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cheesecake bars on a wire rack in front of a plate with more bars and three cherries

Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Cherry cheesecake bars feature rich, creamy filling and a swirl of fresh cherry puree. This dessert is a must for summer!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling Time 8 hours
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 9
Author Kelsie


Cherry swirl

  • 1 cup fresh sliced and pitted sweet cherries*
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 8 graham cracker sheets
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • 16 ounces full fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Cherry swirl

  1. Combine the cherries, water, sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the cherries have broken down and the mixture is thick and jam-like; it will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until pureed; it won’t get completely smooth, which is fine. Scrape into a small bowl and allow to cool while you proceed with the recipe.


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with foil, allowing several inches to hang over the edges. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray and set pan aside.
  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.


  1. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium until very smooth.
  2. Add the flour and beat on low to combine; scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the sour cream, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest (if using), and salt. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat on low for a few more seconds.
  4. Spread the filling over the crust. Dollop the cherry puree over and swirl a bit with a butter knife, taking care not to disturb the crust.
  5. Return the pan to the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the edges of the cheesecake are set but the center still jiggles.
  6. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the pan. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely, then chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Use the foil to remove the bars from then pan, then slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • *You’ll need about 6 to 7 ounces of cherries. Pit and slice your cherries in half, then measure out 1 cup.
  • Uneaten cheesecake bars can be stored in the fridge, covered, for 3 or 4 days. They can also be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 1 month.
  • Be sure your cream cheese is fully at room temperature or you could end up with lumps in your filling.