Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

9 servings
1 hr 15 min

‘Tis the season to make Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars. Smooth, creamy and swirled with cranberry syrup, the festive filling is stacked on a crumbly graham cracker crust. Switch up your holiday desserts this year with this guilty little pleasure.

Story of my life: everything falls into place then everything falls out of place. And not a gentle descent like a maple leaf in autumn, I mean a sudden drop to the ground like a grandma on a Life Alert commercial. No, my hip isn’t broken. But my steel kitchen prep table is, along with every plate and bowl stored on the undershelf when it took a nosedive for no reason.

Unless you count exceeding the recommended weight limit as a reason. Which, of course, I do not because then I’d be culpable.

Now my breakfast options for the morning are to either eat cereal from a styrofoam bowl or starve because I don’t want toxic chemicals contaminating my Cheerios. Like Tuesday’s presidential election, I have freedom of choice but both choices are off-putting. Fortunately, there’s a third candidate in the running.

Don’t fret, it’s not Kanye West. It’s the cranberry swirl cheesecake bars in my refrigerator. No plate, no problem, I’ll eat these pretty bars straight from the pan at sunrise. Smooth, creamy and oh so festive, cranberry swirl cheesecake bars sit atop a crumbly graham cracker crust. Make sure they sit atop your holiday dessert table, too. Your guests will be glad you did.

Recipe details

  • 9  servings
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 45 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 15 min
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Cranberry Swirl

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 13 sheets)
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Cheesecake Filling

  • 16 ounces full fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla pure
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour unbleached


Cranberry Swirl

Place all cranberry swirl ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until mixture thickens and cranberries pop.
Chill cranberry sauce in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Puree cooled cranberry sauce with a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Graham Cracker Crust

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang for ease of removal.
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor for 15 seconds until fine crumbs form.
Add melted butter and sugar then pulse a few more times until combined.
Add graham cracker mixture to the prepared baking pan then pack until an even layer forms.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven then place on a wire rack to cool.

Cheesecake Filling

Beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and lump free. Approximately 3 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
Add vanilla and flour until incorporated. Set aside


Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
Spread cheesecake filling onto warm graham cracker crust and level with a spatula.
Spoon cranberry sauce on top of cheesecake filling. Swirl with a wooden skewer or toothpick.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Cheesecake is done baking when the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Cheesecake will firm up as it cools. Do not overbake.
Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
Cover and place baking pan in the refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 3 hours. Remove bars from pan using parchment to lift them out then slice with a sharp knife, wiping blade between cuts for clean lines.
Store leftover bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  • Full fat cream cheese is recommended for the cheesecake filling. Substitute reduced fat if you’re counting calories, but absolutely no fat free substitutions.
  • For best results, cream cheese and eggs must be at room temperature before beginning.
  • Don’t overpack the graham cracker crust or it’ll bake up so hard it can barely be cut.
  • In order to keep cheesecake bars from cracking, avoid overbeating the batter.

Whisking Wolf
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  • Karen Frieda Kaiser Karen Frieda Kaiser on Nov 10, 2020

    The recipe sounds like something I might try. I could do without the political comment though. I want my President to succeed without the negative comments.

    • Whisking Wolf Whisking Wolf on Nov 11, 2020

      Glad you like sounds of the recipe, Karen. The bars are so pretty for the holiday season.

      Have a great day!

  • DL DL on Nov 11, 2020

    You didnt say what size pan to use for that amount of mixture