42 Citrus Recipes To Help You Beat Those Winter Blues

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As we plow our way through the cold dark days of winter, it might be hard to find pleasure on the produce aisle. Sure, thanks to a global food supply we have a much larger variety of options than what's available locally, but the bright colors of spring and summer produce are still a long ways off. Don't discount one of the true gems of wintertime — citrus fruits, which seem to hit their peak season stride as the temperatures drop. Navel oranges are joined by blood oranges, mandarins, tangerines, and clementines. Beautifully floral Meyer lemons become widely available and grapefruits come in bolder hues and more varieties than you'll see in the warmer months.

To take advantage of this bit of sunshine in the winter, we've compiled a list of recipes that lean on citrus for the perfect winter dishes. We've got everything from soups and salads to side dishes, entrees, desserts, and even a few citrus-forward condiments and garnishes that will liven-up your kitchen while we wait for the spring thaw. We've also pulled recipes that cover a wide variety of citrus types. Not a fan of lemon? There's plenty of orange and lime to keep you happy. Don't be afraid to mix and match citrus based on what's available near you to find which dishes work best for you. 

1. Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

It's winter, and in most places above the 35th parallel, it's pretty cold with the possibility of nasty weather on top of bone-chilling temperatures. While hearty entrees and comforting desserts are going the distance to get many of us through till spring, we think soups are the quiet heroes of the season. 

This red lentil soup with lemon is especially enticing because it has a relatively simple list of ingredients that pack a good amount of protein, as well as zinc, iron, and vitamin B. Not only that, but you don't have to spend hours waiting for it to come together. In fact you could go from prepping to enjoying this soup in less than 30 minutes with all of the ingredients on hand. While the recipe is originally made with chicken broth, you can also make it vegan with the use of vegetable stock. Enjoy this soup as it is, or with a hunk of crusty bread to soak up all of its lemony goodness.

Recipe: Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

2. Pastinaken suppe (Parsnip Soup with Blood Orange, Cucumber and Dill)

A hearty soup served with blood orange? Please tell us more! "Pastinaken" is German for parsnip, which is the main ingredient in this thicker vegetable soup. Parsnips are the lesser-used cousin of the carrot, and a perfectly delectable base for a hearty soup. Along with potatoes, onions, and celery, the vegetable base of this soup looks similar to almost every other mirepoix-based soup, which is all blended together for a smooth and creamy finish. Milk and a touch of honey are added to let the veggies stew for a short time before a splash of vinegar is added and the whole thing gets pureed and strained. 

The soup is a fantastic base for fresh fruits and herbs, including blood orange slices, cucumber, dill, and toasted caraway for a complete dish. The only accompaniments you might want to make this a full meal are a piece of bread for dipping and a beer to wash it all down.

Recipe: Pastinaken suppe

3. Chicory Salad with Orange and Walnuts

It's understandable that your fresh vegetable intake may go down some in the wintertime. Much of the produce at the grocery store isn't always as attractive as the bright and juicy summer produce. But don't discount the produce that winter has to offer. Chicories are at their peak as the temperatures go down, and these bitter greens also come in beautiful purple, pink, and yellow hues that can bring some much needed color to your winter dining routine. 

This salad pairs chicories with orange in the form of fresh orange slices and orange vinaigrette, for a sweet citrus kick to cut through some of the chicory bitterness. Toasted walnuts garnish the salad to bring some nutty warmth to the whole thing. This is a simple salad to throw together for a casual dinner that looks like more than the sum of its ingredients. It's also a great base recipe that can be dressed up with dried fruits, a little bit of shaved hard cheese, or additional vegetables and herbs.

Recipe: Chicory Salad with Orange and Walnuts

4. Shaved Raw Artichokes With Lemon, Olive Oil, and Parmesan

As early spring produce begins to trickle in from other parts of the country and world that are thawing out a little bit faster than some of us, be on the lookout for raw baby artichokes, which have yet to develop some of the tougher and more fibrous qualities that you find in fully-grown artichokes. This recipe is a quick take on a typical Italian dish which can be enjoyed as a salad or side dish for your meal. There are only a handful of ingredients and no actual cooking involved, which is exactly what we need some days when our energy is especially low. 

Thinly sliced young artichokes get tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, lightly seasoned with salt, and finished with freshly shaved parmesan for a simple and filling veggie dish.

Recipe: Shaved Raw Artichokes With Lemon, Olive Oil, and Parmesan

5. Snap Peas with Meyer Lemon, Shaved Radish, and Mint

Let's face it, in our global economy we can find just about any sort of produce we want year-round, because while it's snowing in one part of the world, it's gorgeously sunny somewhere else. So it shouldn't be too difficult to find snap peas at your grocery store year-round. And a little bit of sweet crunchy green goes so well with some of the season's best citrus. 

We're big fans of Meyer lemons, and love using them with dishes where the juice can really shine. Here, both Meyer lemon zest and juice is used to make a vinaigrette that gets infused with fresh mint and tossed with snap peas and sliced radishes. This dish is a great starter, but we'd be happy to enjoy it by itself for lunch or even on the go as the weather gets warmer.

Recipe: Snap Peas with Meyer Lemon, Shaved Radish, and Mint

6. Spinach Salad with Roasted Fennel and Grapefruit

Chef Marco Canora, founder of Hearth restaurant in New York City, created this salad to be easy to put together and comforting to eat. It also appears in his first cookbook, "A Good Food Day." The only real cooking involved with this dish is roasting some wedges of fennel for about half an hour while you get the rest of the ingredients together. The warm fennel pieces are then added to the grapefruit slices, olives, and spinach for a simple and delightful winter salad. 

We can picture enjoying this salad alongside roasted chicken or a hearty pot pie. And since bagged baby spinach and grapefruit is available year-round, you can treat yourself to this salad whenever you need a leafy green boost.

Recipe: Spinach Salad with Roasted Fennel and Grapefruit

7. 9-Layer Salad with Lemon Curry Dressing

There's a lot of good stuff in this salad, and it'll take a little bit of time to prepare. But once it all comes together, it'll be well worth the effort. Developed by Allison Day as a filling and nutritious lunch, this recipe makes four salad servings, which you can feed to your whole family, or prep out for four days worth of work salads that will make your coworkers envious. The dressing is a creamy lemon and yogurt-based dressing, and the salad includes peas, fennel, radicchio, carrots, herbs of your choice, arugula, parmesan, and a protein of your choice. The ingredients get layered in a jar or lunch container with the dressing at the bottom. When you're ready to eat, simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and shake it all up. 

The addition of protein will help make this salad more filling if it's the main event of your lunch, but Day points out that it doesn't have to be a meat-based protein. Hard-boiled eggs or beans are a fine alternative in this salad.

Recipe: 9-Layer Salad with Lemon Curry Dressing

8. Charred Citrus Salad

When you're up for a little bit of a challenge (or maybe just starting to feel overwhelmingly bored spending another freezing day inside), give this salad a try. You'll start by making your very own vadouvan, which is a blend of spices that creates a curry that you'll use to spice fried shallot slices. Then you'll mix together a turmeric yogurt for plating and Aperol vinaigrette for dressing your salad. Next, you'll make the salad by charring grapefruit in the broiler and tossing together the arugula and herbs. Finally you'll build the salad from the plate up in layers for a truly impressive winter salad. 

If you don't have time to spend making and assembling the components all at once, feel free to break the recipe down into chunks to make as you have time. The vadouvan can be mixed in advance and stored. And the turmeric yogurt and Aperol vinaigrette can be made a day or two in advance as well.

Recipe: Charred Citrus Salad

9. Salad of Bitter Greens with Speck and Clementines

Created by Chef Marchand, this salad pulls from a host of ingredients that are all humble in nature, but combine to create a richly-flavored salad that might just convert even the most staunch salad-hater. The base of this salad is made up of bitter greens like arugula, or radicchio, but don't be afraid to branch out and try watercress, dandelion greens, and other chicories if they're available. Clementines are tossed in, but feel free to use whatever small seasonal citrus you can lay your hands on, including mandarin oranges or tangerines. Lemon juice, mint leaves, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar season the salad, with speck and parmesan bringing it all together. 

With the inclusion of speck (which can be replaced with prosciutto or bresaola as available), this salad takes on a more substantial role in any meal it's served, with a little room left over for an indulgent dessert or small comforting soup. Infinitely flexible and always pleasing, this just might turn into your go-to salad, no matter what time of year.

Recipe: Salad of Bitter Greens with Speck and Clementines

10. Lobster Salad with Grapefruit, Avocado, and Quinoa

Even though you might consider lobster to be a summertime indulgence, lobster season is at its peak through the winter months. This recipe takes advantage of peak season lobster and pairs it with peak season citrus for a salad that's more of a light entrée. This dish originated from CRU, an oyster bar in Nantucket, and has since become an award-winning staple on the menu. Lemon is used to make a lemon honey Dijon dressing that livens up the entire salad. Lobster meat, greens of your choice, avocado, grapefruit slices, almonds, and quinoa are all mixed together before the dressing is added for the perfect balance of bitterness and creamy with a variety of textures to keep your palate happy. 

If you don't live near Maine, that's okay. It's worth picking up a bag of frozen lobster meat to take this lobster salad for a spin.

Recipe: Lobster Salad with Grapefruit, Avocado, and Quinoa

11. Roast Potatoes with Lemon

At this point in the winter you might be feeling like you never want to see another potato again. Sure, there are a lot of ways to cook a potato, but most of the time you just end up with more potatoes. We feel you, which is why it's time to add a little fresh citrus zing to those boring potatoes. 

This recipe comes from "Greece: The Cookbook" by Vefa Alexiadou, which focuses on flavorful Mediterranean dishes that are simple to prepare — and these potatoes are both. While you're getting the rest of your meal together, the potato slices marinate in fresh lemon juice, herbs, and spices. The potatoes then get roasted low and slow and come out of the oven tender, slightly crispy, and ready to pair with a roast chicken, leg of lamb, or another, more substantial piece of meat.

Recipe: Roast Potatoes with Lemon

12. Asparagus with Grapefruit 'Snow' and Toasted Almonds

For those of us who aren't into snow days and sub-zero temperatures, the hope of early spring produce is what gets us through the dark days of winter — that and a crackling fireplace or workhorse space heater. While asparagus can be found in grocery stores year-round, the good stuff starts arriving near the end of February while citrus season is still in full swing, guiding us hand-in-hand into the warmer months. 

This recipe, created by Chef Luke Bergman, is both exciting and much easier to achieve than you might think. You begin with slicing and freezing grapefruit segments. While the grapefruit freezes, you toast almonds and blanche the fresh asparagus. The asparagus gets dressed with a little olive oil and salt, before grating the frozen grapefruit slices on top with a fine box grater or Microplane. Even as the grapefruit begins to thaw, you'll have a delicate bite of citrus with each bite of asparagus, and a fantastic vegetable side dish for almost any meal.

Recipe: Asparagus with Grapefruit "Snow" and Toasted Almonds

13. Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

They say knowing how to roast a chicken is an essential cooking skill for cooks to master, and with a little help from Ina Garten, this skillet-roasted lemon chicken may very well make you the king (or queen) of your kitchen. 

The chicken is spatchcocked, which means the backbone is removed to allow it to lay flat (a process your butcher can handle), and seasoned with fennel seeds and thyme or rosemary. It is then roasted on a bed of onions and lemons and later splashed with some dry white wine, which brings all of the juices together for a delicious sauce that you can use over the finished chicken or your sides. 

While this chicken is cooking, feel free to throw a sheet pan of potatoes, carrots, or asparagus into the oven to roast alongside your chicken for a complete meal.

Recipe: Ina Garten's Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

14. Roasted Shrimp with Preserved Lemon

Some nights call for something a little bit special, and while this recipe for roasted shrimp with preserved lemon is incredibly easy to execute, it'll have your family impressed with your culinary know-how. It starts with a garlic confit oil, which is just olive oil that gets gently heated with garlic, bay leaves, and fresh thyme. That oil is then used to toss the shrimp in along with sliced, preserved lemon before a quick trip to the oven for roasting. The cooked shrimp is topped with oregano and cilantro for an herbal and fresh finish. 

If you haven't made preserved lemon for yourself, don't worry. Most grocery stores and specialty food stores keep jarred preserved lemons in stock for your cooking adventures. We like these shrimp served simply alongside rice, lightly dressed pasta, or even polenta or grits.

Recipe: Roasted Shrimp with Preserved Lemon

15. Roasted Red Snapper with Citrus and Pistachio

Many winter dishes can start to weigh you down after a while, which is fine, but in an effort to lighten things up, consider this roasted red snapper dish with citrus and pistachio for a welcome change of pace. While the recipe calls for red snapper, you can use nearly any whole fish that's fresh and available. 

The fish is simply roasted, stuffed with garlic and thyme, and seasoned on the outside with olive oil and salt. While the fish is roasting for 30-35 minutes, you'll stir together the citrus and caper dressing using a variety of your favorite citruses to brighten up the whole dish. Just before serving, you'll sprinkle Aleppo pepper and pistachios on top for a well-rounded fish. This fish is fantastic served with a side of asparagus or broccoli, rice, or even one of the citrus-inspired winter salads mentioned.

Recipe: Roasted Red Snapper with Citrus and Pistachio

16. Whole-Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde and Fennel-Orange Salad

A whole-roasted chicken is an accomplishment unto itself, but we love the idea of dressing it up with an herbal salsa verde, and appreciate a recipe that has a side salad catered specifically to the entrée. 

This particular recipe, which features salsa verde, is courtesy of Chef Michael Schwartz, and is packed with herbs, lemon, anchovies and white wine, which are perfect for spreading on top of your perfectly roasted chicken at the table. The recipe also includes a fennel orange salad that comes together quickly and rounds out this meal. The whole thing is a fresh take on a very traditional bird that comes to life in the winter with all of the fresh citrus available.

Recipe: Whole-Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde and Fennel-Orange Salad

17. Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon, and Greek Olives

If you're a fan of the spinach salad with roasted fennel and grapefruit by chef Marco Canora featured earlier in this article, you'll probably be interested to try his equally citrusy and satisfying braised chicken thighs with garlic, lemon, and Greek olives. We like that this is a one pan dish, where the chicken thighs are braised in lemon juice along with onion, garlic, and fresh oregano. 

The majority of the cooking time is hands-off, with only about 15 minutes of prep time followed by 40 to 50 minutes in the oven. This recipe claims to make four portions, but with eight chicken thighs, we think it might feed up to six, depending on how many thighs each person can eat and the sides you choose to serve alongside it.

Recipe: Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon and Greek Olives

18. Easy Chicken Marinade

This chicken recipe was practically made for early risers. In those quiet moments before everyone else in the house gets up, you can quickly throw this marinated chicken together and toss it in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours while you're at work. When you get home, all that's left to do is to pull it out of the refrigerator and roast the chicken pieces until they register 165 degrees F, which takes about 45 minutes in an oven set to 400 degrees F. 

The recipe calls for a whole chicken that's been broken down into pieces. You're welcome to do that yourself or buy your chicken pre-portioned from the store. The marinade includes lemon, thyme, olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and a little jalapeño for some additional heat. If you're more of a night owl, this recipe can also be made the night before and be left to marinade overnight.

Recipe: Easy Chicken Marinade

19. Trout Meunière

Trout Meunière sounds like a fancy fish dish you'd order at Le Bernardin, but in actuality, you can make it yourself at home any night of the week without much effort or a culinary school diploma. 

The trout filets are patted dry then quickly dredged in flour before being cooked in butter on the stovetop. It only takes a few minutes to cook the trout filets, then the remaining butter in the pan is cooked with lemon juice for an elegant lemon brown butter sauce that you'll then spoon over the fish. Finished with chopped parsley, you're ready to eat! 

Trout Meunière is great paired with fresh salads, rice, and even roasted potatoes. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you want to impress or just when you're looking to give salmon a break from the weekly dinner rotation.

Recipe: Trout Meunière

20. Swordfish with Lemon Butter and Potato Slaw

Gabrielle Hamilton is the James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of Prune in New York City and the author of "Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef" and "Prune: A Cookbook," which is based on the recipes from her restaurant. 

In this recipe, she's shared how to cook swordfish steaks, which might be new territory for those looking to add more fish to their dinner routine. The swordfish is seasoned modestly with salt, pepper, and olive oil, then seared. Hamilton then makes a quick pan sauce for the fish with lemon, butter, and cream. This recipe also includes potato slaw, which is made without cabbage, but shredded stir-fried potatoes, snap peas, scallions, lemon juice and zest, jalapeño, and olive oil. Very little is needed to accompany this recipe, except perhaps a crisp glass of white wine.

Recipe: Swordfish with Lemon Butter and Potato Slaw

21. Zucchini and Lemon Spaghetti

This recipe is adapted from Mary McCartney's cookbook, "Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking," which was published in 2013. Not only did McCartney create the recipes for the book; She also photographed her foods and paired them with stories and photos of her family — both of which fans of her father, Paul McCartney, probably can't get enough of. 

Many people think of heartier meat-based foods when it comes to winter cooking, but that's a biased perspective as vegetarians (and vegans) obviously eat in the winter as well. In this recipe, thinly sliced zucchini is cooked with garlic and herbs before being tossed with cooked spaghetti. To the dish, McCartney adds feta cheese and lemon zest for an acidic kick, along with black pepper and parmesan if desired. We like that this recipe gives us a nice serving of veggies alongside filling pasta for a dish that tastes like springtime, even when it's still dark out at 5 p.m.

Recipe: Zucchini and Lemon Spaghetti

22. No-Cook Tomato Sauce With Lemon and Oregano

Winter can be exhausting, between leaving for work and coming home in the dark, navigating harsh weather, and trying to fill the void between the holidays and spring thaw. Most nights during the week, the name of the game is just to get food on the table as quickly as possible, but we want you to feel a little bit of pride when managing to feed yourself and your loved ones, even on pasta night. 

This no-cook pasta sauce is both uncomplicated and will make you feel like you've mastered the art of the casual Italian meal. In just 10 minutes, you can have all of the ingredients prepped and mixed together for a perfectly gratifying tomato sauce. For a chunkier finish you can mash the tomatoes by hand, or use a stick blender for a smoother finish. Pair with whatever pasta you've got on hand and some bread for a quick comforting meal. Red wine is, of course, optional — but we're guessing you deserve a glass.

Recipe: No-Cook Tomato Sauce with Lemon and Oregano

23. Jaj Bl Hamed w Tum (Baked Chicken with Lemon & Garlic)

Vian Alnidawi and Sara Nassr are Iraqi-Syrian refugees, cooking their way into American hearts in Denver, Colorado at the Comal Heritage Food Incubator. You might not be familiar with their food, but the flavors will have you coming back for more. If you're not in the Denver area, we've gathered a few of the duo's most popular recipes, including Jaj Bl Hamed w Tum, which is a traditional Syrian dish. 

In this recipe, chicken legs are roasted over a bed of onions and potatoes. Once the chicken is cooked, it's then topped with a quick garlic and lemon mixture and flashed again in the oven to quickly cook the garlic. It's a comforting and filling all-in-one dish that you'll definitely want to try out, especially if you're a big garlic and lemon lover.

Recipe: Jaj Bl Hamed w Tum (Baked Chicken with Lemon & Garlic)

24. Roast Pork Tenderloin with Fennel-Citrus Salad

This roast pork tenderloin is much easier to tackle than it might seem. It's marinated with a grapefruit and brown sugar-based marinade that includes olive oil, salt, smoked sweet paprika, fennel seeds, garlic, and pepper — all blended together before coating the tenderloin. But you won't have to wait a whole day or even several hours for the tenderloin to finish marinating because it only sits for an hour. It then roasts for 25-30 minutes and rests for another 10. Most of the cooking is hands-off, leaving you free to whip up the fennel salad that's packed with grapefruit, blood orange, and lemon juice. 

This is hearty a hearty meal, but not one that's going to leave you feeling weighed down. Fresh citrus, juicy pork, and crunchy fennel make the perfect winter meal when you've got a bit of time on your hands.

Recipe: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Fennel-Citrus Salad

25. Pork with Chiles and Lime

Carnitas taco lovers can now make their favorite tacos at home instead of heading out into the cold. Pork shoulder gets diced and braised with all of the usual suspects for deeply flavorful and tender pork. Braised with onions, jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, and lime zest and juice, this pork takes about an hour and a half to cook, but is well worth the patience you'll have to exercise for incredible tacos. 

Set up a taco bar for friends or family with a wide variety of toppings from salsas, to cheese, lettuce, sour cream, freshly chopped cilantro, pickled onions, sliced jalapeños, beans, hot sauce, guacamole, or anything else you love on your tacos. You'll even have time while the pork cooks to make a batch of cilantro-lime rice if you'd rather use the braised pork to make burritos.

Recipe: Pork with Chiles and Lime

26. Ghormeh Sabzi (Chicken & Kidney Bean Persian Stew)

Ghormeh sabzi is a substantial Persian stew packed with parsley, cilantro, and scallions that create a flavorful green broth. There's plenty of familiar stew ingredients, including chicken broth, chicken thighs, onion, and kidney beans, but the stew also includes turmeric, dried fenugreek leaves, and dried black Persian limes that set this stew apart from western-style stews. 

The stew can be ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, but to really develop the flavors of the herbs and spices, let this stew simmer covered on low heat for an hour or longer to really draw out the most flavor. The stew is served with pita on the side and garnished with more fresh parsley and cilantro. It might be a stew, but it's a filling meal on its own.

Recipe: Ghormeh Sabzi (Chicken & Kidney Bean Persian Stew)

27. Chocolate-Blood Orange Pots de Crème

It's not often that citrus is paired with chocolate, but we've got a special place in our hearts for chocolate and orange, or in this case, blood orange. This chocolate-blood orange pots de crème is a luxurious custard dessert that's been infused with orange zest. The custard itself is cooked on the stovetop before getting blended with chocolate and set in ramekins. The recipe makes five servings worth, so it's a great way to end a dinner with friends or family, but also a luxurious chocolate dessert idea for Valentine's Day or an anniversary. 

There are three components to this recipe, the chocolate pot de crème itself, the whipped honey mascarpone topping, and the candied blood orange wheel for the garnish. The chocolate pot de crème is obviously the most important part, but it doesn't take much more effort to whip up the other components, and your guests will be all the more impressed with your pastry skills if you do.

Recipe: Chocolate-Blood Orange Pot de Crème

28. Creamsicle-Inspired Icebox Cake

Chilly icebox cakes might have you dreaming about summertime, but with a Creamsicle-inspired spin, you've got yourself a citrus icebox cake that's also a perfect option for winter. This recipe tweaks the classic chocolate wafer cookie and vanilla whipped cream model by using vanilla wafers instead of chocolate, and incorporating the actual Creamsicle ice pops into the whipped cream. Not only that but there's an additional orange ricotta cream that gets layered into this icebox cake to make it especially luscious before the whole thing is topped off with glistening soft candied orange slices. 

We appreciate that icebox cakes are virtually no-fail dessert options with high approval ratings, especially among those who don't want chocolate for every dessert. It doesn't hurt that the cakes don't require any actual baking either, because sometimes we want the benefit of putting something together without too much fuss. This is ideal for a winter birthday as it doesn't really need a side of ice cream, but it's also appropriate for a small family gathering.

Recipe: Creamsicle-Inspired Icebox Cake

29. Lemon Cheesecake Bars

These lemon cheesecake bars really are the best of both worlds, crisp and lemony for citrus lovers, and ultra-creamy for cheesecake lovers, complete with a graham cracker crust. They take a little bit of preparation ahead of time, as they'll need to chill for about 8 hours in the refrigerator. It's not quite as simple as a no-bake cheesecake recipe, but we'd say it's just as easy to bring together as your favorite batch of brownies. Not only that, but feel free to get creative with the citrus in this recipe. 

The original recipe calls for lemons, but you can also use limes, oranges, or even a combination of the three. This is also a great base recipe for exploring other flavors like passionfruit, thyme or rosemary, or even pumpkin. The cheesecake bars are baked in a 9 by 9-inch pan and make 16 servings.

Recipe: Lemon Cheesecake Bars

30. Lemon-Thyme Bars

This might seem like a recipe for a more daring baker, but we think that after doing it once, you'll wonder why you were so anxious to try this recipe in the first place. 

There are two basic components to these lemon bars: the almond flour shortbread crust and the lemon curd. Thyme is incorporated into both the crust and the curd, making for an elegant savory note with every sweet citrusy bite. The crust is made and baked first, giving you plenty of time to make the lemon curd. The curd comes together on the stovetop before getting flashed in the oven for a final set. There's also a touch of olive oil in the lemon curd which we think is a great addition to the lemon and thyme flavors. Once chilled, the bars can be cut and served with a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar and a few tiny thyme leaves for decoration. 

Make sure to clean off your knife between each cut for perfectly crisp lemon bar edges. The bars a cooked in a 9 by 9-inch square pan and make 12 servings.

Recipe: Lemon-Thyme Bars

31. Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

Just imagine a soft lemony cookie that melts like a sweet cloud in your mouth. Now imagine bringing a whole batch of them wherever people need a little jolt of sunshine and making everyone's day with these cookies — because that's what's going to happen when you make a batch of these lemon gooey butter cookies. There's plenty of lemon flavor here, with help from lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract, but there's another secret ingredient: cream cheese. Both butter and cream cheese come together to make these cookies super soft and fluffy, although no one will be able to tell what the magic is when they bite into one. 

This is a softer cookie dough than you may be used to making, but don't worry, that means it's correct! A quick chill of the dough makes it easier to scoop, before rolling in confectioner's sugar for that perfectly crackled effect. Just consider them the sunshine that's going to get you through the days of winter.

Recipe: Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

32. Easy Lemon Pie

This recipe comes from Joanna Gaines, author of Magnolia Table and star of the "Fixer Upper" TV show that's captivated so many; She's a truly contemporary domestic goddess. But this lemon pie isn't made with a finicky curd and a butter pie crust like a classic lemon meringue pie. Instead, it veers more in the direction of a classic key lime pie, with a graham cracker crust and a one-bowl filling that derives it's sweetness from sweetened condensed milk. In fact, the filling has only four ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt. 

The whole thing gets quickly baked till just set, and chilled to set up completely. The pie is topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream for a smooth and creamy finish. This is also a fantastic base recipe to use if you'd like to get a little creative. Consider adding a little lime, or using Meyer lemons instead. Pile fresh citrus slices or other fruits on top for a fresh twist.

Recipe: Easy Lemon Pie

33. Meyer Lemon Soufflé

Now that the holidays are over, you hopefully have a little more time in your kitchen to cook, experiment, and try out some more high-risk desserts that might have been too much pressure a few months ago. Take the soufflé — delicate, iconic, and fickle. Now is the perfect time to master this traditional dessert using one of the season's finest citruses, the Meyer lemon. The process has a few more steps than some of the other desserts here have, but the outcome is infinitely more impressive. 

Once you get the recipe down, you can learn to make it in two parts for your next dinner party. Everything up until whipping the egg whites can be done in advance. Once you're clearing the dinner plates, you can let the egg whites whip, and pop the soufflés in the oven for an impressive final course.

Recipe: Meyer Lemon Soufflé

34. Citrus Almond Tart

This incredible tart was made specifically for citrus season. It's packed with three different kinds of oranges: blood, navel, and Cara Cara, as well as grapefruit segments and lemon extract. It's a citrus wonderland. Instead of a finicky crust, this tart is made with an almond and wheat flour batter that's topped with the citrus slices before baking. So it's sort of a mix between a cake and a tart. Not only that, but it's absolutely beautiful, with multi-colored citrus pinwheels gracing the top of the tart for a beautifully colorful effect. See, winter fruits don't have to be boring at all. 

It also includes a recipe for a coriander whipped cream that's sweetened with honey and just a small dash of orange blossom water to really take the whole tart to the next level. We'll probably be eating it warm right out of the pan.

Recipe: Citrus Almond Tart

35. Chocolate and Chestnut Cake with Kumquat Sauce

Winter desserts typically fall into one of three categories: chocolate, nutty, or citrus. This flourless chocolate cake tackles all three, creating an indulgent seasonal dessert that you'll look forward to eating every year when the temperature drops. The cake itself benefits from the inclusion of chestnut puree and dark rum, transforming this rich chocolate cake into a seasonal delight. The texture is dense and almost brownie-like, which is exactly what we want this time of year. The kumquat sauce is made with fresh kumquats and spiced with cloves and allspice berries. 

To help balance the dense chocolate cake, there's also a recipe for a quick mascarpone whipped cream. It's up to you how you'd like to serve this cake, but we're big fans of warming it slightly before serving to help take off a little bit of that winter chill.

Recipe: Chocolate and Chestnut Cake with Kumquat Sauce

36. Grapefruit Custard Pie

When you think of citrus pies, most people think of lemon meringue or key lime pie. Occasionally orange makes an appearance, but grapefruit pies are few and far between. That's exactly what intrigued us about this recipe, along with the saltine cracker crust (incidentally made with unsalted saltines). 

This recipe is adapted from the recipe by the pie geniuses at Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in Brooklyn, NY. After making the saltine pie crust, you'll make a quick grapefruit custard filling which gets cooked entirely in the oven. The filling gets a boost from Campari, which helps bring out both the sweet and bitter notes of the grapefruit, and contributes a little extra pink color to the final product. Simply let this pie cool to finish setting up and you've got a gorgeous winter pie that you probably can't find anywhere else.

Recipe: Grapefruit Custard Pie

37. Key Lime Pie

If you're in Florida, key lime pie is available year-round, but there are actually parts of the country where key lime pie is strangely a little more difficult to find. If you happen to be in one of those key lime pie dead zones, it's up to you to make your own, and we've got just the recipe to satisfy those tropical pie desires. 

This pie is made with a traditional graham cracker crust and classic key lime pie filling. Sweetened condensed milk is an essential part of any good key lime pie recipe. Some key lime pie enthusiasts insist that the pie is best topped with meringue, while others argue that delicate whipped cream is the better choice. This particular recipe gives you instructions for making an Italian meringue to top your pie with, but we won't judge if you decide to go with whipped cream instead.

Recipe: Key Lime Pie

38. Cheese Danish with Mango and Lime

This Danish recipe is a little bit of a departure from some of the other desserts in this lineup, as it's dough-based, but pastry intensive all the same. Danish dough is a yeasted dough that's laminated, which basically just means that it's filled with butter and folded several times to created alternating layers of butter and dough that expand to make a beautifully buttery and flaky dough when baked (like a croissant). 

This recipe includes an easy-to-understand Danish dough recipe that isn't intimidating even for beginners. That's exciting enough on its own, but the addition of a mango and lime filling paired with cream cheese really puts this Danish over the top. The combination of citrus and tropical mango is a delight any time of day, whether it's for breakfast or a late-night snack. Luckily, this recipe makes nine pastries for you to enjoy whenever and wherever you want.

Recipe: Cheese Danish with Mango and Lime

39. Preserved Lemon Chutney

This recipe comes to us from beloved chef Floyd Cardoz. It's a simple recipe that packs an unbelievable amount of flavor, but it's going to take you a little while to make. Two weeks, in fact. 

The first step is making the preserved lemons from scratch, which is easier than you probably think. All you'll need is lemons and salt. This recipe makes a lot of preserved lemons, calling for 12 fresh lemons and 5 to 6 cups of kosher salt. After the lemons have cured in salt for two weeks, you'll soak them to wash off as much salt as you can overnight before making this fabulous chutney recipe. It's used as a condiment and tastes great paired with stronger meats, fish, or vegetables.

Recipe: Preserved Lemon Chutney

40. Lemon Thyme Croutons

If you typically buy your croutons from the grocery store, you may be wondering if it's actually worth it to make your own at home. But anyone who buys or makes fresh bread will tell you that there's always a but of bread left over, and croutons are one of the best ways to make sure that none of that bread goes to waste. 

This recipe calls for half of a small sourdough loaf and is seasoned with lemon, thyme, butter, salt, and pepper. It's quick to throw together and a great way to make sure you get the most out of your high-quality bread. While this recipe was originally created to be served on top of soup (which we think is a fantastic idea), the croutons would also be lovely with a fresh citrus salad, or any salad where a little extra acid and herbs would enhance the flavor.

Recipe: Lemon Thyme Croutons

41. Preserved Lemon and Hot Pickle Brine Vinaigrette

Since you now know how to make your own preserved lemons, here's another use for those powerfully preserved fruits. This recipe calls for one preserved lemon that gets finely chopped and mixed with hot pickled pepper brine (store-bought), olive oil, fresh chopped shallot, and fresh lemon zest. The vinaigrette has a bit more of a kick to it than traditional vinaigrettes, but is wonderful served on salads or even drizzled on top of vegetable side dishes.

Recipe: Preserved Lemon and Hot Pickle Brine Vinaigrette

42. Cilantro-Lime Sofrito

This sofrito is a simple preparation of chopped onions that have been cooked down in butter until they're soft and sweet, with the addition of garlic, cilantro, and lime. There are countless variations to sofrito, but this particular recipe leans more into the "recaito" category, which is a Puerto Rican-style sofrito that uses primarily onions and omits tomatoes (via Goya). 

Other variations include peppers and spices, which we encourage you to experiment with as you get comfortable with this recipe. This particular sofrito has a wide range of applications and is often used as the base for soups and stews, to add flavor to rice and bean dishes, or even to accent meats and fresh vegetables. As the recipe states, it can be served with "grilled or sautéed anything." Try it out and you'll see why it's so versatile.

Recipe: Cilantro-Lime Sofrito