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Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

by on May 14, 2012 · 51 comments

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe

There’s something dreamy about this cheesecake bar — maybe it’s the soft yellow hue of the lemony cheesecake against the dusky blue of fresh blueberries or maybe that soft buttery top. You could say it’s the zing of bright lemon or maybe the union of a buttery graham cracker crust with luscious and sweet cream cheese.

Whatever it is — it just plain works. We made these for Betty Crocker not too long ago and they were a hit, so we just didn’t feel right not sharing with you!

Making Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

You really can’t start any cheesecake bar without making the perfect graham cracker crust. Crumbled up graham crackers, sugar, melted butter and lemon zest is all you’ll need. We use our food processor twice for this recipe, something that to be honest, we rarely do. We usually go the appliance-free route because we hate doing dishes, but in this case, it’s crazy easy when you use that food processor! If you don’t have one, though — add the graham crackers to a plastic bag, find something heavy and bash the heck out of them until fine crumbs then you can just stir everything else in with a spoon.

The base gets thrown in then patted down into a baking pan and baked just until it toasts. Then, you can make the luscious lemony cheesecake filling!

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars 2

We went simple, here. Cream cheese, eggs, sugar as well as lemon juice AND zest come together for the filling. We rarely use citrus juice without using the zest these days — you can add so much flavor with that zest. It’s heart breaking to see others throw it out!

If you’re like us and are a zest lover — try buying organic citrus and give them a wash just to make sure nothing funky goes into your dessert. We have lots of recipes with lemon and lime, so this was a great change for us.

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We give the food processor a quick rinse and use it for the second time to get our filling super smooth. If you don’t have a food processor or you just don’t feel like pulling it out from behind everything else in your pantry, you can totally use a hand blender.

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After a few pulses, you’ll be left with a light yellow creamy filing (so pretty). Then, pour that on top of the baked crust, top with fresh sweet blueberries and finish everything off with one of our favorite things — streusel. How can you go wrong with butter, sugar and flour? We used this same recipe for streusal for our Apple Pie Cupcakes and they were a hit!

Bake then allow to cool — in fact, if you’re okay with a little extra waiting time, once cool throw the whole pan into the freezer for 30 minutes to really firm up. This way, you can cut perfectly even cheesecake bars.

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars 4

4.9 from 14 reviews
Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These cheesecake bars are a dream. The lemony cheesecake matches perfectly with fresh blueberries and that buttery streusel really makes everything work. If you can't find fresh blueberries, try ripe red raspberries or even blackberries. We really prefer to stick to fresh berries for this, not frozen, since we like how the fresh berries stay intact while baking.

When making these cheesecake bars, you really want them to be cold before cutting, so there is some time spent chilling the baked cheesecake. To speed things up a bit, place the cheesecake into your freezer for 30 minutes instead of the refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting into bars.
Created By:
Yield: 9
You Will Need
For the Crust
  • 9 graham cracker rectangles
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake Filling
  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
For the Streusel Topping
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 325°F then line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. If you have a food processor, add graham crackers, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon zest to it then cover and process until fine crumbs form. Add the melted butter then cover and process with until the cracker crumbs are evenly moistened. If you do not have or want to use a food processor, add graham crackers to a plastic bag then use something heavy such as a pan or rolling pan to bash the crackers until fine crumbs form. Then, add crumbs to a medium bowl along with 2 tablespoons of sugar, lemon zest and melted butter. Stir until the cracker crumbs are evenly moistened.
  3. Press graham cracker crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool 10-15 minutes.
  4. While the graham cracker base cools, make the cheesecake bar filling: If using a food processor, wipe it with a paper towel to remove any crumbs from earlier then add cream cheese, eggs, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Cover then process until smooth and creamy. If you do not have or do not want to use a food processor, use a hand blender to blend cream cheese, eggs, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour cheesecake filling over crust, and then top with blueberries.
  6. Make the streusel topping by adding brown sugar, flour and cold butter to a medium bowl then use a fork or your fingers to mix until crumbly, and then sprinkle over filling.
  7. Bake cheesecake 35 to 40 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and center is almost set (center should jiggle only slightly when moved).
  8. Cool 1 hour on at room temperature then refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Cut into 9 bars.

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About the Author

Joanne

I'm Joanne Gallagher and alongside my husband, Adam, I develop, test and share favorite recipes from our kitchen. I'm completely in love with food and you'll most likely find me covered in flour, chocolate or both.

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51 Comments

1 Lisa May 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm

No bake-gotta try this! Yesterday I made blueberry muffins, still got a pound of frozen blueberries- I guess tomorrow is a special day, thanks to you, Joanne!

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2 Angie@Angie's Recipes May 24, 2012 at 8:48 am

Cheese, berry, and streusel….o boy this looks heavenly!

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3 Little B May 24, 2012 at 9:17 am

I have never had any luck with cheesecake, but this looks so good I might be willing to try again. Thanks for posting!

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4 Lori @ RecipeGirl May 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Delicious idea for summer!

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5 Joanne May 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Lori!

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6 Sherry May 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Why go to all the work of crushing the graham crackers? The crumbs are inexpensive, and makes the whole job just that much quicker and easier. Delicious recipe! :)

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7 Joanne May 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Great point!

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8 Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef May 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm

One of the few things I miss living in Australia is that graham crackers or their crumbs don’t exist here. So many of my old recipes and favorite foods call for them. I get them by mail when I can but it’s certainly not inexpensive to do. I’d import them to make these bars though!

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9 Sue July 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

Try using a mild gingersnap or a regular gingersnap crushed up with crackers to mild the ginger flavor. I think that would work out. Gingersnaps are not hard to make and so even if you made a batch just for this you could crumb them and keep them for other things.

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10 Sasha @ The Procrastobaker May 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm

These really do look like the perfect summery treat :) I have always loved cheesecake but recently have been craving it particularly badly..may well have to indulge with these!

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11 Robert May 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Just made this! Delicious but my blueberries burst?

Any idea why?

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12 Joanne May 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Robert — hmm.. not sure! We’re they fresh or frozen?

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13 Robert May 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

They were fresh. I used a glass pan – seems like I overcooked it a bit. It was delicious, I just didn’t have a pretty picture to post so I stole yours. :-)

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14 Kristen June 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Some of my berries burst as well….also used fresh.

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15 Robert July 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Thanks Joanne, these are now officially too big of a hit.

I just made 5, yes FIVE, pans for a friend’s baby shower.

A lot of work but well worth it. Thank you again for such a winner!!

16 Sue July 17, 2014 at 11:54 am

Glass pans usually take a little less time as well as a little less heat.

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17 katie May 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try!!!

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18 Marisa mailer June 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

So, these ROCK. Super quick really, and the results are perfect. The berries explode in your mouth and I found you could tweak the sweetness level by adding more or less lemon juice. I know you could do the same with the amount of sugar added but an over zealous husband added the sugar while my back was turned. The cooling process is essential to properly tasting this I made them at 4 and they were bar like by 8:30. I also used half fat free cream cheese and half lite cream cheese. It set and tasted perfectly

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19 Amanda July 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

these look so good… and your photographs are beautiful! I love the step by step shots!!

-Amanda

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20 Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family July 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm
21 faye July 23, 2012 at 11:52 am

These Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake bars were YUMMY! I had company for a week, this was one of the the new recipes i tried and it was a big hit. The pan was empty within the day. Thanks for posting this yummy recipe.

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22 Shannon July 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Oh my! These look amazing… a must try! A crust on the bottom and the top… genius! Thank you!

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23 Diana July 31, 2012 at 9:17 am

My boss brought this into the office this morning and shared- I have to say, this is AMAZING!!!! I love blueberries, so I know I will be making this myself VERY SOON… :)

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24 Amy September 10, 2012 at 11:19 am

No comment.

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25 Heatherrrr September 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I’ve now made this recipe twice, and it’s AMAZING. Everyone who tries it gets the “OMG” big eyes and mystified look on their face. I cannot really explain how wonderful it is.

Two notes: First, maybe it’s the graham crackers I use but I found the crust to have WAY too much butter. (The first time I made it, the sheen was so great when I first patted down the crust that I took a paper towel to soak some of it up.) I reduced it to 1/3 c.

Second, this recipe makes enough streusel to cover 2 cheesecakes! I cut it in half (unless you like things very streusely!)

Takes 45 mins in my old-arse oven for perfect results. Many of my berries burst, but the consistency and done-ness was otherwise perfect. I like the way it looks with the burst berries, all gooey and streaked with deep purple.

I now make these bars whenever I have the opportunity to bring anything anywhere.

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26 Kblair November 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I just made this recipe, and while it tastes fantastic, it refused to set in the oven. I had to bake it for over an hour at the recommended 325F. Then again, my filling looked nothing at all like yours in the photo; mine was really runny with the same ingredients. Any ideas why that might be?

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27 Joanne December 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Hi Kblair – We’re not sure. Did it eventually set? The only thing we can think of is that your oven temperature may not be accurate. We have two ovens and one of them is 25 degrees lower than what the oven is set at. We added a stand alone thermometer to the inside of our oven to accommodate for this.

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28 laney December 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I always throw fresh blueberries in the freezer for later breads and such. Can I use them and do I thaw them first or sprinkle with flour so as not to have them sink?

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29 Adam December 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Frozen berries should work just fine.

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30 Delaine June 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I just made these bars and they are nothing short of AMAZING!!! I am not a great baker or cook but I really wanted to make a special dessert for my long distance boyfriend who is coming to visit me and it’s going to blow him away! I can’t stop sneaking in a bite. I actually think they would be great without the streusel if you wanna cut a little bit of the sugar out. Or maybe even reduce it by half. It did make a lot of streusel. Great recipe! I will definitely make this again and again! Oh and I did have to bake it the full 40 mins and I let it sit for about 1/2 to cool before I put in the fridge.

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31 Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste July 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

These looks so fantastic! Love that mix of tangy cheesecake and sweet berries!

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32 Joanne July 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Thanks, Kelly!

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33 Sarah C. July 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm

My favorite type of recipe — very easy to put together, and great results. Love! I used cinnamon graham crackers, as I had them on hand, which added a nice little taste. Based on other comments, I made half the streusel amount (perfect), and baking/cooling was no problem. My filling did look a bit thinner than yours does in the photo, but I suspect I just had it in the food processor a bit longer (I was doing a couple of things at once). Either way, it had no problem setting. Will definitely make again! Thanks, you two!

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34 Cat Colbert September 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

This recipe looks awesome…………………

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35 GretchenJoanna October 28, 2013 at 12:46 am

I am researching a lemon cheesecake bar that I can make in a sheet pan, and I ran across yours. I may use it, though it’s not the time of year (almost November) to get fresh blueberries – I wonder if I could use dried somehow….

But my bigger question is about preparing the pan: in the recipe you say to grease the pan, but the photo shows a foil-lined pan. Have you also baked these without the foil?

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36 Joanne October 30, 2013 at 9:51 am

Hi there — Foil makes things easy when removing the bars from the pan. We have updated the recipe to call for a foil-lined pan. Thanks!

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37 Zkay November 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I really want to try this recipe, but I a wondering whether it can be done with chocolate. My niece specifically asked for chocolate cheesecake and I’d like to accommodate her. Can this recipe be modified?

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38 Joanne November 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Hi there — you could try. We have never tried it ourselves. You could leave the blueberries out and add chocolate chips or add a layer of chocolate ganache on top once it has cooled instead of the streusel topping. Or, make the recipe as stated and drizzle melted chocolate over the streusel after it is done.

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39 Erin Senica February 25, 2014 at 11:01 am

HI! i just made this recipe twice with in the past 2 weeks. once i brought it into work and it was eaten within 2 hours. the other we had a baby shower and i made it with fresh rasberries. I preferred it with the blue berries because they bring out the lemon flavor the best. thank you so much for sharing this will definately be a staple in my house hold and functions.

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40 Audrey March 5, 2014 at 7:04 am

Hi there. This recipe looks beautiful and delicious as spring approaches! I live abroad and don’t have graham crackers, so I’ll have to supplement. Could you give me the cup or gram measurement for crumb crust quantity, please? Thanks!

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41 Joanne March 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm

There should be about 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs. By the way, a great alternative is finely crushed Digestive biscuits.

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42 Vanessa May 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm

This recipe is nothing short of spectacular. I literally made it a dozen times last summer during blueberry season! I can’t wait to share it with even more people this summer :)
Love the website and so many of the great recipes you have shared!! Thank you for so many delicious ideas!

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43 Joanne May 16, 2014 at 11:40 am

Thank you so much! We are thrilled you enjoy our lemon bars so much!

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44 Andy May 25, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Made this over the weekend. I agreed with the comment that there streusel amount could have been halved as there was a lot left over. Also, the filling was thinner than yours was too so not sure what I need to do in the future to thicken it.

One thing I have to comment on though was that I found the cheesecake with the blueberries to be way too tart for my liking. Blueberries are in season and are very sweet, but like all blueberries they tend to “tarten” when they’re cooked. This in conjunction with the lemon zest and juice made the entire thing very tart and not as rich/sweet as I would have wanted. Not sure if anybody else experienced that but overall it was good.

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45 Joanne May 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Hi Andy, We’re glad you gave our recipe a try. If you’re up to it, you could add a little more sugar to the cheesecake mixture to sweeten things up a little. Thanks for coming back and commenting.

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