Lemon Cream Cheese Bars Recipe – How to Make it in 8 Simple Steps

Combining the flavors of a classic lemon bar dessert with the creaminess of lemon flavored cheesecake, our recipe for Lemon Cream Cheese Bars features crispy crust and creamy, lemon-flavored filling. This recipe needs time in the fridge so make it early in the day that you want to serve it.

This is a piece of lemon cream cheese bar on a plate.

While you may be familiar with the traditional lemon bar, these Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are not quite the same. The crust of traditional lemon bars is generally a sweet shortbread crust topped with tart-sweet lemon curd. However, this recipe for Lemon Cream Cheese Bars is quite a bit different.

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars Recipe

April Freeman
With a crispy crust that is laced with chopped pecans and a smooth, lemony filling, this recipe for Lemon Cream Cheese Bars is delicious as a dessert recipe or just for an afternoon snack. 
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Cooling and Chilling Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 55 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 18 Squares


  • 9 inch Square Pan
  • Medium-Sized Bowl
  • Fork
  • Metal Measuring Cup
  • Electric Mixer
  • Wire whisk


  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Chopped Pecans
  • cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 6 tbsp Softened Butter
  • The Zest of One Lemon finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Half and Half
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 pc Egg


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a nine-inch square pan with cooking spray, or you can butter it. 
  • In a medium-sized bowl, stir together your flour, nuts, brown sugar, and butter. Use a fork to stir all of these together until it forms moist crumbs. Set aside about a half cup of this mixture for topping the bars and use your hand to press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. If you want to use all the crust mixture for the bottom layer of the bar, that is fine too. You can use a metal measuring cup to press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan creating a layer for the crust. 
    The crust is prepared at the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake the pan in the preheated oven for 11 to 15 minutes. The crust should be lightly browned and fragrant. Set the crust aside for a few minutes.
  • Use a paper towel to wipe out the bowl in which you made the crust mixture and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream cheese, granulated sugar, half-and-half, vanilla, and the egg. You can use an electric mixer to beat this mixture until smooth, or you can use a wire whisk to beat it, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally until the mixture is smooth and creamy. 
  • Pour the lemony-cream cheese mixture over the crust while it is still hot. Sprinkle the ½ cup of crumbs that you previously reserved in an even layer over the cream cheese layer. If you decided to use all the crust mixture for the bottom layer, just skip the topping step of this recipe.
    The lemony cream cheese is poured onto the crust.
  • Put the pan in the oven again and bake it for another 25 minutes, until it is lightly browned around the edges and the center is just set.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool to room temperature for an hour. After it has cooled to room temperature, chill the cooled lemon cream cheese bars in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
  • Cut the bars into one inch squares and serve. Cover leftovers tightly with aluminum foil and keep bars in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze the bars for up to 3 months by wrapping them in a double layer of aluminum foil or sealing them into a zip top freezer bag. 
    Three pieces of lemon cream cheese bars on a plate.


The crust for this recipe is more like a pie crust, but it has an added twist of having chopped nuts in the crust. The filling is less tart than the traditional lemon bar filling and is more creamy, featuring things like half-and-half and a block of cream cheese. Overall, our recipe for Lemon Cream Cheese Bars seems to be a sort of combination of a slice of lemon cheesecake and a traditional lemon bar. 
The aroma of these Lemon Cream Cheese Bars may entice you to dig in as soon as they come out of the oven. However, do your best to hold off on that impulse. These bars are best when they have been chilled for a few hours. Let the bars cool to room temperature before you stash them in the fridge for at least two hours before you serve them. This is the kind of recipe that you want to create the night before or the morning of the day that you want to serve them. 
To make this recipe, you have two options. You can reserve part of the crust mixture to create a crunchy topping for the Lemon Cream Cheese Bars, or you can use all the crust mixture for the bottom layer of the dessert. Either variation is delicious.
These Lemon Cream Cheese Bars actually freeze very well for longer term storage. To freeze them, wrap them in a double layer of aluminum foil or place the sliced bars in a zip top freezer bag with all the air pressed out. Freeze the bars for up to three months. The thaw, place the packet of frozen bars in the refrigerator overnight. 
Keyword Lemon Cream Cheese Bars, Recipe, Snack

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Key Ingredients: Cream Cheese

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