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Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

These strawberry cheesecake bars taste just like summer! They’re decadently rich and creamy, with swirls of bright, jammy strawberries.

image of a strawberry cheesecake bar that's been bitten into to show it's strawberry and regular cream cheese filling

I love to make these in the summer, but they taste amazing all year round. As an added bonus, these bars are the perfect make-ahead dessert. I swear they somehow taste better over time!

How to Make Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Let’s walk through each step of this recipe to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible.

I’ve also shared a video tutorial below.

Step 1: Make the Strawberry Reduction

I like to make the strawberry reduction first because it needs time to cool before it can be added to the cheesecake batter.

In a food processor or blender, combine the fresh or frozen (and thawed) strawberries and granulated sugar. I usually use frozen because they’re already hulled! Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth puree.

image of strawberries and sugar blended in a blender

Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally until the mixture bubbles and foams up (this takes me about 8 minutes).

Then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan as you stir to prevent it from browning.

At this point, the mixture should have thickened and become a darker shade of red. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl to help it cool down more quickly.

You should have about 1 1/4 cups of strawberry reduction. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

Step 2: Bake the Graham Cracker Crust

Next, we tackle the graham cracker crust. Preheat the oven to 325 F or 165 C and line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

Pour the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and fine salt into a small bowl. Mix until the ingredients are fully combined and the graham cracker crumbs look moist.

Pour the graham cracker mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture down using the bottom of a measuring cup or flat-bottomed glass to create a compact, even crust.

image of a graham cracker crust being pressed into a lined square metal pan

Bake for 8 minutes then remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Be sure to keep your oven on!!

Then fill a rimmed baking dish with about 1 inch of water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven (this will act as a pseudo water bath and help the bars bake up more evenly).

Step 3: Make the Strawberry Cheesecake Batter

While the graham cracker crust bakes and cools, make the strawberry cheesecake filling.

Place the room-temperature cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment at medium to medium-high speed. Mix until the cream cheese is smooth and creamy, and no lumps remain.

Then mix in the sugar on a medium speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Next, mix in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest on a medium speed.

Then mix in the eggs, one at a time. Mix on a low speed until the eggs are fully incorporated. The mixture should be perfectly smooth at this stage.

Pour about half of the cheesecake batter into a separate bowl and mix some of the strawberry reduction (made above) into the batter on a low speed until combined.

image of strawberry cheesecake batter being made in a glass bowl

Alternate pouring the regular and strawberry cheesecake batter on top of the cooled graham cracker crust.

Then add spoonfuls of the strawberry reduction on top of the cheesecake batter. Drag a knife or offset spatula through the cheesecake to create strawberry swirls.

If you want the strawberry cheesecake to have a brighter color, you can also mix in a drop of pink or red gel food coloring. I added a tiny bit of red gel food coloring to my batter!

image of strawberry cheesecake batter being swirled with a strawberry reduction before being baked

You should have about 1/2 cup of the strawberry reduction left over after topping the cheesecake bars. Save this to spoon on top of the bars once they’re baked and cooled.

Step 4: Bake the Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Bake the cheesecake bars for 55-65 minutes. Do a wiggle test to check if they’re done (watch the center, and look for a small wiggle), rather than a toothpick!

Let the bars cool completely in the pan on a metal rack. Once they reach room temperature, refrigerate them for an additional 2 hours or overnight.

The strawberry swirls will sink a little bit once the cheesecake is baked and cooled, and I like to spoon the leftover strawberry reduction into any cracks or little crevices to give it a beautiful finished look!

image of baked strawberry cheesecake bars cooling in a square metal pan

Cut the bars with a sharp, warm knife once they’re fully chilled. I recommend cleaning the knife after each cut to get perfect slices.

Leftover bars can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

image of a strawberry cheesecake bar that's been cut into to show it's strawberry and regular cream cheese filling

Substitutions & Swaps in this Strawberry Cheesecake Bar Recipe

I love this recipe just the way it is but I know some people might not have all these ingredients on hand! Or you might have food restrictions or allergies.

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs – I like using graham cracker crumbs to make life easier. If you can’t find these, you can crush sheets of graham crackers in a food processor to get the right consistency.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter, omit the 1/4 tsp of salt from the crust mixture.
  • Granulated Sugar – I think these cheesecake bars have just the right amount of sweetness, but you can either increase or decrease the amount of sugar by a couple of tablespoons based on your preferences.
  • Lemon Zest – A little bit of lemon zest helps brighten the flavor of the strawberries. You can use a lime in place of the lemon, or omit it if you don’t have any lemons on hand.
  • Cream Cheese – This recipe turns out best with full-fat cream cheese (the type that comes in a block). I don’t recommend using low-fat cream cheese or the type that comes in a tub.
  • Eggs – Sadly this recipe does not turn out with egg alternatives like applesauce or flax seed eggs. I highly recommend using regular large eggs.
  • Strawberries – You can use frozen or fresh hulled strawberries to make this recipe. I prefer using frozen strawberries because they’re frozen at peak ripeness and are already hulled! You can also use pretty much any berry in this recipe- blackberries, raspberries, or even marionberries would all taste amazing.
image of strawberries cut and ready to be made into strawberry jam

Can These Cheesecake Bars Be Made in Advance?

Absolutely! I love making this recipe a day or two before a big event because the bars keep so well. These strawberry cheesecake bars can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

You can also freeze these bars for up to two months! Freeze the bars on a sheet pan until they’re firm to the touch, then wrap them in a layer of plastic wrap and foil.

When you want to enjoy the bars, place them in the fridge overnight, then unwrap and enjoy them the following day.

image of a strawberry cheesecake bar that's been cut into to show it's strawberry and regular cream cheese filling

Making this Recipe in Different Sizes

If you want to make this recipe in a 9 x 13-inch pan, double the recipe and bake at 325 F/162 C for 55-65 minutes, or until the edges look set but the center is still a bit soft.

Or if you want to make this recipe in a 9×9-inch pan, go for it! The bars will be slightly shorter but will still taste great. Bake the bars at 325 F/162 C for 45-55 minutes, or until the edges look set but the center is still a bit soft.

How To Make the Best Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

  • Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature. If you forget to set it out ahead of time, cut the blocks into smaller squares and heat them in the microwave in 10-second intervals until they reach room temperature.
  • Use your favorite berries! This recipe would also work great with blackberries, raspberries, or even marionberries.
  • Beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth and creamy before adding the other ingredients! This helps to prevent any lumps from forming in the cheesecake batter.
  • Don’t use a toothpick to check if your bars are done. Instead, gently shake the pan while it’s still in the oven. If only a small circle in the center jiggles a little, it’s ready! The center will set as the bars cool.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices. Fill a tall cup with hot water and drip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then make a slice. Repeat with each cut, being sure to wipe the blade completely clean after each cut.
image of strawberry cheesecake bars that are baked and have a strawberry swirl

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this recipe for strawberry cheesecake bars, I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment below.

image of a strawberry cheesecake bar that's been bitten into to show it's strawberry and regular cream cheese filling

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Yield: 16

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

image of a strawberry cheesecake bar that's been bitten into to show it's strawberry and regular cream cheese filling

These strawberry cheesecake bars taste just like summer! They're decadently rich and creamy, with swirls of bright, jammy strawberries.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 55 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

Strawberry Reduction

  • 1 lb. hulled strawberries - fresh or frozen (454g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)

Graham Cracker Crust

Strawberry Cheesecake Batter

  • 3 cups or 24 oz. cream cheese, softened (678g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (125g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8g)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest - optional
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (168g)
  • 1/3 cup strawberry reduction - made above (85g)
  • red or pink gel food coloring - optional

Instructions

Strawberry Reduction

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine 1 lb. of fresh or frozen (and thawed) strawberries and 1/2 cup of sugar. I usually use frozen because they're already hulled! Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth puree.
  2. Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally until the mixture bubbles and foams up (this takes me about 8 minutes). Then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan as you stir to prevent it from browning.
  3. At this point, the mixture should have thickened and become a darker shade of red. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl to help it cool down more quickly. It will continue to thicken as it cools. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of strawberry reduction. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you're ready to use it. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F/165 C and line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Pour 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 3 Tbsp of sugar, and 1/4 tsp fine salt into a small bowl. Mix until the ingredients are fully combined and the graham cracker crumbs look moist.
  3. Pour the graham cracker mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture down using the bottom of a measuring cup or flat-bottomed glass to create a compact, even crust.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Be sure to keep your oven on!! Then fill a rimmed baking dish with about 1 inch of water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven (this will act as a pseudo water bath and help the bars bake up more evenly).

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

  1. While the graham cracker crust bakes and cools, make the strawberry cheesecake filling.
  2. Place 3 cups of room-temperature cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment at medium to medium-high speed. Mix until the cream cheese is smooth and creamy, and no lumps remain.
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar and mix on medium speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Then add 1/2 cup of sour cream, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tsp lemon zest (optional) and mix at a medium speed until combined.
  4. Next, mix in 3 eggs, one at a time. Mix on a low speed until the eggs are fully incorporated. The mixture should be perfectly smooth at this stage.
  5. Pour about half of the cheesecake batter (550g if you have a scale) into a separate bowl and mix in 1/3 cup of strawberry reduction (made above) on a low speed until combined. If you want the strawberry cheesecake to have a brighter color, you can also mix in a drop of pink or red gel food coloring. I added a tiny bit of red gel food coloring to my batter!
  6. Alternate pouring the regular and strawberry cheesecake batter on the cooled graham cracker crust. Then add spoonfuls of the strawberry reduction on top of the cheesecake batter like in the photos above. Drag a knife or offset spatula through the batter to create strawberry swirls. You should have about 1/2 cup of the strawberry reduction left over after topping the cheesecake bars. Save this to spoon on top of the bars once they're baked and cooled.
  7. Bake the cheesecake bars for 55-65 minutes. Do a wiggle test to check if they're done (watch the center, and look for a small wiggle), rather than a toothpick!
  8. Let the bars cool completely in the pan on a metal rack. Once they reach room temperature, refrigerate them for an additional 2 hours or overnight. The strawberry swirls will sink a little bit once the cheesecake is baked and cooled, and I like to spoon the leftover strawberry reduction into any cracks or little crevices to give it a beautiful finished look!
  9. Cut the bars with a sharp, warm knife once they're fully chilled. Clean the knife after each cut to get perfect slices. Leftover bars can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Notes

Can These Cheesecake Bars Be Made in Advance?

Absolutely! These strawberry cheesecake bars can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

You can also freeze these bars for up to two months! Freeze the bars on a sheet pan until they're firm to the touch, then wrap them in a layer of plastic wrap and foil. When you want to enjoy the bars, place the bars in the fridge overnight, then unwrap and enjoy the following day.

Making this Recipe in Different Sizes

If you want to make this recipe in a 9 x 13-inch pan, double the recipe and bake at 325 F/162 C for 55-65 minutes, or until the edges look set but the center is still a bit soft.

Or if you want to make this recipe in a 9x9-inch pan, go for it! The bars will be slightly shorter but will still taste great. Bake the bars at 325 F/162 C for 45-55 minutes, or until the edges look set but the center is still a bit soft.

How To Make the Best Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

  • Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature and soft to the touch. If you forget to set it out ahead of time, cut the blocks into smaller squares and heat them in the microwave in 10-second intervals until they reach room temperature.
  • Use your favorite berries! This recipe would also work great with blackberries, raspberries, or even marionberries.
  • Don't use a toothpick to check if your bars are done. Instead, gently shake the pan while it's still in the oven. If only a small circle in the center jiggles a little, it's ready! The center will set as the bars cool.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices! Fill a tall cup with hot water and drip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then make a slice. Repeat with each cut, being sure to wipe the blade completely clean each time.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 499Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 90mgSodium 403mgCarbohydrates 63gFiber 2gSugar 36gProtein 7g

Ellen

Wednesday 10th of July 2024

I love to bake but this was my first time baking a cheesecake. Your recipe was great because you had the visual part on Tik Tok, and then it was quite easy to find the written recipe. Was delicious and I found to be relatively easy! Thank you for this recipe :)

Chelsweets

Saturday 13th of July 2024

Hi Ellen,

I am so happy to hear that!!! That's wonderful, I'm so glad they turned out great :)

Juana

Monday 8th of July 2024

Do you put the pan with the cheesecake in the pan with the water or do you put the cheesecake on the top shelf?

Chelsweets

Sunday 14th of July 2024

Hi Juana,

Great question! I put the pan with the water on the bottom rack, and the cheesecake bars on the middle rack. Hope that helps, happy baking!

Maria Elena McIlvena

Wednesday 3rd of July 2024

Can you make them with another fruit? No berry. Maybe mango? Passion fruit? If so, do I need to make a reduction like you did with the strawberries?

Chelsweets

Sunday 7th of July 2024

Hi Maria,

I have only tested this recipe with berries, but omg mango or passionfruit sounds amazing!! I would think you should be able to use 1 lb of mango chunks in place of the lb of strawberries (and follow the recipe making the puree reduction) and it should work! I'm not totally sure about the passionfruit though. Hope that helps, happy baking!

Strawberry Cheesecake - Bursting with Real Strawberry Flavor

Sunday 30th of June 2024

[…] You can also use a square 8- or 9-inch pan, or quarter sheet pan (double the recipe), or you can keep things simple and just use my strawberry cheesecake bar recipe! […]

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