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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.

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One lemon cheesecake bar on a white plate

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.

Close up of lemon cheesecake bars with nilla wafer crust

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!

Lemon cheesecake filling being poured on top of nilla wafer 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
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • 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 cheesecake bars in pan with foil and crumble topping before being baked

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.

Stack of lemon cheesecake bars on counter with lemon slices and mint leaves on counter

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:

Stack of lemon cheesecake bars on counter with lemon slices and mint leaves on counter

Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe

5 from 4 votes
These Lemon Crumble Cheesecake Bars have 3 layers of goodness! A Nilla Wafer Crust topped with lemon cheesecake and lemon crumble!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield 16 bars
Serving Size 1 bar



  • 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
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  • 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.

Recipe Video

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 258IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Lemon cheesecake bar on a plate with one bite missing from corner

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.

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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  1. If I make the crust using Golden Oreos and butter, will I still bake it? I make another recipe using Golden Oreos and butter and you do not bake it.

  2. Going to make this for a teacher’s Christmas luncheon a couple of weeks before and freeze. I might be getting nit-picking but should I cut the bars first and then freeze.

  3. Approx how many crumbs do 60 nilla wafers yield? I want to make this today but only have graham crumbs. How many should I use? Thanks!