Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

5 from 6 votes
50 Comments

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Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are tangy, sweet, soft, chewy, and perfectly delicious. These tasty treats are always a crowd pleaser!

Three Lemon Cream Cheese Bars on a plate.

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are a true family favorite. My mom made these for years when we were growing up and we all loved them. The luscious, creamy bar cookies took center stage at every family reunion, every picnic, and every weekend lake trip and they were always the first thing to be devoured. I like them more than traditional lemon bars because they’re much creamier and more like cheesecake. The buttery crust layer and crumble on top complement the light, fluffy lemony cream cheese mixture. They’re so yummy; you will absolutely love this recipe.

Stack of three Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.

Benefits of Lemon

Cooking and baking with lemons is not just delicious; there are so many health benefits too! Lemons are high in vitamin C, fiber and is known to control cholesterol and improve overall health. Of course this is a rich dessert, but everything in moderation, right?

Spatula holding up a Lemon Cream Cheese Bar.

Ingredients in these Lemon Cheesecake Bars

All you need for luscious, rich lemon cream cheese bars is six ingredients! This dessert comes together really fast. Here’s all you need:

  • Lemon cake mix – you can always find lemon cake mixes in the baking aisle of your grocery store. This little shortcut gives you all the flour, salt, baking soda, and other baking ingredients right in one cake mix.
  • Vegetable oil – you could try other types of oil, or melted butter but regular vegetable oil helps give this the perfect consistency.
  • Eggs – you’ll need one for the cakelayer and another for the cream cheese layer.
  • Cream cheese – make sure it’s room temperature before you start to whip together your ingredients for a smooth, light texture.
  • Lemon juice – use lemon juice from a bottle, or you can squeeze fresh lemon. Then save a little of the lemon zest to sprinkle in for an extra zingy lemony flavor.
  • Sugar – regular white sugar works great.
Ingredients to make Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.

Tips for the Perfect Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

  • These bars taste delicious cold. When we were little, our mom would pack them in a cooler and bring them to the lake. I also love them right out of the refrigerator. They are a bit more chewy when they’re cold, which I love!
  • Make sure to grease your baking pan by spraying a light layer of cooking spray or a sheet of parchment paper.
  • ​Then, to the bottom of the prepared baking dish, gently press the crust into a nice, even layer. Sometimes I find that using my fingers is the best way to get it even.
  • Pour in the cream cheese mixture, then top with the rest of the crust in crumbles.
  • You can get fancy and top these with raspberries or strawberries too. So delicious!
  • When mixing the filling, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature! Cream cheese at room temperature mixes up light and fluffy with absolutely no lumps.
Plated Lemon Cream Cheese Bar.

How to Store Lemon Dessert

Store Lemon Cream Cheese Bars covered in the refrigerator for up to five days. Serve at room temperature by allowing them to rest on the counter for about thirty minutes.

Hand holding up a Lemon Cream Cheese Bar.

More Favorite Bar Recipes

Love this Lemon Cream Cheese Bars recipe? Here are a few of our most favorite bar cookie recipes.

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars on a plate with a single bar to the side.
Three Lemon Cream Cheese Bars on a plate.

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

5 from 6 votes
Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are tangy, sweet, soft, chewy, and perfectly delicious. These tasty treats are always a crowd pleaser!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 bars

Equipment

  • Conventional Oven
  • 9 X 13 inch Pan

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine dry cake mix, vegetable oil, and 1 egg until crumbly. Reserve one cup of crumble mixture and set aside. 
    Crumble mixture for Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.
  • Spread remainder of crumbs in a 9×13 pan and pat down to form a crust. 
    Pressed crust in a 9X13 pan for Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until crust is lightly golden brown. 
    Baked bottom crust of Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.
  • Place remaining ingredients in a bowl; whip until fluffy and light.
    Lemon Cream Cheese Bars mixture.
  • Spread over baked crumb mixture nice and smooth, covering the whole pan.
    Lemon Cream Cheese Bars layer on top of crust in a 9x13 pan.
  • Add the crumble from the reserved cup of crumbs over the top. 
    Unbaked crumble topping on a pan of Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.
  • Return to oven and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool and cut. Delicious!
    Baked Lemon Cream Cheese Bars in a 9x13 pan.

Video

Nutrition Information

Calories: 281kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 308mgPotassium: 45mgFiber: 1gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 235IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 0.9mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. These sound wonderful
    I want to make these for a party in June. Cam I make these now and freeze? Party is 3 weeks away.

    1. I don’t know how well cream cheese freezes. You might be ok, but I probably wouldn’t do it :/

      1. 5 stars
        I order from NY Juniors Cheesecakes and they do offer seasonally a lemon option and all of them come frozen to me in NC. I also send as gifts and every Cheesecake has been perfect as frozen. Hope this helps to know how a company like Juniors frozen cakes work great. NOTE: Only one cake came dethawed during summer and had cracks but was cold enough to still eat and enjoy.

    1. It would definitely be thicker and you would want to cook it longer and maybe at a lower temp. I don’t know exactly how to advise because I haven’t done it that way before. Let us know how it turns out!

  2. I made a dish of these last night!!! AMAZING!!!!!!! I cut them small, into 26 squares. Making more today!!!! Such a quick and easy recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was yummy!! Everyone who tried it raved about it. It is also a very forgiving recipe, because I misread the instructions to back the crust for 10 minutes and then again for 25 minutes with the filling and crumbs on top. I baked the crust for 25 minutes as well as the rest. And you know what? It was a nice crunchy bottom, but not burned at all – just perfect!

  4. I have made these 3 times since finding this recipe a few months ago….these are incredible! I love the lemon taste with the cream cheese. Most lemon bars I don’t care for the jelly-like filling, I think that’s why I love these. Plus they are super easy. Wondering…have you ever doubled this recipe and done it in a cookie sheet? Thanks for sharing a winner! One of my favorite desserts!

    1. Yes– my mom did it that way just last week for girls camp and she said it worked out just fine! She uses one cake mix for the main part and one cake mix for the crumble.. it’s easier to divide that way.

  5. If I had no access to “cake mix” would I just mix together flour, sugar, b. powder and b. soda with salt possibly also lemon juice for the “cake mix”. Maybe dumb ? but I live outside the USA and often have to subsitute things for what is readily availible in uSA.

  6. Amazing! I made these today and we loved them! I am a big fan of lemon and these are much better than any lemon bar. So easy and so tasty. I will make these again for sure!

  7. These look amazing! Could you tell me roughly how many this batch yields? (newbie at baking, even with simple recipes I need help! lol)

  8. This are amazing! Made some for Thanksgiving and they were devoured. My Aunt even called asking me to make some for gifts!! Storage question: do these need to be refrigerated or can they sit out at room temperature? Wasn’t sure given the cream cheese. THANKS!

  9. Just made these this evening! I did it with a square pan so that I could use less crumbs for a packed down crust, and more crumbs scattered on top! LOVED them!

  10. Oh my god!!! These are awesome, they taste great, are easy and quick and my whole family love them. It is just like eating a cheese cake. YUMMO!!!

  11. Just made these, they were a huge hit! So easy and yummy! I love that they are not super rich, so we could eat alot. 🙂

  12. I made these for a get together last night and they were scarfed down fast!! Very easy and yummy! Thanks or sharing!!

  13. Okay Erica, I just made these tonight and they are SO GOOD! Tell your mom a big ‘thank you’ from the Fishers 🙂 We’re also having the fish tacos for dinner. I can’t wait! Lindsey