A rich, crumbly and buttery graham cracker base topped with a smooth, creamy and zesty cheesecake-like topping. These really are the best healthy lemon bars in the world, no questions asked! This recipe has got all essential ingredients you need to make a crazy delicious dessert with a few lighter substitutions because healthy is always better!
Cheesecake-style desserts like these healthy lemon bars are actually really easy to make lower in calories, fat and sugar. So cheesecake lovers, rejoice! All you’ve got to do is swap out full-fat cream cheese and heavy cream for low-fat cream cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt. This way, you get all the amazing texture of a velvet-like cheesecake, but with a fraction of the bad stuff.
The base isn’t quite as easy to make healthy, though. Sure, you could grind down some nuts or even use baked oatmeal to make a base for these healthy lemon bars, but the results aren’t quite right. When I want dessert, I want dessert! Not a re-hash of something I have for breakfast.
That’s why the base for these healthy lemon bars is a simple butter and graham cracker crumb combo. I’ve reduced the butter a bit and cut down on the graham crackers to make it as healthy as possible, but that’s all I changed. When it comes to dessert bases, nothing beats the good ol’ graham cracker crust, right?
But anyway, you should be treating yourself because you made it all the way through a long, long winter and now it’s spring! You could spend your time doing some spring cleaning or planting a herb garden, but I think your time will be better spent whipping up these healthy lemon bars, don’t you?
I love these healthy lemon bars just as they are, packed full of zesty citrus flavor. But if you like to mix other fruit in with your lemons, you’ll love these lemon raspberry cheesecake bars! Or if you’re not big on raspberries, you could always drizzle some melted white chocolate on top (yum!) or even up the lemon ante and make a sweet lemon icing to cover them with (double yum!) Although you might have to drop the word “healthy” if you do that…
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5-6 full sheet graham crackers)
- 6oz low-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 3/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt at room temperature
- 2 medium eggs at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- lemon slices for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a 9" square baking tin with parchment paper. Stir the butter and crushed graham crackers together until the crumbs have absorbed all the liquid. Tip the crumbs into the lined baking tin and press down with the back of a spoon to form the base.
Place the baking tin in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set to one side.
While the base is baking, beat the cream cheese, yogurt, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice together until totally combined. Pour onto the baked base and return to the oven for another 25 minutes, until the edges are fully set, but the centre still wobbles a little bit.
Remove the bars from the oven and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Transfer the bars to the fridge to chill for a minimum of 4 hours then slice into 9 squares. Top with lemon slices before serving, if desired.