These easy Cheesecake Bars are made with just a handful of basic ingredients, for a simple dessert everyone is sure to love. A fluffy cream cheese filling is layered onto a simple crust for plenty of texture, and a light flavor. These cheesecake squares are a classic that can’t be beat!
What’s in this Easy Cheesecake Bars Recipe?
Creamy, dreamy cheesecake is layered over a buttery, tender shortbread crust for easy cheesecake squares!
- All-Purpose Flour: Gives structure to the shortbread cookie base.
- Unsalted Butter: Adds richness and tenderness to the cookie crust.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness to both the crust and the cheesecake.
- Kosher Salt: Adds just a hint of saltiness to the crust to balance the sweet, buttery flavor.
- Cream Cheese: Forms the base of the cheesecake filling. Make sure to use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese for the best result.
- Eggs: Give structure to the cheesecake.
- Sour Cream: Adds tanginess to the cheesecake.
- Vanilla Extract: Gives the cheesecake a subtle vanilla flavor.
Pro Tip: Use room temperature ingredients for the best results.
Variations on Cheesecake Squares
These easy cheesecake bars are a great base to experiment with. Try adding different extracts to flavor these bars, like almond, citrus extracts, or rum extract. Add in mix-ins, like chocolate chips, berries, nuts, or sprinkles. Top these cheesecake squares with flavored jams, caramel sauce, lemon curd, or chocolate sauce to really set them apart!
No. Use blocks of cream cheese for these bars – take them out of the refrigerator about an hour before starting this recipe.
These cheesecake bars are done when the center no longer jiggles when shaken.
It’s important to let the cheesecake bars first reach room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator. The dramatic change of temperature from hot to cold will cause the dessert to crack if you skip this step.
You should allow the bars to chill for at least 8 hours.
Cheesecake bars can be left out at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Any cheesecake leftovers you have need to be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they’ll stay fresh for about 3 days.
How to Store
Store leftover cheesecake bars in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Eat cold or bring the them to room temp to serve.
How to Freeze
While still in the pan, allow the bars to cool, then cut them into squares while still in the pan. Put the pan in the freezer for an hour. Remove from the pan and place in a freezer safe bag, store in the freezer for 2-3 months.
These cheesecake bars are delicious served plain or with a fruit jam or compote. Throw on some whipped cream and sprinkles for a festive look, or some chocolate sauce for an elegant look. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a perfect cheesecake sundae.
Cheesecake Bars Recipe
For the Crust
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour 175 grams
- 1 cup unsalted butter 227 grams, slightly melted (2 sticks)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 38 grams
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Cheesecake
- 24 ounces cream cheese 680 grams, room temperature (3 bricks)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar 300 grams
- 3 large eggs 150 grams, room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream 114 grams, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
- Kitchen Scale (optional)
- 8×8 Baking Pan
- Hand Mixer
- Line an 8×8-inch baking pan (at least 2 inches in depth) with parchment paper. Have parchment paper slightly higher than the edges of the pan to make the cheesecake bars easier to lift out once they have cooled. Spray the inside of the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the flour, slightly melted butter, sugar, and salt together until smooth.1¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Use a spatula to spread this evenly in the bottom of the prepared cake pan. If the dough is sticky and won’t spread evenly, spray the spatula with nonstick cooking spray to help smooth out the crust batter.
- Place crust in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F while the crust chills.
- After 30 minutes, use a fork to poke a few holes into the crust then place in oven to bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove crust from oven and allow crust to cool for 15 minutes before adding in cheesecake batter.
- Reduce oven heat to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and sugar together on high speed until smooth.24 ounces cream cheese, 1½ cups granulated sugar
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, on high speed until fully combined. Use spatula to scrape down sides of bowl.3 large eggs
- Beat sour cream and vanilla extract into the cheesecake batter until fully combined.½ cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pour cheesecake batter into the cake pan over top of the crust.
- Place the cake pan on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 55-60 minutes, or until the cheesecake looks set (middle should only have a very slight jiggle). Placing the cake pan on a baking sheet is important in case there’s any overflow.
- Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool to room temperature. There may be a few slight cracks in the top but that’s okay. You can cover those later with delicious toppings.
- Once cooled, wrap the cheesecake (still in the cake pan) well in food-safe plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight) before removing from pan and cutting into squares.
- Removed chilled cheesecake from pan and cut into 16 squares. Serve cold.
- Use room temperature ingredients for the best results.
- For a graham cracker crust, swap the flour for crushed graham cracker crumbs.
- Use brick-style cream cheese, not the kind in the tub.
- In place of the sour cream, you can use plain Greek yogurt.
- Don’t worry if your cheesecake cracks; you can cover it up with toppings!