Lemon Meringue Bars
When life gives you lemons…make Lemon Meringue Bars! These bars are a classic summer dessert. Grab some lemons and make a batch this weekend!
I’ve often heard it said that men are just larger versions of boys. I like to think I’ve matured a bit over the years, but I still have to agree with this statement. After all, a weekend playing video games and eating pizza sounds pretty much ideal to me! Huh? House chores? Bah. That pizza sounds way better!
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had this dream that I’ll stumble across an attic full of old baseball cards. Or perhaps I’ll get lucky and find Vince Lombardi’s sweater at a thrift store. (This actually happened, btw.) Or better yet, maybe I’ll open that old chest in my grandmother’s attic and find a pirate’s map. Oh wait, that’s the plot of The Goonies. Nevertheless, how cool would it be to find an old pirate’s map?
In this vein, I’m pretty sure our next house needs to have a movable wall. You know, the kind where you pull on a book and the wall rotates around. Inside would be a man cave complete with big-screen tv, video games, and beer fridge. I’m not sure secret rooms actually exist outside of Scooby Doo, but I can still dream, right? Like I said, I’m really just a big kid at heart!
Lemon Meringue Bars
Ok, enough daydreaming. Let’s focus on something we can actually touch…and eat! These Lemon Meringue Bars are a twist on the classic pie, and they’re really quite tasty. Starting with a graham cracker crust as the base, these Lemon Meringue Bars feature a tart (but tasty) lemon filling topped with a sweet meringue. The worst part of these bars is you have to let ’em cool before slicing and eating!
Did you know that a single lemon tree can produce several hundred pounds of lemons a year? That’s a lot of lemons! We actually have a small lemon tree. Well, to be fair, it’s more like a lemon bush. And it only produced lemons the first year we had it…and that was about 6 years ago. Nevertheless, I dutifully bring that bush inside during the winter months and put it back outside in the summer. It’s one heck of a happy lemon bush…but I still have to buy my lemons from the store.
Speaking of buying lemons from the store, I highly recommend using actual lemons as opposed to bottled lemon juice to make these Lemon Meringue Bars. Lemon juice is a fine substitute in some recipes, and I often use it for marinades and the like. However, we’ve made these Lemon Meringue Bars several times over the years, and we prefer using actual lemons. Just a little tip that we’ve picked up from eating quite a few of these bars!
Did you make a batch of these Lemon Meringue Bars at home? Leave a comment! Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). Cheers!
Looking for more lemon desserts? Check out these other favorites, too:
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Lemon Blueberry 7UP Pound Cake
Lemon Raspberry Semifreddo
Glazed Lemon Bread
Lemon Meringue Bars
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 11 full-sized graham crackers
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
For the Lemon Filling
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1⅓ cups water
- ½ cup lemon juice ~4 lemons
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest ~1 lemon
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
For the Meringue Topping
- 4 large egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
- powdered sugar
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- Using a food processor or mini-chopper, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Stir until fully combined.
- Lightly butter or grease a 9x13” baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. (Tip: A flat-bottomed glass helps pack the crust mixture down evenly.)
- Bake crust at 350°F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the Lemon Filling
- Using a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks; set aside. (Tip: Save the egg whites as they will be used for the meringue topping later!)
- Using a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and very gradually stir about ½ cup of mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks. (Note: Add just 1-2 Tbsp of the mixture into the egg yolks at a time, stirring well after each addition.)
- Transfer egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining lemon juice mixture; whisk until well combined. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once mixture begins to boil, cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in butter. Pour filling over cooked graham cracker crust.
For the Meringue Topping
- Using a medium bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, whip mixture until foamy. (Tip: The egg whites will be easier to whip if you let them come to room temperature first.)
- Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Spread the meringue on top of the lemon filling.
- Dust top of meringue lightly with powdered sugar before baking.
- Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes, or until top of meringue turns light golden brown. Allow bars to cool to room temperature and then cover lightly and place it in the refrigerator.
- Once chilled, slice into squares; serve chilled.
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I’m a big kid at heart too and the older I get, the more I appreciate the fun things of the good ol’ days. I have SO many funko pops too…you know, those little plastic figurines. They more of a modern thing, but you can get ’em in in old characters and new ones alike. And I still play the occasional video game! Ha!
Anywho, I wish we could grow lemons around here and, like you, pretty much get them at a store. I love lemon anything and these bars have my name alllll over them! I’ve mostly had lemon meringue in pie form, but I think it’s time to change that with these bars. They would disappear so so fast! Have a wonderful weekend, my friend 🙂
Yes! I definitely appreciate the good ol’ days more as I get older. Hmmm, I guess I’m basically turning into my parents now. Haha! But seriously, I miss those days!
I’m with ya on lemon desserts. I’ll take any and all please! 🙂 These bars were a huge hit here, and they were great for the first “unofficial” weekend of summer. I hope it’s finally starting to warm up in your area, Dawn!
Lemon Meringue Bars are the brides favorite. I’ll just make her up a batch and see if she’ll let me have a man cave with a hidden door. Humm, it might take two batches.
Now, about that hidden door, here’s a link to a quick video showing how to make the hidden door for your (or my) man cave.
Now I’m off to make some of your Lemon Meringue Bars.
Oh man! I love that video, Ron. I can see you’ve put some actual thought into this one…we should make our secret man caves a reality now. I mean I can follow those instructions! I think it would be so hilarious and awesome to pull a candlestick and have a door open…a la Scooby Doo. 🙂
In the meantime, I hope you got a chance to make these Lemon Meringue Bars! They are definitely a favorite around here. Cheers, my friend!
I totally get the daydreaming, that is for sure. I still think I am a big kid at heart, too! And these look truly scrumptious. I love lemon meringue! The idea of the bars is fabulous!
The older I get, the more I appreciate those days of being a kid. It’s funny, though. When I was a kid, I just wanted to get older. Strange how that works!
These lemon meringue bars are quite tasty, Alexandra…for both kids and adults! 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!
I’ve always wanted a moveable wall in my house! Except I don’t want a man cave on the other side; I want a little reading nook with a window seat and tons of bookshelves. And now I want a tray of these meringue bars to eat while I’m reading. I’m going to look into contractors so I can make this happen ASAP–I assume you’ll send me a batch of these when it’s all finished? Thanks :). Have a great long weekend!
So you basically want a hidden library then? I can get on board with that! Ooo…what about a bookcase that swings open to reveal a man cave (or hidden library). Let’s make that happen! And you better believe I’ll have a batch of these lemon meringue bars coming your way to celebrate the opening of Kelsie Library! Haha! 🙂
You are speaking to my heart ❤️! Love lemon desserts, but especially these lemon bars. Can’t wait to make.
Thank you so much, Terri! I love lemon desserts, too, and lemon bars have always been a family favorite around here. I just took these a step further with the meringue topping. I hope you get a chance to make a batch of these! 🙂
David, what a great story and your lemon bars look divine. I have several lemon trees in my yard and can’t wait to try this recipe .
I was actually thinking about you and your backyard lemon trees when I wrote this post, Gerlinde! I’m so jealous. You can pretty much make lemon desserts all the time! 🙂 Definitely put these lemon meringue bars on the list. They’re delicious, and they’re perfect for summer!
Lovely lemon meringue bars David. They look super sweet and full of flavour. They take me back to my childhood as my mum used to serve lemon meringue pie with every Sunday roast as it was my Dads favourite. Ah…..those childhood days eh? 🙂
No way! Lemon meringue pie every Sunday? That’s pretty awesome! I love a good lemon meringue pie, but I decided to turn that one into bar form here. Bars are way easier to eat when entertaining outdoors! (Although I’ll never turn down a good slice of pie…haha) Thanks, Neil!
Your dreams are so cool, David. My dreams are so banal (like having 3 to 5 naps every day haha). However, while a movable wall sounds like a good idea, it’s also a little creepy. You never know what dark secrets you can find behind it 🙂
And these lemon bars are so delicious. I’m a huge fan of tart desserts, so I’ll definitely love this one…Now I’m dreaming of the same idea but with a lime mint filling. What do you think?
Hey, I totally dream of having 3-5 naps a day, too. In fact, I’m dreaming about that right now. *Snore* Ok, I’m back! 🙂
I really enjoy a good lemon dessert…especially on hot summer days! These lemon meringue bars were a huge hit around here. I’m thinking the lime + mint would be a fun combo, too. Except I might go key lime and then just go light on the mint…but that’s just me. Either way, I hope you get a chance to try that recipe idea out! And I know you’ll send me some, too, right??
I love lemon merengue pie, but I’ve never made it. I should, and these bars look like a nice way to do that.
Oh, you should totally make lemon meringue pie at home, Jeff! It’s a fun recipe. And it’s pretty impressive to serve, too. These bars are a winner for sure. Just don’t blame me if you eat them all before the guests arrive. 🙂
Love lemon bars! And the meringue on top looks dreamy. We have a tiny, but very productive lemon tree, which makes me happy. Second only to chocolate, my mom loved lemon desserts, so they are now a favorite of mine, too.
Here’s to one day finding that pirate map! 😉
I’m right there with ya, Valentina! I love lemon desserts on really hot days, but chocolate always ranks pretty high up there in my book, too. Hmmm…can we make chocolate meringue bars? Is that a thing?? Perhaps we should make a batch and then go hunting for that pirate’s map!
A hidden room with a movable wall would be the best! I’d stash all my favorite foods in there so the kids wouldn’t eat them all in one sitting! These lemon bars would go into hiding right away! My mouth waters just thinking about these! 🙂
Hahaha! I love the way you think, Kathy. I totally busted out laughing at the thought of stashing all of your favorite foods in that secret closet. Hey, Rod is pretty handy. Maybe get him to build you a secret room! And we’ll start by filling it full of lemon meringue bars! 🙂
I cannot get over the texture on these! Wow! You did a phenomenal job with these! I haven’t ever made anything like these but I’m willing to eat as much of them as I can 😉 just like I’d love movable walls and appearing and disappearing windows!
Thank you so much, Shashi! A good lemon meringue pie is hard to beat…so I figured why not turn that pie into bars? The bar version is perfect for summer picnics, too! Thanks so much, my friend. 🙂
Lemon bars topped with meringue, they look fabulous!
Thanks so much, Karen! I love a good lemon meringue pie…so why not just transform that into bars for easy eating? 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!
ooh yes a hidden room sounds wonderful. as do your lemon meringue bars!
Thank you so much, Sherry! I love a good lemony dessert…especially on a hot summer day. (Of course, you might have to wait until next year for these…it’s probably getting kinda chilly in your area!) Cheers, my friend!
Nice, tart, lightly sweet! Parchment paper makes them easy to cut and serve!
Thanks so much, Diane! I’m really glad you enjoyed this recipe – it’s a classic one in our house on warm summer days. 🙂
This was a delight! Thank you for sharing it
You’re welcome, Shoshanah! Glad you enjoyed it!