Baking Citrus Dessert Favorites Lemon Winter

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars




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taking a bite of a Whole Meyer Lemon Bar

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars ~ it almost seems like magic to turn a single juicy Meyer lemon into this tart & tangy lemon dessert.  Magic or not, I think I’ve found the ultimate lemon bar recipe!

a stack of three Whole Meyer Lemon Bars

Whole Meyer lemon bars are the perfect winter pick-me-up dessert

We could all use a little ray of sunshine in the middle of winter, no?  These lemon bars will do the trick for sure.  And anyway, now’s the best time to make lemon bars because citrus it at its best in winter.  I use the extra sweet Meyer lemon for these bars.  Look for them next to the regular lemons in your supermarket, they’re a little bit more expensive, but so worth it.

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars, topped with lemon slices

What makes these lemon bars different from any other you’ve tried?

  • Well, for one, they’re made with Meyer lemons, the hybrid citrus fruit that comes to us originally from China.  It’s sweeter and the flavor has a hint of orange to it.  It makes these bars so special.
  • And speaking of Meyer lemons, we used a WHOLE lemon in this recipe, the only thing missing is the seeds.
  • When you use a whole lemon you get the whole lemon experience, no holds barred.

Whole meyer lemon bars, sliced into squares

Compared to regular lemons, Meyer lemons are:

  • smaller
  • thinner, less bitter skinned (which makes them perfect for using whole)
  • juicier
  • sweeter with a more floral flavor
  • less tart and acidic
  • more fragrant
  • more ‘lemony’

Meyer lemons give these bars a sweeter flavor than regular lemon bars, so they’re a little less puckery.  But the tradeoff is you get a stronger more complex lemon flavor, which I absolutely love.  These yummy bars are like biting into a sweet lemon!

Meyer lemons in a blue bowl

Baking with whole citrus fruit is a blast!

I love to bake with whole citrus, have you tried my Flourless Whole Tangerine Cake or my Flourless Whole Meyer Lemon Cake?  They’re made just like these bars, with the whole fruit, flesh, peel and all.  The seeds, of course, are the only thing that don’t get used.  Talk about zero waste!

slices of Meyer lemon on a paper towel

How to decorate your lemon bars

I like to decorate the tops of my bars with thin slices of lemon, but I always blot them on paper towels first, so juice doesn’t seep out onto the bars.  Even so, I like to add the slices shortly before serving because lemon juice will eventually release a little bit.

taking a bite of a Meyer Lemon Bar with a fork

I know you guys are gonna love these 🙂  My mouth is watering just writing about them…

More lemony treats to try ~

taking a bite of a Whole Meyer Lemon Bar
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4.2 from 15 votes

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars

Whole Meyer Lemon Bars ~this is the ultimate lemon bar recipe made with a single, whole, Meyer lemon. This will be your new favorite dessert!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 37 minutes
Yield 9 servings

Ingredients

crust

  • zest peeled from one Meyer lemon. Peel with a sharp vegetable peeler and take only the yellow part, with little to none of the white part, which is bitter.
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

filling

  • 1 whole Meyer lemon, about 4-6 ounces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F Grease and line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper or foil.
  • First make the crust. Put the zest and sugar into a food processor and process until the two are well combined and the zest has completely incorporated into the sugar. You will still see tiny specks of zest, but no big pieces. Keep processing until you get to that stage.
  • Add the flour, and cold butter to the bowl and pulse/process until the mixture is moist, crumbley, and almost, but not quite, comes together into a lump.
  • Sprinkle the crust mixture into your prepared baking pan and pat down firmly and evenly. You should have a layer of even thickenss. Bake for about 17 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make your filling. Slice your lemon and remove any seeds. Tip: do this over a bowl so you don't lose any juice. Put the lemon into a high speed blender like Vitamix. (You can use a food processor if you don't have one.)
  • Add the sugar to the lemon and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the container if necessary to get a smooth puree. Add in the eggs, cornstarch, and salt, and puree briefly until well combined.
  • This is optional but I pour the filling mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps or bubbles. Pour the filling onto the hot crust immediately after it comes out of the oven.
  • Put the lemon bars back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until firm and just starting to take on some golden color. Don't over bake.
  • Let the bars cool completely on a rack, then pop them into the fridge to chill. When cold, remove the bars using the parchment paper 'handles', and slice into squares. Dust with powdered sugar if you like, just before serving.

 

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17 Comments

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  • Reply
    Deb
    May 3, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    5 stars
    Today I’ve made these lovely, luscious, lemon delights for the 2nd time in a week. Today I doubled the recipe and used the very last of my treasured Meyer lemons (they don’t grow here in Colorado- I special order them from CA!) My neighbor (with whom I shared the first batch) thinks they’re a 10/10 and believes I should open a bakery… little does he know that my baking success is often due to your fabulous recipes! Thanks Sue.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 3, 2020 at 8:46 pm

      You’re so welcome Deb…stay safe and healthy <3

  • Reply
    Glenn
    February 14, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    4 stars
    Not your typical lemon bar. Less sweet with a different flavor profile compliments of the whole citrus. I found them slightly bitter with some strong herbal notes, again from using the whole fruit. They’re very sturdy and would travel and serve without issue. I love the crust so didn’t mind the ratio of crust to filling. Typical Southern lemon bars are sickly sweet so these were a refreshing change. Probably not the best choice for a sweet toothe but glad I made them and I’ll most likely borrow from this recipe when I construct my own version. Experience >= knowledge =< delicious food!

  • Reply
    Margie
    February 7, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, thank you for this recipe! I’m new to meyer lemons but found a bag at Trader Joes the other day and so when I saw your recipe I was good to go!! I love the texture of the crust and filling, but most of all I loved the mild lemon flavor, it’s wonderful!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 7, 2020 at 6:18 pm

      I loved the milder flavor of these too Margie. I love any kind of lemon bar, to be honest, but Meyer’s make the best!

  • Reply
    mary wills
    February 7, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    3 stars
    These were a good but not great revisit to Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. Of course everyone has their own preferences but I felt there was too much crust to filling ratio. I would also like to have seen butter in the filling (never too much butter!) and maybe more lemon zest in the filling; it was a bit bland.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 7, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      Sorry these weren’t your cup of tea Mary. Lemon bars are like brownies, everybody has their own particular way they like them. Hope you find something else to try on the blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Judy Maldonado
    February 4, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Could this be made with oranges instead? I have a navel orange tree and want to use up some of the oranges.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 4, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Using whole oranges is a bit tricky, the skin has to be thin, not thick, or it will be too bitter.

  • Reply
    Lindy
    February 3, 2020 at 10:06 am

    I only have an 8 x 8 glass baking dish not a 9 x 9. How would I adjust the recipe bake time?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 3, 2020 at 10:25 am

      It will take a little longer, so check on it at 17 minutes and go from there. Also remember you measure the size of a baking pan from top edge to top edge, to be sure of what you’ve got. Pan sizes can be confusing.

  • Reply
    Noelle
    February 3, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Just so I’m clear because these sound divine and shall be made… am I buying one or two Meyer lemons? One to zest for the base? and the second to puree for the filling? P.S: I LOVE your Flourless Whole Tangerine Cake. I made it over the holidays when we were having friends to dinner and it was such a nice change from the heavy, rich dessert recipes I’d been turning out. I served it with a little softly whipped cream and it was delicious… with no left overs… which is the ultimate test of a recipe in my opinion . Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 3, 2020 at 9:51 am

      You will need an extra for the zest, so buy two. Hope you love them 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 3, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Hi. This sounds delicious but the recipe calls for a 9×9 pan and the print version calls for 8×8. Does it make a difference?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 3, 2020 at 9:52 am

      It’s a 9×9 pan, the recipe has been updated now.

  • Reply
    Marion Siwek
    February 3, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Really, you only have to use the juice of 1 lemon for this recipe?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 3, 2020 at 8:30 am

      Yes! Meyer’s are more juicy, so that’s part of it. And remember, you’re using the whole lemon, not just the juice.