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Easy Meyer Lemon Bars Recipe

Meyer lemon bars with shortbread crust are perfectly sweet and tangy, a burst of sunny lemony flavour in every bite.

(Craving for something with a bit more tang? You will love these shaker lemon bars. The recipe uses whole lemons – perfect for lemon lovers!)

Overhead shot of Meyer lemon lemon bars.

I’m not a big fan of winter but Meyer lemons make everything better. They’re in season from about December to May and just the sunshine we need on gloomy winter days.

Every year, I grab a bag (ok maybe 2) of Meyer lemons as soon as I see them in-store and these bars are one of the first treats I make. They go perfectly with everything. 

They’re great with tea. They’re a light and refreshing dessert after a meal. They’re also a hit at wedding showers and baby showers.

Meyer lemon bars (and lemon desserts in general) just make me really happy. Hope they make you smile too.

What is the difference between Meyer lemons and regular lemons?

Lemon bars made with Meyer lemons.

But first, what are Meyer lemons?

Meyer lemons were first introduced to the States from China in the early 20th century by Frank Meyer (thus the name). This wonderful winter citrus is a cross between regular lemons and mandarin oranges.

The main difference between Meyer lemons and regular lemons is the taste. 

Meyer lemons are only moderately acidic and don’t have the same strong tang as regular lemons. They’re much sweeter and more fragrant too. 

They’re also not available year-round like regular lemons. You would usually see them in stores from early winter to late spring.

They look different as well. They’re smaller, rounder and deeper yellow than regular lemons.

Why you’ll love making lemon bars with Meyer lemons

If you already have a lemon bar recipe you love, switch things up and try this recipe!

  • Meyer lemons are delightful. If you’re not on the Meyer lemon train yet, these lemon squares are a delicious introduction.
  • The shortbread crust makes all the difference. It pairs perfectly with the tangy lemon filling.
  • This recipe is easy to make. It’s a very forgiving recipe and comes together in no time. 
  • They’re freezer-friendly too. So you can bake them when you have the time and bring them out when the craving hits.

How to make Meyer lemon bars

This recipe is straightforward and all the ingredients you need are pantry staples.

Ingredient notes

  • Unsalted butter
  • All purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Meyer lemon juice
  • Meyer lemon zest
  • Powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar)

If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you can use the same amount of regular lemons for a tarter but still delicious lemon treat.

Baking tools

I like using my stand mixer to make the crust because it’s faster, but a handled electric mixer will do just fine. Other than that, all you need are:

  • 9×13 inch baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisks and spatulas

Easy recipe with step-by-step photos

Shortbread Crust

1. PREP BAKING PAN. Preheat your oven to 325F and prep a 9×13 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side. This will make it easier to lift the lemon squares out later.

2. MAKE CRUST. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, flour, granulated sugar and salt until it resembles a coarse meal. Do not over beat. You’ll know you’re done when no big chunks of butter and large streaks of flour remain.

Photo collage - butter, sugar and flour in a bowl.

3. TRANSFER DOUGH TO PAN. Transfer the dough to your pan and, using your hands, press evenly and firmly onto the bottom. You want to be conscientious about this — make sure the crust is packed tightly and evenly so you won’t have to deal with a possible seeping situation later.

Photo collage - how to make shortbread crust.

4. BAKE AND COOL. Bake for 30 minutes or until it turns a light golden brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool while you work on your filling. Do not turn your oven off.

Lemon Filling

1. WHISK DRY INGREDIENTS. In a large bowl, whisk granulated sugar and flour until combined.

Photo collage - dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. ADD EGGS. Add eggs to the flour mixture and whisk.

Photo collage - eggs added to dry ingredients.

3. ADD MEYER LEMON JUICE AND ZEST. Add Meyer lemon juice and Meyer lemon zest and continue whisking. Stop when the mixture gets foamy.

4. POUR OVER COOLED CRUST AND BAKE. Pour the filling over your cooled crust and bake for an additional 30 minutes or just until the filling is set. Take the bars out of the oven and leave on the counter to cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

Photo collage - lemon filling on pre-baked shortbread crust.

Expert baking tips

Easy, right? Here are some tips for the best Meyer lemon bars every time.

Basic baking tips

  • Always work with room temperature ingredients.
  • It’s best to use fresh lemon juice.
  • If you’re not serving the bars right away, wait until just before serving to sprinkle with powdered sugar.

How to know when bars are done

You know when your bars are done baking if the sides start to turn a light golden brown. The filling should look set as well, which means it’s not soupy or runny anymore.

Be careful not to overdo it though. Remember that your bars will continue baking as they cool in the pan. So for me, slightly wobbly is okay (think: firm Jello) but if it jiggles and moves too much in the pan, I keep it in the oven a few minutes more.

As for the shortbread crust, pre-bake just until barely golden.

The best way to have clean and neat slices

To end up with nice, cleanly cut Meyer lemon squares, make sure to cool the bars completely before cutting. You can even chill them for a few minutes for good measure.

It’s the same way I cut my crowd-favourite Pecan pie cheesecake bars (which are super ooey and gooey):

  • Put hot water in a glass and dip your sharp knife into it. Wait a few seconds until the knife is warm to the touch. Dry it with a tea towel.
  • Lift the lemon bars from the pan and transfer to a cutting board.
  • Make your first slice then wipe your knife clean with a paper towel. Dip your knife into the glass with hot water again and dry.
  • Repeat until you’ve sliced everything.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

Meyer Lemon Bars Recipe
Why do my lemon bars have bubbles on top?


Sometimes you’ll see air bubbles on top of your bars and these are completely normal. It’s the air from the egg mixture rising to the surface.

They won’t affect the taste and it’s very easy to cover those bubbles with powdered sugar. Nobody will ever know!

Do lemon bars need to be refrigerated?


Since lemon bars are basically a custard and made with eggs, they are best refrigerated if you’re not serving them the same day you baked them. 

You can eat them cold, though we prefer bringing them down to room temperature and even microwaving them a few seconds if we’re in a rush!

They should keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Can lemon bars be frozen?


If you want to keep them for longer, another option is to freeze them. And they freeze beautifully!

Freezing lemon bars is similar to how I freeze my fudgy walnut brownies — once they cool completely, slice them and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Then wrap them in foil and place them in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag.

To thaw, just bring out the pieces you plan on eating or serving and leave them out on the counter to allow them to come to room temperature. That’s it!

I don’t usually sprinkle powdered sugar on bars that I plan to freeze. I do that once I’m about to serve them. 

If you’re freezing leftovers though, no worries. You can place parchment paper on top of the powdered sugar before you wrap the bars in plastic wrap so you don’t get a sticky mess later.

Can I make lemon bars with a graham cracker crust?


I always make Meyer lemon bars with a shortbread crust. I love the combination of the buttery crust and the tangy filling.

I tried it with graham cracker crust once and lemme tell you, it was a soggy disaster. This buttery shortbread crust, on the other hand, is always sturdy enough to hold the filling up.

So while you can try graham crackers (I’m sure Google will turn up lots of results), I always make mine with shortbread and with great success!

I love lemons, graham crackers and coconut though so if you want to explore that flavour combination, try these recipes:

My favourite Meyer lemon pie of all time — made with condensed milk sitting on a graham cracker and coconut cookie crust.
The best lemon cheesecake ever — this sweet and tangy lemon cheesecake is light, lemony and complemented by a coconut graham cracker crust and lemon whipped cream.

The best Meyer lemon recipes

If you love Meyer lemons as much as I do, you’ll love these:

Meyer Lemon Bars Recipe

Meyer Lemon Bars

Author: Jolina
Meyer lemon bars with shortbread crust are perfectly sweet and tangy, a burst of sunny lemony flavour in every bite.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine North American
Servings 24 bars
Calories 152 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the shortbread crust:

For the lemon filling:

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 pcs large eggs room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup Meyer lemon juice (2-3 lemons) see note
  • Meyer lemon zest use all the zest from the lemons you used

To serve:

  • confectioner's or powdered sugar

Instructions
 

For the shortbread crust:

  • Preheat your oven to 325F and prep a 9×13 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side. This will make it easier to lift the lemon squares out later.
  • Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup butter, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp salt until it resembles a coarse meal. Do not over beat. You'll know you're done when no big chunks of butter and large streaks of flour remain.
    Shortbread dough in a bowl
  • Transfer the dough to your pan and, using your hands, press evenly and firmly onto the bottom. You want to be conscientious about this — make sure the crust is packed tightly and evenly so you won't have to deal with a possible seeping situation later.
    Shortbread dough pressed in pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until it turns a light golden brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool while you work on your filling. Do not turn your oven off.
    Baked shortbread crust

For the lemon filling:

  • In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/ 4 cup flour until combined.
    Whisked sugar and flour in bowl
  • Add the beaten eggs to the flour mixture and whisk.
    Meyer lemon bars filling in bowl
  • Add 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice and Meyer lemon zest and continue whisking. Stop when the mixture gets foamy.
    Meyer lemon bars filling whisked until foamy
  • Pour the filling over your cooled crust and bake for an additional 30 minutes or just until the filling is set. Take the bars out of the oven and leave on the counter to cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve with a dusting of confectioner's sugar.
    Meyer lemon bars filling poured over shortbread crust

Video

Notes

  1. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you can use the same amount of regular lemon juice and zest to make classic lemon bars. Note that classic lemon bars a more tangy than Meyer lemon bars.
  2. See post for the complete step-by-step photos, FAQs and baking tips.

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 26mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 236IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information are estimates only.

Keyword Afternoon Tea, Baby Shower, Citrus, Spring, Winter
Tried this recipe?Tag @iamtheunlikelybaker I’d love to see your creations!

Happy baking!

Did you make Meyer lemon bars? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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Rate the Recipe




Grace

Thursday 13th of February 2020

I baked your lemon bar recipe using lemons (not meyer lemons) and their delicious! My husband loves these as a kid growing up. I love the lemon too but I think I like the crust more so good. Easy to make.

Jolina

Thursday 27th of February 2020

Thank you Grace! Glad you and the husband like them :)

Kim Bantayan

Wednesday 19th of September 2018

Hi Ate Jojo. I bought two kilos of calamansi from a friend last weekend. I squeezed the juice out of these calamansi and placed them in the freezer for later use but I'm still left with about half a kilo in my kitchen. I was thinking of trying your lemon bars with shortbread crust but using calamansi. Do you think I should also use 1/2 cup calamansi juice? What do you recommend if I use calamansi juice instead of lemon? Thanks. Kisses and tights hugs to everyone!

Jolina

Sunday 23rd of September 2018

Hi Tita Kim! I think you can substitute with the exact ratios, your bars would just taste a little bit tarter than lemon bars. What I think your calamansi juice (I'm very jealous BTW lol!) would work really well with are lime bars or key lime bars (I have recipes here, check them out and see if you like them). Xoxo back!

Annette

Thursday 8th of March 2018

I love lemon bars! I'll have to pin this recipe to try out a new recipe. Lemon just reminds me of Spring for some reason. It's snowing here today. Again. So I could use a little "sunshine."

Jeff

Wednesday 5th of July 2017

These lemon bars look delicious, and I really loved your article.

Yadah

Friday 5th of May 2017

These are a favourite in our house! My mum and sister love them so yummy : )