Lemon Cheesecake Bars are simple cheesecake bars flavored with fresh lemon and a graham cracker crumb crust.
This recipe turns out perfect cheesecake bars flavored with just the right amount of fresh lemon juice and zest. They are a summery, sweet dessert to make for parties, and they are easily made in an 8×8-inch pan. The recipe makes 12 lemon cheesecake bars, which is manageable for a small gathering. You won’t have a bunch left over. Everyone loves a good cheesecake, so these are likely to be a big hit!
- CRUST: graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and butter
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
- sour cream
- lemon juice
- lemon zest
- vanilla extract
Notes about ingredients:
It’s easiest to buy a box of already processed graham cracker crumbs. They should be on the shelf in your market’s baking aisle. Otherwise, you can use a food processor to grind the graham crackers into crumbs. It’s best to use full-fat cream cheese and full-fat sour cream for these bars. They will taste much better and have a nicer texture than using the low fat version of cream cheese and light sour cream. That being said, you can definitely use lower fat versions if you need to, and the bars will still turn out just fine.
How to make Lemon Cheesecake Bars:
Combine the crust ingredients in a medium bowl, and pat them into a foil-lined, 8×8-inch baking dish. If you don’t like to bake with foil, it’s okay to bake these bars in an 8×8-inch pyrex pan instead. The rest of the ingredients are combined with an electric mixer to make the filling. The filling is spooned onto the crust and spread to cover evenly. Then it goes into the oven for about 30 minutes.
Once cooled, the pan of lemon cheesecake bars is refrigerated for several hours until well-chilled. The more chilled they are, the easier it will be for you to get nice, clean cuts. Use a sharp knife to cut the pan of lemon cheesecake into evenly sized bars.
You can certainly leave the bars plain, or you can add a pretty garnish. We added whipped cream, fresh berries and fresh mint here. A spoonful of strawberry topping would be delicious too.
Keep these bars refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- whipped cream, berries, mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with foil. Spray the inside (sides and bottom) with nonstick spray.
MAKE THE CRUST:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Add the butter, and stir to combine. Transfer the crumbs to the prepared baking dish, and spread them out evenly. Use a thin metal spatula to press them evenly into the bottom of the dish.
MAKE THE FILLING:
- To a large bowl, add the cream cheese, powdered sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to beat until smooth. Add the eggs, and beat again until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake filling into the prepared pan on top of the crust, smoothing out the top so it’s even.
- Bake until the cheesecake is set along the outside, but still just a touch jiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Once fully cooled to room temperature, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the cheesecake and refrigerate until fully chilled, 2 to 4 hours.
- Slice the cheesecake into 12 bars. Top with any garnishes you like. Serve.