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Lemon Cheesecake Bars

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close up shot of a bunch of Lemon Cheesecake Bars
A decadent mix of tangy lemon freshness and sweet graham cracker crust make these lemon cheesecake bars a delicious treat.
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Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Cheesecake Bars Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

These creamy lemon cheesecake bars are a delightfully sweet treat. The perfect combination of a sweet buttery graham cracker crust blanketed with a velvety lemon cheesecake filling combined with the refreshing tanginess of lemon is irresistible.

If you enjoy lemon desserts, you’ll love our lemon brownies and lemon lava cake.

close up shot of a bunch of Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Cheesecake Bars Ingredients

Lemon Cheesecake Bars raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salted sweet cream butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest 

For the Lemon Filling

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup lemon curd, for the lemon swirl

PRO TIP:

For the creamiest cheesecake, make sure to use full-fat cream cheese and sour cream.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CRUST: Vanilla wafer crumbs or gingersnap cookie crumbs could be used as a substitute for the graham crackers in the crust. Just crush them up and use them as a 1:1 replacement.

BERRIES: Both raspberries and blueberries would be lovely additions to the recipe and would help to balance the tanginess of the lemon. Fold 1 cup of fresh berries into the filling before adding to the crust.

COCONUT: Shredded coconut would add a tropical crunch to these bars. Add some to the filling before pouring it onto the crust. Or, if you don’t like the texture of shredded coconut but love the flavor, add a couple of drops of coconut extract to the mixture.

MEYER LEMONS: Meyer lemons have a slightly sweeter taste than regular lemons but can easily be used as a substitute in this recipe.

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How To Make This Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe

For the Crust

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 350°F and spray the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray

STEP TWO: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, lemon zest, and melted butter. Stir until the mixture is completely combined.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

If you need to crush the cookies for the crust, pulse in a blender or food processor until they are fine crumbs.

graham cracker crumbs, sugar, lemon zest, and butter combined in a bowl

STEP THREE: Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

PRO TIP:

Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to press the crust into the bottom of the pan. This ensures a nice firm base for the bars.

graham cracker crumb mixture spread at the bottom of a baking dish

STEP FOUR:  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

STEP FIVE: Remove the baked crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F.

For the Filling

STEP ONE: In a medium-sized mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest, just until well combined.

PRO TIP:

Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature, or it may leave lumps in the filling.

cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest whisked together in a bowl

STEP TWO: Keep the mixer speed on low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the filling is completely incorporated.

eggs whisked into the cream cheese mixture

STEP THREE: Evenly pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust.

STEP FOUR: Drop the lemon curd by teaspoons on top of the filling. Use a knife, toothpick, or offset spatula to shallowly swirl the lemon curd, being careful not to swirl too deep.

PRO TIP:

If a brighter shade of lemon curd for the swirl is desired, you can add 2 to 3 drops of yellow food coloring.

lemon curd added to the top of the cheesecake batter

STEP FIVE: Bake for 40 minutes in the 325°F oven.

STEP SIX: Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.

PRO TIP:

Before slicing your sweet treat, you can place the cheesecake in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes for a cleaner cut.

lemon cheesecake bars after being baked in a baking dish

How To Serve

Serve this delicious dessert as an afternoon snack with a cold raspberry iced tea or homemade raspberry lemonade which would blend beautifully with the lemon flavor.

These easy lemon cheesecake bars with their swirled, decorative top would be a pretty addition to any potluck dessert table. Top it off with a dollop of our whipped cream to make it presentation perfect.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store these easy cheesecake bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also make them ahead of time and keep them refrigerated until ready to serve.

IN THE FREEZER: You can also freeze the cheesecake for 3 months. Tightly cover the cheesecake in plastic wrap and then cover it in aluminum foil. Allow it to thaw before serving.

overhead shot of a lemon cheesecake bar on a spatula

These lovely and indulgent lemon cheesecake bars with lemon curd swirls are a delightful blend of cookie crumbs and a lusciously smooth and creamy cheesecake filling. The best choice for the next summer potluck!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze these easy cheesecake bars?

These easy lemon bars can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months.

Do I have to store these cheesecake bars in the fridge?

Because they contain cream cheese, it is best to keep these fantastic bars in the fridge to keep them fresh.

Can I use store-bought lemon curd in this recipe?

You can either use store-bought or homemade lemon curd for the lemony swirl in these cheesecake bars.

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close up shot of a bunch of Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

5 from 1 vote
A decadent mix of tangy lemon freshness and sweet graham cracker crust make these lemon cheesecake bars a delicious treat.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 15

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salted sweet cream butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

Filling

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup lemon curd, for the lemon swirl

Instructions
 

Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set it aside.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, lemon zest, and melted butter. Stir until the mixture is completely combined.
  • Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F.

Filling

  • Using a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on low speed, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest just until well combined.
  • Keeping the mixer speed on low, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until the filling is completely incorporated.
  • Evenly pour the filling on top of the crust.
  • Drop the lemon curd by teaspoon on top of the filling. Use a knife, toothpick, or offset spatula to shallowly swirl the lemon curd, being careful not to swirl too deep. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven, allow the cheesecake to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.

Video

Notes

  • For the creamiest cheesecake, make sure to use full-fat cream cheese and sour cream.
  • If you need to crush the cookies for the crust, pulse in a blender or food processor until they are fine crumbs.
  • Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to press the crust into the bottom of the pan. This ensures a nice firm base for the bars.
  • Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature, or it may leave lumps in the filling.
  • If a brighter shade of lemon curd for the swirl is desired, you can add 2 to 3 drops of yellow food coloring.
  • Before slicing your sweet treat, you can place the cheesecake in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes for a cleaner cut.

Nutrition

Sodium: 250mg | Calcium: 49mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 615IU | Sugar: 20g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 83mg | Cholesterol: 84mg | Calories: 281kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Fat: 18g | Protein: 4g | Carbohydrates: 26g | Iron: 1mg
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