Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these adorable, incredibly delicious Rainbow Lemon Cheesecake Bars. A lemon oreo crust is topped with a simple lemon cheesecake filling then swirled with all the colors of the rainbow.
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**Update: This post has been updated since its original post date in 2017. Photos and text have been updated. The recipe remains the same.
How fun are these cheesecake bars?! And they are made even better by the double dose of lemon flavor throughout them.
If you’re looking for a fun dessert for St. Patrick’s Day, pride celebrations or just because, these Rainbow Lemon Cheesecake Bars are just what you need.
Ingredients for Rainbow Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Lemon Oreos make up the crust to give an extra dose of lemon flavor. If you can’t find lemon Oreos, you can use the golden ones instead and add a little lemon zest to the crumb mixture.
Why Gel Food Coloring?
There are a few reasons I love and exclusively use gel food coloring. The first, the colors are so bright and vibrant. You can’t get that kind of color with the standard liquid food coloring.
Second, you need verrrry little to get that vibrant color. You literally need the tiniest drop to get a vibrant color.
Lastly, the texture isn’t affected by the addition of gel food coloring. When you use liquid, you have to add a lot which can affect the texture and cooking of a batter. No need to worry about that with gel food coloring.
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This means the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs.
Why? It makes that cheesecake filling incredibly creamy and leaves no lumps behind.
If you forget to get your eggs out, no worries. Add them to a bowl of very warm water and leave them for 5 to 10 minutes. This will bring them to room temperature quickly.
How to Make Rainbow Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Start by crushing the Oreos for the crust. You can do this in a food processor or put them in a bag and use a rolling pin or mallet to crush into fine crumbs.
Once you have fine crumbs, mix in the melted butter and press into a grased 8×8 pan. You can also line the pan with foil or parchment paper to make it easy to remove the bars from the pan. Also less clean up.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the cheesecake filling.
Cream the cream cheese and sour cream together. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Add the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
Grab 6 small bowls and add 3 tablespoons of cheesecake filling to each bowl. Color each bowl with a color of the rainbow.
ROYGBIV – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
Pour the remaining undyed filling over the baked crust. Dollop the colors all over the top of the cheesecake then use a toothpick or butter knife to swirl the colors around. Don’t mix too much or the colors will start to look muddy.
Make sure to watch the video to see the step by step instructions.
Bake until they just barely jiggle in the middle. The edges will be set. Allow to cool then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
Make These for All the Occasions
These aren’t just for St. Patrick’s Day. You can switch up the colors to make them perfect for any occasion. Here’s some fun twists for these cheesecake bars:
More Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day
Rainbow Lemon Cheesecake Bars
For the Crust:
- 18 lemon Oreos
- 2 Tbsp. melted butter
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple food gel coloring
- For the crust: preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Crush Oreos into fine crumbs (I use my food processor). Combine with the melted butter and press into a foil lined 8×8 pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and make the cheesecake filling.
- In a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth and well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla bean paste and mix until just combined.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture to 6 separate small bowls. Color each bowl with the food coloring to make red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Pour the remaining uncolored cheesecake mixture to the prepare crust and smooth out. Dollop the colored cheesecake mixtures all over the cheesecake in random patterns. Using a toothpick, swirl to create patterns. Be careful not to mix up too much or the colors could be muddy looking.
- Once you are happy with your rainbow, place back in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until just barely golden at the edges and the middle has a very slight jiggle. Allow to cool completely at room temperature then keep covered and refrigerated.