With strawberry season just around the corner, these Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to take advantage of all those bright and delicious strawberries! A creamy cheesecake filling is topped with strawberry puree, all on a crispy graham cracker crust.
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What's In These Bars?
Graham Crackers- There are tons of different graham crackers out there to choose from, these are made with the honey version. You could use the pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs that are readily available in the grocery stores, but for this recipe I chose to take a package of graham crackers and pulverized them in the food processor. I find that the flavor is better when I add cinnamon myself, instead of buying the cinnamon graham crackers. If you wanted to just buy the cinnamon graham crackers, that would work too!
Strawberries- Strawberries just scream "It's Summer!" to me! When I buy strawberries, I really try to buy organic whenever possible. According to the EWG, strawberries are one of the fruits that soak up pesticides the worst, making them part of the "dirty dozen". After I buy strawberries, I always wash them, cut them, and place them in an air tight container. They will usually last for about a week when I do this and it's easy to grab a few for snacks or to take a cup and bake with them.
Cream Cheese- Full fat cream cheese is necessary here. Low fat or fat free will be too watery and won't hold the texture. The flavor is also not as great in the low fat or fat free cream cheese, in my opinion. Here is one of those times that you definitely want to splurge for the full fat version. It's important that the cream cheese is at room temperature as well to avoid any lumps in the mixture.
How To Make These Bars
You'll need a food processor for this recipe. It's the fastest and easiest way to put the recipe together. You can use a hand mixer for the cheesecake filling part. That's a great variation as well.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray it. I've been loving these Baker's Signature parchment paper sheets. They make taking the bars out of the pan super easy.
How to Make the Graham Cracker Crust
In the food processor, place the graham crackers in the food processor and pulse them about 10 times. Add the butter, cinnamon, and sugar and continue pulsing until the graham cracker crumbs look like wet sand. Add the graham cracker crumbs to the baking dish and use the back of a measuring cup to push the crumbs into the edges of the baking dish. You want to evenly pack down the crumbs on the bottom of the baking dish. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool while you make the fillings.
How to Make the Strawberry Puree
Clean out the food processor and place the strawberries and ½ cup of sugar into the food processor. Process for 15 seconds until the strawberries are all pureed. Add the strawberries to a saucepan and add the cornstarch. Place the pan on medium heat. Cook the strawberries mixture for 10-15 minutes until they reduce by half. Stay close, you do not want to burn the puree. This is an optional step, but necessary in my opinion. Pour the mixture into a small strainer and strain out the seeds. Set the mixture aside.
How to Make the Cheesecake Filling
Clean out the food processor again and add the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla to the food processor. If you don't want to use the food processor here, you could use a bowl with a hand mixer or you could use a stand mixer. Process for 30 seconds until the cream cheese mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the mixture to the prepared baking dish and evenly spread the mixture into the dish. Spoon about six tablespoons around the cheesecake mixture. With a butter knife or a spatula, swirl the strawberry mixture into the cheesecake mixture. Bake for 35 minutes until the edges just start to brown and the middle is still a little jiggly. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before cutting it.
Questions About This Recipe
Yes! It's be refrigerated, so I would make this the day before you want to eat it, or if you are planning to have it for dessert after dinner, I would make it early in the morning. If you want to freeze it, make sure to wrap the baking dish in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to three months. To defrost, place it in the refrigerator to defrost completely.
Instead of making strawberry puree from scratch, a great option would be to use a seedless jam. Before you spoon it into the cheesecake mixture, I would mix it around to get it a little more smooth so it swirls better. You can use any type of jam you would like and it be a great variation on this recipe!
In my Nutella Swirl Cheesecake Bars I used chocolate graham cracker bunnies as the crust. You could do the same here! Grab some honey graham cracker bunnies and pulverize them. You could even use the chocolate ones and these cheesecake bars would turn into a chocolate dipped strawberry cheesecake bar. So good!
Other Recipes to Try!
Did you give these Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars a try? I’d love to hear from you! Give me a shout on Instagram or Facebook and let me know (@Lynnswayoflife) !
- Roasted Vegetable Panzanella
- Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Sourdough Discard Banana Muffins
- Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
To make the Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 Package of Graham Crackers About 10 crackers
- 6 tbsp Butter Melted
- ⅓ cup Sugar Granulated
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
To Make the Strawberry Puree
- 2 cups Fresh Strawberries Stem removed and the berry cut in half
- ½ cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch To thicken the puree
To Make the Cream Cheese Filling
- 2 Packs Cream Cheese Full Fat at room temperature
- 1 Egg Large
- ⅓ Cup Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla
Make the Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat to oven to 375°. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray any exposed part of the dish that the parchment paper did not reach.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the graham crackers. Pulse them 10 times to make them into crumbs. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Pulse again until the crumbs turn into the texture of wet sand.
- Add the graham cracker crumbs to the baking dish and press the crumbs into the baking dish . You can do this by using the back of a measuring cup and pressing the crumbs with the measuring cup. Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. When it is done baking, allow it to cool while you make the other parts of the recipe.
Make the Strawberry Puree
- Clean out the bowl of the food processor and add the strawberries and sugar. Pulse until the strawberries resemble a puree.
- Add the puree to a saucepan and add the cornstarch. Turn the mixture on medium high for 10-15 minutes until the puree reduces by half. Stir continuously as you do not want to burn the puree.
- Strain out the seeds (optional) and set the puree aside to cool.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
- In the bowl of the food processor, or in a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla. If you are using a hand mixer, mix for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth. If you are using a food processor, process until the mixture is completely smooth.
- Add the cheesecake filling to the cooled graham cracker crust. Smooth it out so it is evenly distributed throughout the baking dish. Spoon the strawberry puree over the cheesecake mixture and swirl the puree into the cheesecake. Try not to go too deep as you so not want to hit the graham cracker crust.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges just start to brown and the middle is mostly set with a little jiggle. Allow the bars to cool completely before you take them out of the pan. Refrigerate before serving. Enjoy!