Blueberry Lemon Bars
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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.
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In fact, I originally made these bars with Meyer lemons, so honestly, whatever kind of blueberries or lemons you can get your hands on, these bars should be on your list!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.
So good – I don’t add the extra sugar or lemon zest on top. I think it is really sweet already and doesn’t need the extra sugar. Next time I’m going to try the Meyer lemon. I’ve made this three times now and they are always a hit.
Thanks so much, Jamie! I’m glad you love it as much as we do 🙂
This is by far my favorite and my family’s favorite summer desert!
i fortgot to give 5 stars!
Haha, thanks so much, Ashley!
Hello! Getting ready to make this today and I don’t have. A lemon to zest. Can I just add more lemon juice??
Hey, Abbie– I would not do that. Just leave it out, and know it won’t be as lemony as it’s intended to be!
Hi Lynn, can I use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil? Thank you😊
Of course! Enjoy, Joanie!
These were delicious! Very big hit. I used applesauce in place of eggs and didn’t add any extra sugar or zest on top. Making them again for sure!
Thanks so much, Sarah!
Love lemon. Love blueberries. LOVE this recipe. These were so, so, soooo good!! Definitely will be making these again.
Thank you so much, Nancy!
Made these bars when I found myself with lots of farmer’s market blueberries. Absolutely a hit! Will be making these again for sure.
Love this– thank you, Christina!
I forgot to add the aluminum foil at the bottom what do I do? 😩
Hey, Tyler– the bars should be fine, just a little more difficult to get out of the pan!
I made these yesterday from
screen shots I had taken of the instructions and didn’t put them in the fridge at all. They are going with me on a trip today out of town. Do they absolutely have to be refrigerated or did I just ruin this amazing recipe?! I had someone come over right after I got it out of oven so I missed the last sentence that says allow to cool and put in fridge 😔😭
They should be refrigerated because they’re made with dairy and also need to set up. How did it turn out?
This looks delicious! Is there nutritional info anywhere. I know, it’s probably a dumb question, but I’m counting calories and was wondering. 😆
I don’t provide that on my site, but you can always use a nutrition info calculator if you really want to know!
I did the full nutritional value of these last night so I could determine if I needed to use alt ingredients to make them fit within my macros for each day, and they have approx. 345 cal. per bar with 16 servings per sheet. I am in the midst of making these using stevia and Philadelphia’s Lightest… will update once they’re done!
Would love to hear it 🙂
recently made these after a blueberry picking session. one of the only times i’ve been publicly thanked during a crew meeting for leaving them for the day shift at work…
Love this, Maggie! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Wow! These were so delicious! Fresh and decadent, rich but also light and airy tasting. It sounds ridiculous using those adjectives together, but it’s true! I made these last week and my whole family loved them!
Thank you, Lucy!
My daughter made some for us, they were delicious!☺ 5/5
Thanks so much, Jen!
These were outstanding! My husband rated them a 10/10 and that was a first! Highly recommend and super easy to make!
Thank you SO much, Tara!
Amazing! Made a simple lemon glaze and drizzled over top. It was perfect. Not too sweet and the filling was the perfect texture
Thanks so much, Grace!
These look amazing! Do you have any tips for making these gluten free? 1:1 flour versus almond flour? Any other ingredients to modify or add if using 1:1 flour or almond flour?
Hi, Lauren! I know folks have made these with GF flour at a 1:1 sub with no issue. Let me know if you try it!
Hi, Lynn! Have you made these with yogurt that is not Greek style? What I use has a great lemon flavor but is looser style yogurt.
Hi, Erin– I have not. But I’d bet it probably works just fine. Let me know if you try it!
I made this yesterday, took it into work today… DELICIOUS!! Coworkers loved it too
Thank you so much, Kathleen!