These Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Squares feature a creamy lemon cheesecake filling with a raspberry swirl on a homemade graham cracker crust.
One of my goals for this year has been to go back and update some older posts of mine. I originally posted the recipe for these Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Squares back in May of 2014, just a couple weeks after I started my blog.
I wanted to update the photos and rework the recipe just a little bit to make it even better. I couldn’t help but share these easy cheesecake bars with you because they’re so delicious and beautiful! You can easily swap out the raspberries for another berry like strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries.
Between the homemade buttery graham cracker crust, the creamy lemon cheesecake filling, and the raspberry swirl it’s almost impossible to eat just one of these bars. I’m just speaking from experience over here.
Ingredients for This Recipe
The raspberry swirl cheesecake bars have three components: the graham cracker crust, the cheesecake filling, and the raspberry swirl. Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Graham crackers: You’ll need either nine full-sheet graham crackers, or 1 and 1/4 cups of pre-made graham cracker crumbs.
- Butter: I always use unsalted butter in my baked goods because the amount of salt in salted butters varies between brands.
- Granulated sugar: Balances out the tart raspberry swirl and lemon juice.
- Cream cheese: Use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Light cream cheese is too runny and the bars won’t set properly if you use it.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla delivers the best flavor.
- Lemon juice and zest: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a must. If you prefer a stronger lemon flavor, add extra zest and not more juice.
- Eggs: Need to be at room temperature before making the filling. If you forgot to set them out ahead of time, place them in a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temperature.
- Raspberries: You can use fresh or frozen raspberries. They get cooked down before being swirled into the cheesecake filling, so it doesn’t matter which you use!
How to Make Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
The base of this recipe starts out with a simple homemade graham cracker crust, a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. You’ll press it into the pan and bake it for about 10 minutes while you make the filling and raspberry swirl.
For the filling, you’ll be using some cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a couple of eggs.
When it comes to making a good cheesecake, always make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. Not only will it make everything easier to mix together, but you’ll end up with a much smoother filling. Just be sure to set the cream cheese and eggs out ahead of time and let them come to room temperature.
Once you make the filling, you’ll make the raspberry swirl. The swirl is just a simple mixture of raspberries and a little bit of sugar. I suggest straining the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds before you add it to the cheesecake.
Then, you’ll pour the filling on top of the graham cracker crust and swirl the raspberry mixture on top.
Can I Prepare This Recipe in Advance?
Yes! Since the bars need to cool completely and chill for a few hours, this is a wonderful recipe to make ahead of time. I prefer to make these the night before, refrigerate them overnight, and dessert is ready to go the next day!
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before getting started, including your eggs. This will ensure a much smoother cheesecake filling with no lumps.
- One medium lemon will usually give you about 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of zest. I suggest using at least 2 medium sized lemons so you have enough lemon juice for the recipe.
- You can easily replace the raspberries in this recipe with another berry like strawberries, blackberries, or even blueberries.
More Easy Cheesecake Desserts to Make!
- Blackberry Cheesecake Bars
- Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
- No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
- Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes
Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Squares
For the crust:
- 9 full-sheet (135 grams) graham crackers (or 1 and ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs)
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) butter , melted
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
For the cheesecake filling:
- 16 ounces brick-style cream cheese , softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon (1 tablespoon)
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
For the raspberry swirl:
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) raspberries
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
To make the crust:
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal. Set aside.
- Place the graham crackers in a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Scoop the crumbs into a mixing bowl, add in the melted butter and sugar, and stir well until well combined.
- Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and firmly press it down into one even layer.
- Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Keep oven temperature at 325°F.
To make the cheesecake filling:
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.
- Add in the sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest and continue mixing until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in one egg at a time on low speed until just combined.
- Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the graham cracker crust.
To make the raspberry swirl
- Place the raspberries and sugar in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain the raspberry puree through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove any seeds.
- Spoon the raspberry mixture in different spots on top of the filling, then use a knife to gently swirl.
- Bake at 325°F for about 35 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake is set.
- Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Cut into squares and enjoy!