Cheesecake Lemon Bars

04.11.2017

Here you have one of the all-time best spring desserts! I don’t know if dessert can get much better than these over-the-top Cheesecake Lemon Bars! With these you don’t just get one or two layers of utter decadence but FOUR layers of heavenly, sublimely lemony, utterly creamy, melt-in your-mouth bliss! You will most definitely wow your family or guests with these delicious bars. How could you go wrong with buttery shortbread, a perfectly fresh and tart lemon bar filling, a rich and creamy cheesecake, and lusciously smooth sweetened sour cream all together in one bar? You just can’t!

Yes, it may seem these have an overdose of sugar but it’s not much more than that cake I just baked, plus keep this in mind it will be split between about 20 servings. But who am I kidding, with these bars I’m not counting anything – I’m indulging in all of their goodness because they are worth every calorie! Self control, gone. Good bye. Hello Cheesecake Lemon Bars!

I actually originally shared these bars a few years ago (originally shared 3/28/15) but I never did like the pictures. So, since Easter is just around the corner it’s given me the perfect excuse to remake them – so that I can remind you this is the dessert you should be making this Easter Sunday! Seriously, do it. You won’t regret it! I can’t get over how good these are every time I make them!

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Cheesecake Lemon Bars

Ingredients

Shortbread layer

  • 1 1/2 cups (213g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (68g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) unsalted butter, cold and diced into small cubes

Lemon Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups (330g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (4.6 oz) lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs

Cheesecake Layer

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened well*
  • 3/4 cup (165g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) sour cream

Sour Cream Layer

  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 4 Tbsp (34g) powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, set aside.
  2. For the shortbread layer:
  3. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread and pat into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 15 - 18 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly while preparing fillings.
  4. For the lemon layer:
  5. In a mixing bowl whisk sugar and flour, then add in lemon zest, lemon juice and eggs whisk until well blended. Set aside (don't pour into crust yet, you don't want it to soak into the shortbread layer while you're preparing cheesecake filling).
  6. For the cheesecake layer:
  7. In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on low speed, cream together cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth, about 30 seconds. Mix in eggs one at at time adding in vanilla with second egg. Mix in 1/4 cup sour cream. Tap bowl against countertop about 10 times to release any large air bubbles.
  8. Pour lemon filling over crust, then evenly drizzle cheesecake filling by the spoonful over lemon layer (work to evenly distribute, layers will separate once baked). Skim off any air bubbles. Gently spread cheesecake filling into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until filling only jiggles slightly, about 29 - 33 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature 45 minutes then transfer to refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours.
  9. For the sour cream layer:
  10. In a small mixing bowl whisk together sour cream and powdered sugar. Spread into an even layer over chilled bars. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
  11. *Cream cheese should be softened until it's nearly be melted. This way it's runnier and it will make the cheesecake filling easier to drizzle over the top of the lemon layer.
  12. Recipe source: adapted with some changes from allrecipes

 

 

64 comments

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci): What gorgeous bars, those layers are sublime! March 28, 2015 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Laura! March 28, 2015 at 6:30pm Reply

  • Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness: Hm.. I don’t think I would have any self control around this! They look amazing! March 28, 2015 at 6:37pm Reply

  • June Burns: Those look awesome! A very springy dessert indeed. I like all the layers you stacked up there, I’m sure they complement each other wonderfully :) March 28, 2015 at 9:15pm Reply

  • Jessica: these look DELISH! I’m having an error printing from the blog though :( March 29, 2015 at 6:11am Reply

  • Laura Dembowski: The perfect layers in these bars are gorgeous! Such a great treat to serve at Easter. March 29, 2015 at 6:28am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Laura :)! March 29, 2015 at 9:52pm Reply

  • J.M: Yum. Easter desserts this year. March 29, 2015 at 9:00am Reply

  • Kathryn: I love lemon and these look absolutely amazing! March 29, 2015 at 9:03am Reply

  • Medha @ Whisk & Shout: These look so perfect and I totally love your step by step photos :) March 29, 2015 at 11:58am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Medha! March 29, 2015 at 9:55pm Reply

  • Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld: These look soooo good! I’ll have to make these once I’m stateside again :) March 29, 2015 at 12:19pm Reply

  • Elle @ Only Taste Matters: Wow these look simply amazing! I think I can actually taste them from the photos but I’m guessing the real thing is much better. March 29, 2015 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg: Okay. Now, I adore lemon bars by themselves, but adding cheesecake into the mix…you have my heart. These looks amazing. I can’t wait to try them. :) March 30, 2015 at 4:39am Reply

  • Mindy: Salivating and speechless! March 30, 2015 at 3:25pm Reply

  • Kristen: Do these freeze well? I’d love to make a batch but put them out on a few separate occasions. March 31, 2015 at 11:33pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I haven’t tried but I’ve heard lemon bars freeze okay and I know cheesecake does so I’d give it a go. April 27, 2015 at 10:34pm Reply

  • Shawn @ I Wash You Dry: I love lemon cheesecake! These look great, my family will love these when I get to making them :) April 2, 2015 at 2:20pm Reply

  • Cheryllq: I just mixed up this recipe to try for Easter desert.
    What is the trick to getting the cream cheese filling to smooth over easily. I did my best and hope it looks as great as the picture you posted. Please let me know your trick. You also didn’t include the flour in the written directions so I just added it. April 5, 2015 at 6:19am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I used well softened cream cheese so my batter was pretty thin. It actually went over a lot smoother than I though it would, I probably just got lucky but it should separate from the lemon bar layer during baking and smooth out either way, hope yours did! May 2, 2015 at 11:00am Reply

    • Kristin: After letting the cream cheese soften on the counter I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to make it really soft. Once the crea cheese mixture was done, I put it in a large zip lock bag, cut a small piece of the corner and piped the cream cheese layer on. It made a nice even layer. FANTASTIC recipe!! April 16, 2017 at 7:25am Reply

      • Jaclyn: Thanks for the tip! April 16, 2017 at 11:24am Reply

  • Mia: Made these for Easter. They are fabulous! Thank you – love your site. April 7, 2015 at 7:06am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked them Mia! Thanks so much for letting me know you like my site :)! April 7, 2015 at 10:50pm Reply

      • wennsday: In regards to the recipe, the cream cheese, two 8oz packages of cream cheese? So is that just 16oz of cream cheese altogether?? June 1, 2015 at 12:42pm Reply

        • Jaclyn: Yes it’s 16 oz altogether. I hope you love these! June 1, 2015 at 10:57pm Reply

  • nechama: I made these bars and they were delicious!! EVERYONE loved them. thanks for an awesome recipe! June 16, 2015 at 9:47am Reply

  • McFadden’s Ballpark: This is a great recipe, Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I just tried making it recently and it was divine… July 2, 2015 at 3:44am Reply

  • Wendy Southworth: Oh, my goodness!! What a fabulous combination of nom! I’ll be making these VERY soon but just wanted to ask if the sour cream layer becomes stiff or would they stick together when stored in the fridge? July 6, 2015 at 3:35am Reply

    • Jaclyn: The sour cream layer will remain soft so I wouldn’t recommend stacking or anything. July 6, 2015 at 11:32pm Reply

      • Wendy Southworth: Thanks so much, Jaclyn. And thank you for sharing so many fabulous recipes. I spent literally hours on your page.
        God bless. July 7, 2015 at 2:33am Reply

  • Jennifer: I made these tonight and cannot wait to have one tomorrow!!! The girls at work are gonna love me! July 16, 2015 at 10:29pm Reply

  • Cynthia @ The Log Home Kitchen: The filling has my mouth wanting to bite in to one of these soooo bad. I’ve been looking for a lemon filling like this. Can’t wait to try it! Love your beautiful photos. July 30, 2015 at 7:30am Reply

  • JC: How long do these last fresh? I’d like to make for a large group and make them ahead of time. August 21, 2015 at 1:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d serve them within a day or two of being made for best results. August 27, 2015 at 7:48pm Reply

  • TeeHen: Omg! I loved these! A buddy at work made these and they were delicious! I dream of these at night! Love this recipe and I will be making these soon for the people I love! August 25, 2015 at 5:32am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you loved them TeeHan! August 25, 2015 at 10:37am Reply

  • Suzy: I would love t make these! But, when you pour the lemon layer you do not bake it before topping with the cheesecake layer? I am worried it would combine together and not look as neat and beautiful as you did it August 30, 2015 at 2:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes you don’t need to bake the lemon layer first, they should just separate while baking. August 30, 2015 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Becky: My work team would like to enjoy this scrumptious recipie. Despite me being the only team members with unbridled cooking talent, there was an unfortunate incident involving a cheese knife that has led me to be DQ’d from the current weekly comp. Despite my co – workers not being able to handle what we in the cooking biz refer to as “having swag playa” I look forward to enjoying this culinarly delight at home.
    Ps Mark, Sarah and Michelle if you are reading this the result was both delicious and hygenicly prepared. October 8, 2015 at 11:52pm Reply

  • Sarah Sears: Finding this recipe just made my day. Can’t wait to try them :) March 3, 2016 at 12:27pm Reply

  • Megan: Looks like I just found my Easter dessert! Few questions, can you make it a day ahead or will it get soggy? Also, any tips for cutting so each piece looks perfect? March 11, 2016 at 6:40pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: The crust may soften just slightly after a few days but you can make it a day or two ahead and should be fine. I used a big sharp knife for cutting (be sure the bars are thoroughly chilled first), cut from side to side then carefully wipe the knife clean with a paper towel between slices. I hope you love them! March 16, 2016 at 8:42pm Reply

  • Anna-Marie: I made these yesterday and they were fantastic – I have a lemon tree in my back yard and wanted to use some of them up. Thank you for posting. March 14, 2016 at 8:01am Reply

  • Taban kamal: So perfect and I loveeee lemon bars
    My name taban from in Iraq – Kurdistan ❤️🌺 March 19, 2016 at 6:57pm Reply

  • Kristin H: I’ve been working on making these this morning for a large gathering of women that I’m hosting tomorrow. The densities of the lemon and cheesecake layers are vastly different. The lemon one is so thin and the cheesecake layer so thick. It was really difficult spreading the cheesecake layer. I spooned it carefully over the top, instead of just plopping it down in the center and then spreading, so I’m glad I spooned it around the surface, but still. I’m feeling sick inside that this isn’t going to turn out after all. Is this normal, or did I do something wrong? Help! March 25, 2016 at 8:14am Reply

  • Kristin H: I tried leaving a review for this previously, but I don’t see it here, but I thought I would report back. I actually had difficulty spreading the cheesecake layer over the lemon layer. The cheesecake layer was much thicker then the lemon layer, so IMO, it wasn’t easy spreading the cheesecake layer without mixing the two layers together. I did gently spoon it over the lemon surface, which made it easier than it would’ve been. I might try dropping small portions of the cheesecake batter using a 1-Tbsp cookie scoop to see if that would be easier. These were really delicious. I just wish my layers were as distinct as the ones in the picture. March 28, 2016 at 1:42pm Reply

  • designdreamer: Couldn’t agree with Kristin H. more!
    It was VERY difficult to spread the cream cheese layer over the (basically) lemon (juice consistency) layer. I (thank goodness) DID have the sense to put little “dollops” of the cream cheese filling over the lemon layer, but some of the lemon layer DID seep into the cheesecake layer, and mine did not look as pretty as yours, but in the end it did taste pretty good! March 30, 2016 at 7:31pm Reply

  • Carroll Swager: Just cut the recipe in half & cannot wait for them to cool and be edible! These are beautiful and very springy!!! Thanks! May 7, 2016 at 8:21am Reply

  • Angelena: Looks amazing! Do you use fresh lemon juice? June 25, 2016 at 9:10am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes I definitely recommend fresh. June 26, 2016 at 5:13pm Reply

  • Lucille: I made this recipe exactly with no changes. The lemon layer is so pourable like juice. I found it impossible to smooth out the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the lemon layer. I used a spoon to drop in the cheesecake layer. Some of it was falling into the lemon layer. I have to ask: is the lemon layer supposed to be like water? Is the measurement for lemon juice correct? Is the flour supposed to be more than 1 Tablespoon? Well, I thought what the heck, I’ve come this far with the recipe, might as well cook it and see what happens. It took 29 minutes in my over. Served it the next day. Boy oh boy was that cheesecake stuck in that pan, no problem sticking to a diet here. I did prepare the pan as per the instructions. When I finally got a piece out, the crust stayed in the pan. Finally got to taste it and would you believe after all that, it was delicious, the filling part anyway. If I make this again, perhaps I should try lining the pan with parchment paper. Well I think I’ll go wrestle me out another piece of cheesecake. It really does taste good. July 27, 2016 at 8:39am Reply

  • Cindy: These are going to be a forever recipe for me! We all loved them. Followed exactly and they are fabulous! Thanks so much!! December 9, 2016 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for taking the time to comment Cindy – glad you loved them! December 13, 2016 at 2:44pm Reply

      • Cindy: Your welcome and thank you from all of our family for a definite family favorite!! December 17, 2016 at 10:03am Reply

  • Paige: This looks amazing! I need these in my life!

    Paige April 12, 2017 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Nancy: Mine weren’t quite as pretty as the ones in your pictures, but they surely did taste lemony and fresh and wonderful. They were easy, too. This recipe is a keeper! April 16, 2017 at 6:30am Reply

  • Cheryl Leising: Thank you for the recipe Jaclyn! I read through some tips, and hopefully what I did can help others out…

    For the cheesecake filling, put it into a ziplock bag, then cut a corner of the bag off, “pipe” the filling onto the lemon filling, trying to fill over as much lemon as possible.

    I made it exactly as you said, no changes to the recipe– i got lots of compliments that it ws gorgeous! April 21, 2017 at 6:42pm Reply

  • Lisa D: I made these last night, and the tip on piping the cheesecake layer on was very helpful.
    They came out beautiful and rates delicious, but the crust was soggy. Shouldn’t it be crisper, like shortbread?
    I lined the pan with parchment paper, could that have been the problem? April 29, 2017 at 8:16am Reply

    • Jaclyn: The crust won’t be fully crisp just because of the layers that are over it but it shouldn’t be soggy. You can try cooking the crust layer longer next time to help it firm up better. Hope that helps! April 30, 2017 at 12:15am Reply

  • Veronica: I made these last night and they taste fantastic however I did have some issues with them. I followed the recipe to a T and for some reason the shortbread layer is a bit crumbly and was sticking to the pan even though it was buttered generously. Also, the lemon layer and the cheesecake layer are still much softer than they appear in your photos. Your photos look like they are bars you can pick up and they will not fall apart, but mine are very soft and falling apart. I’m not sure if the photos are a bit deceiving or if i did something wrong. The only thing I can think is that maybe they didn’t bake long enough even though I followed the instructions. They cooled on the counter about 30 min and then in the freezer for an hour and we ate a few. Then they were chilled in the fridge overnight which I thought would stiffen them up a bit but did not. They’re more the texture of cream pie rather than bars.
    Also, I was wondering what is the purpose for putting sour cream in the cheesecake layer? I did it per the recipe, but thought that was a bit weird. I’ve never put sour cream in cheesecake before and it seems you could do without just fine and maybe get a firmer cheesecake without it. May 10, 2017 at 8:14am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi Veronica, it sounds like it maybe needed to bake a little longer after you added the cheesecake and lemon layers, they will remain soft like a lemon bar or cheesecake is traditionally though. Then as far as the sticking goes – my edges did stick a little in places but you most definitely can butter the pan and line with two sheets of parchment next time. And I really like the addition of sour cream in cheesecake, you could try replacing it with heavy cream or even omitting it but I like the consistency of the cheesecake as is :). Hope that answers your questions! May 11, 2017 at 9:30pm Reply

  • Radka: Amazing!!!! Made these yesterday and they were fantastic! Thank you! I made the crust in my food processor and I lined my pan with parchment paper which really helped. Thank you for including the measurements in grams! I love weighing my ingredients as I’ve found it is SO much more accurate and I get the same great results every time:):) June 7, 2017 at 2:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome! I’m glad you loved them Radka! June 13, 2017 at 12:09pm Reply

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