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These are not your basic cheesecake bars! These Lemon Cheesecake Bars have a buttery cookie crust and a sweet crumble topping for a dessert that everyone will love. You can make them ahead so they are the perfect treat for potlucks, school events or other gatherings.
Why make a whole cheesecake when you can make cheesecake bars instead? Don’t get me wrong, I love a great cheesecake, but dessert bars are easier to make and easier to serve. No forks required!
These lemon cheesecake bars came to be after I realized I had all kinds of other lemon desserts like cookies, pies, and classic lemon bars but I’d yet to share a lemon cheesecake treat. There’s a recipe for a whole cheesecake in my book, so I definitely wanted to share a lemon cheesecake bar for the blog! I’m sorry it’s taken so long because this recipe is amazing.
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What makes the Best Lemon Cheesecake Bars?
They have a simple cookie crust, a creamy lemony cheesecake filling and an easy crumble topping to finish it off. Unlike traditional cheesecake, you don’t have to do a water bath or hover around the oven while it bakes. Bars are so much easier, but with all the same rich cheesecake and delicious crust.
So, let’s breakdown the three layers of fabulous that make up these bars. You guys are going to love them!
Start with a Cookie Crust
The crust for this recipe is similar to the one I use for my apple cheesecake bars, but for this version I use Vanilla Wafer Cookies. The nice thing is that you can easily swap them to change things up.
If you don’t like wafer cookies you can use graham crackers, Golden Oreos, or shortbread cookies. I usually use the wafers, but cheesecake bars with shortbread crust is my second favorite way to make it.
All you do is combine the crushed cookies with melted butter and then press it into the baking dish. Bake it for about 8 minutes and that’s it!
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
If you’ve never tried lemon cheesecake you are in for treat. Adding lemon gives the cheesecake a bright flavor and helps balance out the richness from the cheese. It’s the best combination!
When you make the filling it’s really important to with room temperature ingredients. If yours are cold it will take much longer to mix the filling and it could end up lumpy – no good!
It’s faster to make the filling with a stand mixer, but you can use a handheld one. I will just take a little longer to mix it all.
Here’s what you need for the lemon cheesecake filling:
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Lemon zest and juice
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
Beat the cream cheese with the sugar and egg until smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice and zest, vanilla, and flour. Mix until smooth and pour it into the pre baked baked crust.
Lemon Crumble Topping
There’s lemon in the topping, too, because I love when things match! I borrowed my favorite crumble recipe and jazzed it up with lemon juice and zest for an extra citrus punch.
Once you’ve made the topping, sprinkle it over the filling in an even layer. Bake the bars for about 30 minutes until the edges are browned and the cheesecake is no longer glossy.
Let it cool at room temperature and chill the cheesecake bars for at least two hours before serving. This will allow the filling to fully set and you will get nice, clean slices.
Storing Cheesecake Bars
You can make them ahead and they will keep well for up to three days in the refrigerator. Or, freeze them for up to a month to enjoy later.
You know I have a hard time choosing favorites – all desserts are my favorite! – but these lemon cheesecake bars with crumble topping rank pretty high on the list! The combination of tart lemon with the creamy tangy filling and crunchy sweet topping is so hard to resist.
Make a batch to share or keep them all to yourself – just be sure to make them! You won’t regret it, I promise.
Other Lemon Desserts:
Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe
- 60 Nilla Wafers or similar cookie from an 11 ounce box
- 5 tablespoons unsatled butter melted
- Pinch salt
- 8 ounces 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Crush Nilla Wafers in a food processor. Stir with melted butter. Press crust into the botto of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Wipe out the bowl you used to mix the crust with a paper towel. Set aside to use when making the crumble.
- Beat cream cheese, egg, and sugar with a stand or a hand mixer in a larger bowl. Mix in sour cream, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and flour. Mix until smooth. The trick to getting your cheesecake smooth and not lumpy is to make sure all the ingredients are room temperature!
- Make the crumble: mix the all crumble ingredients using a hand or stand mixer in a large bowl (which can be the same bowl as the one you made the crust in). The mixture will be stiff and crumbly.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture over the partially baked hot crust. Sprinkle the crumble over the top. Bake for an additional 28-32 minutes until the edges are browned and the cheesecake is no longer glossy. Cool completely then cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Slice and store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
These are not your basic cheesecake bars! These Lemon Cheesecake Bars have a buttery cookie crust and a sweet crumble topping for a dessert that everyone will love.
Last Updated on September 29, 2020