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Not your average lemon square– these ultra thick and creamy Meyer lemon bars sit atop a buttery shortbread crust and will be the last lemon bar recipe you’ll ever need!
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. These are indeed lemon bars, despite the orange hue the citrus slices with them might lead you to believe.
And no, your eyes are not playing tricks on you regarding the thickness of the crust and filling on these not-your-average lemon squares.
These babies are THICK. And with thick comes bursting with flavor, ultra creamy, and sure to be one of your new favorite recipes using Meyer lemons.
Now, if you’re scratching your head right now and wondering to yourself “what the heck is a Meyer lemon?” I’m here to tell you that this lemon will change your life.
It is truly one of the best winter citruses, and if you can find some in your produce section, snatch them up! They’re quite the gem!
WHAT IS A MEYER LEMON?
A Meyer lemon is a hybrid lemon + Mandarin orange citrus. It presents a little rounder than a yellow lemon, and it has thinner skin. Though it is still tart, it’s far less tart than a traditional lemon and has a touch of sweetness to it. It’s color is similar to that of an egg yolk.
While these Meyer lemon bars call specifically for Meyer lemons, a swap for regular lemons is completely fine. Or, if you’re feeling jazzy, you can do 2 parts yellow lemon to 1 part orange to achieve a similar taste of the Meyer lemon.
No matter what lemon or lemon/orange combo you choose, I’m sure you’ll agree that these Meyer lemon bars are seriously like no other you’ve had before.
So let’s talk about what’s going on here:
Shortbread crust: this a crust I’ve used over and over when I make my blueberry lemon pie bars. It’s solid, it’s flavorful, it’s buttery, and I add just a touch of zest to the crust so we’ve got lemon flavor happening everywhere.
The filling: lemon bars are, by nature, a custard dessert, using Meyer lemon juice in place of milk. There are a lot of eggs happening in this filling, which gives the bars its structure.
Also with the lemon filling, we’ve got a lot of white sugar. I typically turn to brown sugar in my desserts for its moisture and deep flavor, but we’re not looking for that in these Meyer lemon bars.
As the white sugar and the eggs cook, they create the custard that holds in all that tart lemon flavor.
And boyyyy do these Meyer lemon bars ever have a ton of flavor. This is, no contest, one of the best Meyer lemon recipes you’ll find, because I have to be honest– classic lemon bars have always been a little “eh” for me.
But I turned to my girl Ina (seriously, love her recipes) because I knew she’d have the best recipe for lemon bars, and she definitely did. I just made a few adjustments and used my tried and true shortbread base.
Listen, lemon lovers are passionate. They love lemon as if their life depends on it. Agree? Let my bars become one of your new favorite dessert recipes with Meyer lemons (or lemons or lemons + oranges).
Because if you can get those Meyer lemons in your kitchen, I guarantee you’ll want to put them in all the lemon dessert recipes you can find!
Meyer Lemon Bars
- 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- the zest of one Meyer lemon1
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 2 and ¼ cups (550g) granulated sugar
- the zest of 3 Meyer lemons1
- ¾ cup (180mL) Meyer lemon juice1 about 3 to 4 Meyer lemons
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Line an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ baking pan with foil. Leave an overhang on the sides. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, stir together the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and the lemon zest. Add the flour and stir until combined.
- Press the crust evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt until smooth. Fold in the flour, pressing out any large chunks of flour as you stir.
- Pour the filling over the crust and bake the bars for 45-48 minutes, until the filling is set2. A little jiggling in the center is ok (think Jell-O). Allow to cool to room temperature before allowing to chill completely in the refrigerator.
- To serve, remove the bars from the pan using the foil overhang. Cut the bars into desired size and dust with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
- If you don’t have Meyer lemons: you can opt to use 2 parts yellow lemon to 1 part orange to achieve Meyer lemon flavor.
- Presentation: the top of the bars may look bubbly. This is ok, and is a reaction of the cooked sugar and eggs. It can show up in some batches and not others, but it is completely normal.