Blueberry Lemon Bars
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.
A sweet and creamy lemon cheesecake filling bursting with blueberries sits atop a lemon shortbread crust with lemon shortbread crumbles on top.
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.
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?
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.
In fact, I originally made these bars with Meyer lemons, so honestly, whatever kind of blueberries or lemons you can get your hands on, these bars should be on your list!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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But in these lemon blueberry cheesecake bars with shortbread crust? I’ll reach for them every time.
In the mood for some other portable square snacks? Try my fluffernutter bars, Key lime pie bars, Meyer lemon bars, piña colada bars, or candy bar blondies next!
More Favorites from Fresh April Flours
Blueberry Lemon Pie Bars
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reserved crust: be sure to reserve a measured ¾ cup and not ¾ of the whole crust.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
Looks delicious BUT am I the only one that has to literally double the baking time ??? This is crazy. It’s still cooking after 90 minutes . It needs a larger pan or something . For this reason I would not make again and I haven’t even tasted it yet .
Hey, Tembra– I’m not sure what to tell you. I’ve had some folks report longer baking times and a runny filling but more often than not, nothing but positive reviews. And I can tell you of all the recipes on my blog, I’ve made this one the most and only ever have to bake them an hour at most. It’s impossible for me to tell you what, if anything, went wrong without being there.
While eating these my dad texted me to say he could hear angels singing! I doubled the recipe to drop off at grandparents, parents, and in-laws’ homes during these quarantimes and they were a huge hit and bright spot in everyone’s weekends! I found this recipe easy to follow and was super pleased with the results. Will definitely make these again!
Thanks so much, Liz! Give your dad an extra thank you from me, please 🙂
Sooo good! The shortbread crust and topping is perfect. I changed it a bit by adding some lemon juice to the crust as well and by adding a few more teaspoons of lemon juice to the filling because I enjoy a more heavier lemon flavor. Also I highly recommend using noosas lemon yogurt for the filling! The one I used was a few more ounces than it called for but it still was delicious 👍 overall a really fun and relatively easy to put together dessert!
Thanks for sharing your subs, Sam! So glad you enjoyed them!
Made these last night and they were delicious!
And refrigerating overnight, they were even better the next day.
Highly recommend – thanks for the great recipe.
Thanks for letting me know, Rocky! I’m so glad you liked it.
These are amazing! Came out so delicious. I made them ahead of time and they tasted so much better after chilling in the fridge overnight.
Thanks so much, Ella! Glad you enjoyed them.
I couldn’t find lemon greek yogurt this time at the store but I found regular Lemon flavored Noosa yogurt instead. It seemed to turn out fine though. Is their a reason you say greek yogurt? BTW, great recipe! Thank you!
Hi, Christina– no real reason it says Greek other than that’s what I always use. Sounds like it doesn’t really matter, so I’m glad what you used didn’t make much of a difference 🙂
This looks so good! What a great way to enjoy the taste of pie without having to make a crust!
Thanks for sharing! Can you freeze them?
See step 4!
Made these for my son and now this is his favorite dessert. He requested them today and they are in the oven. Everyone who tries them loves them and asks for the recipe. Great dessert, thanks for posting it.
I just made this recipe. Your proportions on the shortbread crust are off. I made it as you indicated and there was so much butter pouring out of the dough, it was unusable. And…if I took off 3/4 of the dough to use as the topping, I was left with hardly any dough to press into the pan. As you indicated, I rechecked the shortbread crust recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it is as follows: 1/2 cup butter (not 1 cup) for a 9×13 pan. Your recipe is 1 cup of butter for an 8×8 pan. No wonder there was an excess of butter. I dumped that dough (wasting 1 lb of butter), and remade it, but creamed the butter instead. I still ended up using more butter than I should have but at least the dough was not oozing butter. I think also, the lemon flavor needs to be boosted up. 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with 8 oz of cream cheese is not sufficient. I realized you use lemon flavored yogurt, but not all lemon flavored yogurts are that lemony and they can also be kind of an artificial flavor. Plus I found it difficult to find lemon Greek yogurt. Hope this helps.
Hi, Orah– thanks for taking the time to leave your comment. First off, you are to reserve 3/4 CUP of the dough, not 3/4 of the dough itself. This leaves something like 1 and 1/2 cups for the bottom crust. And I’m not sure which recipe of hers you checked, because I used the lemon bars from her book (which she also published on her website here) and both places indicate 1 cup (2 sticks) for the crust. Whether the crust is in a 9×13 or 8×8, it’s still the same amount of butter, and only the thickness of the crust will change from pan to pan.
Thanks for your reply and the clarification. I just tried to find the recipe I saw of Sally’s and now I am unable to locate it. Why then was there so much butter oozing out of my dough and my dough looked like a dough for cream puffs. It did not look like a shortbread crust, which I have made enumerable times. How can the amount of dough using 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of flour be enough for a 9×13 pan when it is for an 8×8 pan. That does not compute in my book. Thanks again.
Hey, Orah– I linked Sally’s post in my comment, so you can find it there. It’s the crust from her lemon bars, which are a thin bar dessert. The crust on my blueberry lemon pie bars is much thicker, on purpose. It’s just a matter of how thick you want the crust.
Orah, it sounds like you misunderstand butter measurements – easy to do!
1 stick =1/2 cup = 1/4 lb
2 sticks = 1 cup = 1/2 lb
4 sticks = 2 cups = 1 lb
You say you wasted 1lb of butter when you dumped the dough, so it sounds like you used twice the butter called for in the recipe.
I love the look of this recipe;haven’t fixed it yet but looks amaaazing
I made this yesterday and it turned out PERFECTLY!!! I couldn’t find lemon Greek yogurt but used yoplait and it still turned out beautifully (was worried it would be runny, but nope!). The strudel topping was such a great touch – big hit in this house!
Thanks so much, Erin! I’m so glad you liked them!
These were fabulous. I’m not a baker, but everything seemed to go smoothly and everyone enjoyed them!
Thank you so much, Donna!
I made this gluten and dairy free and it turned out amazing. Baked a bit longer than stated. Definitely will make this many times again!! Everyone loved it,
Thanks so much, Gwen!
What did you use to make gluten & dairy free? Please share! Thanks 😊
Amazing dessert! I made it the first time as it was written but the shortbread crust was tough and hard. I realized that you don’t melt the butter when you make shortbread so I did a second dessert just kneading in unmelted butter. Perfection!! I had so many compliments.
Thanks so much, Jane!
Love these! I’ve made them multiple times over the years and they are always great. I’ve never been able to find lemon Greek yogurt so I just use regular lemon yogurt or vanilla. I increase the lemon juice because I love lemon, and right now I have 3 pans going- one blueberry, one raspberry, and one blackberry. Can’t wait for them to come out!
I love this, Jen! Thanks so much for sharing!
Is it possible to leave out the lemons? My hubbie doesn’t like lemons. or are you not able to really taste it? Can’t wait to make this.
Hey, Nikki– of course! I would still use the lemon juice in the filling portion as the lemon juice is imperative to help the filling set. But it won’t taste like lemon!
This recipe is my son’s favorite dessert. when he sees that I purchased blueberries he knows he’s getting these baked for him. I love this recipe, it always comes out perfect. thanks for a terrific recipe.
That makes me so happy, Elaine! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
This is the second time I’ve made these and they turned out perfectly again! The recipe is easy to follow and although I put in waaaay too many blueberries (my own fault, I eyeballed), it only made these bars tastier. Baked for 90 minutes exactly and the consistency was perfect and the shortbread crumble on top was nice and golden brown. Love how reliable these recipes are!
Thank you so much, Erin! I appreciate you 🙂
These are sooooo good and so easy to make! My family loves them and has asked for them again!
Thank you so much, Lisa!! xoxo