These No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake Bars are here to save your holiday and free up your oven for all of your other turkey day essentials! With a buttery graham cracker crust, a super simple and decadent cheesecake filling, and a tart cranberry swirl that will knock your socks off, you and your guests will love this dessert.
The truth is, we’ve never met a cheesecake we didn’t like. There’s just nothing like the marriage of flavors from the rich, slightly-sweet cheesecake layer, perfectly tart cranberry topping, and our favorite buttery cranberry crust. When we were brainstorming on Thanksgiving desserts this year, we knew we wanted to put a festive spin on our triple-berry cheesecake bars after y’all loved them so much last year!
What is cheesecake supposed to taste like?
Cheesecake is delicious, y’all! It is slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and REALLY yummy! Even if cream cheese isn’t your thing, we say that these no-bake cheesecake bars are still worth trying!
If you’ve been around here long enough, you know we LOVE cranberries! They bring the most amazing touch of brightness to dishes with their tart, lightly sweet flavors. Over the years we’ve made Cranberry Agua Frescas, Cranberry Sauce, Bacon Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing, Cranberry Bison Meatloaf, and Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Shoulder, so it was high time to take cranberries to dessert!
Let’s talk about how easy these cranberry cheesecake bars are! It’s as simple as crushing your favorite gluten-free graham crackers into crumbs and using your favorite grass-fed butter to make the perfect graham cracker crust. The cheesecake filling comes together with the rich combination of dairy-free condensed milk and cream cheese which makes it literally one of the tastiest AND easiest desserts you’ll have on the menu this holiday season. This dessert is naturally egg-free, but you can also easily make it totally dairy-free by subbing coconut oil in the crust, and using a dairy-free cream cheese like this one. The final piece is a quick cranberry sauce that comes together in no time, and balances the sweetness of the cheesecake filling with just the right amount of tart. We hope you love these cranberry cheesecake bars as much as we did!
What is the best cream to use for a cheesecake?
We opted for regular cream cheese here, but feel free to use Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese if you’d like! The choice is totally up to you. We just recommend going with a full-fat version of whichever you choose.
Cranberry Cheesecake Recipe Tips
Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure that your cheesecake bars turn out perfectly every single time!
- Let the Bars Chill in the Fridge – be sure to let your cheesecake bars chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge before serving. This will really help them set!
- Use a Berry Jam – if you don’t like cranberries, know that you can still use this recipe, just omit the cranberries, and top the bars with a berry jam instead!
- Use Dairy-Free or Regular – feel free to use dairy-free condensed milk and cream cheese here or regular! Either one will work, so the choice is really yours!
How to correctly chill a cheesecake?
It’s super easy, y’all – to chill a cheesecake, you’ll simply pop the whole thing in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours!
How to store cranberry cheesecake?
These cheesecake bars store in the refrigerator beautifully! Just cover them, pop them in the fridge, and pull them back out when you’re ready to enjoy. If you’d like to freeze your cheesecake bars, that works too! Frozen cheesecake is actually a really delicious cold treat!
No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
For the Cranberry Sauce Topping
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- Add the cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, and cinnamon to a saucepan with matching lid over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened and reduced. If the sauce is still thin, continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, until desired consistency is achieved.
- For the graham cracker crust, place the two boxes-worth of graham crackers into a food processor and pulverize until you have fine crumbs. Adding 4 tablespoons-worth of softened butter pieces at a time, pulse the food processor with the butter. Continue for the rest of the butter, until the graham cracker crust comes together in a flaky, slightly-crumbly dough.
- Pat the graham cracker crust into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and slightly up the sides to create a 1/4 inch thick crust.
- For the cheesecake filling, add the condensed milk, cream cheese, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to a large bowl, then beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer for 2-3 minutes, until mixture is smooth and fluffy.
- Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the crust, smoothing to even it out, then pour the cranberry sauce over top.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, then slice and serve!