely be making this again.
I'm soo happy that you loved these lemon bars and that you found the instructions and pictures helpful! Reminds me to make these again soon. Thanks soo much for your feedback and making me smile!
Hello! I was wondering what an alternative to coconut cream would be? I am not vegan but your recipe looks great and I wanted to try it out but I, unfortunately, do not have coconut cream 🙁 would replacing it with eggs perhaps help?
Hey! You could try soy milk (as it's the creamiest of plant-based milks) or your milk of choice and increase the butter to about 1/2 cup to replace the fat! The texture will be more firm this way. I don't think eggs will work as a 1:1 replacement because with the amount of cream it'd end up like a sweet omelette!
Hello, thank you for your help! I will try it out that way and see how it goes. I hope they turn out somewhat similar to yours, I might just have to pick up coconut cream for next time.
Hello I just finished both parts but my cookie part is still very hot. Do I wait for it to cool before pouring the lemon part? I’m very impatient haha.
I assume you've already poured it on by now! Usually, I'd wait until the cookie part is at least warm before pouring. The heat causes condensation which may cause it to be soggy. Let me know how you go nevertheless 🙂
Hello! Yes, I finished baking it by now and it tastes good! I definitely had slight mishaps with the texture of the lemon part but that's probably due to my ingredient changes. But it tastes very similar to a lemon bar which I was happy about. Perhaps soon I can try again if I can find coconut cream!
Thank you for sharing this recipe, it’s absolutely delicious and it’s absolutely something I will bake again . The lemon filling/topping is incredible and pairs so well with the blueberries. Also the recipe is a pleasure to make!
My pleasure Miriam and so glad to hear!! Thanks for your lovely feedback xo
Such a perfectly pretty recipe which has the most creamy consistency! Great timing for spring/summer.
Thank you x
So glad to hear and thanks for your kind feedback Emma xo
Perfect timing for a lemony recipe since my tree has so much fruit on it! These were absolutely delicious, thank you!
Oooh I'm so glad you enjoyed these!! And such a great way to use up extra fruit - lucky you! Thanks for the lovely comment xo