If you love cheesecake but don’t want to turn on the oven, this simple and delicious strawberry cheesecake bars recipe from registered dietitian Jaime Shelbert is just what you need. These cheesecake bars are a no-bake cheesecake treat that firm up in the refrigerator or freezer, so you don’t need to worry about cracking or overcooking with this recipe. You just need enough patience to let the bars set. Good things come to those who wait!
While strawberries might seem particularly summery, cheesecake bars do not belong to any single season. "This dish makes for a great dessert any time," Shelbert says. "It’s great for get together since it’s an easy make ahead dessert. It would be especially fabulous during strawberry season!" You only need a handful of ingredients, time for the cheesecake bars to chill in the fridge, and the desire to eat an indulgent dessert. Let’s get started!
Gather your ingredients for strawberry cheesecake bars
For this recipe, you’ll need graham crackers, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. You’ll also need cream cheese, and Shelbert gives you the green light to use full or reduced fat. Last but certainly not least, you’ll need thinly-sliced strawberries. While fresh strawberries are ideal, you can use frozen strawberries if you need to. "Just be sure to let them thaw and drain off any juices," Shelbert says.
Begin making the crust
The foundation of these strawberry cheesecake bars is their sweet and delicious graham cracker crust, so that’s where you need to start. Put the graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, you can crush the graham crackers in a plastic bag. Pour the crumbs into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and the melted butter, and whisk everything together.
Press the crust into a pan
Coat an 8-inch square pan with non-stick spray or line it with parchment paper, and then press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the square pan. Smooth the graham cracker crust into an even layer with your hands or a spatula. Once you’ve finished assembling the crust, refrigerate it in the pan for 45 minutes.
Finish assembling the bars
Mix the cream cheese and the remaining sugar together in a bowl, mixing with a hand-held mixer on high until creamy, or about one to two minutes. Add the strawberries and vanilla to the bowl, and mix into the cheese mixture on medium high until the strawberries have been mashed up and all ingredients are well combined, or about another two minutes. Pour the cream cheese filling over the crust and smooth into an even layer. Freeze for four hours or refrigerate overnight.
Serve and store the cheesecake bars
After setting in the refrigerator or freezer, your strawberry cheesecake bars are ready to eat! You can eat the cheesecake bars as is, or serve topped with whipped cream. While some cheesecake recipes can be pretty finicky, this one is simple, nearly foolproof, and most-importantly, absolutely delicious. And, you have any leftovers, you’re in luck. "This cheesecake will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month," Shelbert notes for leftovers.
- 12 full graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons + ¾ cup sugar, divided
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, full or reduced fat
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ⅓ cup strawberries, sliced thin
- 1 cup whipped cream or whipped topping
- Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process them into crumbs, or crush them in a plastic bag.
- Pour the graham cracker crumbs into a medium-sized bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and the melted butter to the bowl, and whisk to combine.
- Coat an 8-inch square pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment.
- Press the graham mixture into the bottom of the square pan, smoothing it out with your hands or the back of a spatula. Place the square pan in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and remaining ¾ cup of sugar to a mixing bowl. Mix with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until creamy, or about 1 ½ minutes.
- Add the vanilla and strawberries to the cream cheese mixture and mix on medium-high until the strawberries are mashed up and all ingredients are incorporated, or about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
- Pour the filling on top of the crust and smooth it out into an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer for 4 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once the cheesecake bars are set, you can serve and enjoy.