Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr
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
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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.

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

4.48 from 17 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 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 25 servings
Calories 188cal


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


  • 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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Reader Interactions


  1. deb schmidt says

    like other have said the recipe did not state that you needed to let the cream cheese layer cool. There is not lemon layer and the top got really dark like it looks burned. Very disappointed in the recipe.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Deb, I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. I do not allow them to cool any longer than it takes to make the lemon layer, maybe 5-10 minutes, which is what I am doing after Step 4, that’s why we need to leave the oven on. This recipe is from a friend’s cookbook, and that’s how the recipe is written and it works for me! It is important to make sure the cream cheese layer is baked enough that it doesn’t seep through. I hope that helps!

  2. Katie says

    Really poor recipe. The cheese cake layer completely absorbed the lemon layer, even though I cooked it until it had a slight crust, as the recipe indicated. Upon reading through the comments, the author says you should actually let the cream cheese layer cool first. THE RECIPE ITSELF SHOULD SAY THAT.

  3. Wendi says

    It would have been nice to know ahead of time that the cream cheese layer needed to cool before adding the lemon layer. It now looks like a souffle. Ah well……

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Wendi! There is not a whole lot of time between baking the cream cheese layer and adding the lemon layer. Your cream cheese layer needed to have a nice crust and be baked until set, as stated in the blog post and Steps 4 & 5 of the recipe card. I haven’t had the results you had, so I am unsure of what went wrong with yours.

  4. Gerard says

    Hard to describe. “Decadent” comes to mind, although I might have to add a “thoroughly” or “utterly” in front of “decadent”.

    I had similar troubles as others with the cream cheese layer breaking, I will let it cool longer next time and perhaps add a few minutes baking time before adding the lemon layer. I did sprinkle some candied lemon zest ( 2 Tbsp zest and 1/4 cup sugar) on it after I pulled it from the oven, it semi-melted and became crunchy when I pulled the whole thing from the fridge this AM. I think it really added to the overall dessert. This will be made again and again.

  5. Haley says

    For those who already have a lemon curd like I did, here’s the modification-

    Follow the recipe as written until you pull it out of the oven the second time (cooking the cheesecake part). Do the jiggle test, and if the cheesecake is done, let it cool. It only took about 30 minutes in my cold laundry room to completely cool. Then spread the lemon curd on top.

    Thanks for the recipe! Every recipe I found used graham cracker crumbs (which of course I didn’t have), but I think I like the shortbread crust better!

  6. Joshua Martinez says

    This tasted really good, but my cheesecake layer broke when I poured in the lemon mixture. I definitely cooked the cheesecake layer through though. Any suggestions?

  7. Anushka Dsouza says

    awesome recipe
    just remember to let it cool down before adding the last lemon layer , i barely did and because of that it mixed a bit

  8. Diva says

    I tried this recipe this weekend. The bars tasted phenomenal as I suspected they would, but I ran into a problem. I need to know if you allowed the cheesecake to cool a little before you poured the lemon layer on top. I followed the instructions, but once I began pouring the lemon layer onto the cheesecake after taking it out of the oven, the cheesecake layer broke and the lemon layer seeped integrated in certain sections. Did I miss a step?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I’m so glad they tasted well! I do not allow them to cool any longer than it takes to make the lemon layer, maybe 5-10 minutes. This recipe is from a friend’s cookbook, and that’s how the recipe is written and it works for me! It is important to make sure the cream cheese layer is baked enough that it doesn’t seep through. I hope that helps!

      • Diva says

        Okay, got it. I prepared the lemon layer while the cheesecake section was baking. Next time I’ll try waiting a few minutes to give the cheesecake a few minutes to cool off so it can firm up before pouring this layer on. Everyone loved them. Some sections did not seep through, but some did.

  9. Rachael Young says

    These sound amazing but my boyfriend doesn’t like lemon or lime. Would it work with blueberry or orange juice and what quantities would you need?

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