Meyer Lemon Syrup

This Meyer lemon syrup, made with lemons and sugar, has a very giftable sweet tart lemon thing going on that’s luscious as caramel.

A jar of Meyer lemon syrup with a spoon resting on top.

This Meyer lemon syrup recipe was created, explains the author, during a time of her life when she had discovered that you could mimic caramel sauce by using fruit in place of dairy. Though it’s every bit as luscious as caramel, the resulting recipe produces a syrup that, to us, is closer to honey with distinct bitter notes. [Editor’s Note: Kindly keep in mind that Meyer lemon zest is more bitter than regular lemon zest and adjust your expectations accordingly.]–Renee Schettler Rossi

What To Do With This Meyer Lemon Syrup

The magnificence of this bittersweet Meyer lemon syrup is, quite frankly, a matter of personal preference. For some it’s too tart. For others it’s too sweet. And for some it’s just right. This Goldilocks effect can be experienced in many ways, including the following…

Drizzle it over cake
Stir it into Greek yogurt
Incorporate it into cocktails
Lavish it on vanilla ice cream
Drown your waffles in it
Sweeten your tea with it
Gift it to everyone you know.

Kindly tell us how exactly you’ve been indulging in this sweet tart Meyer lemon syrup by leaving a comment below.

Meyer Lemon Syrup

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Makes 2 half-pint (250-milliliter) jars
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Special Equipment: Candy or deep-fry thermometer; 2 half-pint (250-milliliter) jars with lids and screw bands



Combine the sugar, salt, and water in a deep-sided medium or large saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer or deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pan. Place over medium-high heat and gently simmer, without stirring but instead gently tilting the pan on the burner to swirl the mixture, until the syrup reaches a honey-like consistency and darkens to an amber-ish color similar to that of a tarnished copper penny, 15 to 20 minutes. This should happen when the mixture reaches around 325°F (163°C). Be ready to move quickly when the mixture reaches this point.

Immediately remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. It will bubble, spatter, and appear to seize up, so take care but keep stirring until it returns to a smooth syrupy consistency. (Quite honestly, you may want to use a long-handled spoon and maybe even wear oven mitts for this part.) When the syrup becomes smooth again, return the pan to the heat. Continue stirring and cooking until the lemon syrup reaches 218°F (104°C), which could take as little as 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in the lemon zest. (We suggest you start with 2 tablespoons zest and add more only if desired, keeping in mind that Meyer lemon zest is more bitter than that of a typical lemon.)

If keeping the syrup in the fridge and consuming it within a few weeks, divide the syrup between 2 half-pint (250-milliliter) jars, screw on the lids, and refrigerate. You can’t leave the syrup at room temperature since it hasn’t been canned using a traditional water bath, but this makes a small batch, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting through it. Keep in mind the bitter and sweet flavors of the marmalade will meld with time, so give it at least several days prior to sampling.

If properly processing the syrup so it’s shelf-stable, thoroughly wash 2 half-pint (250-milliliter) canning jars and their lids and screw bands. Place the jars, lids, and screw bands in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 15 minutes to sterilize them. Turn off the heat and leave the jars, lids, and bands in the hot water until ready to use. Place a small plate in the freezer for testing the jam. Lift the jars, lids, and screw bands from the water, using tongs if the water is still hot, and thoroughly dry them. Carefully ladle the hot syrup into the sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2-inch space between the syrup and the top of the jar. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let the jars cool overnight at room temperature. Label the jars with the recipe name and date. You can store them, unopened, for up to 3 months. Once opened, use within a week or so. Keep in mind the bitter and sweet flavors of the marmalade will meld with time, so give it at least several days prior to sampling.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Wow. Just wow. This stuff is amazing. The first taste is a rich caramel with a subtle lemon flavor, and then the zest finishes it with such a bright pop! This really dressed up plain Greek yogurt, and I am already imagining it drizzled over plain cheesecake. I think it would make a wonderful gift, too. I processed 1 jar and popped the other one directly into the fridge, which I then proceeded to eat…possibly straight from the jar. The zesting of the lemons is kind of time-consuming, but the remainder of the recipe goes quickly. My 1-pound bag of lemons contained 6 lemons and yielded 1 cup juice and 1/3 cup zest. My syrup reached a dark copper color at 335°F, which took 18 minutes of boiling. I removed it from the heat at that point. I used a medium-large saucepan for this reason, and even with that, when I added the lemon juice, it almost filled the volume of the pot while "seizing." I can't even imagine how horrible it would feel to get burned by that. It took a good minute of stirring to fully mix the caramel and lemon juice so that no caramel chunks remained.

We are passionate about anything Meyer lemon. This Meyer lemon syrup is swoon-worthy. Caramel-y. Even buttery. (How can that be?) We absolutely will make this again. The entire project took about 75 minutes, but it won't take this long for most cooks—the timing was due to our lack of experience. We had never used a candy thermometer, nor had we made a sugar syrup caramel before, so we hovered near the stove pretty much the entire time, which may have been a bit fussy on our part. We boiled the syrup for a very long time, much longer than the suggested 15 to 20 minutes, and after about 40 minutes of boiling, the caramel was a gold color and had reduced quite a bit. So we decided to proceed. We placed the entire pot with syrup in the sink and tilted the pot slightly away from us as we carefully poured in the lemon juice. Indeed, lots of sputtering, so take care and wear oven mitts. Then, once back on the stove, it took less than 2 minutes of cooking before the temperature was at 218°F degrees. Very exciting! We stirred in the zest and poured the syrup into clean Mason jars (we didn't follow the water bath method). We're not patient people, so we poured a pool of the syrup onto a plate so it could cool quickly. We swirled the syrup into plain Greek yogurt. It was everything I said at the beginning of this review. The recipe made about 1 3/4 cups, which is plenty to save and plenty to share. We stored the syrup in little Mason jars in the refrigerator.


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  1. I was caught in a paradox: nothing on med-high heat boils gently. I gently boiled it forever and it never turned amber. It turned out fine. I had the same problem when I made Meyer lemon marmalade. Med-high is correct, not gentle boil.

    1. Barbara, I so appreciate you letting us know that paradox. A lot depends on the particular stovetop and the size of the pan in terms of what type of heat it takes to boil. And I think the boiling at a more vigorous pace may have prevented the color turning amber, but am relieved that it still turned out fine. We always encourage doing exactly what you did, which is trusting your instincts. Again, thank you for letting us know it didn’t quite work as expected but still turned out magnificent. We’ll try to recreate your situation in our home kitchens so we can rewrite the recipe to be more accurate.

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