Cheesecake Bars Recipe

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Easier than traditional cheesecake but just as delicious, this homemade Cheesecake Bars Recipe features a buttery graham cracker crust and a tangy, creamy filling. Strawberry Topping is optional but highly recommended!

Cheesecake squares topped with strawberry topping on a cooling rack.


 

These homemade Cheesecake Bars are 100% made from scratch, but they only require 5 ingredients and a few minutes of prep time. You don’t need pudding mix nor Jello, a springform pan nor a fussy water bath.

You get to enjoy the classic cheesecake flavors (and pure decadence) in every bite without all the effort. And if you’re craving strawberry cheesecake bars, the easy homemade strawberry topping should be next on your list!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled cheesecake bar ingredients in various bowls.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Graham crackersHoney-flavored, cinnamon, or even chocolate graham crackers all work well. If graham crackers aren’t available in your part of the world, you can substitute 1 ½ cups crushed digestive biscuits (9 sheets of graham crackers yields about 1 ½ cups of crumbs).
  • Sugar: Or substitute 2 tablespoons brown sugar in the crust.
  • Cream cheese: Plain (full-fat) blocks of cream cheese are best. Allow them to soften to room temperature before starting the cheesecake filling.
  • Strawberries: The strawberry topping is optional but recommended. Fresh or frozen strawberries both work, whatever is easiest to find. Or, substitute a different fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. To make the graham cracker crust, preheat the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and line the inside of a 9-inch square baking pan with a foil sling or parchment paper (which will help you lift the bars out of the pan, using the overhang, after they’re baked). Cut a long sheet of foil and press it into the baking pan, up the sides, and over the top edge, then spray it with nonstick cooking spray for a little extra slippery insurance.
A 9-inch square baking pan lined with foil.
  1. Crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. A food processor makes this quick and easy, but you can also put the crackers in a plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and sugar and pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan. Press the crust firmly into the bottom of the pan, using the flat back of a measuring cup to really compact the crust.
Pressing graham cracker crumbs
  1. Par-bake the crust for 10 minutes then take it out and let cool while you make the creamy cheesecake filling.
Graham cracker crust after baking.
  1. To make the cheesecake filling, in a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until blended. Then add the sour cream. Turn the mixer speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pre-baked crust.
Pouring cheesecake filling over graham cracker crust.
  1. Bake cheesecake bars for 40 minutes, until the center is just beginning to set up. When ready, take it out of the oven and run a thin knife around the inside of the pan. Let cool on a wire rack, then chill for 4 hours to completely firm up.
Cheesecake bars after baking.
  1. To make the strawberry topping (optional but recommended), stir the sliced strawberries and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Frozen strawberries in a saucepan with water and sugar.
  1. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. When the fruit looks nice and thick, mix in the vanilla extract, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
A bowl of strawberry topping.
  1. When chilled, lift the bars out of the pan and by the foil sling and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the cheesecake into squares with a sharp knife and serve with the strawberry topping.
Cheesecake squares topped with strawberry topping on a cooling rack.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: One recipe makes 16 bars. Treat yourself by slicing the pan into 12 or 9 slices for larger pieces.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For the best texture and flavor, allow the bars to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
  • Make ahead: Strawberry Topping can be made several days ahead and refrigerated. The cheesecake can be made and baked up to 2 days in advance and chilled, too.
  • Freezer: Without the topping, Cheesecake Bars freeze well. Wrap individual squares or the whole pan tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Toppings: I love the strawberry topping, but chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and homemade whipped cream would all be delicious. I wouldn’t be mad at some toasted coconut or crushed Oeros, either!
A pan filled with sugar cookie bars.
These Sugar Cookie Cheesecake Bars have a sugar cookie crust and their ridiculously good!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know when cheesecake bars are set?

You’ll know the cheesecake bars are done with the center is firmly set and doesn’t jiggle.

How do you cut cheesecake bars cleanly?

Start with a foil sling so you can lift the bars clearly out of the ban to a cutting board after baking. Then, use a sharp knife and make careful, deliberate cuts. For the cleanest possible slices, wipe the knife clean after each cut.

More classic desserts

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Cheesecake bars on a cooling rack topped with strawberry topping.

Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Easier than traditional cheesecake but just as delicious, this homemade Cheesecake Bars Recipe features a buttery graham cracker crust and a tangy, creamy filling. Strawberry Topping is optional but highly recommended!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 16 bars
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 168
5 from 8 votes

Ingredients 

For the graham cracker crust:

For the cheesecake filling:

For the strawberry topping (optional):

Instructions 

For the graham cracker crust:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish with a foil sling, and spray with non-stick spray. In a food processor, or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, finely crush graham crackers.
  • In a medium bowl, add graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar and stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish, using the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust evenly and firmly into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.

For the cheesecake filling:

  • In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until well mixed. Add sour cream and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until blended. Pour the mixture over the partially baked graham cracker crust, filling the mixture to almost the top of the pan.
  • Bake until center is almost set, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife or metal spatula around the rim of the baking dish. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Allow to stand 20 minutes at room temperature prior to serving. Remove from the pan using the foil as a handle and cut into 16 squares. Serve with strawberry topping.

For the strawberry topping (optional):

  • In a small pot over medium heat, combine the strawberries and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer for 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add vanilla, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

Notes

  1. Graham crackersHoney-flavored, cinnamon, or even chocolate graham crackers all work well. If graham crackers aren’t available in your part of the world, you can substitute 1 ½ cups crushed digestive biscuits (9 sheets of graham crackers yields about 1 ½ cups of crumbs).
  2. Sugar: Or substitute 2 tablespoons brown sugar in the crust.
  3. Cream cheese: Plain (full-fat) blocks of cream cheese are best. Allow them to soften to room temperature before starting the cheesecake filling.
  4. Strawberries: The strawberry topping is optional but recommended. Fresh or frozen strawberries both work, whatever is easiest to find. Or, substitute a different fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.
  5. Yield: One recipe makes 16 bars. Treat yourself by slicing the pan into 12 or 9 slices for larger pieces.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For the best texture and flavor, allow the bars to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 barCalories: 168kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 102mgPotassium: 79mgFiber: 1gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 205IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Mmmm, what a super-great idea! Only thing I’ll do differently is to bake the crust as directed, then while that’s cooling, lower the oven temperature to around 200 – 220 then bake it for 1-2 hours low and slow until set for a creamier texture. The strawberry sauce or even strawberry coulis is amazing on cheesecake!

    ¡Happy Valentine’s Day!5 stars

    1. Thank you for your comment, Dave! Hope you enjoyed it! Sorry for the late response! – Meggan