Cherry Cheesecake Bars with an almond graham cracker crust, creamy NY Cheesecake filling with almond extract topped with cherry pie filling in 60 minutes.
CHERRY CHEESECAKE BARS
Cherry Cheesecake Bars are a delicious weeknight dessert when you are craving creamy New York Cheesecake with a fruity topping. This simple cheesecake recipe has only has a handful of ingredients but so much flavor. It’s an inexpensive dessert but it looks so elegant and tastes just like a restaurant cheesecake!
For these Cherry Cheesecake Bars, you top them with canned cherry pie filling after the bars have baked and chill together. The canned cherry pie filling makes this dessert super easy, but you can always use a homemade fruit topping. You can easily adjust this Strawberry Topping by using frozen pitted cherries to replace the canned filling. Sub the almond extract back for vanilla extract and add some fresh lemon juice to complement the strawberry topping.
An important note about the cream cheese is make sure it is softened. If you use cold cream cheese you won’t be able to get the smooth creamy consistency. If you forgot to bring your cream cheese to room temperature, quickly soften in the microwave. Microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 15-20 seconds on high.
These Cherry Cheesecake Bars are a great make-ahead treat for bake sales, potlucks, and Summer cookouts. Make them up to 2 days in advance without the pie filling. Pour the cherry pie filling on the bars the day of your party and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
A great hack for cutting perfect Cherry Cheesecake Bars is to use parchment paper instead of cooking spray. Line your baking dish with parchment paper, with a ½ inch lip over the sides. Lift the Cherry Cheesecake Bars by the paper onto a cutting board to cut. Use a sharp knife and a bowl of hot water, and between cuts clean knife in hot water and wipe any cheesecake residue off. You can use this method with the filling on top or spoon filling after you cut the cheesecake bars.
MORE DELICIOUS CHEESECAKE RECIPES:
Stuffed Cherry Cheesecake Bars
For a Cherry Cheesecake Bar on the go, try this stuffed version. You will need two crescent roll sheets instead of a graham cracker crust. Spread one crescent roll sheet in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Add cheesecake batter and spread cherry pie filling over top evenly. Cover with the second crescent roll sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until crescent dough is golden brown.
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VARIATIONS ON CHERRY CHEESECAKE BARS
- Cake Mix Crust: Combine 2 cups Yellow Cake Mix with 1 egg and 2 tablespoons oil, until moist and crumbly. Press into baking dish, covering bottom and up ¾ the sides of the pan.
- Oreo Cookie Crust: Crush 30 Oreo cookies with cream filling and mix with 12 tablespoons butter to form an Oreo Cookie crust. Try other crispy cookies like Vanilla Wafers or Iced Oatmeal Cookies (the crunchy ones) too!
- Chocolate Chips: Fold in a ½ cup of white chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips to the cheesecake batter before baking.
- Pie Filling: Use other canned pie fillings like blueberry pie filling and raspberry pie filling or try this homemade Apple Pie Filling.
- Lemon Cherry Cheesecake: Swirl in Lemon Curd to the top of the batter before baking and top with cherry pie filling when it’s done for a sweet, tart cheesecake.
- Almonds: Almond and cherry taste amazing together! Top your Cherry Cheesecake Bars with sliced almonds or use ground almonds in the crust.
- Cherry Pie Swirl: Instead of adding the cherry pie filling after baking, add in spoonfuls on the top of the uncooked batter. Use a toothpick to gently swirl filling without blending into the cheesecake batter.
SOME DELICIOUS TOPPING IDEAS:
HOW TO STORE CHERRY CHEESECAKE BARS
- Serve: You can keep Cherry Cheesecake Bars at room temperature for up to 2 hours before they need to be stored.
- Store: Refrigerate your Cherry Cheesecake Bars covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature to serve.
- Freeze: Place bars in a sealed container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs , (24 full crackers)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
- 32 ounces cream cheese , softened (4 blocks)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with baking spray.
- Add the almonds to your food processor and pulse over and over again until it makes small crumbs (do not run the processor or you will make almond butter).
- Mix the almonds, graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter together then press it into the baking dish in an even layer.
- To your stand mixer add the cream cheese and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Lower the speed to medium and add in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
- Carefully spread mixture on the crust and bake for 40-45 minutes, until set and firm.
- Top with canned cherry pie filling, spreading evenly over cheesecake.
- Chill completely before serving.