Cherry Swirled Cheesecake Bars

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The very BEST Cherry Swirled Cheesecake Bars to enjoy the last of summertime cherries! It’s seriously three layers of deliciousness. An easy to make 3 ingredient graham cracker crust, topped with a New York-style cheesecake, and swirled with sweet red cherry jam to create the ultimate summer treat! It’s really unlike any other cheesecake you’ve had before. It’s a crumbly, buttery, and sweet crust, with the inside being oh-so creamy, rich, a touch lemony, and bursting with fresh cherry flavor. Bonus? This is the easiest cheesecake to make and pretty much impossible to mess up!

eight cherry swirled cheesecake bars on lined sheet pan with fresh cherries and white flowers around.

About The Recipe

Surprise! We are sharing a bonus recipe this week because we didn’t want cherry season to go by without sharing at least one more cherry dessert. So, let’s celebrate this Saturday with these delicious decadent cherry cheesecake bars!

Last month, my mom and I shared our very first cherry recipe (if you haven’t checked out our Cherry Pie, we highly recommend!).

We had so much fun with that recipe and loved it so much that we knew we wanted to make another cherry recipe. Though, we couldn’t really decide on what we wanted to do. So, we hosted a poll on social media to see what all of you wanted!

We put a few options up there, but the most popular was definitely cheesecake. And, since it’s still summer, my mom and I wanted something that could be enjoyed at home, on a picnic, or during a summertime get-together.

Which where we got to idea to turn the cheesecake into bars!

angled close up of cherry swirled cheesecake bar with more cheesecake bars around and a cherry beside.

Originally, this recipe was going to be a no-bake dessert. But when we started talking about it, it has been so hot here in Texas the last week or so, we were afraid they would melt! So, we preheated the oven and got to baking.

Honestly, I think that might’ve been the best decision we’ve made when it comes to a recipe! Not only are these bars stable, but baking them intensified the flavor and added an extra oomph to each and every bite.

Seriously, I am OBSESSED. They’re the perfect treat to bake this weekend to enjoy the last of cherry season!

What’s The Difference Between a Cheesecake and Cheesecake Bars?

So, between you and me, there is actually no difference in the recipes between a traditional cheesecake and a cheesecake bar! It all comes down to the pan it’s baked in and how it’s cut.

Reasons You Will Love These Cherry Cheesecake Bars

  • You don’t need to bake this cheesecake in a water-bath!
  • Actually easier to make than you might think with tips in the recipe card below to ensure the perfect cheesecake every single time!
  • Uses only a handful of ingredients.
  • FRESH. IN-SEASON. CHERRIES.
  • A delicious make-ahead dessert.
angled shot of three stacked cheesecake bars with cherries and white flowers surrounding stack.

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

For The Jam:

  • Fresh Cherries – For this recipe, we opted to use sweet cherries as they provided more flavor and tasted better as a jam (in our opinion!).
  • Granulated Sugar – Adds sweetness and creates the “jammy” texture.
  • Lemon Juice – Cuts some of the sweetness, while also acting as a natural preservative.
pitted cherries, sugar, and lemon juice on marble surface.

For The Crust:

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs – You can use store-bought graham cracker crumbs or make your own by crushing 12 graham cracker sheets!
  • Granulated Sugar – Adds just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Salted Butter – Binds the crust together and helps cut some of the sweetness.
graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar on marble surface.

For The Cheesecake:

  • Cream Cheese – An essential addition for cheesecake! This adds a tangy flavor and delicious texture.
  • Granulated Sugar – Adds sweetness.
  • Large Eggs – This is what binds the cheesecake together, adds richness, and created the light and fluffy texture we all know and love.
  • Lemon Zest – Adds just a little bit if flavor.
  • Lemon Juice – Just a splash of lemon juice gives this cheesecake a little bit of extra tanginess.
  • Vanilla Extract – Gives this cheesecake a little bit of an undertone to each and every bite.
blocks of cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla on marble surface.

How To Make Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Step 1: Prepare jam

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved and jam has thickened.

Let cool. Purée.

Step 2: Make the crust

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well.

Press into bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.

Step 3: Prepare cheesecake filling

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.

Stream in sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.

Beat eggs in one at a time.

Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Beat well.

Step 4: Pour into crust, swirl, and bake

Pour filling into prepared crust. Dollop jam 1 Tablespoon at a time on top of filling.

Use a cake tester or dull knife to swirl jam through cheesecake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until completely chilled.

FAQ’s and Troubleshooting

How do I pit cherries without a cherry pitter?

If you don’t have a cherry pitter, no worries! You can use a metal straw or a chopstick to push the seed out of the cherry. Be sure to discard the seeds!

Why are there lumps of cream cheese in my cheesecake?

If there are chunks/lumps of cream cheese in your cheesecake, this is due to improper mixing. It’s always best to use a rubber spatula and scrape down the sides of the bowl often to help prevent this!

Why is my crust greasy?

Too much butter being added to the crust causes it to be greasy. We figured this out the hard way! Though, there is a remedy. After pressing the cookie crust into the pan, you can place a paper towel over the top and gently press down to absorb any excess grease. Repeat as many times as needed.

Why did my cheesecake crack?

Since this cheesecake is baked without a water-bath, cracking can be expected to happen on the edges while baking! Alternatively, the cheesecake may not have been tapped down before baking and therefore, air bubbles can cause some cracking. Even the oven door being opened before the cheesecake was done baking can cause cracking! There are a few things that can happen, but there’s not much to worry about because it will still be delicious.

Why did my cheesecake stick to the pan?

If the pan wasn’t properly lined, some of the cheesecake can seep out and cause the bars to stick. It’s always best to run a thin bladed knife around the edge on the outside of the parchment paper before lifting out of the pan to help keep the bars from sticking!

How do I get clean slices?

The best way to achieve clean, even slices is to wipe your knife after each cut! This keeps excess cheese cake, crumbs, or toppings from being dragged through each slice.

Why is my jam so thick?

If your jam is too thick, this is caused by over-cooking. Though, don’t worry! There is a quick way to remedy this. Add about 1 Tablespoon of water and purée it into the jam. This should loosen it enough to swirl through the cheesecake.

overhead shot of cherry swirled cheesecake bars on lined sheet pan with white flowers and fresh cherries around, more cheesecake bars, a silver cake knife, and graham cracker crumbs on marble surface.

How To Store

Once this cheesecake is made, it can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Once sliced, it’s best to be kept in a container with a lid or zip top bag and refrigerated. If there are toppings, the cheesecake bars will not last as long.

You can also freeze the cheesecake for up to 2 months! Once it has been refrigerated overnight, lifted out, and sliced place the slices in a freezer safe zip-top bag. Just be sure to allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving!

Substitutions

  • Frozen cherries can be used instead of fresh. Just be sure to thaw them before making the jam!
  • Don’t have graham cracker crumbs? No worries! You can grind about 16 graham crackers to equal 2 cups of graham crackers.

Looking for more recipes like this? Here are a few you may like:

close up overhead shot of cherry swirled cheesecake on parchment paper with more bars around.

Expert Tips

  • When making the crust, do not add more butter than what’s stated in the recipe card. If you add more butter, it will become greasy when baked.
  • When packing down the crust, it’s best to use a tart tamper or metal measuring cup to ensure a tight and even pack.
  • Be sure to mix the cream cheese and eggs VERY well. Scrape down the sides and beater blade often to ensure no lumps.
  • Once the eggs are added, try not to beat or mix too much. Eggs will retain air and give extra (and unwanted) lift to this cheesecake. That causes cracks!
  • If you suspect air bubbles in your filling, tap the cake pan against your counter a few times!
  • Be careful to not over bake this cheesecake! Follow the baking times and instructions listed in the recipe card below for best results.
  • Let the cheesecake cool completely before covering and placing in the fridge overnight.

When you make these Cherry Swirled Cheesecake Bars, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

eight cherry swirled cheesecake bars on lined sheet pan with fresh cherries and white flowers around.
5 from 1 vote

Cherry Swirled Cheesecake Bars

Author: Traci
Rich, decadent, fluffy, and BURSTING with flavor! These Cherry Swirled Cheesecake Bars are the ultimate summertime treat. Perfect for picnics, barbecues, summer get-togethers, or just to enjoy the best of cherry season!
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Refrigeration Time 12 hours
Total Time: 13 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients
 

Jam

  • 1⅔ cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 6⅔ Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1⅔ Tablespoons lemon juice

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons salted butter, melted

Cheesecake

  • 3 cups cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Jam

  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  • Cook and stir over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved and jam has thickened.
  • Let cool.
  • Purée.

Crust

  • Line bottom of 9 inch tart pan with parchment paper.
  • Spray bottom and sides with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Mix well.
  • Press into bottom of prepared pan.
  • Set aside.

Cheesecake

  • Heat oven to 325 °F.
  • With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  • Stream in sugar.
  • Beat until light and fluffy.
  • Beat eggs in one at a time.
  • Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla.
  • Beat well.
  • Pour into prepared crust.
  • Dollop jam 1 Tablespoon at a time on top of filling.
  • Use a cake tester or dull knife to swirl.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just set in the middle.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until completely chilled.

Notes

Substitutions:
  • Frozen cherries can be used instead of fresh. Just be sure to thaw them before making the jam!
  • Don’t have graham cracker crumbs? No worries! You can grind about 16 graham crackers to equal 2 cups of graham crackers.
 
Expert Tips:
  • When making the crust, do not add more butter than what’s stated in the recipe card. If you add more butter, it will become greasy when baked.
  • When packing down the crust, it’s best to use a tart tamper or metal measuring cup to ensure a tight and even pack.
  • Be sure to mix the cream cheese and eggs VERY well. Scrape down the sides and beater blade often to ensure no lumps.
  • Once the eggs are added, try not to beat or mix too much. Eggs will retain air and give extra (and unwanted) lift to this cheesecake. That causes cracks!
  • If you suspect air bubbles in your filling, tap the cake pan against your counter a few times!
  • Be careful to not over bake this cheesecake! Follow the baking times and instructions listed in the recipe card below for best results.
  • Let the cheesecake cool completely before covering and placing in the fridge overnight.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 248mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 756IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

– Still Hungry? –

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