These easy lemon cheesecake bars are incredible and easy to make. We've added an extra ingredient that really makes them shine!
When researching what gives lemon cheesecake bars the best flavor, I realized several of my favorite chefs added ginger to the batter.
Martina McBride, Mary Berry, and Geoffrey Zakarian all add ginger root to give their cheesecake recipes extra zing. Once you taste this version, you'll know why!
We also adore lemon desserts, and these creamy lemon cheesecake bars are a sweet treat any time of the year. Lemon lovers will want to try these lemon curd filled Hawaiian rolls and Lemon cream cheese coffee cake, too.
Especially in the warm weather months, the burst of lemony goodness with the cool and creamy cheesecake is the perfect treat.
🖤 Why We Love this Recipe
Some people may think that making a cheesecake is complex, but this recipe is a breeze. No water bath or springform pan needed here! Just mix it up, bake, and enjoy.
The tart flavor of the lemon is balanced by the tangy cream cheese to make a mouth-watering dessert that the whole family will love. It’s the perfect combination for an afternoon snack or a party dessert.
Even better, there are so many ways you can adapt this recipe to bring even more flavor. It's one of those easy recipes that you’ll want as a go-to the next time you want a taste of summer!
🛒 What Goes Into Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Cream Cheese Make sure to use the block form of cream cheese. The whipped and spread versions have added moisture or air and won’t make the desired creamy cheesecake filling texture.
Lemon Juice and Zest Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest give the best results, but you can use reconstituted lemon juice and dried lemon zest in a pinch. Meyer lemons also have wonderful flavor if you can find them at your grocery store.
Ginger This is the real secret! Just a tiny bit of ginger will add a subtle warmth to the crust, elevating it from a plain baked crust to something special.
See the recipe card for quantities and full directions for these easy cheesecake bars.
How to Make Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with parchment paper.
Step 2: To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, ground ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
Step 3: Add the melted butter, mixing until crumbs form. You can work your fingers in the mix to help.
Step 4: Add the crumbs to the lined baking pan, pressing as you go, making an even layer on the bottom.
Step 5: Chill the crust in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before baking.
Step 6: Bake the crust for 10 minutes until it's just starting to get lightly brown around the edges.
Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
Step 7: To make the filling, beat room temperature cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until it's very soft.
Step 8: Add the sugar, ginger, and lemon zest and beat together until smooth.
Step 9: Add the lemon juice and continue to beat on medium until completely mixed in.
Step 10: Add the eggs, one at a time.
Beat well on low after each one is added until batter is smooth and creamy.
Step 11: Once the batter is very smooth, pour cream cheese mixture filling over the baked crust. Be sure to push it into the corners so it’s even.
Step 12: Bake the lemon cheesecake bars for 35-40 minutes. It should be getting slightly brown around the edges and jiggling a bit in the middle.
Step 13: Allow the cheesecake to cool for 30 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator to cool completely before cutting and serving.
If you love extra lemon flavor, try swirling 3-4 tablespoon of lemon curd into the top of the filling before baking.
Love berries? Add a swirl of blueberry sauce before you bake, or garnish with fresh berries when serving.
The blueberry, lemon, and cheesecake combination of flavors is a classic, but strawberries and raspberries are also amazing.
Running short on time? Use a pre-made crust of graham crackers. Even better, use individual graham cracker crust tart shells. This way everyone gets their own personal cheesecake!
Looking for a tropical twist? Add a dollop of whipped cream and some finely chopped mango bits on top.
For a way to change up from the lemon flavor, use key lime juice instead. Because key lime juice is yellow, you may also want to add a tiny bit of green food coloring so everyone knows this is a key lime version.
Frequently Asked Questions
To get a clean cut into individual pieces for your cheesecake bars, hold a large knife under hot water, dry it off, and then slice through the cheesecake. Wipe the knife clean between slices, and if you find that it is starting to stick, heat the knife up again.
The toothpick method that you use for most baked goods won’t work here. If a cheesecake is cooked completely through when you pull it out from the oven, it’s actually overcooked! You want to make sure the edges are set, but if you shake the pan lightly, a small bit in the center should still jiggle. If it does, then the cheesecake is done.
Homemade cheesecake is best to make fresh, but it can be stored in the fridge for three to four days. Make sure to cover the cheesecake bars tightly with plastic wrap or seal them in an airtight container.
Use blocks of cream cheese for the best cheesecake bars. The whipped or variety in a tub doesn't produce the same texture.
Use a hand mixer when mixing. Stirring by hand can produce a cheesecake with lumps. Never a good thing!
Over-mixing can also give you unfavorable results, so mix for the time in the instructions using a hand mixer. An over-mixed cheesecake doesn't set as well.
If you don't have a hand mixer, it's not a good idea to use a food processor as it will more than likely overmix the cheesecake batter.
Do not overbake. Remember, the center will not be completely set, but slightly jiggly. It will set completely during the cooling.
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More Lemon Desserts
Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 16 oz cream cheese softened, room temperature.
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 9” x 13” with parchment paper (or grease it well).
Make the crust:
- Combine the flour, sugar, ground ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the melted butter, mixing until crumbs form. You can work your fingers in the mix to help.
- Add the crumbs to the lined baking pan, pressing as you go, making an even layer on the bottom.
- Chill the crust in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before baking.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes until it's just starting to get lightly brown around the edges.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
Make the filling:
- In a large bowl, add the room temperature cream cheese and beat on medium until it's very soft.
- Add the sugar, ginger, and lemon zest and beat together until smooth.
- Add the lemon juice and continue to beat on medium until completely mixed in.
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well on low after each one is added.
- Once the batter is very smooth, pour the filling over the baked crust. Be sure to push it into the corners so its even.
- Bake the lemon cheesecake bars for 35-40 minutes. It should be getting slightly brown around the edges and jiggling a bit in the middle.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool for 30 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator to cool completely before cutting and serving.