Mixed berry cheesecake bars start with an easy, buttery graham cracker crust with rich, dense cheesecake filling, swirled with a triple berry ribbon.
If you love berry cheesecake, but don't love the fussiness that comes with it, these berry cheesecake bars are for you. Not only can the berry puree be made in your microwave (or stovetop), but it doesn't require a water bath!
Fresh or frozen berries- Use any blend of raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, or other summer berry. Consider avoiding blackberries as the seeds can be pretty noticeable, unless you strain them through a mesh strainer.
If you are using frozen berries, rinse them under cool water to remove any built up ice or juice, then thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
Cream cheese- Use full fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature.
Graham crackers- Use honey graham crackers, not cinnamon. (Here is a recipe for Gluten Free Graham Crackers).
Make the berry puree. In a small sauce pan, add the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook on low until berries break down and soften. Simmer until a chunky, sauce like texture is achieved. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend.
The berry puree can also be made in the microwave (shown above), using a large, microwave safe container. Heat on 50% power in 2 minute increments, stirring in between until berries can be blended.
Form the graham cracker crust. Grease the bottom and sides of a glass baking pan.
Blend graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a bowl, then press into the bottom of a 13x9 inch glass pan with the palms of your hands until even and packed down.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Make the cheesecake filling. In a mixing bowl, on medium speed, beat the soft cream cheese with the sugar, vanilla and sour cream until smooth, and no lumps remain.
One at a time beat in the eggs until completely combined.
Pour about half of the cheesecake filling over the graham cracker crust.
Dollop about half of the berry puree, scattered over the first half of the cheesecake filling, and lightly swirl with a knife or toothpick.
Pour remaining half of cheesecake filling over the first half that was just swirled with berry puree. Repeat dolloping remaining berry puree over the final half of cheesecake filling, and swirl again with a knife or toothpick.
Bake for about 1 hour. When the edges look set and the center is no longer "wet", they can be removed from the oven and cooled at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Cut the bars once they are completely chilled (at least 2 hours, preferably overnight).
Serve, and enjoy these Summer berry cheesecake bars all season long!
Berry Swirl (Berry Puree)
- 2 cups mixed berries fresh or frozen, rinsed and patted dry
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Graham Cracker Crust
- 15 graham cracker sheets pulverized into crumbs (about 2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs)
- 1 stick butter melted, plus more for greasing pan
- ¼ cup sugar
- 16 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
Make the Berry Puree
- In a saucepan or heat safe container in the microwave, simmer berries (2 cups), sugar (½ cup) and lemon juice (1 tablespoon) on medium low until the berries soften and can be smashed. Stir occasionally.
- Use an immersion blender to blend softened berries into a puree. Chill in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make the Graham Cracker Crust
- Pulverize graham crackers in a food processor or smash in a plastic bag until fine crumbs have formed.
- In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter (1 stick) and sugar (¼ cup) until crumbs are moist.
- Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
- In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese (16 oz/2 boxes), sugar (1 ½ cups), and vanilla (2 tsp) on medium speed until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Add sour cream (¼ cup) and beat on low until combined, followed by 3 eggs one at a time until completely mixed.
- Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over graham cracker crust.
- Dollop half the cooled, pureed berries randomly over cream cheese mixture and swirl with a knife.
- Top with remaining cream cheese mixture, and repeat with remaining berry puree, swirl.
- Bake at 325 degrees for about one hour. Cheesecake is done when edges are set and center is no longer "wet" looking.
- Remove from oven and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Once the berry cheesecake is completely chilled, cut into bars (5 long by 4 wide).
- Cut into 20 bars, 4 wide by 5 long.
- Keep stored in fridge for up to 5 days.
- If using blackberries, keep in mind their seeds are larger and more hard.
- Soften cream cheese at room temperature prior to use.
- Cool berry reduction in fridge prior to mixing into cream cheese mixture.
- Do not attempt to cut bars until completely chilled in the fridge, a minimum of 2 hours. Bars will be more set if let to chill overnight in the fridge.