4.47 from 80 votes

Lemon Cheese Bars

These Lemon Cheese Bars are an easy, sweet, and tart dessert that’s a total hit! They’re made with a yellow cake mix base, a lemony cheesecake filling, and a cake mix crumble topping.

Lemon cheese bar on a spatula.


I don’t know about you, but I love anything lemon. I’ll take lemon desserts over any other fruit desserts any day! 

These Lemon Cheese Bars are one of my favorite lemon desserts. The bottom layer is a fluffy yellow cake and the top layer is a lemony cheesecake topping that practically melts in your mouth. The combination of textures is delicious and the lemon flavor comes through just the right amount!

Plus, this recipe is kept extra simple with cake mix rather than a made-from-scratch cake! 

Why You’ll Love Lemon Cheese Bars

  • Minimal ingredients. We’re keeping it extra simple by starting with a cake mix. All you need in addition to that are eggs, crema cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and oil! 
  • Amazing texture. The cake layer is light and fluffy while the cheesecake layer is smooth and velvety. They go together perfectly!
  • Divine flavor. These treats are perfectly sweet and have just the right amount of lemon flavor. It’s not overpowering, but sweet and just slightly tangy.
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Ingredients

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    The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

    • Yellow Cake Mix: You will need the cake mix plus the additional ingredients listed on the box (oil and egg).
    • Eggs: You’ll use 1 egg for the cake layer and 1 egg for the cheesecake layer.
    • Cream Cheese: Make sure you use a full-fat block of cream cheese.
    • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar works great.
    • Lemon Juice: I recommend fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
    Ingredients to make lemon cheese bars.

    How to Make Lemon Cheese Bars

    These mouthwatering lemon cheesecake bars taste like you got them at a high-end bakery, but they take just 10 minutes to prep! 

    • Step One: Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F.
    • Step Two: Add the cake mix, egg and oil to a bowl and mix until it reaches a crumbly consistency. Reserve ½ cup of the mixture for later. 
    Steps to make lemon cheese bars.
    • Step Three: Pat the remaining mixture into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven.
    Steps to make lemon cheese bars.
    • Step Four: While the first layer is in the oven, start preparing the second layer. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar and egg until smooth.
    Steps to make lemon cheese bars.
    • Step Five: Spread in the pan over the baked layer. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
    • Step Six: Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.
    Steps to make lemon cheese bars.

    Equipment Needed

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    Recipe Tips and Tricks

    • Don’t forget to split up the cake layer. We’re sandwiching the cheesecake layer by baking half the cake, layering on the cream cheese mix, then adding the rest of the cake mix. 
    • Use a full-fat cream cheese block. The flavor is better and the texture is creamier. 
    • Soften the cream cheese. If it’s too cold, it doesn’t blend as well with the other ingredients. Softening the cream cheese first ensures that there are no lumps!
    • Let the first cake layer cool before you add the cheesecake filling. If it’s piping hot, it will just melt the cream cheese! 
    Lemon cheese bars on a parchment paper.

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Try another cake mix. I use yellow cake mix for this recipe, but you could also use white cake mix, vanilla cake mix, or lemon cake mix if you like the extra lemon flavor.
    • Make it more lemony. Use lemon cake mix and add a little bit of fresh lemon zest to the cream cheese mixture for an extra zip of flavor.
    • Add a topping. Try sprinkling the finished lemon cheese bars with powdered sugar or drizzle the top with a little bit of icing after they cool.
    A lemon cheese bar with a bite out of it.

    Storage Instructions

    Finished lemon cheese bars must be stored in the fridge, because the cheesecake layer won’t last at room temperature. They will last for up to 3 days. 

    Can Lemon Bars Be Made Ahead and Frozen?

    Yes! To freeze these bars, let them cool completely, then place them in a freezer-safe container and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    When you’re ready to enjoy them again, simply let them thaw in the fridge first!

    A pile of lemon cheese bars on a plate.

    How Do You Know When Cheesecake Bars Are Done?

    You’ll know the bars are done when the cake layer on top is baked through and the cheesecake layer is firm. 

    You can double check the cake layer by inserting a toothpick into the center of the baking dish. If it comes out with cake crumbs on it, then it needs a couple more minutes. If it comes out clean, then it’s good to go!

    How Do You Cut Lemon Bars Without Making a Mess?

    Cool them first! If you slice into the bars while they’re still warm, you’ll end up with a gooey mess from the cream cheese layer. 

    Let them cool completely before you slice into them for the best texture! 

    A plate of lemon cheese bars.

    Lemon Desserts

    You’ll also love these French Vanilla Cream Bars and Cool Whip Cookies.

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    4.47 from 80 votes

    Lemon Cheese Bars

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 24
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 35 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes
    Slightly tart and sweet, this easy dessert is going to be a hit! Save time by using a box of cake mix topped with a lemony cheesecake topping.

    Ingredients
     
     

    • 1 box yellow cake mix
    • 2 large eggs divided
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 1 package cream cheese 8oz/250g package, softened
    • cup sugar
    • 1 tsp lemon juice

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°F.
    • Add cake mix, 1 egg and oil to a bowl and mix together until it's a crumbly consistency. Reserve ½ cup of the mixture. Pat the remaining mixture into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
    • In another bowl, beat cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar and 1 egg until smooth. Spread in the pan over the baked layer. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
    • Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.

    Video

    Notes

    If you can’t find yellow cake mix, you could substitute white cake mix in its place.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1g | Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 195mg | Sugar: 13g

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Desserts
    Cuisine American
    Keyword Lemon Cheese Bars

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    4.47 from 80 votes (79 ratings without comment)

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    27 Comments

    1. In place of a yellow or white cake mix I have used lemon cake mix

    2. Could you use a lemon cake mix?

    3. Lisa O’Leary says:

      4 stars
      I used melted butter instead of vegetable oil and added lemon zest. So yummy. Lots of lemon flavor. My guests were asking for the recipe.

      1. Can this be doubled if so can a 9×13 pan be used

    4. I just made this delicious recipe tonight so amazing! I used lemon flavor extract instead of the lemon juice

    5. Alyssa Garcia says:

      I was expecting more of a lemon flavor. I even put extra lemon juice but these are really really good! And super easy!

    6. Do I refrigerate after making?

    7. Gil Posey says:

      Can you make this recipe using other types of flavors such as chocolate or strawberry or pineapple cream cheese

    8. Use a lemon cake mix. The yellow mix had no lemon flavor at all. I even grated some zest into the topping.

      1. I used real lemon juice and lemon zest into the yellow cake mix and I also used extra lemon juice and zest into the cream cheese mixture and let me tell you, these were fantastic. The extra lemon juice and zest were what the cake mix needed to bring out the lemon flavor with a POP!! I will definitely be keeping this recipe in my must have recipes.

    9. Used lemon cake mix turned out great

    10. Could you use a lemon cake mix? For more lemon flavor.

    11. These were so good!  I added lemon zest to the cream cheese to give it more lemon kick. Love these bars!

    12. I think this is a great recipe to try with your kids to introduce them into making desserts as it’s a quick and easy way to make something super delicious!

      Plus I love lemon desserts, so any excuse is good for me.

    13. How many ounces of cream cheese?

    14. Karen Yeomans says:

      I’m interested in making this for an upcoming potluck. Have you ever doubled everything and done the recipe in a 9 x 13 pan? Have the results been pretty much the same if you have? Thanks for any help you can give.

      1. I haven’t, but it should work. You might have to add to the baking time though.

    15. June Francis says:

      Not sure I understand the recipe. Do eggs go into the cake mix or into the cream cheese mixture? Or both. The ingredients aren’t in any particular order in this recipe.

      1. I updated the recipe card so hopefully it’s more clear now! Sorry for the confusion.

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