Fig Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Fig Lemon Cheesecake Bars combine two favorites: a perfectly lemon tart cheesecake and a tangy fig filling. With a crispy oatmeal base, these easy homemade cheesecake bars are a dessert for all seasons. Makes 16 bars.

a close up of a lemon cheesecake bar with fig preserves on a white plate in front of figs and lemon wheels

2024 Update: This recipe was originally shared in December 2012. The recipe and post include new photos, as well as more tips and tricks. I hope you love these bars!

This post contains affiliate links.

Fig Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe 

Ever been that person in your crowd who was crazy picky about food? I was totally that person. 

Case in point: I didn’t even try cheesecake until I was 19. I was under the impression that I didn’t like cream cheese, so when I went out to a nice restaurant with friends to celebrate a birthday, I found myself in an interesting predicament: 

Should I order the cheesecake, as it was the only dessert offered at the restaurant? Or did I confess to my friends that I’d never had it and probably hated it and not eat dessert at all?

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    I chose the first option, grimacing when my slice came out but pasting a smile on my face as we all dug into our cheesecake after a rousing round of, “Happy Birthday.” After one bite, I immediately changed my tune, never again implying I wasn’t a cheesecake fan.

    Since that fateful dinner, I’ve been tinkering with all sorts of cheesecake recipes.

    These Lemon Fig Cheesecake Bars are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Creamy, lightly lemony cheesecake on top of fig preserves on top of an oatmeal-based crust. IT IS SO GOOD.

    Why I love this recipe:

    If you like fresh lemon desserts, listen up. And if you happen to like cheesecake and figs, too, this is just the dessert for you. 

    These are easy lemon cheesecake bars. Because making cheesecake in bar form is far less complicated than making a classic cheesecake. No springform pan, aluminum foil wrap and no hot water bath necessary!

    Here are a few more reasons I adore them and think you will, too:

    • They are the perfect dessert for the summertime, but they’d also be welcome on a holiday season dessert tray.
    • They are utterly scrumptious, with layers of a tart creamy filling and tangy fig jam over a crunchy oatmeal crust. It is the perfect combination of flavors and textures.
    • I originally made these for Christmas, but honestly, they’re fabulous year-round. I can see these flying off the table at a potluck during the summer… though they’ve got to be kept cold before serving.

    More bar dessert recipes to try: Classic Lemon Bars | Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | Boozy Bacon Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars | Mint Smores Bars | Ooey Gooey Bars | Orange Cranberry Bars | Drunken Pecan Pie Bars | Cranberry Crumb Bars

    bowls of ingredients to make cheesecake bars with lemon and figs on a pink surface with a white and grey striped linen

    What you need to make this recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Ingredients

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    For the crust, you’ll need: 

    • Unsalted butter — if all you have is salted, reduce the amount of salt in the crust. 
    • Brown sugar — don’t substitute white sugar here. 
    • All-purpose flour — we like to use unbleached AP flour in our household, but the regular kind works, too. I have not tried this with a gluten free flour blend, so I do not recommend making that swap.
    • Rolled oats — these are different from quick cooking oats. Rolled oats are also called old-fashioned oats. 
    • Kosher salt — you can sub a sea salt here if you prefer. 

    And for the filling, you’ll need: 

    • Fig preserves or fig jam — you can buy fig preserves at most supermarkets or the farmers market. Or you can make your own: I have a great recipe for orange fig preserves that works well in this citrusy recipe. You could also use plain homemade fig preserves.
    • Cream cheese — use real, whole fat cream cheese, not low-fat or Neufchâtel cheese. 
    • Granulated sugar — don’t use brown sugar here. It will change the color of your cheesecake and it won’t bake up right. 
    • Eggs — always do an egg test before you bake with eggs. I use large eggs from the store and bring them to temperature on the countertop for 20-30 minutes before using them in any recipe.
    • Pure vanilla extract — always buy the best vanilla extract you can afford. It truly makes a difference in the final product. 
    • Lemons — you need this for zest and juice! Don’t skimp — get the real thing for the best lemon flavor. 

    Customizations and substitutions

    You can easily make these into another flavor of cheesecake bars. The lemony flavor of the cheesecake filling would be a great match for strawberry, raspberry, cherry or blueberry preserves.

    To switch things up, you could always use another kind of crust on this cheesecake bar recipe, like a graham cracker crust

    brown sugar and a stick of butter in a bowl on a pink surface

    How to make the oatmeal crust

    Before we make the cheesecake, we need to start with the crust.

    This is not a traditional graham cracker crust, like you find with many homemade cheesecakes and cheesecake bars. (If you want to make the crust with graham cracker crumbs, check out my graham cracker crust recipe here.) Instead, it’s made with oats, which give it a nice chew.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

    Spray an 8″x8″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. You may also line it with a parchment paper sling to help lift the bars out of the baking dish. That’s what I did here.

    creamed brown sugar and butter in a bowl on a pink surface

    For the crust, add the butter and brown sugar to a medium bowl.

    Beat at a medium speed with a hand or stand mixer until creamed, about 2-3 minutes.

    oats, flour and salt sit on top of creamed butter and sugar in a bowl on a pink surface

    Add the flour, oats and salt to the mixture gradually at a low speed. Mix until just combined.

    the pressed crust into a baking sheet on a pink surface before baking

    Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Do this gently.

    You may use a flat-bottomed measuring cup or another tool to evenly press the mixture to form the crust.

    Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, get out all your ingredients for the top layers. 

    a close up of the baked crust

    How to make Fig Lemon Cheesecake Bars

    Next, we add the figs, make the the creamy cheesecake filling and bake these bars.

    fig preserves on top of a crust in a square baking pan on a pink surface

    Spoon the preserves onto the hot crust immediately after it comes out of the oven. Spread gently to cover the crust evenly. 

    This will make spreading the preserves significantly easier. 

    the combined cream cheese and sugar in a bowl on a pink surface

    To make the lemon cheesecake filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl, beating on a low speed until blended.

    You may also do this in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. This might also be possible in a food processor, though I have not tried that.

    Add the eggs, and mix well.

    Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, folding into the batter until smooth.

    the final lemon cheesecake filling mixture in a bowl on a pink surface

    Pour this creamy cheesecake layer over the fig layer.

    cheesecake filling on top of a crust before baking in a square baking pan on a pink surface

    Bake lemon cheesecake bars for 20-23 minutes or until set. Depending on how hot your oven runs, it might take a little longer. They should be not be jiggly when they are ready to come out of the oven. 

    Remove the pan to cool on a rack and cool to room temperature before cutting into bars. Cover and refrigerate, then enjoy!

    baked cheesecake bars in a square pan

    Cutting cheesecake bars

    If you want bakery-level cheesecake bars, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. 

    • Use a sharp knife and keep some paper towels or a kitchen towel nearby. After each cut, carefully wipe down the blade before making another cut. 
    • If you don’t like the edges showing, you can cut the edges off all four sides first. 
    • To make neat squares, make a cut down the middle, then gauge the halfway point of the two new sections for the next two cuts. Then give the pan a quarter-turn 90° and repeat in the other direction. 
    • For an 8×8” pan, the bars should be about 2” square to make 16 bars. You can use a baking mat with ruler guides on it to help guide your cuts. 

    How to store:

    These cheesecake bars are best kept in the fridge in an airtight container. They are best fresh, but they will keep for up to a week. 

    Per the USDA FoodKeeper app, the official recommendation is eating cheesecake within 5-7 days after baking. 

    close up of sliced lemon fig cheesecake bars on parchment

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    • Serve them with lemony goodness like lemon tea cakes or some cherry lemon tea.
    • Garnish them with fresh mint leaves, fresh whipped cream, candied lemons or a snazzy lemon twist.
    • Keep them in the fridge or in a cooler right up until you serve them. Cream cheese should not be out of the fridge for more than an hour. 
    a fork cuts into a cheesecake bar with fig and lemon on a white plate

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you tell if cheesecake bars are set? 

    Do the jiggle test. They should be not be jiggly at all when they are ready to come out. If it is still very jiggly, it needs more time in the oven. 

    How long do cheesecake bars keep? 

    Cheesecake bars should be stored in the fridge and enjoyed within five to seven days.

    How do you cut cheesecake bars neatly? 

    Use a sharp knife and keep some paper towels or a kitchen towel nearby. After each cut, carefully wipe down the blade. If you don’t like the edges showing, you can cut the edges off all four sides first. 

    Then, to make neat squares, make a cut down the middle, then gauge the halfway point of the two new sections for the next two cuts. Then give the pan a quarter-turn 90° and repeat in the other direction. For an 8×8” pan, the bars should be about 2 inches square to make 16 bars. 

    three lemon cheesecake bars with fig on white plates with figs and lemons and a striped linen on a wooden surface with pink

    Quick tips and tricks to making the best Fig Lemon Cheesecake Bars

    • To keep the bars looking neat, try to press the crust into an even layer. When you spread the fig jam, try to keep it even, too. Before putting the bars in the oven, gently spread it with a knife or offset spatula to spread the cheesecake filling. 
    • They should be not be jiggly at all when they are ready to come out. 
    • Cut off the edges of the bars before you slice into 16 pieces for perfect square bars. 

    More fig recipes:

    Here’s how you make these bars…

    a close up of a lemon cheesecake bar with fig preserves on a white plate in front of figs and lemon wheels

    Lemon Fig Cheesecake Bars

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Lemon Fig Cheesecake Bars are a perfectly lemon tart cheesecake over a crisp, oatmeal crust and fig filling. These cheesecake bars are a dessert for all seasons
    5 from 1 vote
    Servings 16 bars
    Calories 237 kcal
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour

    Ingredients
      

    Crust

    • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
    • ¼ cup brown sugar 50g
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour 60g
    • ½ cup rolled oats 70g
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

    Filling

    • ¾ cup fig preserves 240g
    • 12 oz. cream cheese softened
    • ¾ cup granulated sugar 150g
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4g
    • 1 tablespoon lemon zest 3g (about 1 large lemon)
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    Make and bake the crust

    • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and spray an 8"x8" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
    • For the crust, measure out the butter and brown sugar. Beat at a medium speed with an electric mixer until creamed, about 2-3 minutes.
    • Add the flour, oats and salt to the mixture gradually at a low speed. Mix until just blended, then press onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
    • Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
    • Spoon the preserves onto the hot crust immediately after it comes out of the oven. Spread gently to cover the crust evenly.

    Make the filling

    • Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl, beating on a low speed until blended.
    • Add the eggs, and mix well. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice, folding into the batter until smooth. Pour over the fig layer.
    • Bake the cheesecake bars for 20-23 minutes or until set. (Depending on how hot your oven runs, it might take a little longer.)
    • Remove the pan to cool on a rack and cool to room temperature before cutting into bars.
    • Cover and refrigerate, then enjoy!

    Notes

    Makes about 16 bars.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1barCalories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 3gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 116mgPotassium: 66mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 493IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 0.5mg
    Keyword baking recipe, bar dessert, cheesecake bar recipe, cheesecake bars, dessert, lemon dessert
    Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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