Easy Meyer Lemon Bars – Sweet and tangy

Homemade lemon bars are a dream for lemon lovers and this easy Meyer lemon bars recipe is no exception. The zesty lemon topping is tart but also sweet, refreshing, and beautifully bright. The base is a buttery shortbread crust that melts in the mouth. It is the perfect vessel to carry the lemon layer. 

Stacked lemon bars on parchment paper

This lemon bar recipe uses Meyer lemon juice. Meyer lemons are a cross between lemon and orange so it is sweeter than other varieties.

As this recipe uses a large quantity of fresh lemon juice, the Meyer lemon’s sweetness helps balance out the tartness. 

If you love lemon bars that are zingier in flavor, you could use standard lemon varieties such as Eureka, Lisbon, or Yen Ben. Or change it completely, use grapefruit instead, and turn these into grapefruit bars, lime bars, or orange bars (with a mix of lemon and orange to bring the perfect balance.

8 lemon bars cut into squares on parchment paper

Ingredients

Here’s what you need for these easy lemon bars

  • Lemons – The lemon filling uses Meyer lemons. Both the zest and juice, for extra lemon flavor.
  • All-purpose flour and salt – The dry ingredients
  • Granulated sugar – cuts through the lemon bar tartness
  • Unsalted butter – a key ingredient in the buttery shortbread base
  • Large eggs – Whole eggs help the creamy lemon curd filling set

Equipment

Use a 9×9 inch ( 23 x 23 cm) square baking tray or similar size.

Lemon sensitivities

There is a lot of lemon in a lemon bar. It doesn’t have the word lemon in the title for nothing. For most people who love citrus, all this lemon zest and juice isn’t bad.

However, as such a concentrated amount of lemon juice is used in lemon bars, it can sometimes result in a bitter or metallic taste for certain people with sensitive taste buds.

It is often thought that the culprit is using metal saucepans or utensils when making the lemon curd, but this isn’t always the case, and the aftertaste can still be present even when using non-reactive plastic, glass, or silicone.

Method

The buttery crust

  1. Preheat the oven temperature to 350°F (176°C).
  2. Mix the softened butter, flour, lemon zest, sugar, and salt in a food processor or using a pastry blender until it creates a soft and crumbly dough.
  3. Line a 9×9 inch ( 23 x 23 cm) baking pan with parchment paper, then press dough firmly into the prepared pan.
orange bar shortbread crust.
fingers pressing dough into pan.
  1. Bake it for approximately 20-22 minutes until lightly browned and just baked through.

The lemon curd

  1. Whisk the flour and the sugar together, then add the eggs and lemon and whisk well to combine. Pour this carefully over the warm crust.
  2. Bake the lemon bars again until the lemon curd has set. Slightly shaking the pan will show if it has set or not. There should not be a wobble to the curd.
lemon curd being poured over a shortbread base

Serving and storing

Once baked, cool the lemon squares to room temperature in their pan, then refrigerate for 1-2 hours before slicing with a sharp knife. Add a dusting of powdered sugar at the time of serving.

Store lemon bars, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Freeze lemon bars for up to three months.

Freezing individually – Cut the cooled lemon bars, place them onto a tray, and put them in the freezer for about an hour until firm. Wrap each bar in foil or plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and freeze. 

FAQS

Can lemon bars be frozen?

Lemon bars can be frozen for up to three months. They can be frozen individually or as one whole. Cut the cooled lemon bars and place the sliced bars (without powdered sugar), onto a sheet, and put the freezer for about an hour until firm. Wrap each bar in foil or plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and freeze.   

Can lemon bars be refrigerated?

They are best stored in the refrigerator

Can you use other types of lemons?

You can use Eureka, Lisbon, or Yen Ben.

Why did my lemon bars crack?

If the lemon curd mixture was beaten too long this can cause cracks in the baked curd. A too-hot oven temperature can also be the cause.

Why are my lemon bars runny?

This is a sign that the curd layer was not set and could have done with a longer baking time.

Why are lemon bars white on top?

This is a thin layer of foam created from beating the eggs in the lemon curd layer. It’s totally normal.

Related recipes

Looking for other bars? Try these blackberry crumble bars. Or are you keen on other lemon desserts? Try these zesty orange scones with cardamom, use those extra lemons to make some homemade lemon curd, or try lemon pie bars that use graham crackers for the crust.

a slice of yellow lemon bar with a bite out of it
a slice of yellow lemon bar with a bite out of it

Meyer Lemon Bars

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

A sweet and tangy lemon curd layer over a soft, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread base.

Ingredients

Base

  • 200g (1 ⅔ cup) all-purpose flour
  • 50g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 170g (¾ cup) softened butter

Lemon Layer

  • 200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 30g (4 Tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 120g (½ cup) fresh Meyer lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a food processor or using a pastry cutter, mix together the softened butter, flour, lemon zest, sugar, and salt until it creates a soft dough.
  3. Line a 9x9 inch ( 23 x 23 cm) baking pan with parchment paper, then press this mixture firmly into the tray. Bake it for approximately 20-22 minutes until lightly browned and just baked through.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the sugar for the lemon layer until well combined. Add the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt, and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture of the baked base and place it back in the oven.
  5. Bake for around 20 minutes until the lemon layer has set. Giving the pan a little shake should show no wobble left to the lemon layer.
  6. Once baked, cool the lemon squares to room temperature, then refrigerate for at 1-2 hours before slicing. Powdered sugar can be dusted over the top at the time of serving.

Notes

For a tarter slice, use eureka or Lisbon lemons or limes.

The cup sizes given are for US cups. Note that these are smaller than metric cup sizes. For best results, use grams.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 222Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 136mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 3g

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