Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars have a sweet and tangy zing to them, balanced by the subtle sweetness of the vanilla wafer crust.

These are a little different from our traditional Lemon Bars because they’re more creamy and less tangy – kind of like our Lemon Lasagna, but simpler!

3 Lemon Cream Cheese Bars stacked on a white plate

Creamy + LEmony (Minus the Tart!)

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love treats. However, in my mind, if it doesn’t include chocolate, I don’t consider it a treat. Yes, it’s true.

In fact, when we get together on Sunday nights with my family, my sister, Tara, and I always give each other a sad look when we see that the dessert is an apple pie or something fruity. I know some of you are thinking we’re crazy (and we probably are)!

Fortunately, today’s recipe is FRUITY but REALLY good too. If you love lemon treats, then I think you’ll love these Cream Cheese Lemon Bars. They’re not SUPER lemon-y but have the perfect amount of it with no tart involved either and delicious Vanilla Wafer crust! 😉

The vanilla wafer crust in a pan lined with parchment paper

How to Make lemon cream cheese bars

PREP. Line a 9×11 inch baking pan with parchment paper over sides of pan.

CRUST. In a bowl, combine wafer crumbs, ½ cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture crumbles; press firmly onto bottom of your pan. Bake at 350 for 15 min.

*Tip: If you want the wafer crumbs fine, place in a food processor or place in a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.

LEMON MIXTURE. In the meantime, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer until blended. Add your eggs and flour; mix well. Blend in lemon juice, baking powder and half the lemon zest;
Pour over crust.

BAKE. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until center has set. Cool completely. (Note: You will know they are done when the middle has set completely and when you move the pan it doesn’t jiggle.)

CHILL. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining lemon zest.

Baked Lemon cream cheese bars in a glass baking dish

Variations

I really like how these lemon bars turned out, but if you want to change things up, here are a few ideas:

  • Change the crust. Graham crackers (about 7 whole ones) , Golden Oreos (without the cream filling)
  • Add whipped cream on top.
  • Add berries to the top. Lemon pairs well with blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
Lemon cream cheese bar recipe on a white plate

Make Ahead & Store

Making them ahead of time: For best results, I wouldn’t make these bars more than 1 day in advance, especially if you are making them for a special event. When making them ahead of time:

  • Let them cool completely.
  • Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.
  • Let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Wait until right before serving to add the powdered sugar and any other toppings.

To STORE these bars, I would recommend keeping them in the refrigerator either covered tightly or in an airtight container. They should last up to 4 days. They can be eaten cold or you can have them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. 

These bars also FREEZE well! Once they have cooled completely, place them in a freezer safe container or wrap them in plastic wrap and foil. Freeze them for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then come to room temperature before serving.

Close up of cream cheese lemon bars stacked on a white plate

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Lemon Cream Cheese Bars Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Lemon Cream Cheese Bars have a sweet and tangy zing to them, balanced by the subtle sweetness of the vanilla wafer crust.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Refrigerate 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 272 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 24 vanilla wafers crushed
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup butter cold
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest divided
  • ¼ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • ¼ tsp baking powder

Instructions
 

  • Line a 9×11 inch baking pan with parchment paper over sides of pan.
  • If you want the wafer crumbs fine, place in a food processor or place in a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  • In a bowl, combine wafer crumbs, ½ cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture crumbles; press firmly onto bottom of your pan. Bake at 350 for 15 min.
  • In the meantime, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer until blended. Add your eggs and flour; mix well. Blend in lemon juice, baking powder and half the lemon zest;
  • Pour over crust. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until center has set. Cool completely.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining lemon zest.

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Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com.

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. I agree with you that in order for a dessert to be super delicious, it must include chocolate. Cheesecake is the only dessert that I love that doesn’t involve chocolate.

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