Creamy Lemon {or Lime!} Bars

This is a twist on the classic lemon bar, and it’s more of a little lemon cheesecakebar. I much prefer it to the traditional lemon bar.Heck, I think the addition of any type of cream or cheese improves just about any recipe!They are super easy to whip up and to me, with their bright lemony flavor, they just scream spring time.They’re fresh and light but taste sinful at the same time.They make a great ending to a simple meal, or a perfect treat for a party or gathering. These are always a hit at potlucks!

Honestly, I think this is possibly my favorite bar cookie crust, ever.  It starts with Nilla wafers.  I never buy Nilla wafers, until I need them for a recipe, and then I remember how delicious they are.  Dipped in milk? mmm…

So pop some of those nom nom’s in a food processor, or if you don’t have a food processor you can put them in a ziplock bag and smash away with something heavy.

A lot of crusts are comprised of simply cookie crumbs and butter, but this one has some dry ingredients added to it, like flour and sugar.  So you get the tender crumb from the flour, but the amazing cookie-ness from the nilla wafers.  In the end it’s similar to a shortbread/graham cracker crust, but a million times yummier.

Next you’ll need to cut in some butter.  Here’s a great tip- use a cheese grater!  If I’m making something like pie crust or biscuits I use a more traditional method, but for something like this, a cheese grater works perfectly.  Popping your butter in the freezer for a few minutes before grating makes it even easier.  See all those tiny ribbons of butter?  They will probably clump together, but since they’re grated they’re super easy to crumble up.

Just use your fingers and crumble it all together until it looks about like this:

And then pour the crumbs into a prepared baking pan. Lining the pan with foil makes it super easy to pull them out and cut after they’re baked and cooled.

Press the crust down with your fingers and pop it in the oven while you prepare the filling

Beat up some cream cheese (low fat is fine, but I don’t like fat free) and some sugar.

You’ll also add in some eggs and vanilla and a tiny bit of flour.  I’m doubling the recipe here to bake in a 9×13 pan so that’s why I have 4 eggs in there.

Lastly you’ll add in both some citrus zest and juice.  I’m using limes here- both limes and lemons are good, I make these regularly with both!

Pour the batter into your partially baked crust and pop it back in the oven

After they are baked, cooled, and chilled you can pull the foil right out for easy cutting

Slice them into bars and sprinkle extra zest on top.  You can also sprinkle them with powdered sugar, but just keep in mind the bars are moist so the sugar melts into them quickly.  I do it right before serving just to make them look pretty.

Great with lemon, or lime!



  1. I made lime ones becuase I was out of lemons, and they were awesome. They tasted a bit like key lime pie. And Kate, I also ate them for breakfast. Sara, I think it’s an evil plan to have you refrigerate them overnight, then you eat them in the morning! 🙂

  2. Made these last night. YUM! Do lemon bars count for breakfast? The best is when they’ve sat outside the fridge for a few minutes.

  3. Hillary, if you don’t like a lot of lemon flavor, just reduce the lemon juice and zest that go into the batter.

  4. How lemony are these? I like a hint of lemon in desserts, but I’m not a fan of it if it’s too strong…? Anything with cream cheese peaks my interest, though! 🙂

  5. Yum, I am definitely going to make these. They look so good. I am going to have to start having “dessert of the day” parties or something.

  6. Come on Morgan, they’re LEMON bars, and a lemon is a fruit, so you can totally consider them part of the fruit category and have them every day 😉

  7. These look great Sara! I love that you specified “20” vanilla wafers; I hate when I’m trying a new recipe and they generalize and just tell you to use enough to line the bottom of the pan. I don’t know how thickly to line it or what size of pan is okay to use… I’m not that great of a cook so I don’t have the common sense to know what they mean.

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