During citrus season, you start to see all kinds of recipes that call for oranges, lemons, limes and even grapefruits. You also start to notice that recipes call for specific types of citrus, such as blood oranges, key limes and Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons, a sweet hybrid lemon, are still relatively new to the kitchen scene when compared to some of these other fruits (key limes are probably the best example). Whether you happen to have a surplus of Meyer lemons or just of Meyer lemon recipes, you’ve probably wondered whether you can substitute regular lemons for Meyer, and vice versa, when cooking.
The good news is that you can always make a 1:1 substitution of the juice and zest of various lemons, whether you’re talking about Meyer lemons or otherwise. You should keep in mind that it isn’t the consistency of the lemons that varies when changing types of lemon, but the flavor. Meyer lemons are sweeter and much less acidic tasting than regular lemons. This means that they have a good lemon flavor, but lack the “bite” of a regular lemon. Meyer lemon juice is still quite acidic, even if it doesn’t taste that way, so you can expect recipes to turn out then exact same way when it comes to how the lemon juice interacts with other ingredients, such as curdling milk into buttermilk.
In a glass of lemonade, you’ll need less sugar when you use Meyer lemons. In a cake that calls for regular lemons, you may be able to reduce the sugar slightly if you substitute with Meyer lemons, since many lemon recipes include extra sugar to account for the tartness of the lemons. That said, read the descriptions of the recipes carefully, since some highlight that same tartness by not adding extra sugar, so there may be no need to cut down the amount included.