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In fact, I originally made these bars with Meyer lemons, so honestly, whatever kind of blueberries or lemons you can get your hands on, these bars should be on your list!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. Hi, Kari– I’m sure it could, but since I’ve never tested it, I’m not sure how to guide you. I recommend checking out my Oreo crust recipe and using that as a guide. Let me know if you try it!

  1. Hi – when you list “zest from one lemon”, that sounds like a lot of lemon with using two lemons total. Can you provide if this is correct – – using one lemon for the crust and one lemon for the filling? How much zest should be used when measuring it from one lemon? Thanks!

  2. It’s the end of blueberry season in our part of the country. I have frozen berries in freezer. Any recommendations…leaving them frozen? allowing to thaw?

    1. I always replace blueberries with blackberries- I’m not sure if the stores sell good ones this time of year, but I hope this helps with an idea! (:

  3. Have you ever substituted raspberries? Our raspberries are still producing and I can’t freeze anymore of them. Thinking I should cut back on lemon, if using raspberries. What do you think?

    1. Hi, Erin– I never have, but I get asked this A LOT, and it appears it works really well! I hope you try it– let me know if you do!

  4. 5 stars
    These are delicious…If you love cheesecake and blueberries this is a recipe for you. I made these for a church function and there wasn’t a crumb left….

  5. 5 stars
    These were absolutely delicious!!! I followed the recipe exactly as stated. I used a 9×9 dish. I didn’t use foil, just coconut oil spray and nothing stuck to the dish. They were crowd pleasers for sure! I was happy there were a few leftovers for me to enjoy the next day.

  6. These are in the oven right now and smell delightful! I wasn’t looking for such a thick bar – used 8×8. Looking for a small treat for a baby shower. Thoughts?

    1. Hi, Cheryl– I’m so excited to hear how you like them! If you want to, you can cut the crust recipe in half if you want to use this recipe but make it smaller. You could also halve the entire recipe and still put it in an 8X8 to make smaller pieces. Or, candy bar blondies are always a good idea– you can add in any candy/sprinkles you want to match specific decor/theme. Let me know if you need more suggestions!

  7. 5 stars
    These are delicious! Light, and refreshing. Not overly sweet either. The only problem I had was using foil to line the baking dish. I should have stuck with my gut and used the parchment but I followed the recipe. The shortbread completely stuck to the foil.

    1. Thanks so much! You’re not the first person to say that– I will include a note in the recipe card to reflect the better choice for some.

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe Lynn, I’ve made it twice this week! Delicious combination of flavors. Used meyer lemons, two more teaspoons of lemon juice in the filling. Done at 55 mins.

  9. This is in the oven. I forgot the foil! Pan is glass lightly buttered. Think it will lift out ok? Darn it. I was so focussed on doubling.

  10. 5 stars
    I doubled this to serve a larger group. Even though I forgot to line my pyrex 9 by 13 dish, i was able to get the squares to lift after letting the pan sit at room temp for about two hours. Everyone liked the taste, and the crumble topping was so good. I chilled the crumble topping in a square container and then grated it, pressing firmly on the side of a box grater.
    Next time I make it, (and there will be a next time, for sure), if it needs to be doubled, I will use two 8 or 9 inch square pans. It will be easier to serve, as the volume in the 13 by 9 was a bit too deep. Big thanks to Lynn for this lovely dessert.

  11. 5 stars
    These were a huge hit both with family and at work! I don’t normally go for lemon desserts, but I loved these. Thank you for sharing!
    I am trying to take these to an out of town event, where I’ll be staying in a hotel the night before, will these freeze well or should I just try to keep them refrigerated before serving them?

  12. 5 stars
    I love the taste of blueberries and lemon together, so I was excited to run across your recipe. Of course I had to try it the next day and they were delicious. The only issue I have is the size of the pan…. I want to make a 9 x 13! Wondering if I can double or adjust the ingredients? Next time, I’ll just make 2 9×9 pans. Thank you!

  13. Does the receipe for Blueberry Lemon Pie Bars have to be adjusted for high altitude baking? Recently moved to a higher elevation around 5000 ft and itis messing with a lot of my receipts.
    These look yummy need a desert for Mothers Day these look perfect. Thank you

    1. Hi, Diane– I don’t have any experience with high altitude baking, but I do know my BFF can make these in Salt Lake City, UT with no issue. Sorry I can’t be more helpful but I hope that helps a little!