Meyer lemon bars are a bright taste of summer, with a shortbread crust and deliciously tangy filling. These easy lemon bar recipe will be part of your baking repertoire for years to come.
This recipe comes to me from my friend, Amy. She’s been making Meyer lemon bars for our summertime concerts in the park for a long time. (This post was originally posted on January 31, 2012, and has been updated to contain nutritional information. As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a commission on qualifying purchases.)
When Spencer and I moved into our first house in Pasadena, 27 years ago, we had several fruit trees, including this odd lemon-orange kind of tree. I had really wanted a grocery store lemon tree, with firm skinned lemons for zesting. I soon found out what we had was a Meyer lemon tree, instead of the Eureka, “grocery store”, variety.
A few years after that, the Meyer lemon craze took off and people back East were paying ridiculous amounts of money for a single lemon. I got so used to the super juicy, sweet Meyer, that when we moved to our new house 21 years ago, I had to plant a Meyer lemon tree, even though we already had a huge Eureka tree.
What’s the difference between Meyer Lemons and Eureka lemons?
The difference between the two is easy to discern. A Meyer lemon is a hybrid and has thinner, deep yellow skin, that almost looks like an anemic orange. (It’s a cross between a Mandarin and a lemon.) Its juice is sweeter and it yields more juice. A Eureka is more common lemon, easier to zest, with thicker skin, but yields less juice. It’s the one you are accustomed to seeing in the grocery store. I think it’s also much prettier!
When do Meyer lemons ripen?
While we usually think of lemons as “summer” fruits, Meyer lemons reach their peak during the cooler months, from November through March. While Eurekas are available year round, their season is from late winter to early summer. “Bearrs” lemons pick up where the other two varieties leave off and are most plentiful from July to December. Meyer lemons don’t do well in the cold, so grow primarily in California. For more about Meyer lemons, including caring or them, click on Everything You Need To Know About Meyer Lemons.
How to store Meyer lemons
The thicker skinned Eureka lemons will last a long time on the counter, but Meyer lemons don’t seem to last as long. I’m sure it’s because they have thinner skin. When I get more Meyer lemons than I know I’ll be able to use within a week, I prefer to refrigerate them.
Can you use any kind of lemon juice in these lemon bars?
Yes! This recipe will work with any kind of lemon juice. But bear in mind that these lemon bars are not quite as sour as traditional lemon bars because the juice is naturally not as acidic. If you prefer a tart lemon bar, don’t adjust the amount of sugar.
How do you store lemon bars?
Lemon bars will last several hours out of the fridge, making them perfect for picnics or potlucks. If you’re not serving or eating them until the next day, it’s best to refrigerate them.
Tips for making these lemon bars
Make sure all the ingredients are room temperature. This is a good rule in general when baking.
Weigh ingredients. A baking scale is very inexpensive and will guarantee success. This scale is under $15 and has over 88,000 4 star reviews.
Pre-bake the shortbread crust just until barely golden.
Don’t cut the bars right away. Let them cool completely.
If not serving them right away, wait until just before serving to dust with powdered sugar.
I like smaller portions, so this recipe, baked in an 8″ x 8″ baking dish yields 16 bars but of course, you can make larger servings.
Garnish with very thin wedges of Meyer lemon if desired.
Meyer Lemon Bars
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line pan an 8"X 8" glass baking dish with parchment.
- Cream butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. Add flour, and mix just until blended. Pat into baking dish. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes or until barely golden
- In the same mixing bowl, blend filling ingredients together.
- Pour onto baked crust and return to oven for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The bars will continue to set after removing from oven. Cool completely. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Garnish with very thin slices of Meyer lemon wedges.
- (To double batch, bake in a 13"X 9" pan)