Cream Cheese Lemon Bars

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Cream Cheese Lemon Bars are the dessert you never knew you needed, but bake them once, and you’ll never go without them again. Sweet, cream cheesy, lemony, buttery, and so easy! 

For more quick desserts, try my recipes for Apple Slab Pie, Salted Caramel Pecan Pie Bars, and Cream Cheese Lemon Crumb Cake

up close overhead lemon bars

Confession: I’m a lemon dessert lover. And a cheesecake lover. So it only makes sense that I put these two flavors together into one easy dessert, right? 

Spring has sprung and with it my mindset has changed somewhat in terms of what flavors and foods I’m in the mood for. Even if the days are somewhat chilly and it’s not quite yet time to start the garden, I’m still thinking about cookouts, picnics, potlucks, and those days when friends stop over for a bit and end up staying through dinner. Those are the best days right? 

These classic lemon bars are perfect for those days…well, for any day really! But, if you’re looking for a delicious dessert that isn’t too heavy and uses a lot of pantry and fridge staples, then this is it my friends! 

one serving of lemon bars with fork

Here’s what you need:

  • Flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Powdered sugar

lemon bars on cupcake liners on a baking sheet overhead

Here’s how you make it 

Did I mention these lemon bars are so easy to make? 

  1. First thing you need to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper. Leave plenty of overhang around the edges so that you can lift the bars out of the pan before cutting.
  2. In a blender or a food processor combine the flour, sugar salt, and butter cubes to make the crust. Cover and pulse to combine the dough into fine crumbs. You can do this with a pastry cutter, fork, or fingers in a large bowl if you prefer. 
  3. Press the crust into your prepared pan and put it in the oven for 10 minutes. While it cooks, turn your attention to the filling. 
  4. To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl. Cream together until it’s smooth. Then, mix in the lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla until they are all incorporated into the cream cheese and sugar mixture.
  5. When the crust is done, spread the cream cheese filling over the crust and put it back into the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Let the lemon cheesecake bars cool for about 20 minutes, then cover them and put them in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to chill. When you’re ready to dive in, lift the foil edges up out of the pan to remove the dessert. Slice into squares, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve.

up close creamy lemon barsDo I need to refrigerate lemon bars? 

If you aren’t going to eat all these cream cheese lemon bars right away and you have some leftover (which would be shocking to me that anyone would have leftovers), then you should store them in the fridge. Just put them in a covered container if you’ve already sliced them into squares.

Or, if you know you’ll only be eating a few, you could put the rest back into the pan you cooked them in and cover it with foil and put in the fridge for later.

lemon bars overheadDoes cheesecake freeze well?

You can easily freeze cheesecake so long as it’s made with full-fat cream cheese. What I like to do is either freeze the whole thing by wrapping the cream cheese lemon bars — pan and all — in plastic wrap then add foil to the top of that to make sure the bars don’t get freezer burn. You can keep them in the freezer for about a month.

Or, you can freeze individual slices of the lemon bars with a shortbread crust. Cut them as instructed, then put the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Put the tray into the freezer to freeze the lemon bars individually. This will take about 6 hours or overnight. When they are frozen, you can take them off the tray and wrap them individually in plastic wrap then put them all in an airtight, freezer-safe container. This way, you can take one out at a time and not eat them all at once. 

To thaw, put the pan in the fridge overnight and then cut them as directed. Eat within two days (keeping them in the fridge in between). Once they’re thawed, do not refreeze them.

up close lemon bars with piece on fork

More easy dessert recipes

Did you make these cream cheese lemon bars? I’d be thrilled if you would give it a rating below! 

up close creamy lemon bars

Cream Cheese Lemon Bars

Cream Cheese Lemon Bars are the dessert you never knew you needed, but bake them once, and you'll never go without them again. Sweet, cream cheesy, lemony, buttery, and so easy! 
4.84 from 25 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
chilling time: 4 hours
Servings: 20 servings

Ingredients

for the crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

for the filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 inch pan with foil or parchment with plenty of overhang around the edges to lift the bars out of the pan before cutting.
  • Prepare the crust by combining flour, sugar, salt, and butter cubes in a food processor or blender. Cover and pulse until fine crumbs form. (You can also do this with a pastry cutter, fork, or with your fingers in a large bowl.)
  • Press crust into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  • Prepare the filling by combining cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl. Cream together until smooth. Mix in lflour, emon juice, eggs, and vanilla until completely incorporated.
  • Pour filling over crust and return to oven for 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, then cover and transfer chill in the fridge 4 hours or overnight. Lift the foil edges to remove the bars from the pan, slice into squares, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 630IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Tag @cremedelacrumb1 on Instagram and hashtag it #cremedelacrumb!

 

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Comments

4 stars
These were very good. i Loved the easy recipe and the shortbread crust. I did cook the crust a few minutes longer than on original Recipe from other reviewers suggestion and i am glad i did. I also DIDN’T get a cream cheese flavor at all in these but I would make them again for sure. I did double the recipe bC i was taking to a PICNIC and used a 1/2 sheet pan instead of a 9×13. The texture was great. I also didn buy enough fresh lemons and had to sub 1/2 of the lemon juice from a bottle instead of fresh, but the flavor was still excellent. I loved the tip to use extra Parchment paper for Overhang BC with a large quanity this helped remove from Pan with ease. Normally i would of just lined the bottom. Cant wait to make these again.

I love lemon dessert too, so I had to try these and I totally loved them. I did add fresh lemon zest to the crust and the filling, I like to use all of the lemon and if I use lemon juice and don’t want to use the zest, then I freeze it for later so I always have it on hand.

    So glad you enjoyed this recipe!

5 stars
Ok, THESE WERE THE BEST LEMON BARS I’VE EVER TASTED! THE SHORTBREAD CRUST AND CUSTARD-LIKE LEMON CREAM CHEESE WAS TO DIE FOR! I WILL BE MAKING THESE AGAIN FOR SURE. THANKS!

    Paula, I’m SO thrilled to hear that you loved these! They are my family’s absolute favorite and the only ones they’ll let me make anymore. 🙂 So happy that you enjoyed them too! Hope they bring some lemony cheer to your summer!

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