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Lemon Cheesecake Bars with an Animal Cracker Crust

These Lemon Cheesecake Bars have a fun animal cracker crumb crust and they taste just amazing.

Bar recipes are some of my favorite desserts. They come together so quickly and are perfect for bake sales and pot luck dinners. 

We like any cheesecake recipes at our house.   I love to combine cream cheese in just about any baked goods. I love the creaminess of it and the decadence that it gives to the recipe.

Today it gets combined into a slice that will knock your socks off.These lemon cheesecake bars are unbelievably light and fluffy. They have a fun animal cracker crusts and are really easy to make.

My husband was first in line for this dessert. He loves any sweet treat with lemons in them.  If you enjoy using lemons too, be cure to check out my Gluten free lemon slice recipe. It’s amazing!

Making a crumb crust is very easy if you use a food processor. You can use all sorts of ingredients. Today I chose animal crackers. They have a slight sweetness to them and crumble up nicely, and this makes them the perfect base for these tart cheesecake bars.

My husband is very fond of lemon desserts, so this is a special treat for him. He’s been really helpful lately with all the DIY projects that I have been doing for spring and I wanted to treat him to his favorite. He loves the lightness of lemon desserts and this one is very light and fluffy.

Remember those fun little boxes that look like a circus car, filled with tiny animals?

Yup…they are going to end up on the bottom of these lemon cheesecake bars. How fun is that?  There is nothing like some animal crackers to make you feel like a kid again!

This lemon cheesecake bars recipe is very easy to make.

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Start by combining your animal crackers, cubed butter, sea salt and brown sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.

Making the animal cracker crust

Bake the crumb crust for about 10 minutes until it is lightly browned.  Cool it while you make the cheesecake filling.

Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat until it is fluffy and creamy.  Mix in the eggs, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar.

The mixture will be very lightly colored. If you want it to be a richer yellow, you can add a few drops of yellow gel food coloring. Spread the mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking pan.

Lemon cheesecake layer

Bake at 325 º F for about 40-45 minutes until the edges are starting to brown and the middle is set and no longer jiggly.

Baked lemon cheesecake bars

The bars will need to cool for an hour and then be placed in the fridge.  Don’t try to cut them for at least four hours.

(don’t ask why I know this!) Once they are completely cooled and set, cut them into bars.

lemon cheesecake bars

When I trimmed my bars to have straight edges, I saved some of the animal cracker crust to use as a light crumble on top.

Finally, a quick sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar gives a nice finishing touch.

Plate of lemon cheesecake bars

Time to taste them!

These delicious lemon cheesecake bars are sweet, creamy and full of the fresh taste of lemon juice. They make the perfect spring dessert. You won’t be able to stop eating these!

Every bite of these tangy/sweet bars have a crunch of the buttery animal crackers.

What a fun finish to creamy sweetness of the cheesecake. Bring them to a pot luck, or serve them after a fun barbecue. It’s finally spring!

Take a bite of these lemon cheesecake bars

Yield: 16

Lemon Cheesecake Bars with an Animal Cracker Crust

Lemon Cheesecake Bars with an Animal Cracker Crust
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


For the animal cracker crust:

  • 4 1/2 cups of animal crackers
  • 3/4 cup of butter, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 24 oz cream cheese at room temperature (3 packages)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • confectioner's sugar to sprinkle on the top


  • Preheat the oven to 350 º F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Place the animal crackers, butter, sea salt and brown sugar in a food processor. Pulse until it makes a crumb like texture. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
  • Reduce the oven to 325 º F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat your cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Add in the egg, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. The mixture will be light colored. You can add 1 to 2 drops of yellow gel food coloring if you want a more yellow colored bar.
  • Mix for 2-3 minutes until mixture is completely smooth.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled crust and bake in oven for 40-45 minutes until the edges are starting to brown and the middle is set.
  • Allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover and place in fridge for at least 3 hours, before slicing and serving.
  • When cooled and completely set, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, a bit of the reserved crumble and cut into bars
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    Julie Skalak

    Wednesday 8th of May 2019

    Are you sure this goes in a 9 x 13 pan? 4.5 cups of crackers is a lot. I thought 11x15 would be a better fit. Let me know.


    Wednesday 8th of May 2019

    Hi Julie. I made my bars in a 9 x 13 pan. I have not made them in a larger pan.

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