Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

I’m going to be honest here. I’ve only made cheesecake like 3 times and it still kind of scares me. But just because full-sized cheesecakes scare me doesn’t mean I have to miss out on all the cheesecake fun. And that’s exactly why I’m making these lemon raspberry cheesecake bars.

image of lemon cheesecake bars on a wire rack that have been bitten into

They’re based on a cheesecake bar recipe I made years ago, but with a fruity twist.

These bars are decadently creamy and smooth, yet surprisingly refreshing. The citrus from the lemon and the tart raspberry swirl make these lemon raspberry cheesecake bars the perfect summer treat. Or really anytime of year!

As an added bonus, they’re incredibly easy to make and are the perfect make ahead dessert. Somehow they taste even better overtime. It’s magic, I swear!

Substitutions & Swaps For These Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

This recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe.

image of fresh raspberries in a measuring cup ready to be made into a raspberry swirled cheesecake bar
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs – I like using graham cracker crumbs to make life easier. If you can’t find these, you can crush a sleeve of graham crackers in a food processor to get the right consistency.
  • Salted Butter – To keep things simple I use salted butter to make the graham cracker crust. If you only have unsalted butter, add about 1/4 tsp of salt into the crust mixture.
  • Granulated Sugar – I think these cheesecake bars have just the right amount of sweetness, but you can either increase or decrease the amount of sugar by a few Tablespoons based on your preferences.
  • Lemon Juice & Zest – You can use limes in place of the lemon juice and zest or you can add 2 tsp of vanilla or almond extract in their place.
  • Cream Cheese – This recipes tastes best with full-fat cream cheese. However, you can use low fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese in its place and the recipe will still turn out great.
  • Eggs – Sadly this recipe does not turn out with egg alternatives like applesauce or flax seed eggs. I highly recommend using regular large eggs.
  • Berries – You can use pretty much any berry in the lemon cheesecake bar recipe! It’s the perfect canvas for whatever fruit you have on hand or is in season. Blackberries, strawberries, or even marionberries would all taste amazing.
image of lemon raspberry cheesecake bars with a raspberry swirl in a pan ready to be baked

Making These Cheesecake Bars in Advance

These lemon raspberry cheesecake bars keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

You can also freeze these bars for up to two months! Freeze the bars on a sheet pan until they’re firm to the touch, then wrap them in a layer of plastic wrap and then foil. When you want to enjoy the bars, place them in the fridge overnight, then unwrap and enjoy them the following day.

image of raspberry lemon cheesecake cut into squares

How To Make The Best Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

  • Be sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.
  • Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest rather than the bottled stuff. It makes a huge difference.
  • Use your favorite berries! This recipe would also work great with blackberries, strawberries, or even marionberries.
  • Beat your cream cheese for about 1 minutes before adding the other ingredients! This helps to prevent any lumps from forming in the cheesecake batter.
  • Add fresh lemon zest to the crust to really pack these bars with citrus flavor!
  • Don’t use a toothpick to check if you’re bars are done! Instead, gently shake the pan while it’s still in the oven. If only a small circle in the center jiggles a little, it’s ready! The center will set as the bars cool.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices. Fill a tall cup with hot water and drip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then make a slice. Repeat with each cut, being sure to wipe the blade completely clean after each cut.
  • If you want to make this recipe in a 9 x 13 inch pan, double the recipe and bake at 325 F for 38-42 minutes.
image of lemon cheesecake squares with a raspberry swirl

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this recipe for lemon raspberry cheesecake bars, I’d love to hear what think of it!

Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

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Yield: 16

Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

image of lemon raspberry cheesecake squares

These lemon raspberry cheesecake bars are absolutely delightful! They're rich & creamy, and have the most delicious raspberry swirl!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2 cups (16 oz) cream cheese, softened (450 grams)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (133 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (3 grams)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (60 grams)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (112 grams)

Raspberry Swirl

  • 3/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (95 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (24 grams)

Instructions

Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F or 165 C and line an 8 inch x 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. I like to use metal (unpainted) binder clips to keep my parchment paper in place.
  2. Place 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest, and 2 Tbsp of sugar into a small bowl. Mix together until the ingredients are fully combined and the graham cracker crumbs look wet.
  3. Pour the graham cracker mixture into your prepared pan. Use the back of a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup to press down firmly and create a compact, even crust.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from the oven. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Be sure to keep your oven on!!

Lemon Cheesecake

  1. While the graham cracker crust bakes and cools, make the lemon cheesecake filling.
  2. Place 2 cups of room temperature cream cheese in a medium sized bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment at a medium-high speed. Mix for about 1 minute until it's creamy and smooth.
  3. Add the 2/3 cup of sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon zest, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Mix on a medium speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  4. Add in 2 eggs, one at a time. Mix on a medium speed until the eggs are fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the lemon cheesecake on top of the cooled graham cracker crust.

Raspberry Swirl

  1. In a food processor or blender, blend 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen (and thawed) raspberries.
  2. Pour the pureed raspberries into a mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to press the mixture through the strainer. Sometimes the puree sticks to the bottom of the strainer rather than dripping into your bowl, so I suggest scraping the underside of your mesh strainer with a spatula.
  3. Stir 2 Tbsp of sugar into the raspberry puree by hand. The mixture will be quite thin, but that's how it's supposed to be!
  4. Add spoonfuls of the raspberry mixture on top of the lemon cheesecake batter. Drag a knife or offset spatula through the cheesecake to create raspberry swirls.
  5. Bake the cheesecake bars for 36-40 minutes. Do a wiggle test to check if they're done (watch the center, and look for a small wiggle), rather than a toothpick!
  6. Let the bars cool completely in the pan on a metal rack. Once they reach room temperature, refrigerate them for an additional 2 hours or overnight. Do NOT put them immediately into the fridge, or the top can crack.
  7. Top the cooled bars with an additional sprinkle of lemon zest and cut them with a sharp, warm knife. Clean the knife after each cut to get perfect squares.
  8. Leftover bars can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Notes

Making These Cheesecake Bars in Advance

These lemon raspberry cheesecake bars keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

You can also freeze these bars for up to two months! Freeze the bars on a sheet pan until they're firm to the touch, then wrap them in a layer of plastic wrap and then foil. When you want to enjoy the bars, place the bars in the fridge overnight, then unwrap and enjoy the following day.

How To Make The Best Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

  • Be sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.
  • Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest rather than the bottled stuff. It makes a huge difference.
  • Use your favorite berries! This recipe would also work great with blackberries, strawberries, or even marionberries.
  • Don't use a toothpick to check if you're bars are done! Instead, gently shake the pan while it's still in the oven. If only a small circle in the center jiggles a little, it's ready! The center will set as the bars cool.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices! Fill a tall cup with hot water and drip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then make a slice. Repeat with each cut, being sure to wipe the blade completely clean each time.
  • If you want to make this recipe in a 9 x 13 inch pan, double the recipe and bake at 325 F for 38-42 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 300Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 34mgSodium 272mgCarbohydrates 49gFiber 2gSugar 24gProtein 5g

One thought on “Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

  1. Love these! They are amazing!! Do you know what I could do to make them vegan? Would I just need to substitute the cream cheese for vegan cream cheese?

Let me know what you think!