Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are a family favorite, with the shortbread crust, a creamy lightly lemony filling, and topped with more of the shortbread crust sprinkled over the top. If you love lemon you will love these bars.
I started making these lemon cream cheese bars this summer. When I make a new dessert I like to try it out on family members. They are usually the most honest and give me feedback on what they like and don’t like.
So I have taken these bars to family gatherings on my hubby’s side of the family and my side of the family. And, I get the same response all the time. They are a hit, it seems like everyone loves these bars.
When I make a pan of these bars I find myself going back for seconds or even thirds, that is how much I love these bars and I normally go for the chocolate desserts.
For these lemon cream cheese bars, you will want to use lemon juice and the lemon zest for a fuller lemon taste.
How to zest a lemon:
The first thing you will want to do before zesting the lemon is to wash with soap and water, make sure that all the soap is rinsed off, and dry with a paper towel. You never know where the lemon has been. There are several different tools that you can use for zesting a lemon.
They are as follows a zester, Microplane, box grater, vegetable peelers, or even a paring knife. A lot of the time I will go with the box grater using the fine grating side.
Remember that you will only want the yellow peel of the lemon, not the white inner layer known as the pith. The pith has a bitter flavor to it, so you will want to avoid that. You should get about 1 tablespoon of zest from a large lemon.
Do you have to refrigerate the bars once they are baked?
I do not store these in the refrigerator. I leave them on the counter in an airtight container. But, if you prefer you can store them in the refrigerator. If you are wanting to store them for more than a few days they can be placed in the freezer for up to a couple of months.
The ingredients you will need:
- All-purpose flour
- Butter, I do recommend that you do not substitute anything else for the butter. I also use salted butter for the crust.
- Powdered sugar
- Cream cheese, room temperature
- Granulated sugar
- Eggs, room temperature
- Lemon zest
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Lemon Juice, I recommend that you use freshly squeezed lemon juice and not the lemon juice you buy in a bottle.
Steps for making these lemon cream cheese bars:
First step: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan.
Second step: Prepare the crust. Combine the flour and powdered sugar. Cut in the butter into until the ingredients are well combined. Reserve 1 cup of the crust for the top of the bars. Press the remaining dough into the prepared baking pan. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Third step: While the crust is baking prepare the filling. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add in the sugar and zest and mix until combined. Add the eggs and mix just until they are mixed in. Mix in the flour and baking powder. Add the lemon juice and mix in. After the crust is baked remove from the oven and pour the filling over the hot crust. Sprinkle the remaining crust over the top of the bars.
Fourth step: Place the bars back into the oven and bake for 28 to 32 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.
Check out these other lemon recipes:
Lemon Cream Cheese Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose
- 1 cup butter cold
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- Preheated oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan.
- Combine the 2 cups of flour and powdered sugar. Add the cold butter and cut in until the mixture is well combined.
- Reserve 1 cup of the crust for the topping. Press the remaining crust into the prepared 9 by 13-inch pan.
- Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes
- While the crust is baking mix together the filling. Place the room temperature cream cheese in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.
- Add the sugar and lemon zest, mix until combined. Add the eggs and mix just until the eggs are mixed in.
- Sift together the 3 tablespoons of flour and baking powder and mix in.
- Pour in the lemon juice and mix in.
- Once the crust is baked remove from the oven and pour the filling over the crust. Take the reserved crumbs and sprinkle over the filling.
- Place the bars back into the oven and continue to back for 28 to 32 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.
- Do not substitute margine for butter when making the crust.
- Use room temperature eggs and cream cheese for the filling.
- Cool the bars completely before cutting them.
- These lemon cream cheese bars do not have to be stored in the refrigerator.