There’s nothing better than gluten free lemon tarts! Bursting with fresh and tangy lemon flavor, this is an impressive dessert. But the secret is out – they are so easy to make!
Why this recipe is so good
After making these tarts, I’ve decided that lemons are under-utilized in my kitchen. The flavor of these sweet treats is so tart & tangy – it’s one of the best reasons to make them! Here are a few others:
- They are quick to make. Whip up a batch of lemon curd in 15 minutes and take the remaining 5 to fill the tart shells. It can’t get much simpler than that! No baking needed.
- It’s a light & fresh dessert option. Fruit-based desserts naturally feel much fresher than heavier chocolate or nut-based treats – and this one is no exception! The hardest part will be eating just one of these.
- You can make it ahead of time. Bake gluten free tart shells in advance (or use store bought) and store the lemon curd in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Whenever you’re ready to assemble the dessert – it will only take 5 minutes! Easy way to impress your guests without the stress.
- The topping options are endless! Keep it fresh by adding fruit such as blueberries, blackberries or peaches. Use whipped cream, nuts, or chocolate for an indulgent dessert that will keep everyone coming back for more!
You only need 7 ingredients to make this beautiful, tangy dessert:
- Gluten free tart shells: fully baked. You can make your own or purchase your favorite brand at the grocery store. You’ll need 20 of them.
- Granulated sugar: to sweeten the curd and balance out the tart, acidic lemon flavor.
- Lemon juice: freshly squeezed from 2 lemons.
- Lemon zest: from 2 lemons. It will be strained out after cooking the curd.
- Egg yolks: to give the curd it’s perfect texture and richness.
- Unsalted butter: softened butter is easiest to whisk, but it will melt on the stove regardless!
Gluten free & dairy free lemon tarts
Need to skip the dairy in this recipe? It’s so easy! Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Use gluten & dairy free tart shells. Check your local grocery store to see if there is a brand available.
- Use a dairy free butter substitute in the lemon curd. My favorite brand is Earth Balance, but there are other non dairy substitutes in this post all about butter.
Equipment used to make these
Around here, we’re all about simple recipes and try to minimize fancy cookware & bakeware as much as possible. You won’t need anything extravagant for this recipe, just the following:
- Kitchen scale: optional, but highly recommended. I find it much easier to weigh out all of my ingredients while baking. You can find inexpensive versions – mine only cost around $15.
- Medium sized saucepan: to cook the lemon curd ingredients.
- Whisk: preferably a silicone one, but a metal one will work. (Just be mindful of damage to your saucepan.) You’ll be whisking A LOT.
- Wire-mesh strainer: to strain the lemon curd once it has been cooked. A smooth, velvety texture is what we’re after!
- You can also use a tablespoon to add the curd to each tart, or simply pour from a measuring cup. (A Pyrex measuring cup is a handy thing to have.)
How to make this recipe
To make the best gluten free lemon tarts, you’ll need gluten free tart shells. You can make your own, or use your preferred brand. They will need to be fully baked (blind baked), so follow the instructions on the packaging if you are purchasing a pre-made version.
To make the lemon curd, add the unsalted butter, granulated sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt into a medium saucepan. Turn the stovetop to medium-high heat and whisk the ingredients constantly. Allow the mixture to heat gently, but don’t let it boil.
Cook the curd for about 10 minutes, whisking continuously, until the temperature is between 170-180℉. If you don’t own a kitchen thermometer, the curd is cooked when it is thick, sticks to the back of a spoon and makes an indent when a spoon is dragged through it.
Allow the lemon curd to chill slightly, then fill each tart shell to the top with about 1 ½ tablespoons (20g) of filling. You can serve the tarts immediately, or chill them in the fridge to allow the lemon curd to thicken further. Top as desired. (Need some ideas? Keep reading!)
Tips and tricks
There’s no magic required when making these easy gluten free lemon tarts, but a few simple tips will help you on your way:
- Whisk the lemon curd ingredients continuously for 10 minutes while cooking. Why? This creates a smooth & silky texture. All that wrist work will be worth it once you taste that velvety tart filling!
- Don’t let the lemon curd boil. Even, gentle heating is what’s needed in order to make the perfect consistency. (Whisking also helps with that.) Since the mixture contains eggs, overheating or uneven heating may risk the curd turning into a scrambled egg-like texture. Yuck!
- Always strain the lemon curd after cooking. Use a wire-mesh strainer to filter out the lemon zest and any lumps that may have formed along the way.
- Chill the tarts after filling them with lemon curd. This step isn’t essential, but helps to create a rich, thick texture. As the curd cools, it will continue to thicken and set, which is perfect for a lemon tart.
Gluten free lemon tarts are beautiful on their own, but if you want to add a little something extra to this dessert, here are a few suggestions:
- Use fresh fruit. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, apples – the options are endless for a light & fresh after dinner treat!
- Add whipped cream. Homemade or store-bought, you can’t go wrong with a little dollop of whipped cream!
- Choose chocolate. Drizzle melted chocolate or add chocolate shavings on top of each tart for a taste combination that everyone will love.
- Make it nutty. Add almonds, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts for a fresh and earthy twist on this delicious dessert. (Psst – you can combine the chocolate & hazelnut combination by drizzling a bit of Nutella on top. Yes, Nutella is gluten free!)
To store freshly prepared lemon curd, place it in an airtight container or glass jar and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks. To store prepared lemon tarts, put them in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Gluten Free Lemon Tarts
- 20 Gluten Free Tart Shells (fully baked)
For the lemon curd:
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (220g) granulated sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons (6g) lemon zest, from 2 lemons
- ⅓ cup (70g) lemon juice, from 2 lemons
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Add all lemon curd ingredients to a medium saucepan. Turn stovetop heat to medium-high.
- Whisk mixture constantly while heating and do not let it boil. Cook lemon curd for approximately 10 minutes until temperature reaches between 170-180℉. (If you don’t have a thermometer handy, the curd should be thick enough to stick to the back of the spoon. It will also leave an indentation if you drag a spoon through it.)
- Strain lemon curd immediately using a wire-mesh strainer. Allow to cool slightly before adding to tart shells.
- Fill tart shells with 1 ½ tablespoons (20g) of lemon curd. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for several hours. (Lemon curd thickens and sets as it cools.)
- Top with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or eat them plain.
- To make dairy free: use gluten & dairy free tart shells and use non-dairy butter in the lemon curd.
- Storage (lemon curd): store freshly made lemon curd in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
- Storage (tarts): store prepared lemon tarts in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.