Nothing beats a classic cheesecake, with its rich and tangy flavor that’s perfectly balanced by the lightly sweetened graham cracker crust, but sometimes it seems a little too fancy and we want the flavor without the presentation of a cake – which is why these cheesecake bars are so great! The same amazing flavor, but in a more accessible, easily transportable, perfectly portioned bars that are a lovely choice for any occasion!
Instead of a fussy springform pan that needs to be wrapped tightly and carefully in aluminum foil, then placed in a roasting pan, then topped off with boiling water – raise your hand if said boiling water has spilled all over the place as you transfer the whole thing to the oven – we just did away with the whole process and grabbed our trusty 9×13. Mix up your three-ingredient crust, press that into the baking dish and bake it for a couple minutes to set it, then make your filling. This filling, by the way, is made up of both cream cheese and sour cream, so it really is delightfully tangy and not overly sweet. Because too-sweet cheesecakes don’t have a place in our kitchen. Whether it’s for a birthday party, brunch, potluck or simply just because, these bars are the best!
Serves 12-16; 1 hour 20 minutes
- 1 sleeve graham cracker cookies, pulsed into crumbs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, optional
- cherry pie filling, optional
- Preheat oven to 325º F and line an 8x8-inch dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper, then lightly grease with butter or non-stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs and sugar together, then mix in melted butter until mixture resembles damp sand.
- Press crust mixture into lined baking dish and use a flat item (we use the bottom of a measuring cup) to press into an even layer.
- Place baking dish in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a large bowl or mixer, beat cream cheese on low speed for 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy and smooth.
- Add in sour cream and sugar and beat until just combined, then beat in eggs one at a time before adding vanilla extract and lemon juice, if using.
- Carefully pour batter over cooled crust, then place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until sides are set and center is just a little bit jiggly.
- Turn oven off and crack door open, leaving cheesecake inside to cool, this helps prevents cracking, then refrigerate for at least 4-8 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to serve, slice into squares and top with cherry pie filling, if using.
Recipe adapted from Chocolate, Chocolate and More