Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Cheesecake Bars: layers of cookie crust, lemon cheesecake and lemon cookie bars! One of the most delicious desserts ever, you won’t be able to stop eating these!

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Lemon Cheesecake Bars: delicious layers of cookie crust, lemon cheesecake and a lemon cookie dough on top! Seriously amazing!!

If any of you follow my blog for new updates, you may have noticed last week I dropped to only two new recipes. I meant to share these Lemon Cheesecake Bars on Thursday…but I was curled up in a ball crying in the corner.

You see. As excited as I am that my son has plans for his post high school life…it also terrifies me. I have mentioned before that he is heading off to Marine boot camp this summer. Well, we found out his date has moved up and it’s 3 weeks away.

I just want to hold and protect him forever. But you see, that’s the switch that happened. I’ve spent the past 18 years loving him, helping him learn and grow into the man he is today. 18 years of protecting him.

Now, he is the one who is leaving the nest to protect ME. And you. I’m so extremely proud and humbled by this thought. So bear with me the next few weeks as I am sure to be a mess of emotions!

Lemon Cheesecake Bars: delicious layers of cookie crust, lemon cheesecake and a lemon cookie dough on top! Seriously amazing!!

You know what helps? Yep. Eating my emotions. I’m that kind of person. And these Lemon Cheesecake Bars are here for me when I’m feeling sad and scared. And after I’ve eaten the entire batch, I guess I just need to make some more, right?

Last month I proclaimed these Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. And now I went and made them with a lemon twist. Which is pretty much my favorite flavor treat…I adore LEMON desserts. So I’d like to amend my previous statement and declare these Lemon Cheesecake Bars THE BEST DESSERT EVER MADE.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars: delicious layers of cookie crust, lemon cheesecake and a lemon cookie dough on top! Seriously amazing!!

I’m totally losing credibility with you guys. Right? But, before I lose you. Make these. Then you’ll trust me again!!

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 24 large bars

Prep Time:4 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time:30 minutes


For the Crust:

  • 2 cup Nilla Wafers, crumbs (about 60 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 2 packages (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the Cookie layer:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 11oz white chocolate morsels (I use Ghirardelli)


  1. Line a 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse Nilla Wafer cookies with sugar until fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until combined.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

MAKING THIS RECIPE? Share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #ShugarySweets so I can see what you're cooking up in the kitchen!

Here are some more Cheesecake Bars you’re sure to enjoy!!


 Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars: a sweet and salty crust topped with a divine cinnamon sugar cookie!


 Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: the pumpkin cheesecake filling with the chocolate chip cookie is perfect ANY time of year!


Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars: a peanut butter cookie with extra Reese’s gives this cheesecake bar a decadent twist!

Here are a few more Cheesecake ideas from my friends:

Lemon Cheesecake Bars: delicious layers of cookie crust, lemon cheesecake and a lemon cookie dough on top! Seriously amazing!!

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70 comments on “Lemon Cheesecake Bars”

  1. MarilynH

    HOW much vanilla extract??

  2. Jill

    Is there really 3/4 CUP of vanilla extract in the cookie layer?

  3. I can’t even imagine Aimee!! My heart and emotional eater status goes out to you. <3

  4. Be very proud of that young man you have raised. I too had my son join the military out of high school and
    it is difficult to go through, but hang in there. Thank him for serving our country. Your lemon bars look
    wonderful too, I plan to make some soon.

  5. Debbie

    Could you substitute fresh lemon juice for the extract and how much?

  6. I made lemon bars for Easter dinner dessert, and they were a hit! Oh my gracious, they were delicious! I used 3 drops of Young Living Lemon essential instead of lemon extract, and the cheesecake was light and refreshing! I would never recommend ingesting any other brand of lemon essential oil,  just because of safety concerns. I’m planning on making this dessert for my son’s graduation party soon! Thanks for the inspiration! 

  7. Miriam

    I increased the ingredients by 1 1/2 times as a 9×13 baking dish is very large. I also decreased the sugar in the cookie layer by 1/4 cup and omitted the chocolate pieces as the cake would have been too sweet.
    The bars turned out great.

  8. These turned out so well. They are delicious! I tweaked the recipe a little and gave you a shout out on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration!  http://beautybwb.blogspot.com/2016/04/luscious-lemon-bars.html

  9. Gerontologist

    Aimee, these lemon cheesecake bars look heavenly.  My husband is a retired Marine.  He served for 24 years.  He went to boot camp at San Diego in January 1975.  He,(himself) was a Drill Instructor for 3 years at MCRD Parris Island, S.C.  Your son will soon become One of The Few, The Proud and The Brave.”

  10. Katie

    Thank you for such an amazing recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I made this for church coffee hour. It is fantastic! Like another, I used 2 drops of essential oil too. Wouldn’t change a thing.

    • So good, right? One of my favorite recipes, seriously!!!

      • Frances (Elaine)Carter

        My daughter just retired from the US Air Force and I’m so, happy she does not ever have to go back over seas again. My heart is with all of you that have son and daughters and other family members in the Armed Forces. I do want you to know when you send goodie bags send extra. My daughter said that the worst thing about me sending her stuff was seeing the faces of the ones who don’t get things from home. So please always send extra for them to share.

  11. Juci

    Thank you so much for the recipe!:) We made it with my sister and we are both loving it!:) Only if it weren’t so sweet, because this way it can only be eaten in teeny-tiny bites at a time:( I did consider myself to be sweet-toothed, but this cake is too sweet even for me. So to anyone who is considering making this amazing cheescake bar: pre-taste the cookie dough before you put in all the sugar in the recipe, for me half the amount of sougar would have been plently enough. I will try it again soon, with less sugar, because apart form that it is amazing!!:)

  12. necesito la receta en español por favor

  13. Sherri

    Can you freeze the lemon cheesecake bars?

  14. Bethany P

    This may sound stupid, but do you put the lemon juice and zest in the bars or just the zest?

  15. Anonymous

    I live in the UK and I’ve never heard of Nilla wafers! Can anyone recommend an alternative? I would love to be able to make these..  

  16. Teala S

    I’m trying to stagger my baking for a graduation party in mid-May and wonder how many days in advance of the party I could make these. Congratulations on your son’s service. My husband is a retired Marine. Thank you so much!

  17. Tori

    What does tp stand for? Im not sure if that was a typo on the baking soda or not.

  18. These lemon cheesecake bars look AMAZING! But then I scrolled down the page and saw your Snickerdoodle cheesecake bars, so I don’t know which one I want more right now. But I’m saving these recipes for sure!

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