Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 25 servings

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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.

lemon cheesecake bars on white plate with marble background and white

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).

the prairie table cookbook cover

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!

lemon bars on white plate close up with lemon wedges on marble background

How to make Lemon Cheesecake Bars:

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. The hardest part — wait and cool thoroughly before slicing! I like to leave mine overnight in the refrigerator.
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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.

lemon cheesecake bars with fork on white plate with bite taken

More lemon desserts you’ll love!

Excerpted from The Prairie Table by Karlynn Johnston. Copyright © 2019 Karlynn Johnston. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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Lemon Cheesecake Bars

4.65 from 48 votes
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.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 25 servings
Calories 188cal

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 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

Lemon Layer

  • 4 extra-large eggs room temperature
  • 1⅔ cups white sugar
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup lemon juice 2 to 3 large lemons

Instructions

  • 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 Information

Calories: 188cal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 285IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Keywords lemon bars, lemon cheesecake bars

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Rob says

    i bake now and cheese cake floated to top of lemon topping ,as i pored it in
    see what kind of mess soon

    • Leen says

      I had the same issue. Not happy with this recipe at all. It didn’t need the parchment paper but I was out of lemons. Had to make a boxed recipe for mother’s Day instead. Huge bummer.

  2. Jenni says

    I made this recipe swapping out the lemon for white grapefruit, and sprinkled in a little cardamom. Otherwise I followed all of the measurements exactly. I did not experience any breakage in the cheesecake layer, like some other commentors. But after baking this layer, I shut the oven off, opened the door a bit, and let the pan sit in the cooling oven for 15-20 minutes before removing it to continue cooling on the counter. After preheating the oven again, I whisked together the citrus layer, and poured it over the top, and baked then cooled as directed. It setup just fine for me using this method.

    I used grapefruit, because I only had grapefruit on-hand when I made them. It was a really nice mild citrusy flavor, as opposed to the tartness of lemon. I’m definitely going to try this again with lemon though. Love the pucker of a good lemon dessert.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Jenni! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for the kind review and feedback on substitutions!

  3. Kara says

    I had success with this recipe with the following modifications:

    I used an 8×8 pan
    – used self rising flour for the shortcrust base and a teaspoon of vanilla extract
    – used ultra fine baking sugar
    – beat the cheesecake layer on speed 3 after adding egg and scraped down the bowl once
    – added lemon zest on 1 lemon to lemon layer
    – used 1 cup of fresh lemon juice to really get that tartness
    – baked the cheesecake later for 20 min until it just jiggled and the edge was barely brown
    – I let it sit on a cooling rack and let it deflate a bit before slowly pouring the lemon layer via a Pyrex 1 cup measuring cup starting at the outer layer, only ended up using about 1.5 cups of the lemon mixture, did not want to over fill
    – baked again for 25 min

    Waiting for it to cool now but this did not split like other comments, hope this helps my fellow bakers!

  4. Anna says

    I hope this turns out ok-I doubled the recipe and followed it really specifically-I bake a lot-and the cream cheese layer broke :/

  5. Liz says

    Came out great. Followed the directions and checked out reviews.
    Every oven is different, so cook times will differ – I think the most important indicator is how things look and smell
    Here are a few things that I think made my attempt very successful.
    – cooled 5 min between each stage
    – cooked until the cheesecake layer barely jiggled in the middle
    – used a ladle to gently pour lemon mixture on top- not directly in the center but around the edges where the cheesecake was more done
    This is the third time I have made this and always get great feedback.
    Thanks for taking to time to publish.

  6. Ranae Pellegrino says

    I wish I had read Leslie’s review before I followed the recipe. Definitely should have baked 5 minutes longer. Same thing happened to me. I should have cooled it almost completely before putting the sauce on. The one side of cheesecake opened up from one side to the other. It is delicious though, but next time I’ll do it differently.

  7. Leslie says

    As I read other comments , I agree that the cheesecake layer must either be baked more or cooled more. I baked for 15 minutes as recipe indicates, but I should have baked it for 20 minutes to achieve a slight crusty layer as instructions indicated and also cooled it off. I spooned on the lemon layer and the cheesecake layer erupted from the middle, it did not happen to the edges. I cooled it off, cut it and sifted powdered sugar to hide the white “eruption”. It was delicious but next batch I will know how to perfect this recipe.

      • Gene says

        I too should have read the reviews. the recipe completely filled my 9×9 pan. will try a bigger pan next time. Also, the cheesecake layer floated off the bottom and the lemon layer sank, perhaps I overmixed the cheesecake layer and put too much air into it. Maybe allowing it to cool completely would have helped. It’s tasty nonetheless.

      • Jenn says

        It’s baking now but I followed the instructions and the lemon just seeped through the cheesecake layer. I’m bummed out. This recipe needs better instructions as to not have that happen . I hope it’s edible and not gross when it’s done.

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