Strawberry Cheesecake Bars start with a graham cracker crust, a layer of cheesecake, and then a baked strawberry-sour cream layer. A light, delicious, and portable summer dessert!
Strawberry season is my very favorite summer fruit season, so once they start showing up ruby-red and gorgeous, I can’t get enough of the strawberry desserts.
When my latest issue of Cook’s Country arrived, I immediately bookmarked this recipe because it had been way too long since I’d made cheesecake bars of any kind, and of course, STRAWBERRIES! We were going to be celebrating my aunt’s birthday the following weekend, so when I asked what kind of dessert she’d like and she replied with “anything that has strawberries”, the stars had aligned.
These triple-layer strawberry cheesecake bars are just what the summer doctor ordered.
How to Make Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
These cheesecake bars have three separate components to them:
Graham cracker crust – Classic, nothing different or fancy here!
Cheesecake layer – A simple cheesecake batter is baked on top of the graham cracker crust.
Strawberry-sour cream layer – Reminiscent of the baked sour cream topping that is traditional on New York-style cheesecakes, pureed strawberries are stirred together with the sour cream, spread on top of the cheesecake layer and baked until firm.
I was surprised when I saw that the strawberries were incorporated into the sour cream layer instead of the cheesecake layer, but I think this makes for the best possible outcome.
The cheesecake layer is able to shine and is not compromised by pureed strawberries, which would make it difficult to set up properly. You get the entire combination of flavors in every single bite with a firm, creamy texture that is basically cheesecake bar heaven.
Can I Make This Without a Food Processor?
Both the cheesecake filling and the sweetened pureed strawberries utilize a food processor in this recipe, but I think it’s possible to make the recipe without a food processor.
The cheesecake filling comes out silky smooth in the food processor, so if you’re using a hand mixer or stand mixer, make sure that your cream cheese is absolutely at room temperature and not the least bit cool before starting so it incorporates completely without lumps. Mix until completely smooth.
For the pureed strawberries, you can use a blender as a substitute.
I am an absolute cheesecake fangirl, shunning traditional birthday cake for cheesecakes, and ordering them for dessert if available at a restaurant. So it comes as no surprise that I absolutely loved the creamy cheesecake filling sitting on top a perfectly firm, not-at-all-crumbly graham cracker crust and topped with a sweet and tangy strawberry layer.
These strawberry cheesecake bars are absolute summer dessert perfection!
If You Like These Strawberry Cheesecake Bars, Try These:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, flour, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until evenly moistened. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the Filling: In a food processor, process the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the processor running, add the eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated, about 30 seconds total. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and process to combine, about 10 seconds. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Bake until the center is almost set but still jiggles slightly when the pan is shaken, about 45 minutes.
Make the Topping: In a clean, dry food processor bowl, process the strawberries and sugar until pureed, about 30 seconds. In a medium bowl, stir the strawberry puree and sour cream together until combined.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Pour the strawberry mixture over the cheesecake and gently spread to cover the cheesecake layer completely. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is just set, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan and cut into squares. Garnish with sliced strawberries, if desired. Store the cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.