These Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars have a rich, velvety cream cheese texture with bright, zesty lemon and sweet blueberries with a bit of crunch from the graham cracker crust. The perfect make-ahead dessert for picnics and potlucks.
But when summer rolls around and blueberries are in season, you know I'm not going to pass up an opportunity to add them to my desserts. That's why this lemon blueberry cheesecake bar recipe is going to be on repeat all summer long. Once you try it for yourself, you'll know what I mean.
How to Make Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
There are two components to these tangy blueberry cheesecake bites: a crunchy graham cracker-pecan crust and the lemon blueberry cheesecake filling.
Pecan-Graham Cracker Crust
To make the crust, you'll need graham crackers, toasted pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter to bind everything together.
If you prefer more nuts in your crust for a richer pecan flavor, you can simply substitute some of the graham cracker crumbs for chopped pecans. Or, if you're nut-free or want to omit the pecans, simply replace them with more graham crackers.
You can also easily make this crust gluten-free by using gluten-free graham crackers or another cookie.
Once your crust is mixed, you'll need to pre-bake it for about 5 minutes. This helps keep the crust together and prevents it from getting soggy when you add the cheesecake layer on top.
Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Filling
While your graham cracker crust cools, you can whip up the simple blueberry lemon cheesecake layer.
It's easiest to do this with an electric mixer, but you can do it by hand with a whisk if you'd lie. To make the cheesecake layer, you'll need:
Cream cheese. Make sure it's softened to room temperature for the best texture and easiest blending.
Organic all-purpose flour. I like Bob's Red Mill flour.
Eggs. These too should be at room temperature, otherwise, you risk curdling the cream cheese if they're too cold.
Lemon juice. Make sure you're using freshly squeezed juice for the best flavor. Otherwise, you can use lemon extract.
Fresh blueberries. Frozen berries will also work, but let them thaw to room temperature before adding them to the cheesecake mixture.
To assemble the cheesecake bars, fill the cooked and cooled crust with your cream cheese mixture. Then bake until the center is just st. Finally, cool the cheesecake in the fridge for at least an hour, until cool all the way through. If you skip this step, your bars might e runny, rather than firm. You can chill the cheesecake for a full day if you like, which means this is a great make-ahead dessert for a party.
Then, just before serving, I like to drizzle the cheesecake with blueberry compote, slice into squares, and serve!
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fried for up to 5 days. They'll also stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months. The day before serving, place the bars in the fridge to thaw overnight.
Making Cheesecake Bites
For a bite-sized cheesecake treat, you can use this same recipe to make 24 bites. Bake the cheesecakes in a mini muffin tin.
2cupsGraham crackers, chopped(About 12-14 Graham Crackers)
1cuphalved toasted pecans(Add more if desired; just reduce Graham Crackers amount; See Notes!)
3Tbspsorganic brown sugar
4-5Tbspsunsalted butter, melted
LEMON BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE:
16ozs. organic cream cheese, softened at room temp.
1cuporganic cane sugar
4Tbspsorganic all-purpose flour
¼teaspoonfinely-ground sea salt
2largeorganic eggs, at room temp.
3TbspsGreek yogurt(See Notes!)
2tspsfreshly-squeezed lemon juice(You can also sub w/ lemon extract)
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a standard 8-inch square cake pan pan by lightly greasing it with butter and lining it with parchment paper, leaving a bit hanging at the sides.
Grind the pecans and graham crackers, until almost finely ground (it’s OK to leave a few medium chunks, if your’e a lover a little crunch!). Combine the Pecan-Graham cracker mixture, cinnamon, brown sugar and melted butter in a small bowl and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.
Add the mixture into the prepared pan and press down into the bottom with your fingers (focusing on the middle) to ensure that it’s perfectly covering the bottom evenly.
Bake the crust for about 5 minutes and then remove from oven and allow it to cool until you’re ready to use.
TO MAKE THE CHEESECAKE FILLING:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together on low speed: the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and flour until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed.
Next, add the lemon juice and the first egg and beat slowly until mostly combined. Then add the remaining egg and mix until well combined, still mixing everything on low speed. Now, add the yogurt, and lemon zest, and continue mixing.
Change mixer attachment to a whisk and beat on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes or so until completely smooth and lump-free. NOTE: DO NOT OVER-MIX. Be sure to stop once the batter becomes smooth. Fold in the blueberries.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly spreading out the batter.
Bake the cheesecake for 20-25 minutes or until the centers come out clean once tested.
Once done, remove the cheesecake bars from the oven and allow it to cool completely before putting it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
When cheesecake bars have fully chilled, remove from pan, cut into medium-sized squares, top with blueberry compote, if desired and enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Leftover Cheesecake bars can be stored (tightly wrapped) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For best results, keep cheesecake in the freezer until the night before you’re ready to serve. Defrost by refrigerating overnight.