These Cherry Cheesecake Bars are the perfect make-ahead dessert for any occasion! Creamy cheesecake sits atop a homemade graham cracker crust, and is finished off with a generous helping of cherries.
Cherry Cheesecake Bars
I happen to love homemade cheesecake. Sometimes I don’t want to go through the effort of making a big giant cheesecake and worrying about water baths, cracking, and all those considerations that come along with traditional cheesecake. These cherry cheesecake bars are super simple to make and are always a crowd pleaser!
The first step in this recipe is to make the crust. You’ll need graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar which get pressed into the bottom of a square pan, then baked until crisp. While the crust is baking, I prepare the filling.
The filling is a simple combination of cream cheese, vanilla extract, eggs, sugar and heavy cream. If you don’t have heavy cream on hand, sour cream will also work. The bars will need to chill for at least 2 hours, so plan accordingly! You can actually prepare the bars up to 3 days before you plan to serve them, then simply slice and top with cherries right before serving.
I actually think the trickiest part about this recipe is cutting the bars into neat squares! The bars are easiest to cut straight from the fridge. I coat a knife in cooking spray, make a cut, wipe down the knife, coat it in cooking spray, and make another cut. I repeat this process until all of the bars are sliced. This recipe makes 9 larger square or 12 smaller squares.
The finishing touch is a spoonful of cherry pie filling. What I love about this recipe is that you really can change it up by using a different flavor of pie filling, like apple or blueberry, or even using sliced fresh fruit instead of pie filling.
These cherry cheesecake bars are perfect for bake sales, parties, or for days when you just have a hankering for some cheesecake!
- For the crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- cooking spray
- For the cheesecake:
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8″x8″ pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter.
- Firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Pour the mixture over the crust.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake for 38-40 minutes or until set and edges are light brown.
- Cool the pan to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- Cut the cheesecake into 9 or 12 squares, depending on your preference.
- Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of cherry pie filling over each bar.
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