These Lemon Cheesecake Bars are the perfect combination of sweet and tangy! Made with a simple shortbread crust, cheesecake and lemon layers, they’re make ahead and freezer friendly.
I have a secret confession.
I’ve never liked Lemon Bars.
It’s weird, because I love everything lemon! But I’ve always found most lemon bars lacking.
They turned out kind of crumbly or pasty or just didn’t have an appetizing texture and not nearly enough flavor.
But these Lemon Cheesecake Bars?
One bite and I was in love.
They are sweet, they are tangy. They’ve got a good kick of citrus but the cheesecake layer balances it out perfectly.
They’re also from Karlynn Johnston’s latest cookbook, The Prairie Table (affiliate link).
I was gifted one of these gorgeous cookbooks from the publisher and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!
As a fellow prairie girl, I was thrilled to see Karlynn’s recipes for dinners, baking and desserts that brought me right back to my childhood.
Perogies (Karlynn — my grandma spelled it the same way!), Saskatoon Cheesecake Brownies, Borscht, Cabbage Rolls. This is the cookbook everyone, but especially every Canadian, needs!
How to make Lemon Cheesecake Bars:
- This recipe starts with a simple shortbread crust — just mix it together until crumbly and press it into the pan! It may look a little flourly in places, but don’t worry — it will bake up just fine!
- While the shortbread crust is baking, whip up your cheesecake layer. Spread it over the crust and bake just until set — this is important for getting those beautiful layers!
- While the cheesecake layer is baking, mix up your lemon layer. If you can, use freshly squeeze lemon juice for the best flavor! Bake until just set. It will continue to firm up while it cools!
- The hardest part — wait and cool thoroughly before slicing! I like to leave mine overnight in the refrigerator.
How to store Lemon Cheesecake Bars:
In the refrigerator:
These Lemon Bars can be store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but I promise they’ll never last that long within arm’s reach like that!
In the freezer:
To make them last beyond a couple hours after you slice them, store in an airtight container in the freezer (I like to put wax paper between the layers) for up to 3 months.
More lemon desserts you’ll love!
- Strawberry Lemon Angel Food Cake Roll
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Easy Lemon Meringue Pie recipe
- Real Deal No Bake Lemon Cheesecake + RECIPE VIDEO
Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ cup salted butter
- 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
Cream Cheese Layer
- 1 package (8 oz/226 cream cheese cubed
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 extra-large eggs room temperature
- 1⅔ cups white sugar
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup lemon juice 2 to 3 large lemons
- Preheat the oven to 350°Grease a 9- × 9-inch baking pan.
- Cut out a 9- × 9-inch square of parchment paper and lay on top of the greased bottom of the pan
- For the crust, use a pastry blender to combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, butter, and lemon zest until the mixture is coarse crumbs, with the butter worked in. Press the dough into the greased baking pan, on top of the parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and place the pan on a wire rack to cool slightly. Leave the oven switched on.
- For the cream cheese layer, fit a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the egg completely, then pour the mixture onto the warm crust. Return to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly set on top. You need to have the top cooked in a slight crust so the lemon layer doesn’t seep through when poured on top. Remove. Leave the oven switched on.
- For the lemon layer, whisk together all the ingredients by hand. Gently pour over the cream cheese layer, trying not to disturb it. Spread out the lemon in an even layer.
- Return to the hot oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center.
- Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate uncovered to letthe filling set completely. This should be refrigerated at least 3 hours, but more time may be needed.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired. Slice into squares to serve.
- These can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, or frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
Nutrition (this is an estimate)