These Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars are delicious, simple, and so easy to make! Featuring fresh, juicy strawberries, a creamy cheesecake filling, and a sweet, buttery shortbread crust, they’re the perfect springtime dessert.
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The Best Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
It’s no secret that we have a massive sweet tooth. After all, there’s always room for dessert! However, we don’t always have time to stand baking over a hot stove, and when the weather is warm, the last place we want to be is in a hot, stuffy kitchen. Enter our strawberry cheesecake bars!
Vibrant, sweet, and creamy, they require absolutely no baking, meaning they’re the best option for those hot summer days. All you have to do is layer the ingredients, let them chill, and they’re ready to eat. Plus, it’s super simple to make a big batch for serving at parties or indulging in yourself. Been there, done that. Trust us, one bite, and your tastebuds will thank you!
How to Make Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
Similar to no-bake peanut butter lasagna or our no-bake Oreo pie, the key to creating these strawberry cheesecake bars is in layering. Once you’ve got everything you need, they come together super quickly! In fact, they’re a really great way to get the kids in the kitchen helping.
What You’ll Need
- Strawberries – Fresh strawberries are cooked down to create a sweet, strawberry flavor and bright, beautiful color.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar helps enhance the natural sweetness of the strawberries.
- Lemon – Lemon juice is added, because the acidity balances out the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients so they aren’t overpowering. In addition, lemon zest helps add pectin to thicken the mixture, helping it become almost jam-like.
- Water and Cornstarch – These combine to thicken the compote.
- Shortbread Cookies – We love Chessman cookies! However, any plain shortbread cookies will work.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar sweetness the cookies even more. Everything tastes better with sugar!
- Butter – Unsalted butter works best to create a rich flavor and a smooth mouthfeel.
- Salt – Just a pinch enhances the rest of the ingredients.
- Cream Cheese – Forms the base of the filling. We love to use full-fat varieties, but any percentage can be used. Just make sure they’re unflavored!
- Ricotta – Included in classic Italian cheesecake recipes, ricotta is soft, creamy, and adds extra tang.
- Sugar – Both granulated sugar and powdered sugar are included to sweeten the filling without making it grainy.
- Vanilla Extract – Make sure you use pure vanilla extract and not imitation varieties!
- Heavy Whipping Cream – Used to add moisture and soften the texture of the ricotta cheese. If needed, sour cream works well as a substitute.
- Lemon – Similarly to the compote, lemon juice and lemon zest are included to balance all the flavors with a touch of acidity.
Can I Use Frozen Strawberries?
These strawberry cheesecake bars are best with fresh, in-season strawberries. However, they’re so good you’ll want to make them all year long! In this case, frozen strawberries can be used. Just be sure to let them thaw first, and drain off any excess juice.
- Create the Strawberry Compote. Combine the water and cornstarch together, whisking until there are no clumps to form a slurry. In a deep saucepan, add the sugar, strawberries, and cornstarch mixture.
Cook over medium-high heat, letting the mixture simmer until it thickens and because syrupy. Stir in the lemon juice, and set the compote aside.
- Form the Crust. Pulse the cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs are formed. Then, transfer them to a bowl, and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix until the ingredients are completely combined and the cookie crumbs are coated in the butter.
Use a glass cup to the mixture into a
parchment paper-lined baking dish. Place it in the fridge to chill.
- Make the Cheesecake Filling. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and both sugars until the ingredients are smooth, light, and creamy. Add the heavy cream and vanilla, and beat until medium-sized peaks form.
Spread the filling over the chilled crust. Then add the strawberry compote on top. Lightly cover the baking dish, and place it in the fridge overnight.
Tips and Tricks
Although these strawberry cheesecake bars require multiple steps, you’re not gonna believe how easy they are to make! However, to make sure you get a super smooth texture and your bars turn out perfect, we’ve got a few extra tips.
- Use Room Temperature Ingredients. Let your ingredients (especially the ricotta) sit out and come to room temperature for super easy mixing. This helps prevent any lumps in the filling.
- Spread Evenly. Use a rubber spatula to spread the filling in a smooth layer over the crust.
- Don’t Overbeat. Be careful not to overbeat the cheesecake filling. You want to stop as soon as your peaks begin to form. Otherwise, the filling is likely to crack.
- Cool Completely. Don’t rush the chilling process! Make sure to chill the crust and filling together before adding the strawberry compote on top. If you don’t it’ll sink to the bottom! Then, place the whole thing back in the fridge to set so the layers don’t fall apart.
How to Slice
If you’re not careful, you can crumble and crush your strawberry cheesecake bars when you’re trying to slice. We definitely don’t want to ruin all that hard work! So, to make sure your bars come out neat and clean follow the steps below.
- Use a sharp, serrated knife to make your cuts.
- After each slice, wipe the knife clean with a damp cloth or clean paper towel.
- Continue, repeating the steps until all your bars have been sliced, and dig in!
Okay, obviously we’re making a recipe for strawberry cheesecake bars. So, we don’t want to get too crazy straying from the original recipe. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment and get a little fancy! For example, some of our favorite ways to switch up this dessert include:
- Using Different Fruit. Swap out the strawberries with another type of summer fruit like blueberries, raspberries, or peaches.
- Adding an Extra Layer. Include a layer of chocolate ganache or caramel sauce between the layers of crust and cheesecake for an extra indulgent dessert.
- Using Different Cookies. Switch up the flavor profile by swapping out the shortbread cookies with your favorite Oreos or Nilla wafers instead!
- Including a Topping. Garnish your bars with a dollop of whipped cream, a shaving of chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or even a sprinkle of coconut flakes.
You want to make sure you plan to make these no-bake strawberry cheesecake bars in advance so they have plenty of time to set. However, you don’t want to wait too long to dig in (not that that’s hard)! Store your bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Or, pop them in the freezer to keep on hand whenever a craving strikes! To do so, prepare the bars as normal. Then, wrap each piece in aluminum foil, place them in a sealable bag, and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat, place them in the fridge. Or, set them out at room temperature to soften before you dig in. They’ll taste good as new!
More Cheesecake-Inspired Recipes
Looking for more easy cheesecake-inspired recipes? Satisfy your sweet tooth with more of our favorite options below!
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Strawberry Cheesecake Chimichanga
- Raspberry Cheesecake Challah French Toast
- Strawberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats
Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
For the Strawberry Compote:
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries chopped into small pieces
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice + zest of half a lemon
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
For the Shortbread Crust:
- 24 ounces shortbread cookies
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Salt to taste
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 12 ounces full-fat cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Zest of 1/2 a lemon
For the Strawberry Compote:
- In a small bowl, whisk the water and cornstarch together until smooth to form a slurry.
- In a deep saucepan over medium-high heat, add the sugar, strawberries, and cornstarch slurry, whisking until smooth. Simmer 6-8 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, and set the compote aside to cool.
For the Shortbread Crust:
- In a food processor, add the cookies. Pulse until fine crumbs form.
- Transfer the cookie crumbs to a bowl, and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix until combined and the cookies are completely coated in the butter.
- Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Pour the crust mixture into the dish, and use the bottom of a glass to press them down and smooth them out.
- Chill in the fridge.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- Using an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar until light and creamy.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla, and beat until medium peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat!
- Spread the filling over the crust, and place the dish in the fridge to chill.
- Spread the strawberry compote over the cheesecake filling. Refrigerate overnight.
- Use a serrated knife to slice, and enjoy!
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.