These cheesecake bars just happen to be one of my VERY favorite desserts! A creamy, luscious cheesecake filling spread over a buttery graham cracker crust and then finished off with a sweet cherry topping – what could be better?! These bars are always a hit and make the perfect holiday dessert! They can be made up to 3 days in advance and they’re freezer friendly!
It’s no secret that our family LOVES cheesecake. But making a traditional cheesecake can be a bit challenging! That’s where these easy cheesecake bars come in. They’re perfectly creamy, tangy, and everything that a cheesecake should be. They have an amazing graham cracker crust, which might be my favorite part. Top them with sweet cherry pie filling, a drizzle of salted caramel, fresh berries or enjoy them plain. Yum!
How Do You Make Cheesecake Bars?
There’s a few steps involved in making these cherry cheesecake bars, but they’re really quite simple. Follow along and let’s bake up some deliciousness!
This recipe starts with a graham cracker crust, which is made with graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter, and a touch of cinnamon. I just love a good graham cracker crust! The crust gets pressed into a 8×8-inch baking dish, that has been lined with foil or parchment. Be sure there’s an overhang of at least 2 inches on each side; this will help you remove the cheesecake bars from the dish later. Then it is baked until lightly browned.
A note about the graham cracker crust: You can buy graham cracker crumbs from the grocery store (you’ll find them down the baking aisle), or make your own by pulsing sheets of graham crackers in your blender or food processor.
Now it’s time to make the cheesecake! Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice together until smooth. Scrap the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one is added. Add sour cream and beat until incorporated, continuing to scrap the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the filling over the prepared crust, and spread evenly. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the edges are set, the top is just starting to turn golden brown and the center is just about set and only has a bit of a wobble. Cool completely at room temperature and then once cool, refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight, before cutting into bars.
Tips For Cherry Cheesecake Bars
- These cheesecake bars are fabulous served as-is, but I especially love them topped with cherry pie filling. It really dresses up the bars too!
- The cherry pie filling is a delicious topping, but feel free to use fresh fruit for the topping, caramel drizzle or another pie filling variety.
- Your cream cheese and sour cream should be very soft and your eggs should be at room temperature before starting this recipe. This will ensure all of the ingredients combine well and will keep your batter from getting lumpy. You can microwave the cream cheese in 30 second increments to soften it quickly.
- Cheesecake bars can be made up to 3 days before you plan to serve them.
- Try using Oreo cookies for the crust instead of graham crackers for an additional hit of fun cookie flavor.
Can You Freeze Cheesecake Bars?
These cherry cheesecake bars will keep, stored in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days. You may also freeze them for up to 2 months.
To freeze: fully cool the cheesecake bars, then place the cooled cheesecake (whole or sliced) on a freezer-friendly platter and freeze, uncovered, until completely firm. Once firm, remove the cheesecake from the freezer and wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Then place it in a freezer bag; seal the bag and return it to freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, remove the foil and defrost in the fridge overnight.
These cheesecake bars are so easy and the perfect combination of rich cheesecake, and light, refreshing fruit! They turn out cool, creamy, and absolutely delicious! So perfect for your holiday dessert table!
Other Dessert Recipes To Try:
If you try this cheesecake bar dessert recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
For the crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cheesecake:
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 can cherry pie filling or fresh fruit (optional for topping cheesecake bars when serving)
- Preheat oven to 350°F, and if you will want to remove bars from dish before slicing, line an 8x8" square baking pan with foil or parchment so the sides hang over the edges of the dish. If using foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray.
For the crust:
- In a medium mixing bowl, add all crust ingredients and stir together until completely combined.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake crust for 5 minutes, then remove and lower oven heat to 325ºF. Let crust cool on a cooling rack.
For the cheesecake filling:
- Add cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Scrap the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sour cream and beat until incorporated. Contine to scrap the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and smooth the surface. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the edges are set, the top is just starting to turn golden brown and the center is just about set and only has a bit of a wobble. Cool completely at room temperature and then once cool, refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight, before cutting into bars.
- To serve, use a large, sharp knife to cut into squares. I recommend wiping the knife clean with a damp cloth between slices. Serve with a dollop of cherry pie filling or fresh fruit and enjoy!