Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
Cranberry cheesecake bars are the perfect holiday dessert recipe! These are literally the creamiest cheesecake bars you’ll ever taste. They’re so easy to make and the gingersnap cookie crust adds so much flavor. You can even make these up to 3 days ahead of time!
How to Make Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
This recipe couldn’t be easier to make! You don’t specifically need any fancy ingredients but a food processor does help significantly.
Ingredients you’ll need for cranberry cheesecake bars
- Gingersnap cookies. You can swap in traditional graham crackers, but gingersnap cookies add the perfect complementary flavor.
- Sugar. You’ll need sugar for the crust, filling, and cranberry topping.
- Butter. Butter helps bind the cookie crust together.
- Cranberries. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries here.
- Grand Marnier. A hint of orange liqueur in the cranberries and cheesecake filling is so, so good.
- Cream cheese. Make sure to use full-fat cream cheese here.
- Sour Cream. I am always team sour cream in my cheesecake filling! I love the additional creaminess and tang.
- Eggs. This cheesecake filling has fewer eggs than you’d imagine which keeps the filling from tasting overly eggy.
- Vanilla bean paste. You could swap in vanilla extract, but the vanilla bean adds so much flavor to the filling.
how to make cookie crumbs without a food processor
While having a food processor definitely helps make cookie crumbs easier, you don’t need one! Whenever I need fine cookie crumbs, I put the cookies in a large ziplock bag and methodically crush them with a rolling pin. I don’t smash them, instead, I roll the pin over the bag while applying pressure until the cookies are the desired texture. For this recipe, you want the cookie crumbs to be very fine.
Using room temperature ingredients
You’ve probably heard this before, but using room-temperature ingredients in baking is so important! In this instance, you really need your cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to all be at room temperature for the filling. When I know I want to make cranberry cheesecake bars, I set the ingredients out overnight to bake in the morning. Having room-temperature ingredients lets them combine easier with a much better texture. Don’t skip this step!
baking cranberry cheesecake bars
Please take note that this recipe uses two different oven temperatures! You first bake the crust at 350 F and then lower the oven temperature to 300 F. Baking the cheesecake bars at a lower temperature keeps them super creamy so that the eggs don’t overcook and prevents them from cracking on top. No water bath necessary!
Making cranberry cheesecake bars ahead of time
I love this recipe because you can easily make it ahead of time! You can also break up the work into stages. The cranberry topping can be made at least a day in advance and you can pulse your cookies to make cookie crumbs at any time. Just make sure to store them in an airtight container.
After baking, cranberry cheesecake bars can be stored in the fridge covered for 3 days. You can also wrap the cut or uncut bars really well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Just defrost in the fridge overnight before serving.
Other Cranberry Recipes to Try
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Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
- 1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
- 3 tablespoons water
- Pinch of salt
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat an oven to 350 F. Grease and line an 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper so that extra parchment hangs over the edges. This makes it easier to remove the cheesecake from the pan.
- To make the cookie crumbs, pulse 15-20 gingersnap cookies in a food processor until the crumbs are very fine. Combine with the other ingredients with a fork until the mixture looks like wet sand. Using a measuring cup, press the crust into the prepared pan in an even layer so that they're packed tight.
- Bake for 10 minutes and cool to room temperature. REDUCE the oven to 300 F.
- In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and the cranberries are very soft. Cool before using.
- Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until the cream cheese is very smooth and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and Grand Marnier and mix until the filling is very smooth and all the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust and dollop the cranberry sauce on top. Use a toothpick or chopstick to gently swirl the filling. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 300 F, until the filling is set but jiggly.
- Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate covered for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving. Use the overhanging parchment paper to remove the cheesecake from the pan before cutting it into squares.