traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bars

No-bake lemon cheesecake bars. This is a proper, old-school, retro recipe, made with cream cheese, evaporated milk and lemon jelly (or jello, for my US readers). See, I told you it was properly retro!

But, you know what, it still tastes good. And it’s quick and easy to make. So it’s perfect for a simple summer dessert.

When I was younger (back through the mists of time), this was what I considered to be cheesecake. I’m not even sure at what stage I discovered baked cheesecake. Nevertheless, even if this is not the most modern recipe, sometimes a classic can still be a winner!

You may spot that there aren’t any ‘before’ or ‘during’ photographs in the recipe this time, but, to be honest, they weren’t that exciting, so I left them out.  Digestive biscuit crumbs and lemon cheesecake mix don’t make the most interesting pictures! Finished lemon cheesecake bars…well, that’s a little more useful!

These bars are tangy and smooth and set nicely to enable you to cut them into neat slices. And they get the all-important seal of approval from Little Miss Traybakes!


8oz/225g/2 cups digestive biscuits/graham crackers, crushed

4oz/110g/1 stick butter

1 packet lemon jelly/jello (I used a 3oz/85g packet)

1 pack cream cheese (8oz/225g)

1 small tin evaporated milk (I used a 5oz can)

1 tbsp juice + zest of 1 lemon

3oz/85g/⅓ cup sugar


1.  Before you start, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature as this will make it a lot easier to work with.

2.  Melt the butter. Add to the crushed digestives and mix well. Press firmly into a traybake tin and place in the fridge for an hour or two to set.

3.  Dissolve the jelly in ½ cup (4 fl oz/120ml) hot water and set aside to cool a little.

4.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth then add the sugar, lemon juice + zest and evaporated milk and mix well.  Next, slowly add the lemon jelly mixture and beat until it’s all incorporated.

5.  Spread over the biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge.

6.  Slice and enjoy!

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  1. How do you manage to cut them in such a perfect shape?

  2. what size tin do you use please

  3. Hi, what kind of sugar fo you use.

  4. Thsts great thanks, wasnt too sure, i take it the sugar dissolves ok.

  5. Hello I am a frog from France.

    I wish to know if irish butter is required instead of regular cornish wall cream I not good at english so I ask english friend for help grassy ass amigo

  6. Mine totally didn’t stiffen just being in the fridge. I followed everything exact idk what happened. 😶

    • CJ

      December 24, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Not setting would imply too much liquid, I think. They always set for me, so if you followed the recipe, I’m not sure what went wrong. I’d probably put them in the freezer and see if that helps!

      • Yeah I ended up sticking it in the freezer. Just strange. Worries it’s going to be difficult to get it out of the pan now though. Idk what happened, super confusing for sure. Fingers crossed since they are for dessert tonight.

  7. How many portions do you get from these measurements ?

    • CJ

      May 1, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      I usually cut mine into about eight slices. But it all depends how big – or small – you cut it!

  8. If it’s for a party how long before can you make it

    • CJ

      May 4, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      A day or two before should be fine. I wouldn’t make them much more in advance than that. Thanks!

  9. I’m having a get together and would like to make the lemon cheesecake bars, several of my guests are vegetarian so I can’t use traditional jelly. Would Dr Otker gel with some lemon flavouring work? Thank you.

    • CJ

      July 24, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      I’m not sure what Dr Otker gel is (I live in the USA and we don’t get that here) but I have made this with a vegan jelly in the past which has worked. If it’s a straight substitute for jelly but without flavouring, then I’d imagine it would work. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  10. My top separated from the bottom. Anybody else with this issue- no idea why- both set up great and followed recipe.

  11. how many squares does this recipe make, just wondering if i might want to double the recipe or not.

    • CJ

      July 11, 2020 at 10:14 pm

      It really depends on how big/small you want the portions to be. I typically cut mine into 8 slices.

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