This easy six-ingredient recipe for Lemon Cream Cheese Bars is an Allrecipes fan-favorite. Here's how to make them, with helpful tips from home cooks.

By Vanessa Greaves and Allrecipes Editors
Updated December 21, 2020
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Lemon Cream Cheese Bars on a plate
Credit: lutzflcat

Allrecipes home cook Pamela Souza LeBlanc submitted this recipe and says, "Nothing brings a recipe to life like fresh lemons! For a change of pace from the standard Southern-style lemon bars, you need to look no further! This recipe is easy and the taste is divine."

Recipe: Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent roll dough (such as Pillsbury® Recipe Creations®), divided
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced, divided
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Press 1 can crescent roll dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, stretching to the edges.
  3. Mix the zest of 1 1/2 lemons and juice from 2 lemons together in a bowl. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar into lemon zest mixture using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy; spread over crescent roll dough layer.
  4. Unroll the second can of crescent roll dough and layer over cream cheese mixture, gently stretching dough to the edges. Brush melted butter over crescent roll dough layer. Mix remaining lemon zest and 3 tablespoons sugar together in a bowl; sprinkle over butter.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Lift dessert from baking dish using foil; transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares, leaving on foil. Return dessert to the baking dish and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

Tried and True Tips from Allrecipes Home Cooks

Try this with the crust:

  • "I cook the bottom crust first, let it cool then layer the rest as stated. It keeps the bottom from being doughy." –rebecca
  • Cathy Green agrees: "I baked the bottom layer of dough first for 15 minutes, let it cool for 10 minutes then added the cream cheese filling and the top crust."
  • Substitute 6 sheets of Phyllo dough for each layer of crescent-roll dough, says Alaskafoodie.
  • llewonas used puff pastry instead of crescent dough, and loved the results.
  • Karen Kelleher suggests this treatment to keep the crust from getting soggy: "I placed Parchment paper [in the bottom of the pan], sprayed it lightly, placed the crescents as instructed. Then I beat a whole egg and "painted" the top of the bottom crust, added the filling, top crust I also painted with egg and topped with the sugar. Perfect! Glazed and shiny top, nice crisp bottom. Why? the egg cooks and makes a moisture barrier between the filling and the bottom crust."

Make it healthier:

  • Make it lower in fat and sugar by using reduced-fat cream cheese and Splenda, says lutzflcat.

Play with the flavor:

  • Maggie13 wanted a milder lemon flavor: "I used juice from only 1 lemon but the zest of two. It had just the right amount of lemon flavor. My lemons were rather large so I only used one." She also added about a half tsp of vanilla to cream cheese mixture.

Love lemons? Browse our complete collection of lemon dessert recipes.