Blueberry Lemon Bars

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4.99 from 84 votes

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A sweet and creamy lemon cheesecake filling bursting with blueberries sits atop a lemon shortbread crust with lemon shortbread crumbles on top.

blueberry lemon bars on a plate

If there was one iconic recipe I had to pick from my website that embodied the whole journey of my career here as a recipe writer, photographer, and baking instructor, it’s this blueberry lemon bar recipe. Hands down.

While I do classify myself as a dessert blogger in general, I tend to say I specialize in cakes and cupcakes. In fact, the two online courses I offer are a cake decorating and cupcake decorating one, and my cookbook is buttercream-centric.

But these blueberry lemon bars? They have stood the test of time, proving that while folks love chocolate + peanut butter, mint + chocolate, and sprinkles in a lot of things, the blueberry + lemon combo is HOT.

And it hasn’t ever gone anywhere since I first published these lemon blueberry crumble bars (and originally called them blueberry lemon pie bars) in summer 2014 when my website was merely one month old.

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Thanks to these cuties going viral on Pinterest, these lemon blueberry shortbread bars have graced so many ovens, my own included MANY times, and have gotten so many 5-star reviews. Can you see why they are so iconic to the Fresh April Flours lineup?

stack of two blueberry lemon bars on a plate

WHAT’S IN THESE BLUEBERRY LEMON BARS?

These blueberry lemon bars are quite simple. They start with a basic shortbread crust that is kicked up a notch with lemon zest. The filling is made with a base of cream cheese, giving the filling a cheesecake-y texture, but not quite classifying these bars as cheesecake bars.

Also in the filling is a whole lot of fresh lemon flavor and plump, juicy blueberries. The best part? These lemon blueberry bars lend well to frozen blueberries, so you don’t have to worry about only making them when blueberries are in season.

And while lemons are technically in season in the winter, I mostly associate them with the summer, so really… You just need to save this lemon blueberry bars recipe for any time the craving hits.

stack of two blueberry lemon bars on a plate

In fact, I originally made these bars with Meyer lemons, so honestly, whatever kind of blueberries or lemons you can get your hands on, these bars should be on your list! Got it?

INGREDIENTS

As mentioned, these lemon blueberry squares start with a shortbread crust. This crust is made of melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, lemon zest, and all-purpose flour.

For the filling, we start out the cheesecake-y situation with cream cheese which we’ll sweeten with sugar. We’ll bring lemon flavor with the zest of an entire lemon, two eggs, yogurt (which can be any flavor you want– plain, vanilla, or lemon), fresh lemon juice, flour to keep it all together, and then lots of blueberries (again, fresh or frozen).

You will also see there’s a bit of a crumble on top, and that’s just reserved shortbread crust, so easy peasy lemon squeezy– that’s your entire ingredient list!

HOW TO MAKE LEMON BLUEBERRY PIE BARS

These bars are really simple. The crust comes together in a snap, and while it bakes, you can get the filling together.

sliced blueberry lemon bars

MAKE THE CRUST

Since this lemon shortbread crust uses melted butter, you can mix all of the ingredients together in one bowl right away. Once it’s all together, you’ll remove ¾ cup of the crust which we’ll sprinkle on top.

Be sure to reserve ¾ cup of the crust, and not ¾ of the whole crust. I have had folks make this mistake and it’s no good! This portion of the crust will go in the fridge so the butter can firm up before you’re ready to use it.

spatula pressing shortbread crust into a square baking pan

Press the crust into the bottom of an 8″ or 9″ square baking dish and let it bake while you prepare the crust.

MAKE THE FILLING

If you’ve ever made cheesecake, you’ll recognize the filling for these lemon blueberry cheesecake bars is very similar to a cheesecake filling.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until it’s smooth, then start adding in all of the other ingredients, keeping everything smooth and free of lumps. Since cheesecake doesn’t usually have flour in it, that’s how this filling differs from a traditional cheesecake filling.

The flour will help bind the bars together, since we’re then going to load it up with tons of blueberries.

As I mentioned, I have used both fresh and frozen blueberries. In fact, I sometimes use a mix of both, because I love how the purple color of the frozen ones rubs right off into the off-white filling giving it some small purple swirls.

ADD THE CRUMBLE AND BAKE THE BARS

Once the crust has been pre-baked and the filling is ready, you can pour it right on top of the crust. Then, add your shortbread crumble topping.

Since it will have sat in the fridge, even for a short time, it will have firmed up enough that you can use a fork or your hands to break it into crumbles. I prefer the fork because it makes some tiny crumbles and also keeps my warm hands out of the mix.

aerial photo of crumbles of shortbread crust onto blueberry lemon bars

Use your hands to drop chunks of the shortbread crumble right onto the top of the bars, add in a few extra blueberries, and then bake to perfection!

HOW DO I KNOW THE BARS ARE DONE?

Over the years, I have had folks tell me that their bars never set up. But I am here to tell you that they WILL set up if you bake them long enough. It always takes mine 55-60 minutes in my own oven, but when I bake them in my best friend’s oven in Utah, it takes more like 75 minutes, even at the correct temperature.

Go by the toothpick test and make sure you bake them until it comes out clean. You’ll also want to be sure you’re baking them in the middle of the oven, not at the bottom or the top.

ALLOW TO COOL THEN CHILL BEFORE CUTTING

You’ll need to let these bars cool on a wire rack completely before you chill them in the fridge. While several hours is my preference for chilling, you only need at LEAST one hour before you can cut them.

aerial photo of blueberry lemon pie bars

I tell you my preference because I have made these so many times, I have cut and tasted them in all different stages of chilled. I find them easiest to cut when they’ve chilled for longer, but again, it is totally your preference.

These truly are one of those recipes I can almost 100% guarantee you will love. If you enjoy lemon blueberry desserts, this is one of the best I’ve ever had. While I like blueberries, I don’t typically reach for them as a snack or in a dessert.

blueberry lemon bars on a plate

But in these lemon blueberry cheesecake bars with shortbread crust? I’ll reach for them every time.

blueberry lemon bars on a plate
4.99 from 84 votes
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Blueberry Lemon Pie Bars

A sweet and creamy lemon cheesecake filling bursting with blueberries sits atop a lemon shortbread crust with lemon shortbread crumbles on top.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time1 hour
Cooling/Chilling Time4 hours
Total Time5 hours 30 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 16 bars

Ingredients

SHORTBREAD CRUST

  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly

FILLING

  • 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 ounces (150g) yogurt or sour cream1
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (300g) blueberries fresh or frozen; if using frozen, do not thaw

Instructions

  • Position a rack in the center position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
  • Line an 8″ x 8″ (or 9" x 9") baking pan with foil. Leave an overhang on the sides. Set aside.

SHORTBREAD CRUST

  • Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and the lemon zest together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until combined.
    1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt, the zest of one lemon, 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • Reserve ¾ cup2 of the shortbread crust and place in the refrigerator or freezer until needed.
  • Press remaining crust evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes while you prepare the filling.

FILLING

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium sized bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese on high until smooth. Add the sugar and lemon zest and beat until smooth.
    8 ounces (225g) cream cheese, 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, zest of one lemon
  • Add the eggs, and continue beating until completely incorporated. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and salt and beat again. Finally, add the flour and beat one more time until just combined. Scrape down the sides as necessary before adding the blueberries, then gently fold in the blueberries with a large spatula.
    2 large eggs, 5 ounces (150g) yogurt or sour cream1, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour, 3 cups (300g) blueberries
  • Pour filling into prepared crust and add a few blueberries on top of filling. Remove reserved crust from refrigerator and crumble over top of the filling (you may need to separate into crumbs with a knife or fork). Sprinkle with additional sugar or course sugar, if desired. 
  • Bake bars for 55-60 minutes minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool at room temperature on a wire rack. When completely cool, chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • When bars are completely chilled, lift out of the pan using foil overhang and cut into squares. Top with lemon zest before serving, if desired. Bars can be stored covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Bars freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Video

Notes

  1. Yogurt or sour cream: you can use any kind of yogurt you like. I have used lemon, plain, and vanilla. I have no preference. Sour cream works great as well. 
  2. Reserved crust: be sure to reserve a measured ¾ cup and not ¾ of the whole crust.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 462IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1mg

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267 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this scrumptious recipe and they were a HUGE hit!! I don’t eat many sweets but I couldn’t stop eating these! One thing I would do different next time, and yes there will be MANY next times, is to use the smaller frozen blueberries or 2 cups large frozen blueberries. I had to bake them for an hour and 20 minutes which was possibly due to the juice in the blueberries. Still, they came out so yummy and tasty and everyone who tired them absolutely LOVED them!! Excellent recipe Lynn! Thank you so much for sharing it !!!

  2. Hello Lynn: I publish a small, monthly tabloid newspaper in Idaho. I accidentally ran across your amazing recipe and was thinking how great it would look in my recipes section for Easter. May I have your permission to publish the recipe and a photo in my March edition? I will give you full attribution, as well as a link to your website. It would also appear in my E-edition. Thanks in advance for your reply!

  3. Hi Lynn! I’m making these for my mom for mothers day and was wondering if you think they’d be okay to ship to her without putting them in some type of cooler?

    1. Hi! I’m not sure I would recommend that, as the filling is sort of cheesecake-y. I wouldn’t feel safe about that!

  4. Do you have to use the foil or can you just grease the bottom of the pan? I will be using glass pan to transport them.

    1. You can just grease the bottom of the pan if you prefer, but know that they will be much harder to cut and remove without it! Enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    I made these for my co-workers today and everyone raved about them! I made them in an 8×8 pan, and they were a bit thick. I’m wondering if these would work in a 9×13 pan? And if so, how would you adjust the cooking times?

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes! :o)

    1. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed them! They would probably work in a 9×13, but I’m unsure of the bake time. Probably start with 40-45 minutes and see where that gets you?

  6. Hi! I made these this week, but when I cut into them, the filling fell out everywhere, and it didn’t hold together. I did not beat in the sugar, yogurt, etc. I mixed them in with a spatula because your recipe said “mix” as opposed to “beat” earlier in the same instruction. If I had beat it all together, would it have whipped a little more and held together? It was pretty melty and messy, and the photos of your dessert here look pretty held together. I had it stored in the fridge and followed all the directions to a tee. Any ideas? It tasted wonderful, but I’d love for it to look a little nicer.

    1. Hi, Johanna! I’m sorry to hear they didn’t turn out for you. Since I wasn’t there, it’s impossible for me to know what went wrong, but based on the feedback from other readers, I would say that it’s likely something went wrong on your end with the ingredients. I have updated the recipe to be more clear that “mix” should be “beat,” but I am doubtful that was the problem. Did you add the right amount of yogurt? It sounds like you had too much moisture happening, as I myself (and, as I said, many readers) have made these plenty of times. I’d love for you to try again, insuring proper measurements and ingredients and letting me know if it works out better the next time!

    2. Hi made these for thanksgiving. But when cutting them they fell apart like there was too much filling. It wasn’t not formed like the picture and I followed the recipe exactly. I used a 8 x 8 pan and baked into for 55 min. My oven runs hot. I used frozen blueberries. Haven’t tasted it yet but it’s holding any shape

    3. Hi, Chris! Sorry to hear they didn’t work out. While my directions say 55-60 minutes, it could take more or less time for YOUR oven to bake YOUR bars. If you inserted a toothpick into the center and it came out clean, the bars should be done. Unless you forgot an ingredient, used lower fat cream cheese, or used too much liquid, I’m not sure I can tell you what went wrong.

    4. Hi no I used full fat cream cheese measured everything accurately and did put the toothpick in and it came out clean. But when I went to lift it out of the pan ( using the extra part of the foil) the dissert cracked in half. I wasn’t upset since I was going to cut the squares around this section. When I went to cut the square the center was very gooey not firm like your picture. I’m sure the taste will be good based on other reviews. How long is the longest you have had to bake this using a 8×8 pan? Another commentator said 1 hr and 20 min. Please give me your thoughts why these aren’t bars? Still looking forward to tasting them. Thanks

    5. I’ve only ever had to bake it an hour, and I’ve made this many many times. I’m not sure what else to tell you. If your toothpick came out fine, it should have been baked long enough to stay together, unless you omitted eggs completely.

  7. 5 stars
    These are simply delicious and were such a hit at work. I chilled overnight and when I went to cut them they were very hard to get off foil. Do you allow to sit at room temp before cutting or do you serve yours cold? Thank you for recipe Everyone is asking me for it.

    1. Hmm, I’ve never really had a problem getting the foil off, but I usually use heavy duty foil which is usually a bit thicker. Glad you were able to enjoy them anyway!

  8. 4 stars
    Hi, I made these for Easter this past weekend and they were a hit!!! I had the same problem that it seems a few others had though. I cooked them for almost an hour and a half, and my toothpick came out clean, but my bars were still very gooey and I was not able to cut them into bars, I had to serve this like a pie.

    Either way the recipe was delicious!!! I added a little extra lemon to mine and it was soooo good! Will definitely make again. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  9. Hello, I was wondering if I could bake it in a tart dish with removable bottom as I want to present it whole on a cake stand. Thank you in advance! 🙂

    1. I think that should work just fine, as long as it’s 8 or 9″ round. I’m unsure how bake time might affect this, so definitely check often. Let me know how it works out!

  10. I’m so excited to try these! I’m going to take your advice and make them 3 days ahead of time. Do you think I should keep them uncut in the fridge until I’m ready to serve them? Thanks!

  11. 5 stars
    I made these last night and they were unbelievable! My husband isn’t much of a dessert person, but he ate half of mine and his own and then asked me to make them for his birthday in December. 😂
    Just because I know other people look at alterations/ substitutions- I used plain, 5% fat Greek yogurt and upped the lemon juice by a teaspoon and lemon zest by a tablespoon-ish. I also used only 2 cups fresh blueberries.
    They turned out perfectly. Thank you!

    1. Hey, Branka! I’ve actually never frozen these before. I’d imagine they would freeze well, though. No longer than 2 months and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

  12. 5 stars
    These are the most requested dessert that I make, besides my New York Cheesecake. I just took them out of the oven and can’t wait to taste them. Everyone is asking ” are they cool yet !”. I’m doing my best to keep them from being cut while still warm….lol. This is a fantastic recipe. Thanks for posting.

  13. 5 stars
    I first used this recipe last year after picking fresh blueberries from a local farm, and oh my goodness is it amazing! This year I have already made 3 batches and am giving them as “friend” gifts during this pandemic. Everyone absolutely loves them and can’t wait until I make them again.

  14. Happy Mother’s Day! These look amazing! I’ve never baked before but I’ll be attempting to make these later today with my daughter to surprise my wife. Fingers crossed! I have a question about the Sugar in the Raw that you used for the “topping”. Would I be using it for the entire 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in the crust? Also I have both 8×8 and 9×9 pans, do you recommend one over the other? Thanks so much, have a great day!

    1. Hey, Pete! Thanks so much! You’ll only be using the Sugar In The Raw for sprinkling on top, if you want. It’s not required. You’ll use regular granulated sugar for the rest of the recipe. And either pan would be fine, but I always make mine in an 8×8. Enjoy!

    2. Thanks for the quick reply! That really helps, I would’ve blown it otherwise! I’ll keep you posted. Enjoy your day 🙂

  15. Do you serve these cold or room temp? Thank you!!
    *I’ve been looking for a unique blueberry lemon bar and I’m hoping these are it.

    1. Cold or room temp is fine– room temp will be a little “squishier,” but other than that, I have no preference!

    1. I would not do that. If you want to use lemon curd, I’d add maybe a Tablespoon to the whole thing, but I would not remove the yogurt altogether.

  16. 5 stars
    Made these to take to a friend’s dinner party and even not entirely cooled (mea culpa for not timing it well), they were a huge hit and everyone asked for the recipe. Will definitely make these again!