These are ultra creamy lemon blueberry cheesecake bars baked on a graham cracker crust. Enjoy fresh lemon flavor and smooth cheesecake, plus there’s no shortage of juicy blueberries and crispy crust!
One reader, Rob, says: “A+ recipe. Got rave reviews from serious and finicky dessert people. And it freezes extremely well. Make it this summer, and use at least some frozen blueberries which makes it a beautiful color…★★★★★”
Like many bakers and dessert lovers, I enjoy baking a classic cheesecake. It’s a tall and mighty dessert with massive crowd appeal and endless topping options like strawberry sauce and salted caramel.
But there’s no arguing that baking a cheesecake can be daunting: Don’t over-sweeten! Avoid over-baking! Don’t forget the water bath! Will your springform leak? We’ll find out!
It’s often worth the effort—I mean, I RAVE about this cheesecake recipe—but if I’m looking for a quicker, less fussy cheesecake option, I usually make cheesecake pie or today’s cheesecake bars.
Here’s Why You’ll Love These Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- All the texture of traditional lemon cheesecake, but easier and quicker
- Extra creamy, extra thick
- Tangy-sweet flavor with loads of blueberries
- The cheesecake version of popular lemon blueberry cake
- Grab & go—no fork needed!
Reader Pam says: “So delicious! Perfect amount of lemon tartness with the sweetness of the blueberries is to die for! Since blueberries are in season here right now I used fresh. Love the thick crust also. It holds up well to the weight of the filling…★★★★★“
Graham Cracker Crust Success Tips
Below you’ll find my basic graham cracker crust recipe. It fits into a 9-inch square baking pan perfectly, as well as many 8-inch and 10-inch pans. I love this particular crust because it’s altogether crunchy, buttery, thick, and not overly sweet like many crumb crusts of its kind. We use it for blueberry cream cheese pie, banoffee pie, and these mini key lime pies.
Some helpful tips:
- You need a careful ratio of 3 ingredients: graham cracker crumbs, sugar, & melted butter.
- Use a food processor or blender to grind 12 full-sheet graham crackers into crumbs.
- Stir the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together before mixing in the butter.
- Press into your lined pan just until it’s no longer crumbly. Do not pack down too hard.
Pre-bake the crust for 8 minutes so it has a little head start:
Grab These Ingredients for the Filling
- Blocks of Cream Cheese: Make sure you’re using blocks of full-fat cream cheese and not the cream cheese in a tub you would use for spreading on bagels. Same rule applies when making cream cheese frosting and strawberry cream cheese pie.
- Sugar: When over-sweetening these bars, you can’t detect the natural lemon and blueberry flavors. 6 Tablespoons is the magical unicorn amount; it’s more than 1/3 cup and not quite 1/2 cup!
- Lemon: 1 large lemon or 2 medium lemons are typically enough for these lemon blueberry cheesecake bars. You need 3 Tablespoons of juice and 1 teaspoon zest, which together is the perfect amount for lovely lemon flavor (that isn’t pucker-your-lips-sour!).
- Vanilla Extract: For delicious, rich flavor.
- Egg: The cheesecake bars would fall apart without an egg.
- Blueberries: You can use fresh or frozen blueberries. If using frozen, your batter will be swirled blue/purple.
The filling we use for lemon blueberry cheesecake bars is a lot like this cheesecake pie. Lemon juice replaces the sour cream and we can get away with 1 egg since the bars aren’t quite as thick.
Expect a thick filling. Make sure you spread it over the crust while the crust is still warm. Why? This will help the filling adhere to the crust a little better.
Success Tip: Here’s how I like to line square baking pans. So easy!
How to Cut Neat Squares
Cool baked bars at room temperature for about 1 hour, and then refrigerate them for 2 hours or until the bottom of the pan feels cold. If you cut the bars into squares too early, they’ll completely fall apart. If I’m serving these at a party or event, I prepare them the night before just so I know they’ll cool and chill long enough to yield neat squares.
Slice them with a sharp knife and wipe the knife clean between each cut.
I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe! The whole team loved how light they tasted, as well as how the buttery graham cracker crust complemented the lemon cheesecake filling. Finding the tasty balance between tart and sweet is tricky when it comes to lemon desserts, but these bars nail it!
More Lemon Desserts You’ll Love
- Lemon Blueberry Cake
- Citrus Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes or Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- Creamy Lemon Pie
- Lemon Pound Cake
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours, 50 minutes
- Yield: 16 bars
- Category: Bars
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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!
- 12 full-sheet graham crackers (to yield 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) graham cracker crumbs)
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 16 ounces cream cheese (2 standard blocks; 454g), softened to room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 6 Tablespoons (75g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (225g) fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily lift the chilled bars out as a whole. Set aside.
- Make the crust: If you’re starting out with full graham crackers, use a food processor or blender to grind them into fine crumbs. You can also place them in a zip-top bag and crush them into fine crumbs with a little arm muscle and a rolling pin. Stir the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl, and then stir in the melted butter. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Try to smash/break up any large chunks. Press into the bottom of the lined pan.
- Prebake crust: Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Cool for a few minutes as you prepare the filling in the next step.
- Make 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. Pour/spoon filling evenly onto the warm 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 down slightly 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 3 hours.
- Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and cut into squares.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The bars stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Non-US Readers: Don’t have graham crackers where you live? Use 200g ground digestive biscuit crumbs instead (about 13–14 biscuits), the same amount of butter, and add a bit more sugar (about 1/3 cup, or 67g). You may need to add a few extra minutes to the pre-baking time, as digestive biscuits are not quite as crispy-crunchy as graham crackers. And from what I understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It’s thicker, sturdier, and more solid and should be OK to make cheesecake. I have no experience with it, but this is what I’ve heard from other non-US readers.
Keywords: lemon blueberry cheesecake bars
Reader Comments & Reviews
I LOVE this recipe and have made it several times. It has been a huge hit with everyone who’s tried it! It’s basically foolproof for cheesecake newbies like myself.
A few people have asked about making this with limes. I just tried it because I ran out of lemons, and I don’t really recommend. There is a bitter aftertaste that permeates the whole thing and seems to get stronger with time. It’s not horrible, but the lemon is divine.
Can you make this in jumbo muffin liners in a jumbo tin?
Hi Leslie, we can’t see why not. We’re unsure of the exact bake time. You can use these mini cheesecakes as a guide for preparing the cheesecakes in the jumbo pan. Let us know how it goes!
This is a great recipe. I’m making it yet again, but only have a glass pan. Should I adjust the heat or time to accommodate the difference between metal and glass baking?
Hi Liz! The bake time may be a minute or two longer in a glass pan – just keep an eye on them!
This was amazing. Highly recommend.
These look fabulous! I want to make them for brunch this weekend. Wondering how I can prevent them from cracking when baking, please.
Hi Lisa, the biggest tip is to not over bake! Over baking can dry out the cheesecake and cause those cracks. Be careful not to over mix, either, and whip too much air into the cheesecake batter. Hope they’re a hit at your brunch!
Thank you for the quick response and tips on how to prevent cracking. I’m excited to make these. I know my friends will love them! On aside note, your lemon meringue pie recipe is our family’s go-to, so yummy!!
Do the ingredients need to be at room temperature?
Hi Jocelyn, the cream cheese should be softened to room temperature. You can take the egg out at that point too to let it come to room temperature as well.
This is an AWESOME recipe – lemony tart and not too sweet at all.
I doubled the recipe to bake in a 13×9 pan and here are a few notes:
1. I did not double the sugar in the cheesecake batter, so instead of 12 Tbsps, I added 10 Tbsps. This ensured that the cheesecake was not too sweet and the lemon flavour shone through.
2. I baked it for 45 minutes in the oven. That’s enough time to set the cheesecake into golden puffy goodness with slight browning on the sides, just as Sally described.
3. I left it out for 3 hours to cool fully before putting it in the fridge overnight before cutting. It took that long in a tropical country to cool down enough before refrigeration.
3. I only put in about half the amount of blueberries since that was what I had but it was fine – every piece I cut had at least part of a blueberry in it. I’ll try with the full amount next time but for folks of live in countries where blueberries are expensive, I can confirm that half the amount needed will be fine.
Can you double the recipe and make it in a larger pan?
Hi Liz, yes, you can double the recipe for a 9×13 pan. The bake time will be longer, but we’re unsure of the exact amount of time.
I first made this recipe a few years ago, and ever since I make them all the time for holidays or get togethers! They are so delicious and it’s a unique dessert idea instead of the usual cookies and brownies.
Was the Best I had, as it was the first time I had made something bake able with cheesecake, was Delicious A+….Thank you!!
I had exactly a cup and a half of blueberries and some lemons I needed to use before they went bad. I really wanted to make this but I didn’t want to go to the store. I didn’t have graham crackers…and I only had tub cream cheese…and…oh yeah, my oven is broken.
But I would not be deterred. I pulverized Belvita biscuits for the crust and added about 1.5 tbsp of corn starch to the cream cheese mixture. I always add extra vanilla because I’m a rebel. I fired up my gas grill and baked it on indirect heat. Miraculously they came out perfectly and are absolutely delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
Just made these and love them!
I used Neufchâtel cheese and had my fingers crossed; really tasty and super easy. Thanks!!
Hi, could I substitute the lemon for lime? so thats its a blueberry lime flavor?
Hi Shariesa, absolutely! Simply swap the lemon juice with lime juice and lemon zest with lime zest. Enjoy!
I have a frozen bag of mixed berries. That has blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberry. Can I use that?
Not a bad recipe, but nothing special. The graham crust is an A+, but the cheesecake itself is average. I am a big subscriber to Sally’s recipes but this one isn’t a keeper
Thank you for your feedback, Stella!
As usual, another great recipe! The first time, I followed this recipe to a tee except I added a little extra vanilla. After a week, I’m making another to give to my family.
If I would like to increase the graham cracker crust by 25% or so, I think I can add an extra TBSP of butter, 25% more sugar, and maybe add a minute to the first baking time?
Hi Ruhid, we haven’t tried increasing the crust in this recipe, but it sounds like you’re on the right track. Glad the cheesecake bars were such a hit!