Meyer Lemon Bars

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5 from 9 votes

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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!

stack of meyer lemon bars with slices of meyer lemon

These are the BEST Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust!

Lemon bars seem to be a staple at bake sales, potlucks, and holiday dessert spreads, and I am absolutely here for it. The problem I find, though, is that too many times, lemon bars are flimsy, fall apart, and leave me wanting more of a “base” to hold them and eat them like a bar rather than with a fork like a pie.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but we need thicker crusts on our lemon bars. And these Meyer lemon bars have it!

Another thing I love about these Meyer lemon bars is the atypical changeup from traditional lemon bars. Meyer lemons have a slightly orange-y taste to them, which brings a whole different flavor profile than lemon bars made with regular lemons.

meyer lemon bars sitting on an aqua cake stand

Of course, if regular lemons are all you have, that’s totally fine! And if you’d like to mimic the flavor of Meyer lemons because you either can’t find them or don’t want an extra trip to the store (or, you know, Meyer lemons are out of season!), adding in a bit of orange juice can make that happen.

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No matter how you slice it, I think these lemon bars with a thick and buttery shortbread crust are going to totally rock your lemon-loving socks!

meyer lemon bar sitting on a plate with slices of meyer lemon

WHAT IS A MEYER LEMON?

sliced meyer lemon with juice and seeds spilling out

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.

meyer lemon half sitting on top of a citrus juicer filled with meyer lemon juice

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.

meyer lemon bars sitting on an aqua cake stand

Why these are the Best Lemon Bars

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.

meyer lemon bar sitting on a plate with slices of meyer lemon

Meyer Lemon Bar Recipe ingredients

Shortbread Crust Ingredients

  • unsalted butter melted
  • granulated sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • salt
  • zest of one Meyer lemon
  • all-purpose flour

Meyer Lemon Bar Filling

  • large eggs room temperature
  • granulated sugar
  • zest of 3 Meyer lemons
  • Meyer lemon juice 
  • salt
  • all-purpose flour
aerial photo of meyer lemon bar sitting on a plate with slices of meyer lemon

How to know when Lemon Bars are done

You’ll know your lemon bars are done when the edges just start turning golden brown and the filling is mostly set with a slight jiggle in the center. Think of the motion of Jell-O.

When to put powdered sugar on lemon bars:

Add a dusting of powdered sugar to lemon bars just before serving. If you add it while the bars are still warm or too far ahead of serving, the bars may absorb the sugar. This is totally fine as far as consumption, but will just change the look of them. You can add more powdered sugar if you are serving leftovers and you feel that too much sugar has been absorbed.

How to serve the Best Lemon Bars Recipe

Lemon bars are best served room temperature, but will need to be stored in the refrigerator to preserve freshness. I recommend letting them sit out for 20-30 minutes before serving to reduce the chill from the fridge.

How to cut Lemon Bars

It is important to use a large and very sharp knife to cut your lemon bars. I usually clean off the knife between slices to avoid the bars sticking to the knife too much. If you want to warm the knife and dry it off between slices, that will work even better! Go slow and be patient.

How to store Meyer Lemon Bars

Any exposed filling may become gummy as the bars sit, so be sure the bars are covered tightly. Keep in the refrigerator.

How long do Lemon Bars last in the fridge?

Lemon bars will last about 5 days in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze Lemon Bars?

Yes! Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Do not dust with powdered sugar, and cut the cooled bars into squares. Place bars onto a baking sheet and allow to freeze for about 1 hour. Remove from the freezer and Individually wrap each bar in foil or plastic wrap and place into a large container or zip top bag to store frozen. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then dust with powdered sugar before serving.

meyer lemon bars sitting on an aqua cake stand

Best Lemon Bar Recipe FAQs

Why do my Lemon Bars have a crust on top?

It is totally normal for there to be a slight crust on the top of your lemon bars. This is a result of the bubbles from the eggs rising to the top and combining with the sugar. There is no way to prevent this, and a dusting of powdered sugar is typically the best way to hide it if you think it doesn’t look great.

Is it better to bake lemon bars in a glass or metal pan?

Glass pans retain a lot of heat, which can often lead to overbaking of goods in the oven. It is best to always use metal pans when baking lemon bars.

Why did my lemon bars fall apart?

If your lemon bars are falling apart, your filling was likely way too thin. Be sure you are measuring the liquid exactly and not just juicing 3-4 lemons without knowing how much liquid you actually have in front of you.

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).

meyer lemon bar with a fork full taken out of it sitting on a plate with slices of meyer lemon

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!

stack of meyer lemon bars with slices of meyer lemon
5 from 9 votes
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Meyer Lemon Bar Recipe

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!
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time48 minutes
Total Time1 hour 18 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 16 bars

Ingredients

SHORTBREAD CRUST

  • 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

FILLING

  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 and ¼ cups (450g) 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

Instructions

  • 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.

SHORTBREAD CRUST

  • NOTE: please consider the thickness of the crust before gathering the ingredients for the shortbread crust. If you think you'd prefer a thinner crust than the one pictured, cut the ingredients in half and proceed with the recipe.
  • 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.
    1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt, the zest of one Meyer lemon1, 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • Press the crust evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes while you prepare the filling. If you've opted for a half-batch crust, bake for 12 minutes instead.

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.
    4 large eggs, 2 and ¼ cups (450g) granulated sugar, the zest of 3 Meyer lemons1, ¾ cup (180mL) Meyer lemon juice1, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
  • 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
 
Adapted from Ina Garten
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

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25 Comments

  1. Started to make your lemon bars because I wanted ones that were thicker, but the very first ingredient measurement is wrong. One cup of butter, melted or otherwise, is 240 grams. I’m afraid to waste my ingredients not knowing if the rest of the measurements are correct.

    1. Hey, Dawn– thanks for catching the one typo in my recipe– 113g is the measurement for 1/2 cup of butter, and 1 cup of butter is actually 227g. Hope this helps.

    2. 5 stars
      Dawn, I can assure you the rest of these measurements are correct, as I made these lemon bars a month ago and use Lynn’s recipes more than any other blogger for my baking. They are absolutely excellent and some of the best I’ve ever had. The crust is ridiculous, so I encourage you to carry on!

  2. I made these and they are way too sweet. Is 2 1/4 cups of sugar correct? I had to throw these out as they are way too sweet to even eat

    1. Yes, 2 and 1/4 cups of sugar is correct. And the ratio of sugar to eggs is pretty standard for traditional lemon bar custard. Unless you left out the salt, I’m not sure what else to tell you!

  3. 5 stars
    I suggest a 9×9 pan. I only had an 8×8 and it would not accommodate all the filling, I had 1/2 cup of that luscious mixture left. (will make a cookie crust a bake in mini muffin tins) Loved the flavor and will be making it again

    1. Hmm… It worked just fine in my 8×8! It’s possible you’re using a pan on the shorter side, but I’m glad you still liked it! Thanks, Dianne 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely LOVED this recipe—it got rave reviews from my coworkers as well. I will say that 45 minutes seems way too long for a cooking time. My bars were a little toasty around the edges and the top had a slight crust. Nothing a knife and some powdered sugar can’t fix!

    1. Thanks so much, Alyssa– the cook time insures the custard is set and less time may yield a gooey center. You want to bake it until the edges are set and it’s no longer jiggly. But yes, powdered sugar usually does the trick for aesthetics!

  5. 5 stars
    Welll good news and bad news. Good news was the flavor was fabulous. Bad news was lining with just tin foil definitely did not work for me and was a huge pain to pick off the sides of the bars. Personally I prefer a thin crust to thick filling so next time I may use 50% less of the dough. Will def make again though the filling was fabulous and thicker than most recipes I’ve tried. Super easy too.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Carmen! We typically use pretty thick foil, and thinner may not work as well. You may want to use parchment next time!

  6. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! However tonight I modified it to make a pie in a springform pan with a hybrid golden Oreo shortbread crust! I increased the measurements and added a touch of key lime extract and vanilla bean paste. My house smells incredible! I was craving a key lime pie and didn’t have sweetened condensed milk and I thought why not try and supersize the best lemon bar recipe ever!

    1. Hi, Joan. Yes. That’s correct. There is the zest of one lemon in the crust and the zest of three lemons in the filling. I removed your 1-star rating because there was no indication you actually made the recipe, and your comment is really just a statement of… What the recipe says. If you made them and have feedback, I’m happy to hear it. But the instructions are clear and I’m not sure what your question (?) is.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi! I just wanted to let you know these turned out wonderfully. Shortbread was wonderful texture and taste, and the filling had the perfect amount of tanginess. I substituted a 1-to-1 gluten free flour and it worked perfectly. The recipe was also very easy to read, thank you for including metric measurements rments and then in the directions or steps so you didn’t have to scroll back up constantly! thank you again!