Creamy lemon cheesecake bars studded and swirled with blueberries. They’re prepared on my simple graham cracker crust and will absolutely be your new favorite dessert!
You’ll always hear me say that apple pie is my favorite dessert.
And that anything peanut butter is my predictable #2 choice, pumpkin pie is my best friend, salted caramel runs through my veins, and carrot cake is my middle name. But what you may not know about me is how much I adore lemon.
Or maybe you do know that by now…
I went a little nuts buying lemons at Costco last week. Two large bundles of them – about 10 lemons in each bundle. My original plans were to juice them with greens and apples during the week, but lemon blueberry cheesecake bars sounded so much better.
Well, maybe a little green juice with cheesecake bars on the side. Life’s all about balance, after all.
This recipe is a spin-off of my Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars. Same flavors, but prepared differently. My originals have a streusel crumb crust and topping. Unworldly good. Try them! After you make today’s recipe, of course.
Today’s cheesecake bars start with a thick graham cracker crust. If it’s served on a thick graham cracker crust, I’m going to love it. Absolutely my favorite kind of crust these days. And the perfectly sweet accompaniment to the light and creamy cheesecake topping.
This is my basic graham cracker crust recipe and it fits into a 9-inch pie dish if you’re looking for a base for pies and cakes. I love it topped with brownies and toasted marshmallow. My graham cracker crust is slightly crunchy, nutty, buttery, and is not overly sweet like most crusts of its kind.
3 ingredients are all you’ll need for the simple graham cracker crust.
The cheesecake topping is thick, sweet, tart, and lush. The creamiest of creamy, smooth as silk, and laughably simple to make. In fact, I use this easy, basic cheesecake filling as the base for all of my cheesecake bar recipes. (I link to plenty of those recipes at the bottom of this post.)
Flavoring the cheesecake filling is a whole lotta lemon. Both lemon zest and fresh lemon juice – none of that fake lemon extract stuff. I used the zest of two medium lemons and the juice of one. I do not recommend using bottled lemon juice, which tends to be much stronger and acidic than fresh.
The cheesecake bars will have a light lemon flavor that’s not too sour, not too sweet. And certainly nothing to make you pucker up your lips!
You’re going to load the cheesecake filling with blueberries. Tons of them speckled throughout each bar. The more, the better. I used a blend of frozen blueberries and fresh – so either will work just fine. The frozen blueberries let off some of their juices during bake time, giving the bars their beautiful purple pops of color.
Play around with the berries you use – I have a feeling raspberries, blackberries, and/or strawberries would be fantastic in these lemon cheesecake bars. Or leave the berries out completely for a simply pure lemon treat.
I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe! Kevin and I both loved how light they tasted, as well as how the buttery graham cracker crust complemented the zingy, sweet lemon cheesecake filling. Finding the tasty balance between tart and sweet is tricky when it comes to lemon desserts, but these bars nail it!
Creamy lemon cheesecake bars studded and swirled with blueberries. They're prepared on my simple graham cracker crust and will absolutely be your new favorite dessert!
Yield: 16 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 50 minutes
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
Make the crust: Using a food processor or blender, pulverize the graham crackers into a fine crumb. Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter and sugar. Press into the lined pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Allow to cool as you prepare the filling.
For the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. On medium speed, beat in the egg, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spoon filling onto the crust.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set up and the edges are lightly browned. The bars will be very puffy, but will sink slightly down as they cool. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature on a wire rack and then chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.
Store bars in a covered container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
*1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
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If you love lemon as much as I do, try my Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.
More cheesecake bars: