These New York-Style Cheesecake Bars are thick, creamy, and so easy. Perfect for almost any occasion, these easy baked cheesecake bars are always a crowd-pleaser! Freezer friendly!
Cheesecake Bars for a Crowd
With the month of July behind us, I can’t help but think one thing: Fall is right around the corner! It’s hard to believe considering it’s currently 8am and already 89 degrees. But it’s true! And between me and you… I’ve already started baking with apples. And sweet potatoes! And yes: pumpkin. I actually bought 16 jumbo cans of pumpkin puree from Costco last week and the cashier definitely gave me the side eye.
But don’t worry, I’m not done with Summer just yet. I have a few more fruity recipes for you before we hold hands and head into the Fall baking frenzy together. I also have some brand new season neutral recipes for you, starting with today’s recipe for New York-Style Cheesecake Bars. Which can be topped with a fresh fruit topping for Summer parties… or topped with gooey pecans or roasted apples for a Fall effect.
But between us bakers… my favorite way to serve – and eat – these little cheesecake bars is… naked. No fruit, no syrups, no caramels… not even a dollop of whipped cream!
Just try one bite “plain” and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
*There is nothing plain about these cheesecake bars!
Cheesecake Bars with Graham Cracker Crust
I used my “internet famous” New-York Style Cheesecake as a starting point for these bars. Why? Because honestly, that recipe is so perfect that I didn’t want to change anything that didn’t need changing. If you’ve already baked it, you know what I mean! The crust is sweet, golden, and crunchy. And the filling is rich, creamy, and ADDICTING. So why make these bars? Well, I wanted to recreate the recipe in bar form for those of you who don’t own a springform pan… and don’t feel like buying more stuff.
And I also wanted a cheesecake option for my baking pals who loathe the water bath process. Which I’ve learned from feedback is A LOT of you.
So, without further ado, here is a creamy cheesecake option that requires no fancy pans or processes! Can I get a YAY and YUM?!
So if you’re curious what I did change, I’m happy to share! I added a little lemon zest and juice, increased the vanilla, and decreased the flour to just 2 teaspoons. That’s it! These changes were made to improve the taste and texture of the cheesecake in bar form, and even though they’re small, made a huge difference overall.
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success:
- Room temperature ingredients are crucial when it comes to making any cheesecake – including these bars! So be sure you bring your cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, yolks, and heavy cream to room temperature before you begin assembling the batter.
- To prevent the crust from sticking, you will need to line your 9×13-inch baking dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil. And be sure there’s an overhang of at least 2 inches on each side; this will help you remove the cheesecake bars from the pan later. And finally, you’ll need to spray the pan lightly with nonstick baking spray.
- To make the crust you will need melted butter, crushed graham cracker crumbs, and sugar. Yep – just three ingredients! You can buy graham cracker crumbs from the grocery store, or make your own by pulsing sheets of graham crackers in your blender or food processor.
- When pressing the crust down into the bottom of the pan, you’re going to want to press it down very firmly. A firmly packed crust will bake up nice and thick, and most importantly, won’t crumble much when sliced. I recommend starting to press the crumbs down in the center of the pan and then working the crust out and just a little bit up the edges.
- And last but certainly not least, do not over bake the bars. They should still be a little jiggly in the middle when you remove the pan from the oven. The will continue to cook as they cool. And since they need at least 6 hours to chill in the fridge, you’ll want to plan ahead time wise.
But the good news? These cheesecake bars will keep, stored in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. And if you’d like, you can also freeze them and save them for a rainy day. Check on the recipe box below for the full freezing details 😉
More Cheesecake Bars Recipes:
If you try this recipe for New York-Style Cheesecake Squares, please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #bakerbynature on instagram! Seeing your creations seriously makes my day ♥
New York-Style Cheesecake Bars
Yield 9x13 Pan
Rich, creamy, and dense, these are the ULTIMATE New-York Style Cheesecake Bars!
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
For the New York-Style Cheesecake Bars:
- 3 (8 ounce) packages full-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs + 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, allowing two of the sides to overlap (you want an overhang of at least 2-inches on two sides) and spray lightly with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter and, using a rubber spatula, mix well to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom - and slightly up the sides - of the prepared pan.
- Bake the crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside on a cooling rack until needed.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees (F).
For the New York-Style Cheesecake Bars:
- In the body of a high power blender, food processor, stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand held electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until completely smooth.
- Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add in the eggs and yolks and beat until combined.
- Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, mixing just until combined.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cream, mixing just until it's incorporated in the batter.
- Pour filling on top of prepared crust, and spread evenly.
- Check to ensure your oven has cooled to 325°F, then place the pan in the oven and bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until the edges have set and the middle is still a little jiggly. The cheesecake will firm up a lot as they cool.
- Remove the bars from the oven, and cool at room temperature for one hour. Then refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
- When you're ready to serve: use the foil overhang to lift the cheesecake bars from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, slice the slab into squares, wiping the knife clean with a damp cloth between slices. Serve at once.
These New York-Style Cheesecake Bars will keep, stored in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. You may also freeze them for up to 2 months.
To freeze: fully cool the cheesecake bars, then place the cooled cheesecake (whole or sliced) on a freezer-friendly platter and freeze, uncovered, until completely firm. Once firm, remove the cheesecake from the freezer and wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Then place it in a freezer bag; seal the bag and return it to freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to serve: remove the foil and defrost in the fridge overnight.