Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other Easter recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe

A modern twist on a classic lemon bar, this three-layer delight provides melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. A crumbly crust fuses with a creamy cheesecake layer. Tart flavors of lemon custard top the bar. This dessert is the perfect springtime treat with bright flavors and a soft texture.

Why I love this recipe.

Lemon bars are an iconic dessert. These are the treats that everyone looks at and knows what they will taste like before taking a bite. A slightly puckering at the cheeks with a sour edge that is offset but has a sweet, curd-like texture. The lemon bar has become so standard that most only make them from a box mix. I overheard someone recently say why would you make anything other than a box. This recipe is the answer. A box will give the standard expected outcome, but this recipe will give the fresh flavor needed to let everyone know how special these are. The base layer is a quick shortbread crust, followed by a cheesecake layer to balance the sweet-tart lemon layer on top. A perfect dessert that has all the iconic nostalgia with the flavor turned up.

Squares of lemon cheesecake bars sitting on a piece of parchment lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Cream cheese adds a rich layer to the traditional lemon bar recipe.
  • Eggs work in both the cheesecake layer and the lemon curd on top.
  • Almond extract is added to the shortbread crust to enhance the flavor without overpowering it.
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest make sure the bright lemon flavor is prominent.
White marble surface filled with ingredients needed to make lemon cheesecake bars including flour, sugar, eggs, lemons, spices, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Create the crust. In a large bowl, add the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together until creamed. Add in the flour, cornstarch, and kosher salt. Mix until the ingredients are combined and become crumbly. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment. Spread out the crust mixture and press it into an even layer using your hands. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until the crust becomes golden.
  1. Create the cream cheese layer. In a large bowl, soften the cream cheese until smooth using a hand or stand mixer. Add the sour cream, sugar, lemon zest, and egg. mix until combined, then spread on top of the crust into an even layer. Bake in the 350°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes until it becomes just slightly brown around the edges.
  1. Create the custard layer. Add the eggs, sugar, flour, and kosher salt to a large bowl. Add the zest from the lemon. Juice the lemons and strain the juice into the bowl, ensuring there are no seeds. Mix together using a stand or hand mixer. Distribute onto the bars and place in the oven turned down to 325°F for 24 to 26 minutes, until the bars have firmed around the edges but remain viscous in the center. Let cool on the counter for 2 hours, then place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours until the bars have set. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • When first creaming the butter for the crust, mix until it’s creamed. The point is not to aerate the butter; it’s simply to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
  • Lining the dish with parchment paper allows for easy removal from the pan, making it more straightforward to cut and serve the bars. However, this only works if the pan is well-lined. This means covering all sides as well as the bottom.
  • Pause and wipe down the bowl with a spatula when mixing the layers. This ensures every ingredient is mixed together thoroughly.
  • Don’t worry about letting the crust cool before adding the additional layers. The residual heat from the crust will actually help the cheesecake layer spread out more evenly.
  • When distributing the custard layer, be gentle. Pour the custard onto a spatula just over the bars. This distributes the mixture without hitting the bars forcefully. Otherwise, it can break a hole through the cheesecake layer.
  • When removing the bars from the oven after the final baking, you want them to jiggle slightly in the center. This will eventually set and will prevent them from cracking.
Squares of lemon cheesecake bars sitting on marble surface showing three interior layers including lemon and cheesecake and shortbread crust.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can something be used in place of sour cream?

Yes, Greek yogurt works as a perfect substitute.

How can I prevent cracks in this?

The key to preventing cracks is to remove the bars from the oven when the lemon layer still jiggles in the center. If overbaked, the lemon layer will crack from becoming too hot.

How long do these bars last once baked? Can they be frozen?

The bars should be stored in the refrigerator and will be kept for 3 days. Once set and sliced, these can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Squares of lemon cheesecake bars sitting on piece of parchment on marble surface.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More Easter recipes to make

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Squares of lemon cheesecake bars sitting on piece of white parchment dusted with powdered sugar.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

5 from 1 vote
A modern twist on a classic lemon bar, this three-layer delight provides melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. A crumbly crust fuses with a creamy cheesecake layer. Tart flavors of lemon custard top the bar. This dessert is the perfect springtime treat with bright flavors and a soft texture.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 2 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

For the cheesecake layer

  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 large egg

For the lemon layer

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions
 

For the crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with a parchment paper sling running in both directions.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium until evenly combined, scraping the bowl as needed, 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Beat until combined (it will be slightly crumbly), 2-3 minutes.
    16 tbsp unsalted butter, ½ cup white granulated sugar, 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract, ¼ tsp almond extract, 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp cornstarch, ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • Press the dough into the prepared baking dish and press it into an even layer. Bake in the preheated 350°F oven until it is set and golden brown, 20-22 minutes. Remove and set aside.

For the cheesecake layer

  • In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Scrape the bowl, and add the sour cream, sugar, lemon zest, and egg. Beat until it is evenly combined, 2-3 minutes.
    8 oz cream cheese, ⅓ cup sour cream, ¼ cup white granulated sugar, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 large egg
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the warm baked crust. Spread completely to the edges, covering any space between the crust and the pan. Bake until the cheesecake is set and slightly golden around the edge, 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 325°F.

For the lemon layer

  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs until they are evenly combined. Add the sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
    6 large eggs, 2 cups white granulated sugar, 6 tbsp all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 cup lemon juice
  • Hold a spatula or spoon over the warm cheesecake layer and pour the lemon mixture onto the spatula to create a gentle stream and not break the cheesecake layer. Bake in the 325°F oven until the lemon layer is just set around the edges and still jiggly in the center, 24-26 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool fully on the counter, 2 hours. Chill in the refrigerator until fully set, 4-6 hours. Use the parchment slings to remove the bars. Dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.
    2 tbsp powdered sugar

Notes

When first creaming the butter for the crust, mix until it’s creamed. The point is not to aerate the butter; it’s simply to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
Lining the dish with parchment paper allows for easy removal from the pan, making it more straightforward to cut and serve the bars. However, this only works if the pan is well-lined. This means covering all sides as well as the bottom.
Pause and wipe down the bowl with a spatula when mixing the layers. This ensures every ingredient is mixed together thoroughly.
Don’t worry about letting the crust cool before adding the additional layers. The residual heat from the crust will actually help the cheesecake layer spread out more evenly.
When distributing the custard layer, be gentle. Pour the custard onto a spatula just over the bars. This distributes the mixture without hitting the bars forcefully. Otherwise, it can break a hole through the cheesecake layer.
When removing the bars from the oven after the final baking, you want them to jiggle slightly in the center. This will eventually set and will prevent them from cracking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 553kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My goodness- these lemon cheesecake bars were delicious!! I wanted an easy to eat tasty dessert for a dinner party. Fantastic!

    I swapped out GF 1:1 flour, arrowroot starch for cornstarch, and reduced sugar in all 3 layers. I don’t think they would have been any prettier or any tastier!

    Thanks Kaleb! I love following you and your home, garden, recipes!

  2. Hi Keleb, I love your videos and recipes. I want to make this lemon cheesecake bars bit was wondering if if can half the recipe and if so what size pan would I use.
    Thank you.