Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon bars meet cheesecake in this heavenly dessert. Lemon Cheesecake Bars have a vanilla wafer crust layered with lemon cookie dough and cheesecake filling. You won’t be able to eat just one!

If you like lemon desserts as much as I do, make sure to try my classic Lemon Cheesecake Recipe. These Lemon Crunch Cookies are always delicious too!

Two lemon cheesecake cookie bars stacked on top of eachother.


Why this Recipe Works

Can’t decide between No Bake Lemon Cheesecake and Lemon Bars? Lemon Cheesecake Cookie Bars combine the best of all worlds!

  • This recipe starts with a simple crust made from Nilla wafers.
  • The cheesecake filling is creamy, sweet and easy to make.
  • The lemon cookie layer is full of white chocolate chips to add even more sweetness and texture.

Everyone is impressed by these lemon cheesecake bars!

If you love layered cheesecake bars I’ve got some other fun flavors too, like these Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars and of course traditional Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars! Our peanut butter cheesecake bars are perfect for the peanut butter lover!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for lemon cheesecake cookie bars.
  • Lemon extract. This is the secret to amazing, bright lemon flavor without having to squeeze a ton of lemons. Use pure lemon extract (not artificial flavoring) for best results.
  • Lemon zest. The zest is the yellow part of a lemon’s rind. Remove it from the lemon with a zesting tool or microplane grater. Use our guide on how to zest a lemon for best tips and tricks.
  • Cream Cheese. Use full fat and make sure it’s softened before blending into cheesecake filling.
  • Nilla wafers. If you can’t get these where you live, you can use any vanilla wafer style cookie to make the crust instead, or use our graham cracker crust recipe.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make lemon cheesecake bars.

For the crust:

Pulverize the wafer cookies in your food processor with sugar. When the cookies have become fine crumbs, add melted butter and combine.

Press the cookie crust into the bottom of a baking dish.

For the cheesecake filling:

Use the whisk attachment to beat all filling ingredients together in a stand mixer. Pour it over the cookie crust.

For the lemon cookie dough:

Beat butter and sugar together until well combined. Add in eggs, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Then add the dry ingredients and beat until blended.

Scoop the dough on top of the cheesecake layer. Use your hands to spread the dough out so it’s fully covering the cheesecake.

Bake the bars until the tops are lightly browned. Refrigerate for at least four hours and serve cold!

Tips and Tricks

  • Do not overbake. The center of the Lemon Cheesecake Bars will be a little jiggly when you take them out of the oven. It’ll continue firming up as it cools.
  • Store in the refrigerator. These taste best when they’ve had several hours to get nice and cold. I like to make them the day before and let them chill overnight.
  • Line your pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of your baking dish. It prevents the bars from getting stuck and makes clean up easier!
  • Cutting bars. Use a clean sharp knife to cut these. Between cuts, wipe the knife with a paper towel.
  • Freezing. For perfect edges, you can even freeze the bars and cut them while they’re still frozen. Let them thaw in the fridge before serving.
Squares of lemon cheesecake cookie bars on a teal cake platter.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use lemon juice instead of lemon extract?

No, lemon juice won’t work the same way here. You would have to add a lot of juice to get the same lemon flavor as a tiny bit of extract, which would add too much liquid to the recipe.

The cheesecake filling is too soft to slice. What should I do?

If your filling is still to soft to cut, the bars likely need a bit more time to chill. Try leaving them in the refrigerator longer or placing them in the freezer.

Can I make this with a graham cracker crust instead?

You sure can! I have made it with a graham cracker crust in the past and it was delicious. Lemon Oreo Cookies would be another great choice.

More Easy Desserts

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

4.67 from 116 votes
By: Aimee
Sweet Lemon Cheesecake Bars have a cookie crust, lemon cheesecake filling, and white chocolate chip cookie topping!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours
Servings: 24 large bars

Ingredients 

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups Nilla Wafers crumbs (about 60 cookies)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened 8 ounce each
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 lemon zested

For the Cookie layer:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 11 ounce white chocolate morsels I use Ghirardelli

Instructions 

  • Line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a food processor, pulse Nilla Wafer cookies with sugar until fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until combined.
  • Press crumbs into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Using the palm of your hand, press crumbs firmly until they are pressed into the bottom of the dish.
  • For the filling, beat cream cheese with sugar, eggs, lemon extract and lemon zest using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer. Beat until fluffy and smooth (about 3-4 minutes). Pour over cookie crust.
  • For the cookie dough, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until combined. Add in baking powder, salt and flour, beating until fully blended. Fold in white chocolate morsels. Scoop dough by large spoonfuls onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Use your fingertips to spread gently until covered.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. The center will still be jiggly, that’s okay. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight). Slice and serve COLD. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Do not overbake. The center of the Lemon Cheesecake Bars will be a little jiggly when you take them out of the oven. It’ll continue firming up as it cools.
  • Store in the refrigerator. These taste best when they’ve had several hours to get nice and cold. I like to make them the day before and let them chill overnight.
  • Line your pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of your baking dish. It prevents the bars from getting stuck and makes clean up easier!
  • Cutting bars. Use a clean sharp knife to cut these. Between cuts, wipe the knife with a paper towel.
  • Freezing. For perfect edges, you can even freeze the bars and cut them while they’re still frozen. Let them thaw in the fridge before serving.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie bar, Calories: 339kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 126mg, Sugar: 31g
Course: Brownies and Bars
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Cold, creamy and sweet Lemon Cheesecake Bars make everyone happy!



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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on August 9, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I love to cook and bake quite a bit, and am constantly trying new recipes. This is hands down one of the best dessert recipes I’ve ever made and I’ve been cooking for 40 years. I tried a small square while it was cooling and it was so delicious slightly warm. The combination of sweet and sour, the white chocolate with the cheesecake layer and amazing crust was phenomenal! Thank you for an outstanding recipe. Can’t wait to serve to my book club tomorrow. Will be making the often.

    1. You’ll have to try some of my other cookie combos too (the snickerdoodle cheesecake bar is quite good as well).

  2. I made these yesterday for today’s Sunday dinner. They were a hit! I did make some changes though – 1/3 cup butter in the crust, scant 1/4 cup sugar in the crust. Used 1/2 cup sugar in the filling and will cut it to 1/3 cup next time. Used 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice in place of the extract. Cut the sugar in the cookie layer down to 1 cup but will do 3/4 next time. And only did 5.5 ounces white chocolate chips instead of 11 ounces. Bars were still very sweet but they were well liked by everyone. Baked the full 35 minutes and chilled in the fridge for about 16 hours. Had zero problems with cutting and serving them. Thanks for such a fun, lemony treat!

  3. 5 stars
    These were a huge hit at a dinner party. It’s great because so can cut into smaller bites for a little something sweet. I even had someone take the recipe that night.

  4. 5 stars
    This is the second time I’ve made these and they are a home run with the whole family. I would change nothing! Helpful tip, flatten cookie dough in your hands and lay on top. First time I made a mess. A delicious mess, that turned out perfectly.. just made life easier this go around. Simply superb!

    1. I can’t wait to make these! I’m going to try something different with the crust. Instead of Nilla cookies I’m going to try doing it with Biscoff cookies. Whatcha think? YUMMY!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this in the form of a pie and it was AMAZING! My entire family is raving about it. 10/10 will try again!

  6. 5 stars
    I just made these and I am blown away. The cheesecake layer is so lemony and flavorful. The crust is addictive. Putting it in my summer-bake rotation.

  7. Very sweet and a bit too complex with competing flavors and consistency. Would love just the lemon cheesecake or the cookie topping separately. My first thought was there is a lot going on here. Give it an A for creativity but not something I would make again.

    1. Our family loves the cookie and cheesecake combo. I do have a lemon cookie recipe as well as a lemon cheesecake recipe on the site you can search if you prefer.

  8. 5 stars
    If Prep this can I store it in the refrigerator then bake them next day or two? Same with freezing then baking?
    I have made these multiple times now…it’s a hit!!!

  9. I have made these several times and I always have a hard time cutting them because the cheesecake layer is so soft. How do you cut them so that they maintain their structure?
    PS, everyone loves these lemon cheesecake bars!

    1. After refrigerating, they should be nice and set up firmly enough to cut into bars. Use a sharp knife and wipe it with a paper towel between cuts. You can also freeze these bars, cut while frozen for clean edges, then let thaw in refrigerator after cut.

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