Blood Orange ‘Lemon’ Bars Recipe

I’ve been fantasizing about citrus the past couple of days. You see, back in California, our orange tree and meyer lemon tree were both producing tons of fruit when we moved. I’ve been fairly non-sentimental about the entire house sale until today. I woke up to find a small, rainy snow flurry outside my window this morning and I craved something citrus.

vancouver west georgia st

You can see from my living room window that the street down below was quite a mess. I ventured out into the rain toward the small triangle shaped building in the middle of this photograph. It’s Urban Fare, a small (and expensive) upscale grocery store that’s close by.

blood orange lemon bars

I decided to make lemon bars, but as I walked I started thinking about blood oranges. I’ve never had one and they intrigue me. I wondered what the lemon bars would turn out like if made with blood oranges. Fortunately, the store had baskets of Moro Blood Oranges waiting for me.

The oranges have a reddish tint to the peel and were shockingly deep purple when cut open. It reminded me of working with pomegranate and just how blood red the juice can be. My cutting board looked like a murder scene.


The bars are easy to make and gave me the citrus fix I needed. I used the juice of both blood oranges and limes in order to get some tartness in the bars. Blood orange juice alone would likely be too sweet.

These turned out well and are much more subtle than a regular lemon bar. I was afraid the red color would turn too brown during baking, but fortunately it remained a dull pinkish-red. Be careful when juicing the oranges though — the juice splatters dark red dots all over the place.

After many days of waiting, I’m happy to report that as of this afternoon our house is officially sold — the sale closed (after a nail biting, near 75 day close). We’re done. I no longer own an orange tree or a meyer lemon tree.

Blood Orange Bars

3/4 cups unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar, then slowly add flour and salt until combined. Pour mixture into a small pan — I use a 11″x7″ glass pan. Press down with your fingers to flatten into an even layer. Bake at 350F (180C) for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup juice, half blood orange and half lime
2 Tablespoons zest, half blood orange and half lime
2/3 cup flour

Whisk the sugar and eggs until blended, then add juice, zest, and flour. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour filling over the cooled crust. Return to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Cut into squares and enjoy!

More blood orange ideas:

Blood Orange Granita — Wandering Chopsticks
Blood Orange Salad — Sara’s Kitchen
Blood Orange Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake — The Food Librarian
Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Marmalade — Cere’s Secrets

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  1. Allen, I love blood oranges and I like the way you have incorporated them into these bars…def a flavoursome citrus fix!

  2. Nicely done.

    When you say expensive… how much? I bought moro blood oranges here for $1/lb. :)

    And what a coincidence, I made blood orange bars recently too. With one Meyer lemon added into the mix as well. They looked like ruby grapefruit bars to me. And I thought of a blood orange murder scene too. Haha. Too many similarities. Jinx!

  3. Peter G: Thank you!

    Elana: Thanks!

    Latrice: Glad you liked it!

    Arundathi: The color of the oranges was amazing – they looked almost black, a bit shocking at first :-)

    Wandering Chopsticks: The store is expensive as a whole but I think my oranges were more than $1 (like $1.99). I only needed a few so I didn’t mind (and I was curious just how ‘bloody’ they would be).

    Kat: Thank you — it is such a stress reliever to be done with the house!

  4. It’s sunny and beautiful in the Bay Area today – sorry you woke up to the gloom………but what a way to make your day – something citrus! So, so glad you’re back blogging – oh – and we tried the egg-fugua yesterday – YUMMY! never had it before, and everyone (but me) was skeptical…..but it was good! thanks!!!

  5. Christina@DeglazeMe: I’ve been eating way too many of these – definitely a fun way to use blood oranges.

    Ginny: Thank you!

    Queenie: Glad to hear it’s sunny down south! Louis has got to learn to trust me — egg-fugua is yummy :-)

  6. Your blood orange bars looks amazing. These special oranges give a special color and tinge to the recipe….positively gorgeous!
    The rainy days have a mystique ideal to make unique desserts :)

    Cheers Allen!

  7. I’m glad you decided to add the lime for extra tartness, I agree that it would have been too sweet with just the orange. Beautiful color!!

  8. I’m a huge fan of blood oranges…they make everything prettier! I’ve never made a lemon bar but I love them so much…this looks better.

  9. I just am so in the citrusy mood myself and these really caught my eye. I love blood oranges and If I had the on hand, I would start baking these right now. I miss sunny cal myself.

  10. What gorgeous colors! I so wish I could find blood oranges around here–it’s driving me nuts!

    Congrats on the sale of your house–that’s wonderful!

  11. Gera: I agree — rainy days spawn interesting desserts :-)

    Erin: Thank you, Erin — unfortunately, I had some focus issues … note to self: I really need to work on 1) focusing, and 2) lighting.

    Nicole: Thank you! Next time, I might use lemon in combination with the oranges. Limes worked well but I’ve decided (after eating way too many of them today) that I miss the sharpness of lemon.

    Kickpleat: I think I’ve become a fan of blood oranges too!

    SpinachTiger: At least now I can visit California and likely appreciate it even more :-)

    Elle: Oh no, I hope you can find them sometime. I’ve heard the color varies from one type of blood orange to another (yes, multiple types). I happened to get Moro which is one of the darkest.

  12. I love this idea and I think you did an excellent job! Makes me wonder what other types of fruit I could use….maybe Pummelos? :)

  13. What a great idea. I wish I checked my reader earlier. I made lemon bars yesterday, but I was looking at my basket of blood oranges and wondered what if… but I was also really in the mood for lemon. I will keep this in mind for next time. Thanks for doing the work for me! Enjoy Vancouver it is a beautiful city!

  14. These are just beyond beautiful. I had the same thought about messing w/ lemon bars & was thinking about doing something with POM & lemon together.

  15. It must be hard to realize you don’t own a house anymore, but the view from your window is amazing, that makes up for it, right? Or maybe I am just a city boy and love those kinds of views, hehe. I love how your bars turned out. Blood orange is such a beautiful fruit!

  16. Meyer lemons and blood oranges might be two of my favorite California fruits. Really love the idea of kicking up the traditional lemon bar!

  17. The bars are beautiful! I have never had blood oranges and I find these very interesting. Also, great twist on the lemon bar.

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