What is the Difference Between Meyer Lemons and Regular Lemons?

(Last Updated On: May 1, 2017)

I love comparisons. Putting one item side by side with another item helps you understand more about what makes each thing you unique. I also love comparisons because people seem to be attracted to my articles where I compare one thing to another (Cuties to Halos, point to flat cut brisket, black to white sesame seeds, etc). So I am just going to keep on cranking out those types of articles. Which leads me to one of my favorite pieces of citrus available mostly during the winter months – the Meyer Lemon. This lemon has become my favorite by far, no contest. Hands are definitely down. Why? Well let me explain for you the difference between Meyer lemons and regular lemons.

What are Regular Lemons?

When I use the term regular lemons I am referring to what grocery store refer to as lemons. The most common variety of lemons are called Eureka and Lisbon. Never have come across a store labeling the lemons differently. The only place you would see them labeled would be at a farmer’s market. Eureka and Lisbon are great close in flavor and appearance. Most people would not be able to tell these lemons apart. Wellness website for the University of California Berkeley describes the physical difference like this:

A short neck at the stem end distinguishes Eureka lemons, whereas Lisbons have no distinct neck but the blossom end tapers to a pointed nipple. Eurekas may have a few seeds and a somewhat pitted skin, while Lisbons are commonly seedless with smoother skin.

What are Meyer Lemons?

In 1908 a man by the name of Frank Meyer discovered a lemon in China. It was said to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. The lemon was imported to United States and Meyer’s name was attached to it. It took a long time for the lemon to become popular. I bet most of you who already know what a Meyer lemon is just learned about them in the last 5-10 years. We have a big thanks to give to Martha Stewart who really gave the Meyer lemon a national platform with her use of it.

Bagged Meyer lemons on the left and Bagged standard lemons on the right.

What is the Difference Between Meyer Lemons and Regular Lemons?

Looking at the lemon they are easy to tell apart. First the color. Meyer lemons tend to be a more orangey shade of yellow. Somewhere half way between orange and yellow. The skin of a Meyer lemon tends to be a lot thinner. Thin skin is one reason why Meyer lemons weren’t been carried in most supermarkets until recent times. The thinner skin made them more sensitive to damage while being shipped. Plus a shorter shelf life. But as the danamde for the fruit has risen, they are becoming more and more seen as more stores. Most chain grocery stores I can think of sell Meyer lemons now. The general public has gotten more familiar with Meyers and are now even asking for the lemon.

The big difference between the two is sweetness and flavor. The Meyer lemons has some sweetness to it. Now it’s not sweet enough where you would want to peel it and eat it like an orange (you can do that with the Lemonade lemon) The flavor of the Meyer lemon is brighter, more vivid. It just tastes better. You can taste the difference when a dish is made with regular lemons and a dish is made with Meyer lemons.

What is the Season for Meyer Lemons?

Here is some bad news for you, as of now Meyer lemons are not available year round like the regular lemons. The season runs from November to May from California. Imported Meyer lemons are become more available so you can find them intermittently after the California season is over. Two main reason for this. Meyer lemons are not grown nearly as much as regular lemons. However continue to climb so we should see the gap narrow more but I don’t expect it ever to be the same amount.

Other issue with Meyer lemons as mentioned above they have a shorter shelf life. So while lemon can be in cold storage for what feels like forever, not the same for Meyer lemons. I find Meyer lemons are most likely to get mold on them sooner and more frequently than regular lemons.

Meyer Lemons Come in Bags

Nearly all the time you will find Meyer lemons coming in 1 pound bags. You rarely found them sold loose. I believe this to protect lemons. They don’t hold up as well packed in 50 pounds boxes like regular lemons.

Meyer Lemons Are More Expensive>/h3>
One thing for sure is that Meyer lemons cost more money. The most common price range I see for a 1 pound bag of Meyer lemons is between $1.99 and $2.99. Sometimes they go for as much as $3.99. You definitely get more lemons for that same price if you buy regular lemons in a bag. Most individual lemons are sold by the each.

Using Meyer Lemons in Recipes
When it comes to using Meyer lemons in recipes, I use them drop for drop in replace of regular lemons. Yes Meyers are sweeter, less acidic, but I have used them the same many times with no issues. Below you will recipes for some sweet treats featuring the Meyer lemon.

Meyer Lemon Fudge

Curd Mini Pies
Lemon-Anise Cookies

One Reply to “What is the Difference Between Meyer Lemons and Regular Lemons?”

  1. LJ Tanner says:

    I tried Meyer Lemons for the first time about a year ago. The higher price tag had always put me off. Well, consider me a Meyer Lemon snob now! They are so much better than regular lemons, I use them all the time. I have found them loose, but only once or twice – usually they are bagged. And I miss them during the months they aren’t available. Has anyone tried juicing and freezing to preserve the juice during the off season?

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