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a close up of a poppy seed cheesecake crumble bar from the top with more bars around
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5 from 2 votes

Poppy Seed Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Delicious, lemon poppy seed cheesecake crumble bars are a perfect little treat with bright fresh flavors and great texture. Great for gatherings, picnics, pot lucks and Holidays! Could be turned into a round cheesecake or be made into a smaller batch by halving the recipe.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Chilling time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: European
Keyword: bars, cheesecake, crumble, lemon curd, poppy seeds, streusel
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 369kcal
Author: Dea Kepic



  • 113 g butter cold (1/2 cup)
  • 100 g sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 250 g flour all purpose (2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg

Poppy seed filling

  • 130 g poppy seeds (1 + 1/3 cup)
  • 130 g milk (1 cup)
  • 50 g sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 20 g cornstarch (2.5 tbsp)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil

Curd filling

  • 150 g sugar (1/2 + 1/4 cup)
  • 20 g cornstarch (2.5 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 g milk (1 cup)
  • 400 g cream cheese Philadelphia (16 oz), at room temperature
  • 30 g room temperature butter (2 tbsp)
  • 2 lemons juice and zest


  • Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350F) and line a 23 x 23 cm (9x9 inch) baking pan with parchment paper (or you can grease and flour it).


  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
  • Add the cold butter in pieces and rub it into the flour so that you get a crumbly mixture resembling bread crumbs. You can also do this in a food processor by blitzing the processor a few times to get the crumb texture.
  • Mix in the sugar and lemon zest.
  • Then add the egg. Combine the dough with your hands or a food processor until you form a dough that just holds together. If it’s really not coming together add a teaspoon or two of cold water.
  • Divide the dough into two parts and make a ball out of one part. Wrap it in cling film and put it in the freezer while you make everything else. Distribute the other half of the dough on the prepared baking pan, pressing it down to cover all the bottom. The layer will be quite thin. Set aside in the fridge.

Poppy Seed Filling

  • Put milk, half of the sugar, and cinnamon in a pan and heat it until boil.
  • In a bowl, mix the poppy seeds with cornstarch, then add to the hot milk and quickly mix.
  • Cook this mixture for about 3-4 minutes to thicken and cook the cornstarch, whisking constantly, on medium heat.
  • Whisk the egg yolk together with oil.
  • Remove the poppy seed filling from the heat and leave it to cool for a minute or two. Then, add the egg yolk mixture, mix well and set aside to cool completely. You can start making the lemon cheesecake filling and then come back to finish this.
  • Make the meringue: beat the egg white until frothy and then slowly start adding the other half of the sugar while mixing. Mix for about 1-2 minutes until you achieve stiff peaks. When the poppy seed mixture cools down to room temperature, gently fold in the meringue.
  • Take the baking pan with the dough from the fridge and distribute the poppy seed filling on top.

Cheesecake Filling

  • In a bowl mix together the egg yolks, half of the sugar, and cornstarch until well combined. Mix in the milk.
  • Now add the room temperature cream cheese, softened butter, lemon juice and zest, mix until well combined.
  • Like before, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks with the other half of the sugar and then gently fold it into the cream cheese mixture.


  • Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the poppy seed filling.
  • Now take the dough from the freezer and grate it on top, covering everything. If you find it easier, you could grate the dough on a plate and then distribute the dough with your hands.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 55 minutes, the top should be golden brown and the cheesecake will wobble just slightly when you shake the pan.
  • Leave to cool completely, about 2 hours. You can then cut it and eat or place in the fridge to cool even more.
  • Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!


  • You can make this in a round 10 inch (25 cm) baking pan.
  • You can omit the cinnamon in the poppy seed filling.
  • Be sure to use organic lemons for the lemon zest.
  • Use Philadelphia cream cheese for best results. You could also make this recipe with cottage cheese curd.
  • Have all your ingredients at room temperature for best results.
Tried this recipe?Mention @FreakyBlond or tag #prettysweetblog!