130 Calorie Greek Yogurt Lemon Bars

Lightened-up creamy lemon goodness!

Greek yogurt lemon bars on a colorful plate with a fork

A happy sunshine mid-week welcome to you! I type this as a light dusting of snow falls outside my window. And I’m LOVING every second of it.

Today I’m sharing a recipe for tangy Greek yogurt lemon bars. A recipe yielding 12 larger squares, all at only 130 calories a pop. With enough flavor, buttery graham cracker crust action, and healthy protein to keep you satisfied, which– let’s face it– is not typical for light desserts.

Is this real life?

overhead image of Greek yogurt lemon bars

Staying true to my healthy January resolution, I decided to take advantage of citrus season and concoct a lightened-up, completely refreshing lemon bar. Today’s recipe is just that, though it’s more cheesecakey (technical terms) than anything else. If you know my tastebuds at all by now, cheesecakey is a very good thing. We had them for dessert* after this creamy garlic chicken. Belly = happy and full.

*And they only lasted 1 more day.

First thing to know is that these Greek yogurt lemon bars are not super sweet. I reduced the sugar from traditional lemon bar/cheesecake bar recipes to a scant 1/3 cup for the entire pan of bars. What you’ll really taste is that tart lemon flavor and tangy Greek yogurt. Kevin, who usually prefers sweeter desserts, loved ’em. So regardless of the reduced sugar, I think you’ll really like these. That is, of course, if you like Greek yogurt and umm… lemon.

The reduction of sugar in these lightened-up lemon bars really got me thinking that traditional lemon bars or cheesecake do not actually NEED all that sugar. Some is required for the structure and texture of the finished baked good, but if you’re ever curious– you can certainly reduce the amount of sugar in recipes like that.

The crust for today’s lemon bars is the same I use for my skinny chocolate chip cheesecake bars: 6 full sheet graham crackers and 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. I’ve made this crust with melted coconut oil and it’s still perfection. You want to use a fat that is solid at room temperature because it helps keep the crust intact. So butter or coconut oil, your choice.

Greek yogurt lemon bars on a white plate

Let’s talk about that lusciously creamy lemon filling. It’s a total breeze, made from only 6 simple ingredients: plain Greek yogurt, cream cheese, eggs, lemons, sugar, and vanilla extract. Make sure you are using Greek yogurt, aka my double chocolate muffin secret weapon. You need very thick and rich yogurt for today’s lemon bars. My preferred brand is FAGE, but I’ve also had success with Chobani. The filling will not set without a thick-style yogurt. I always use nonfat.

Likewise, the filling won’t appropriately set without the eggs or brick-style cream cheese– the kind that is sold in a block. Do not use cream cheese spread or whipped cream cheese; both disasters in the baking world. I use reduced fat brick-style cream cheese and the 130 calorie count reflects that.

Bake the lemon bars at a low temperature to prevent the top from browning and to really cook that filling on the inside. They will take about 30 minutes in the oven, then you’ll have to impatiently wait for them to cool at room temperature. THEN (ugh!) chill them for at least 3-4 hours. Lemon bars with a side of patience, anyone? Though if you pace around the house waiting for them to finish (me), you’ll burn off enough calories to eat the whole pan. Or something like that.

Greek yogurt lemon bars on a heart shaped white plate

The squares in these pictures are a little smaller than what you’ll cut them. I cut mine into 16 squares, which would make these 98 calorie treats! But do yourself a favor and cut larger for only 30 more calories. You’re welcome.

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Greek yogurt lemon bars on a colorful plate with a fork

130 Calorie Greek Yogurt Lemon Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 squares
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Lightened-up lemon goodness in this easy recipe for protein-packed 130 calorie greek yogurt lemon bars!



  • 3/4 cup (85g) graham cracker crumbs (about 56 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)


  • 6 ounces (168g) brick-style light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (181g) plain nonfat or low fat Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature*
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)*
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional: top with fresh fruit when serving


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the bars out of the pan before cutting. Set aside.
  2. Make the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Evenly press crust into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat in yogurt until completely combined. Then beat in the eggs and egg yolk until combined. Finally, beat in the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until everything is combined and no lumps remain.
  4. Pour filling onto the crust. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until the center of the bars no longer jiggles (remove from the oven and gently wiggle the pan to check). Allow the bars to cool at room temperature set on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or even overnight.
  5. Once chilled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. For neat squares, I use a very sharp knife and wipe it clean with a paper towel after each cut. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare the bars 1-3 days in advance and store covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Eggs: You will need 2 large eggs plus an additional egg yolk making a total of 3 egg yolks and 2 egg whites.
  3. Lime Bars: Instead of lemon juice and lemon zest, try lime juice and lime zest for a tangy lime bar instead.
  4. Room Temperature Ingredients: Room temperature dairy and eggs mix easily and more evenly into one another. I always recommend room temperature, especially cream cheese, when making these types of bars.
  5. Nutrition Information: Using SparkRecipes calculator, these bars come out to 130 calories, 6g fat, 13g carbs, 4g protein each. This is using Philadelphia light cream cheese, FAGE nonfat plain Greek yogurt, Eggland’s Best large eggs, and Nabisco graham crackers.

Keywords: healthy lemon bars, greek yogurt lemon bars


  1. I really like these bars and have made them twice but they seem to never set up and are a mess to get out of the pan. I doubled the recipe and put in a 9×13 pan. Made them for a baby shower but they were too mushy and broken up to take so making a different recipe. Do I need to bake them longer? REally like these so would like some advice!

    1. I’d say the bake time should be longer if they were falling apart so much. Sorry about that Brenda! You can always make 2 batches, which may help prevent them from falling apart.

  2. Sally, every recipe of yours I’ve tried has been delicious! Whenever I talk about trying a new recipe, my husband always tells me to check your blog to see if you have a recipe 😉 I’m curious, can I substitute block greek cheese instead of cream cheese? Texture is almost the same, but I think it has slightly less fat and higher protein and I didn’t know if that would negatively affect your recipe. Thanks!

  3. Hi Sally – Do you think I can incorporate rolled oats into this crust? I have another lemon bar recipe that I make often but want to try your lighter version. What do you think?

    1. Hi Cathi! How about a mix of ground up oats and graham crackers? I’ve never tried this but it should work out.

      1. Hi Sally – That’s pretty much what I was thinking. I’ll give it a shot and if nobody likes them, I’ll eat them all myself 🙂

  4. Kimberly Hewitt says:


  5. Hey Sally! I was thinking of making these for Easter. I made your other recipes for lemon blueberry cheesecake bars and the skinny chocolate chip cheesecake bars and they were both delicious perfection!! I would like to try these, but I was curious if you think I could add the blueberries to this recipe like the other ones. I basically want to make the lightened up Greek yogurt version of the original blueberry lemon cheesecake. Do you think they will still set up properly with the blueberries?

    1. Sure will! Make sure you use fresh– not frozen– blueberries.

  6. I love your recipes, and I have made many of them before to great success, but this one was all over the place! I used a 9×9 dish as mentioned in the recipe but needed 3 times the amount of graham crumbs and butter just to have a layer at the bottom with no gaps! The cooking time also almost doubled for me to 50 minutes! They are cooling right now, but they smell amazing and I can’t wait to taste them!

    Anyway, what’s important is how quickly they will be devoured by the family and I’m sure these will be just as fast as all the other recipes I have made from your great blog! Keep up the great work and I wish you the best of luck for the future!


  7. Hi! These bars turned out quite tasty, but I had to bake them for two hours at 350! I was relieved to read other people’s comments and know that I was not the only one who had trouble with them setting up. They seemed almost more like a quiche! Thank you, and I will try again.

    1. Oh my goodness! Two hours! Did you double the recipe or anything? I hope you enjoy them!

      1. I didn’t double the recip.! The flavor was delicious, although the top looked a little leathery. My fiancé, who is also my willing taste – tester, suggested that I make a lemon gel or meringue to put on top.

    2. Camille Lindsay says:

      Hello, I want to make these instead of eating protein bars. Do you think I could add protein powder to the recipe?

  8. The taste of these were great. However, like others I had problems with the bake time. I ended up baking them for 50 minutes because it was still jiggly. It broke apart as I tried moving it to the serving platter and was pretty crumbly. It was pretty disappointing. It is too bad because I really wanted to try the pineapple bars but they are made the same way.

  9. Urbanhomesteader says:

    My question is… when ready to bake the topping with the graham cracker bottom, what should the oven temperature be? Hard to believe it would cook well at 300 degrees??

    1. Yes, it stays at 300! 🙂

  10. First of all these are DELICIOUS. They are fresh, lemony, and the perfect amount of sweet. They taste like cheesecake without the guilt!

    Second, I too had to bake mine closer to 50 minutes before it stopped jiggling in the middle.

    I will gladly make these again!

  11. I hope people read the comments on baking time. I made a single batch and BAKING TIME WAS 52 MINUTES. They came out perfect. I was worried because the batter is very thin. I used 8 ounces full fat cream cheese and backed off on the yogurt to 1/2 cup. increased sugar to 1/2 cup. Not 130 calories, but that’s ok. 😉 they are Fabulous!

  12. Hi Sally. I’ve made this recipe numerous times … probably at least 20. I love all your recipes and I tell other folks about your blog and books and social accounts. I always make this recipe into cupcake size and I modify the flavours using different flavoured yogurts and pair it with same flavour fruit. It’s such a forgiving recipe to let the imagination be the boundary. Thanks for you, your patient teachings, wisdom and goof proof recipes. Tomorrow at RMH where I volunteer bake, your baked donuts are going down in honour of soon to be Calgary International Exhibition & Stampede. Worlds Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. . I use your recipes almost every week. Cheers!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoy this recipe, LeeAnne! How kind of you to share your baking talents with RMH 🙂 Happy baking!

    2. Did you use cupcake liners? I think this is a great idea… just like parchment paper, no need to cut into bars… probably sets faster… what’s the baking time for cupcake size?

      1. LeeAnne Gelfand says:

        Hi Angie: I do use parchment liners, only to be able to get ALLLL the goodness of the dessert. I’ve used all sizes; mini, medium and the large muffin cup. And it’s such a forgiving recipe that your imagination is the limit. I estimate the baking time depending on what I’m making. The medium size takes about 20 minutes. They freeze like a gem. I’ve got chocolate mini cakes in my freezer right now. :o) I hope this helps.

  13. Hi Sally, is Philadelphia brand Neufchatel the same as light cream cheese.?None of the stores around here sell light cream cheese anymore. Or would these turn out better with regular cream cheese?

    1. Hi Dee! I’ve actually used Philadelphia brand Neufchatel here– bars turned out just fine!

  14. Just saw this recipe from your baking email today! Excited to give them a try! Saw some comments about bake time issues thinking it may be a difference between baking in glass versus metal? I usually read “pan” as metal and “dish” as glass. So for this it’s baked in a metal pan, correct? Thanks for the yummy recipe!!!

    1. Hi Michelle! You can use either. I use metal. Metal usually bakes bars quicker. If using glass, you may want to add a few extra minutes of bake time. The best way to determine doneness, however, is not by the time. Give the pan a gently tap– if the center of the bars no longer jiggle, they’re done!

  15. These are the best thing I have run across in a long time. Some time ago I found a lemon meringue cookie that crumbled easily and was very lemony tasting. I bought several packages, made crumbs in the food processor, and froze them thinking they would make a great crust for a lemon bar. I followed your recipe exactly but used those instead of graham crackers, and I’m so thrilled with the results. I scooped the bars into 3oz deli containers with lids and froze them for a low calorie treat. The best baking start for 2020 that I could have wished for. Thanks so much.

  16. Judith Sharon says:

    Hi Sally I am a very good cook but I always have resisted baking because I love being creative and not being tied to following exact step by step directions. Lol ! However I made this as a pie in a beautiful pyrex pie plate. I am happy to say that it came out beautifully and I was so proud! (I did 1 1/2 x the recipe for 6 of us) I covered the whole thing with a layer of blueberries and dusted it with powdered sugar. Everyone wanted a second piece, even though it was right after New Year’s! They couldn’t believe it was so low calorie. I will definitely make it again and thank you for encouraging me to bake!

  17. Lovely cheesecake bar! Served with unsweetened whipped cream and fresh plump blueberries…..this recipe is a keeper!

  18. Officially my go-to cheesecake recipe!! A healthier version BUT still delicious and rich. My friends and family couldn’t even tell that it was healthy. I made both a lemon and a lime version. The only thing I must note is that I had to increase the baking time to ~50 minutes (at the stated 300 degrees) and I had to use extra graham crackers and butter (about 1 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs)

  19. Will this work in a muffin tin for 6 muffins?

  20. I love this recipe!!!! I’ve made it with lemon (and lemon zest) and orange (with orange zest) so far and am going to try out grapefruit this week. It’s so tasty and you don’t feel guilty! Bake time for me is much longer as well, but I just wait until the center doesn’t jiggle. I also make it in a pie pan, so that probs contributes to the longer baking time. Really easy and SO GOOD!

  21. My daughter has been dying for me to make lemon bars. These were AMAZING! My entire family loves them!

  22. I know this post is from 2016, but in case anyone is still listening, I’d like to say these are awesome! I used digestive biscuits instead of graham crackers because they’d what I had. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. Mine were done in exactly 32 minutes, cooled for an hour or so and then sliced into clean squares. It’s perfect as written. Thanks for a real winner here. Also, I’m currently doing Weight Watchers. For anyone who’s interested, I calculated that for a pan divided into 16 squares, each bar has 4 WW points.

  23. Excellent recipe! I love lemon and I love cheesecake, but I don’t like the huge calories associated with cheesecake (normally!). These are refreshing in the heat of summer, and a tasty sweet treat w/minimal calories. I did end up baking mine for 38 minutes.

  24. I haven’t tried the recipe yet but sounds delicious! I’ve been searching for a lemon bar recipe and glad i found this one. Although, while searching Pinterest, I came across a recipe for lemon bars that was posted by askdrnandi.com and quickly noticed it was your exact recipe, copied verbatim, and they used your recipe photo. Seemed like they were trying to pass it off as their own but hopefully they have you credit. I love your recipes and you should always get the credit for your creations!

  25. great and easy to do. i doubled the recipe since i had a bigger plan. delicious and not too sweet

  26. Hi sally,

    I made this recipe and we liked it a lot, but it was a touch eggy for my taste. What is the role of the eggs in this recipe? Would I be possible to do more egg white vs yolk so as to cut the eggy-ness? (Maybe 2 whites and 1 full egg?)

  27. The lemon flavor is definitely there, but mine did not turn out anywhere near what the picture looks like. I’m not sure what I did wrong, the crust turned out to be really soggy and the filling turned out to be really thin. Mine also cracked on top while they were in the oven, so I’m not quite sure what I did wrong. Would you have any suggestions on trying them differently next time?

    1. Hi Jen, when you say thin do you mean the filling was liquidy and thin or the layer itself didn’t seem like enough? Did you use a different size pan by chance? If you ever try the recipe again, pre-bake the crust for closer to 12 minutes. For the filling, you can 1.5x the recipe so it’s a thicker layer. I would keep the total amount of yogurt to 1 cup though.

      1. Hi Sally,
        Thanks for getting back to me.
        I felt like the filling maybe wasn’t enough. I also think that I didn’t let the cream cheese and Greek yogurt come up to room temperature enough so I think they were still too many lumps in the filling still. I actually used a 9×9 square pan to bake these in. I will definitely try it with keeping the crust in the oven for a little bit longer and increasing the recipe of the filling.
        Thank you so much for the advice.

  28. These look yummy! Will be making these this weekend for my daughter inlaws birthday. How long can they set out at room temperature?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Vickie! These bars are best served cold. We wouldn’t leave these out of the fridge for more than a few hours.

  29. Hi, I’m interested in this recipe because I have meyer lemons I want to use. I have all of the ingredients on hand except for eggs, I have egg beaters, the liquid egg white in the carton. Would egg beaters work for this? Instead of whole egg?

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