Homemade Strawberry Cheesecake Bars: Rich + Creamy Treats That Prep in 20 Minutes

Who can resist cheesecake? Whether enjoyed as a decadent slice or made into bite-sized treats, its creamy texture and rich flavor always leave a lasting impression. It might be one of the most versatile cakes, too— plain, topped with fruit, swirled with chocolate, we could go on. And for new delicious twist, we love strawberry cheesecake bars. Buttery, graham cracker crust, smooth cheesecake filling and fresh strawberry compote make this handheld dessert great for any spring occasion. And the best part? This recipe comes together easier and faster than regular cheesecake. Plus, we got experts to share their tips for perfect baking, the best kind of cream cheese to use and cooking strawberries. Here’s your guide to strawberry cheesecake bars.

What are cheesecake bars?

Let’s be honest— as much as we love it, baking regular cheesecake can be a lot of work. So, whoever invented cheesecake bars deserves a round of applause. This dessert packs all the rich, delicious flavor of cheesecake without the fuss. This means you don’t have to worry about a cracked top or a water bath.

Cheesecake bars typically consist of the same main layers in cheesecake: a graham cracker crust, creamy cream cheese filling and often a topping of fruit, chocolate or caramel. However, instead of a springform pan used for regular cheesecake, the cake bakes in a rectangular pan (hence shape). Then, it gets sliced into squares, or bars, and chilled before serving. This makes cheesecake bars easy to prep with no special tools or added stress. Moreover, they make for a better on-the-go dessert. Cheesecake bars also have a higher crust-to-filling ratio compared to regular cheesecake, resulting in a more balanced texture.

Love cheesecake? Read on for 6 Delicious Coconut Cheesecake Recipes.

The best kind of cream cheese to use

Cream cheese can do a lot more than top your morning bagel. This soft, mild-tasting cheese has a beloved creamy texture that can be spread or used in baked goods. "When making cheesecake of any form, do not substitute the full cream cream cheese for anything," advises food blogger Amy Hand from The Skillful Cook. "The recipes are made using the fat content and properties of this ingredient that are very different from low-fat cream cheese or sour cream so the results will not be the same."

Full-fat cream cheese will yield a creamier and richer cheesecake filling. Additionally, we recommend using a block of cream cheese instead of a tub; the latter has a softer texture more suited as a spread. Before baking, take your cream cheese out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. This helps achieve a smooth and lump-free filling.

Using fresh strawberries

strawberry cheesecake bars: fresh strawberries
Dove Lee/Getty

When it comes to baking with strawberries, fresh is always best. Fresh strawberries offer better flavor and texture. They also provide more versatility, allowing you to slice, dice or mash them according to your recipe’s needs. While frozen strawberries offer convenience, they tend to release more moisture when thawed, which can affect the texture of your baked goods. Using fresh strawberries gives you greater control over the sweetness, resulting in a fresher and juicier outcome.

The nutritional benefits

Strawberries not only add a burst of vibrant color and sweet-tart flavor, they also pack a nutritional punch. These juicy red berries have a lot of vitamin C, antioxidants and dietary fiber, making them a healthy addition to any dessert. Vitamin C supports immune function and skin health, while antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, the fiber content of strawberries aids in digestion and helps you feeling full.

Making strawberry compote

A fruit compote is a simple and versatile sauce made by simmering fresh or dried fruits with sugar, water and sometimes spices until they soften and release their juices. This results in a thick, flavorful mixture that can be served warm or cold, often as a topping for various desserts or breakfast dishes. Common fruits used in compotes include berries, stone fruits (such as peaches, plums and cherries) and tropical fruits (such as pineapple and mango).

After removing any pits, stems or peels, we recommend a general ratio of about ¼ to ½ cup of sugar per pound of fruit. Water additionally helps create a syrupy consistency and prevents the fruits from sticking to the pan. For extra thickness, a touch of cornstarch can be added. This process usually takes around 10 to 20 minutes. Keep in mind, however, that the compote continues to thicken as it cools.

See also: Cutting Down On Carbs? These Deviled Strawberries Make the Perfect Summer Dessert

Expert tips for baking strawberry cheesecake bars

Cheesecake bars may be simple to make, but that doesn’t mean we skipped out on giving you some expert tips to really nail it on your first go. We got the rundown for baking cheesecake from Life, Love & Sugar.

1. Graham cracker crust

A homemade graham cracker crust can make any cheesecake taste that much better. Store-bought graham crackers come in various flavors, but we recommend classic honey for a slightly sweet note. Start by crushing the graham crackers into fine crumbs using a good processor or a resealable plastic bag and a rolling pin. Mix the crumbs with melted butter (the key ingredient) and some sugar until evenly moistened. Next, press the mixture firmly with your hands or a measuring cup into the bottom of the baking pan. You want to just shape it enough without any loose crumbs; however, don’t pack it too tightly. Otherwise, you get a hard, dense crust.

2. Cream cheese filling

The cheesecake filling might be the trickiest part, but getting it smooth proves easier than you think. To avoid lumps, make sure you use fully softened cream cheese. Additionally, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy, but avoid over-mixing so you don’t end up with too much air and cracking.

The main difference between baking cheesecake bars and a full cheesecake is the thickness. You need to be very careful with your baking times so the thin layer of cheesecake in the bars remains moist. The easiest way to make sure the base does not stick is to line your tin with parchment paper so you can simply lift the set bars out of the tin

3. Checking doneness

Finished cheesecake bars should have firm edges and a slightly jiggly center. To test for doneness, gently shake the pan and the center should wobble. If unsure, you can also insert a toothpick into the center, and it should come out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

4. Slicing and chilling

Once your cheesecake bars finish baking, resist the urge to cut them right away. Instead, allow the bars to cool completely in the pan at room temperature before slicing. When it comes to presentation points, consistency is key. Use a sharp knife and wipe it clean between cuts to prevent the filling from sticking. Additionally, consider using an offset spatula to lift each slice cleanly from the pan without disturbing the crust. Cheesecake bars should always chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight to properly set.

Easy strawberry cheesecake bars recipe

We bet after making cheesecake bars, you won’t go back to regular cheesecake (at least for now). This recipe from The Almond Eater takes just 20 minutes to prep and features a delicious strawberry compote on top. But if you prefer another topping, feel free to get creative with caramel sauce, chocolate or even cookie crumbles!

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry cheesecake bars finished with berry compote



  • 12 graham crackers

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • ½ cup butter, melted

Cheesecake filling:

  • 2 cups (16 oz.) plain cream cheese, room temperature

  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 egg

  • 3 Tbs. sugar

  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract

Strawberry compote:

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

  • 1 Tbs. sugar

  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice


  • Active Time: 20 minutes

  • Total Time: 50 minutes, plus chilling

  • Yield: 16 bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, then line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. Crust: Add graham crackers and sugar to a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds. Then, add melted butter in through the top and continue pulsing until combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and use your hands to press the crust down into the pan (or the back of a measuring cup).

  3. Strawberry compote: Next, add the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan and bring them to a boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, using a wooden spoon to help break down the strawberries; set aside to cool.

  4. Cheesecake layer: Add cream cheese, yogurt, egg, sugar and vanilla to a large bowl and mix with a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Scoop mixture out onto graham cracker crust and smooth it out. Then, use a small spoon to dollop half of strawberry compote overtop and evenly spread.

  5. Place pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and wait 15 minutes before transferring them to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow them to cool completely. Slice and enjoy!

Note: Start with half of the compote, then add more if you'd like. You can also finish the baked cheesecake bars with more compote on top.

Storage Notes

Store extra bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. This recipe recommends putting wax paper in between each layer so the bars don’t stick together.

To freeze strawberry cheesecake bars, wrap them individually with plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe bag or container. You can store them for up to 3 months. When thawing, place a bar in the refrigerator overnight before eating.

Swirl your strawberry cheesecake bars

Have you ever seen a cheesecake with the most beautiful display of swirled berry compote? Well, we figured you should know how to make it yourself and really elevate your strawberry cheesecake bars.

Swirling involves gently blending a fruit compote into the cheesecake batter, creating a marbled effect. This technique also helps distribute the fruity flavor into every bite. "I suggest using frozen strawberries to make this to reduce cooking time," says Hand. She prefers "using the fresh strawberries to top the cheesecake bars and then drizzle a little coulis to finish it off."

First, dollop spoonfuls of strawberry compote onto the cheesecake batter, then use a small knife or skewer to gently swirl the two together in a decorative pattern (aim for wavy, “C” shaped curves). Remember to keep your hand gentle, as you want distinct swirls rather than a fully blended mixture. Watch this video tutorial from Taste of Home to learn four ways you can put a swirl into your cheesecake bars.

Want to see just how customizable cheesecake bars can be? Check out this TikTok video below for some delicious variations.

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