These sweet and tangy lemon cheesecake squares are not only easy to make but also taste divine! After all, nothing brings a recipe to life better than fresh lemons!
This delightful dessert recipe has been passed down through many decades in our family and remains a consistent favorite. Another classic family recipe you will want to try are my Mom's Date Squares!
Lemon Cheesecake Squares bring together the best of both worlds, combining the lemony flavors of a classic lemon square with the tangy richness of a cheesecake. The creamy texture balances out the sweetness of the sugar, resulting in exceptionally flavorful squares.
What I love most about these squares is that you can whip them up in no time using ingredients that are likely already staples in your kitchen.
The moist and perfectly textured crust is created from a simple cake mix. The base is topped off with a creamy lemon-infused cheesecake filling, then topped with a crumbled mix of the base layer. These zesty Lemon Cheesecake Squares are a treat that is sure to impress without adding any extra stress to your day.
Cake Mix: I use Betty Crocker lemon cake mix for this recipe. However, if you prefer a milder lemon flavor, you can also achieve great results by using a vanilla cake mix.
* Note: cake mix sizes seem to have changed these past few years. This recipe calls for a 15.25 oz or 432 gram box.
Cream Cheese: For the creamiest filling I use full-fat cream cheese, but low-fat will work as well. It is important to allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature before preparing this recipe. This will make it easier to incorporate into the other ingredients, resulting in a smoother and more evenly mixed cheesecake batter. Cold cream cheese can be clumpy and challenging to blend, which may lead to lumps or uneven distribution in the final dish.
Lemon Juice: I only use freshly squeezed lemon juice in this recipe for superior lemon zest flavor.
Sugar: White granulated sugar is used in this recipe.
Eggs: I usually use large eggs for this recipe, although you can also use medium-sized eggs if needed.
Cooking Oil: I prefer the light taste of canola oil, but any oil will work.
To make the cake crust, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Using a medium mixing bowl, beat the dry cake mix, 1 egg, and oil on low speed until just mixed and crumbly (about 30-45 seconds). Pour 2 cups of loosely packed mixture into a greased 9 x 1 1 inch baking pan. Pack the mixture evenly into the bottom of the dish to form the crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and 1 egg until the mixture becomes light and smooth. Once the crust from Step 1 is ready, spread the cream cheese filling over the crust.
Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the cheesecake layer. Bake for an additional 30 minutes until top is golden brown. Allow the lemon cheesecake bars to chill for at least 60 minutes in the refrigerator before cutting into bars to serve.
Lemon Cheesecake Squares
Part 1 (crust and crumble topping)
- 1 box lemon cake mix 15.25 ounce/ 432 grams
- 4 ½ tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large egg
Part 2 cream cheese filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9 x 11 cake pan with butter.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat the dry cake mix from the box, 1 egg, and oil on low speed until just mixed and crumbly (about 30-45 seconds).
- Add 2 cups of loosely packed mixture evenly into prepared baking dish. Press down firmly.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and 1 egg until the mixture becomes light and smooth.
- Once the baked crust is ready, spread the cream cheese filling over the crust.
- Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top.
- Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Allow the squares to chill for at least 60 minutes in the refrigerator before cutting into squares to serve.