Cheesecake Bars

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Cheesecake Bars

Dense and creamy with a hint of lemon and a crisp graham cracker crust, these cheesecake bars are an easy alternative to NY cheesecake.

cheesecake bars

A slice of luxuriously rich NY-style cheesecake is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. If it’s on the menu, you can bet I’ll order it. But I rarely make cheesecake at home because it can be a bit fussy. It needs to bake in a water bath to prevent curdling and cracking, and it’s always hard to tell when it’s done. Cheesecake bars, however, are a different story.

Dense and creamy with a hint of lemon and a crisp graham cracker crust, these bars are not only a cinch to make, but they also rival the very best NY cheesecake out there. They also have a high crust-to-cheesecake ratio so if you’re a crust-lover like me, you’ll 😍 them.

What You’ll need To Make Cheesecake Bars
how to make cheesecake bars

How To Make Cheesecake Bars

Begin by making the graham cracker crust. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter.

how to make cheesecake bars

Stir, using your fingertips if necessary, until well combined with no lumps of brown sugar remaining.

how to make cheesecake bars

Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, until set. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside.

how to make cheesecake bars

Meanwhile, make the batter. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the room temperature cream cheese, granulated sugar, and flour together until just smooth, about 1 minute.

how to make cheesecake bars

Add the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.

how to make cheesecake bars

Beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as you mix. Do not over-mix.

how to make cheesecake bars

Pour the batter into the warm crust.

how to make cheesecake bars

Bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set but still a little jiggly in the center (it will continue to cook as it cools). An instant-read thermometer, inserted into the filling about 1″ in from the edge, should read 180°F-190°F. Remove the bars from the oven, and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.

how to make cheesecake bars

Before serving, use the foil overhang to lift the cheesecake out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into squares, wiping the knife clean with a damp cloth between slices.

Serve cold with lots of napkins. Enjoy!

cheesecake bars

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Cheesecake Bars

Dense and creamy with a hint of lemon and a crisp graham cracker crust, these cheesecake bars are an easy alternative to NY cheesecake.

Servings: 16 squares
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes, plus at least 6 hours to chill in refrigerator


For the Crust

  • 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, from 10 whole crackers
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon packed freshly grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line an 8-inch baking dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil (so that there is an overhang on at least 2 sides) and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until well combined, using your fingertips if necessary to be sure no lumps of brown sugar remain. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until set. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  3. Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with beaters or the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and flour together on medium speed until just smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt; beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute. Do not over-mix.
  4. Pour the batter into the slightly cooled crust. Check to make sure your oven has cooled to 325°F, then bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set but still a little jiggly in the center. (An instant-read thermometer, inserted into the filling about 1" in from the edge, should read between 180°-190°F.) The cheesecake will continue to cook as it cools. Remove the bars from the oven, and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.
  5. Use the foil overhang to lift the cheesecake out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into squares, wiping the knife clean with a damp cloth between slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Note: The cheesecake bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cheesecake bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place the cooled cheesecake (cut or uncut) on a plate and freeze, uncovered, until firm. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag. Seal and return to freezer for up to 3 months. Remove the foil before defrosting.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 square
  • Calories: 248
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Sugar: 20 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 166 mg
  • Cholesterol: 77 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Everyone said this tasted like authentic cheese cake to them and that the lemon flavoring was a very pleasant surprise. On my permanent special occasion surprise list NOW. No complaints only WOWS. Thank you for this very simple easy to follow recipe.

    • — roy okimoto jr on November 28, 2020
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  • I made these following the exact recipe, and they were delicious. I really like Jenn Segal’s recipes, she gives great detail and the results are always excellent.

    • — Shelagh on November 6, 2020
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  • These we’re amazing, thank you for the recipe! Everyone loved them. I made them lactose free and gluten free and no one seemed to notice a difference. I had some cracks (I think from over mixing). I added a thin layer of sour cream topping and your berry sauce (the berry sauce was also a hit all on its own). I’m looking forward to making these again!

    • — Mona on October 18, 2020
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  • Love this recipe and love this blog! I prefer a fluffier consistency. What changes need to be made to make the bars less dense?

    • — Helena on October 12, 2020
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    • Hi Helena, If you’d like a lighter texture, I’d probably look for a different recipe as I’m not sure what tweaks you’d need to make to achieve that with this one. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 14, 2020
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  • great recipe! after looking around , this one seemed the best in directions and ingredient quantity plus explanation!

    • — Ami on October 1, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn! I have a 9×9 pan – will that work for this recipe? So looking forward to trying it!

    • — Sam on September 12, 2020
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    • Hi Sam, that should work, but they will be a little thinner. Bake time may also be a touch shorter so keep a close eye on them. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2020
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  • bars are excellent and actually better the next day. definitely important to let them get cold. i added a quick fresh strawberry topping cooked with peach jam, vanilla and a pinch of sugar. also used ginger snaps instead of graham crackers which was a yummy modification.

    • — charrington on August 30, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn!

    My family loves lemon and I’d like to incorporate more of a lemon flavor in these bars when I make them this weekend. What do you recommend? More lemon in the bars or a lemon topping?

    Thanks for your help!

    • — Rebekah on August 29, 2020
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    • Hi Rebekah, I’d add more lemon zest to the bars. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2020
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      • The bars were a huge hit! Thanks for your fantastic recipes Jenn!

        • — Rebekah Hartkopf on August 31, 2020
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      • Any substitute for sour cream?

        • — Veena on September 5, 2020
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        • Hi Veena, you could substitute plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on September 7, 2020
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  • This is absolutely the best cheesecake recipe I’ve ever made! Everyone who has tasted it has gone crazy. Thank you @intothekitchenwithsteff for sharing!

    • — Jodi Wolf on August 11, 2020
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  • Hi Jen,

    I have made this scrumptious recipe several times; first time plain, the second time with mini chocolate chips, and the third time with fresh strawberry swirls. Thanks to your guidance, ALL came out SUPER DELICIOUS! I am hoping to get some help regarding the filling. I know there is only a very little flour, but i need to make it gluten free. I have gluten free flour. Do you have any experience using GF flour in this recipe? Thank you!!!

    • — kathleen on July 31, 2020
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    • Hi Kathleen, I haven’t tried gluten-free flour here but I think it will be fine. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it.

      • — Jenn on July 31, 2020
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      • Well, for the filling I used Bob’s red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour. Then for the crust I used gluten-free graham crackers. Both components came out perfectly. I made no other adjustments. I can’t wait to try different fruit flavors since the strawberry purée was absolutely yummy! Thank you again for all you do!

        • — kathleen on August 2, 2020
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  • Can I add melted chocolate to this recipe to make it chocolate cheesecake and will it affect the cooking process?

    • — Mandie on July 12, 2020
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    • Hi Mandie, I wouldn’t recommend it (cheesecake is pretty finicky) so I wouldn’t fiddle with the recipe. If you want to incorporate some chocolate, you could use chocolate graham cracker crumbs to make a chocolate crust and could add mini chocolate chips to the filling.

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2020
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  • hi i was thinking of adding baileys to these cheesecake much baileys can i add without ruining the texture of the cheesecake? thank you!

    • — gail on June 30, 2020
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    • Hi Gail, I’d omit the lemon juice and vanilla and add 2 tablespoons of Bailey’s. I’d love to hear how they turn out! 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 1, 2020
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  • I read both of your recipes (one for the cake and one for the bars). I wasn’t sure if my pan would leak (and I didn’t have the extra large foil) so I made your bars in my springform pan. It turned out perfectly and I served it in cake slices! It was quicker than the other recipe and it delivered on the cheesecake taste my family was craving!

    • — Jessica Moran on June 26, 2020
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  • At my dad’s request for cheesecake, I made these bars for a family get together on Father’s Day. Wow — the cheesecake bars were a hit! I find this recipe less fussy than a traditional cheesecake, and the texture of the crust is beautiful. Coupled with your berry sauce recipe, there wasn’t a bite left.

    • — Denise on June 23, 2020
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  • Just curious: How is it different from your NY cheesecake recipe as the ingredients an and methods are so similar? Why doesn’t it require a water bath? Thanks!

    • — Helen on June 19, 2020
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    • Hi Helen, they are essentially the same recipe — the bars just make about 1/2 the amount. And I just haven’t found a water bath necessary for the bars; while you still need to be careful with them, they’re not as fragile as traditional cheesecake. (And you’re slicing them so if they crack a little, it’s less noticeable.)

      • — Jenn on June 19, 2020
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  • Hi, have not made these as yet and wonder about making them in a mini tart or cupcake pan? How would that affect the baking temp and time?

    • — Enid on June 14, 2020
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    • Hi Enid, mini versions of this will work. I’d keep the baking temp the same but you’ll need to reduce the baking time by a lot; I’d start checking around 25 minutes. I’d love to know how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2020
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    • My mom loves cheesecake. l like once upon a chef because they have good recipes.

      • — Anna ozturk on June 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • Delicious! I made these cheesecake bars at my husband’s request. We took them to visit friends. You know they’re good when the recipe is requested. Thank you for the simple, specific directions. The pictures were helpful, too. ♥

    • — Michele on June 1, 2020
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    • My daughter made these for my husband’s birthday (cheesecake is his favorite dessert) and he loved them. We shared them with family too, and they were finished in one sitting. *I swapped the foil for parchment paper because I do not like cooking food on aluminum, and this worked fine; and used crème fraîche instead of sour cream. Thank you for such a delicious, easy recipe!

      • — Elle on June 8, 2020
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  • Delicious! I made these cheesecake bars at my husband’s request. We took them to visit friends. You know they’re enjoyed when the recipe is requested. Thank you for the simple, specific instructions. The pictures helped, too. ♥

    • — Michele on June 1, 2020
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  • My family and I love this recipe. The bars are delicious. We live overseas and do not have access to graham crackers, so I used Oreos for the crust, without sugar. We will definitely make these again!

    • — Joann on May 29, 2020
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  • AMAZING. My first attempt at anything cheesecake and they were heavenly. Everyone went back for a second piece (including me😋). Will definitely make again! I didn’t have any lemon juice, so I left it out and made a strawberry rhubarb sauce to top it with to balance the richness with some tartness. Perfect.

    • — Hannah on May 10, 2020
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  • Hello! I’ve been looking at your recipe for the cheesecake bars and the NY cheesecake; I’ve noticed that the filling retains the same ratio between the ingredients (just half the amount for each ingredient for the bars) but was wondering why there’s a lot more sugar in the crust recipe for the bars, when compared to that for the NY cheesecake, despite less graham crackers being used.

    Would it affect the outcome of the cheesecake bars if I were to follow the NY cheesecake’s crust recipe but just halving it like what has been done for the filling? Or can I stick to the cheesecake bars’ crust recipe but reduce the sugar (please advice.) My parents are very conscious about their sugar intake… haha. Thank you so much, I adore your website! 🙂

    • — Dana on May 7, 2020
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    • Hi Dana, Glad you like the recipes! I think you could reduce the sugar in the crust to 2 tablespoons and keep the amount of graham cracker crumbs the same. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
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  • Yummy! Yummy! Yummy! That’s all I have to say! Oh and thank you Jen!

    • — Naz Sicherman on May 4, 2020
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  • Taste wise these cheesecake bars were AMAZING! However, even after following the recipe to the T and leaving them refrigerated for 6-7 hrs cutting the bars got a little messy…. Any idea why? the cheesecake kept getting stuck on the knife and even after cleaning after each cut it left messy cheesecake cubes! Definitely will try leaving overnight next time!

    • — Samreen on May 3, 2020
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    • Hi Samreen, sorry you had a problem cutting these. Is there any chance they could have been a bit underbaked? If not, next time I would refrigerate them overnight and even pop them in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before you slice them. (That makes them slightly more firm and easier to slice.) Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 4, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn

    I am bringing dessert to our family Easter dinner as I just finished canning 4 batches of pie filling. I really have been craving some cheesecake and this recipe seems like the perfect solution to satisfy my craving and use some of the pie filling that I made. I’m wondering if I can mix the pie filling with the cheesecake mixture and bake it that way or if this is a terrible idea and I should just put the pie filling on top of the cheesecake while it chills? The pie filling I made is cherry/raspberry and I used Clear Jel thickener as recommended by the canning recipe it’s nice and thick which is why I wondered if I could actually mix it in with the cheesecake mixture…
    Thanks in advance for the advice!

    • — Adrienne Cook on April 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Adrienne, While these cheesecake bars are a little more forgiving than your typical cheesecake, cheesecake, in general, can be pretty finicky so I wouldn’t fiddle with the recipe at all. Your safest bet is definitely to put the filling on top. Hope that helps and happy Easter!

      • — Jenn on April 10, 2020
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  • Hi! I just took these cheesecakes out of the oven and they smell delicious! However, is it possible to not refrigerate the bars for a whole 6 hours? I am dying to try them!!

    • — Halle on March 18, 2020
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    • 🙂
      Were you able to hold off? Hope they turned out well!

      • — Jenn on March 19, 2020
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  • Delicious!! I made these for our Super Bowl party and they disappeared immediately. The filling was so creamy, and the crust was the best graham cracker crust I’ve ever had. I used half the amount of lemon juice and peel since I’m a cheesecake purist – it added a nice touch but I may leave out completely next time. Thanks for another winner Jen!

    • — Sheri on February 5, 2020
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  • Most amazing cheesecake square ever. The crust was so delicious and the cheesecake was melt in your mouth. I topped it with lemon curd and it was next level. I served this to the fam and it went from a loud conversation at the dinner table to silence as they were eating this. Everyone wanted seconds. Definitely keeping this recipe forever! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Liana on December 8, 2019
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  • I made them without the lemon. Delicious! Everybody loved them.

    • — Cindy Watkins on November 13, 2019
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  • These turned out heavenly! Interestingly the cream cheese packages are smaller in Europe, which I only realized when I started baking. So I added 100g ricotta cheese and oh my, the texture was amazing. This led me to your Italian cheesecake recipe, which I will be trying next. A die hard ricotta fan here 🙂

    • — Katya on November 3, 2019
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    • I made these once and they were great! Just made them again and forgot to put the crust in the oven for 10 minutes prior to adding the mixture. What should I do?

      • — Jill on November 27, 2019
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      • Hi Jill, The crust might not hold up as well but they will still be very delicious.

        • — Jenn on November 27, 2019
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    • Could I make these with sugar substitute instead of sugar?

      • — Susan on June 5, 2020
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      • Hi Susan, I wish I could help but I’ve never worked with sugar substitutes so I can’t say how it would impact the recipe – I’m sorry! I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it with one!

        • — Jenn on June 6, 2020
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  • I thought this was very good for taste and size, but not exceptional like some of the ones that I have tried. I must admit I have made it on a couple of occasions to some really good reviews. And I do think it is better the next day! I have served it with fresh fruit sauce and by itself.

    • — Patricia Smith on October 6, 2019
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    • Hi Jenn – I’ve made this recipe 5 times over the last 6 months. It’s a hit with everyone & one of our absolute favourites. I like to freeze them & take one out when I want a special treat 🥰 Thank you so much for sharing!

      I’ve never been able to make it so the cheesecake doesn’t crack – do you have any suggestions for fixing this? I always try to follow your recipe religiously & even used a scale for the metric measurements last time. Not sure where I’m going wrong.

      • — Lily on April 28, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Lily, It sounds like they may be a bit overbaked. You may want to check your oven temperature for accuracy. Here are some tips for how to do it.

        • — Jenn on April 28, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn. Just wondering if you think your berry sauce would compliment these cheesecake squares?Btw, your recipes are the best. My husband & I have enjoyed every recipe we have tried & so has our company. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • — Dana on September 22, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, I think the berry sauce would be great here! And so glad you enjoy the recipes. 💓

      • — Jenn on September 23, 2019
      • Reply
  • Would it be okay to double or triple the lemon zest & juice for extra lemon flavor?

    • — Meri on September 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Meri, It’s fine to double or triple the zest, but not the juice. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 4, 2019
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      • Hi Jenn,

        I took it out of the oven after 40 minutes, and it was set all over and not jiggly in the middle. Also, the corners had slight cracks. Should I toss this one and make another one or will it be fine?

        (I also made the berry sauce and tasted it, and it was incredible.)

        Thank you,

        • — Jenny on September 6, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Jenny, I think they are probably fine. Have you chilled them and tasted one yet?

          • — Jenn on September 6, 2019
          • Reply
          • Yes, I did, and they seem perfectly fine. I rarely ever eat cheesecake, so I don’t remember how it is supposed to taste. What may seem fine to me may not be acceptable to a chef. So, I just wanted your opinion before serving them to guests. Thank you for always responding quickly. Love your recipes.

            • — Jenny on September 6, 2019
          • Glad they turned out well – hope your guests enjoyed them too!

            • — Jenn on September 7, 2019
    ANOTHER WINNER, CHEESECAKE BARS. I MADE THEM IN A 7×9 Pyrex pan and they are scrumptious.
    I left out the salt as my husband is on a very low salt diet.
    I just ordered from Amazon sodium free baking powder and baking soda so I can continue to bake for him and me too! everything has sodium, the cream cheese, etc. but I do my best

    • — Lynda Marsh on September 3, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn! This is the best cheesecake recipe, simple to make and out of this world delicious!! I have some Saskatoon berry preserves I used as a topping. Thanks so much for the recipe, and the tip regarding the internal temperature while baking. The texture was perfect, and the bars freeze really well.
    Is it okay to use parchment paper to line the pan instead of foil?

    • — Glenda on July 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you like these Glenda! You can use parchment instead of foil, but I think it’s probably easier to use the foil as probably easier to “mold” and fold it up and around the edges of the pan.

      • — Jenn on July 26, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi! This sounds super delicious and easy and I’m getting ready to make them for the 4th-my question is do you think I can substitute cinnamon graham crackers? I love the taste of cinnamon and brown sugar! Also if I did that do you think that the lemon should be omitted? Thank you and I’m super excited to get baking!

    • — Katie on June 27, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Katie, I think the cheesecake bars would be really good with cinnamon graham crackers! And it’s not necessary to omit the lemon unless you choose to. Please LMK how they turn out with the cinnamon grahams!

      • — Jenn on June 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • I’ve made Jenn’s New York Cheesecake (turned out GREAT) but wanted to try these cheesecake bars to take to a friend’s casual backyard cookout and they were a hit with all the teenagers and adults (including the owners of our town’s excellent bakery!) Highly recommend you make these. My favorite part was the CRUST – it’s to die for! And I loved having to make them the day BEFORE the event and refrigerate overnight. So helpful when making multiple goodies!

    • — DallasColoradoBear on June 21, 2019
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  • I made these for a big get-together this weekend, and they were the most enjoyed food of all that I made. Everyone said my other squares were good, but these were GREAT!
    I doubled the recipe, and cooked it about 10 minutes longer, I think, and it was perfect. I didn’t include lemon because I wanted to drizzle with cherry pie filling, and that worked great, straight from the can. I only wish there were more leftovers!

    • — Karen on June 18, 2019
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  • Thank you for your recipes.

    I have made the cheesecake bars before and they always turn out delicious. I made them for Father’s Day and they were very firm and not creamy. The only thing I did differently is I mixed it in a stand up mixer and I did not use a hand mixer. Could that have made the difference?

    • — Anna B. on June 16, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Anna, That’s a head-scratcher. I don’t think the mixer would make a difference. Did they seem overcooked?

      • — Jenn on June 17, 2019
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      • Yes. They seemed overcooked and very firm, not creamy at all. I lowered the temperature to 325 degrees and followed the directions as noted in the recipe. Just would like to avoid this from happening again if it’s possible…perplexed.

        • — anna b. on June 17, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Anna, If you’ve made these before without a problem, I’m wondering if perhaps you inadvertently mismeasured something? Could that be a possibility?

          • — Jenn on June 17, 2019
          • Reply
  • I loved these. I don’t care for lemon flavor with vanilla too much, so I cut the lemon zest in half and it was perfectly subtle. The texture was to-die-for delicious. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Filip on June 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • This was the first time I made any type of cheesecake, and they were *so* delicious! I added a bit of extra lemon zest and the citrussy flavour complimented the creaminess of the cheese so well. I topped them off with some of the leftover lemon glaze from the Lemon Pistachio shortbread recipe and some fresh berries. I took it to a party at my neighbours and everyone raved about them!

      • — Kay on June 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • These were terrible. No flavor at all. The crust was the only good part. I followed the recipe exactly!

    • — Abby on May 4, 2019
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  • This is delicious and easy to make. Even tho my dish is 8×8 I always have enough left over for a separate ramekin and guess who gets to eat that one. Jenn’s French Apple Cake is another delicious and easy to make dessert.

    • — Susan on April 29, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn,
    I have two quick questions. First, does it matter whether the lemon used for the zest and juice is a “regular” lemon or a Meyer lemon? Second, does the 8×8″ baking dish need to be a glass dish or will a metal/aluminum pan work? Thank you so much. Your recipes are my family’s favourite! You are a fabulous cook, baker, and teacher! Thank you. Karen

    • — Karen C. Smith on April 17, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, You could use either lemon in this recipe since it’s such a small amount. And it’s fine to use a metal pan. Hope your family loves the bars; they are a favorite at my house. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 18, 2019
      • Reply
  • These bars are “almost” as delicious as my cheesecake. Everyone loved them and they would be great for a potluck. They are also very easy to put together.

    • — Heidi Van Stone on April 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • While this recipe seems similar to many others, it absolutely makes some of the best cheesecake I’ve ever had, and I’ve made dozens! Super creamy and delicious, and they freeze beautifully. I’ve made it several times with great success!

    • — Mary on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Excellent recipe! Very easy to make, baked beautifully and were delicious. I used a 9 X 9 pan, baked for 35 minutes, shut off the oven and cracked the door for 10 minutes, let them cool on the counter for 30 minutes and then refrigerated them. Perfection, truly. This is a great alternative when you don’t want to make a whole big cheesecake. Once again, Jenn, your recipes always come out as they should. I’m making your boneless short ribs tomorrow because they are soooo delicious!

    • — Julie G. on February 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • I want to make these for a potluck tonight so can I use a 9 x13 pan, double the ingredients? Do I need to cook longer, lower oven temp? Thanks

    • — Sharon on February 15, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, Sharon, it’s fine to double this for a 9 x 13-inch dish. The oven temp should remain the same, but the bake time may be slightly different, so just keep an eye on it. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2019
      • Reply
  • If I used this recipe and put I think in a 9×13 pan would it be really flat if I don’t double it?

    • — Chanel on February 10, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Chanel, Yes, you’d definitely need to double it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • Made these for Super Bowl. This tastes just like Ruth’s Chris cheesecake, which is my favorite. I offered blueberry compote, fresh strawberries and whipped cream for topping choices. It was a hit. Someone commented about how good the crust was and if I did something different, which was the brown sugar. I did sample a small piece the night before while it was warm. So creamy and delicious. I’m definitely making this again.

    • — Kimberly on February 4, 2019
    • Reply
  • I noticed brown sugar in the crust on these cheesecake bars, however, you do not put brown sugar in your NY Style Cheesecake crust – is there a reason why? Do these bars “need” the brown sugar in the crust – or would the NY Style be better with brown sugar?


    • — Lois on February 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lois, This recipe has quite a bit more crust (in proportion to the topping) and is sweeter than the NY-Style cheesecake, so the flavor of the brown sugar comes through. There’s so little sugar in the NY-Style cheesecake crust, it won’t make much difference if you use white or brown sugar. (Feel free to use brown if you prefer.) Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi! I’m planning to double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan. What should my baking time and temperature be? Thanks!

        • — Anita on January 31, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Anita, The oven temperature will remain the same, but the bake time may be slightly different, so just keep an eye on it. Enjoy!

          • — Jenn on January 31, 2020
          • Reply
  • Made these for a Super Bowl party… simply delicious. I cut into 36 squares since they are so indulgent… thanks for another winning recipe

    • — JoAnn on February 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • Made this today to take to a family dinner tonight and it turned out perfectly. I love how, when you make one of Jenn’s recipes, they turn out exactly as described! Couldn’t wait the full six hours in the fridge and had to sneak a little taste – it’s really yummy when just cool, so soft, creamy and light! Going to buy some berries to serve with it.

    • — Anita on February 2, 2019
    • Reply
  • Is the ingredient list correct that you use 16 oz. of cream cheese for a little 8″ pan??

    • — Holly on February 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, that’s correct, Holly.

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2019
      • Reply
      • Sorry I doubted you. I have tried many of your recipes, and they always turn out great. I especially liked the advice to check on the temperature. That kept me from overcooking the bars.

        • — Holly on February 5, 2019
        • Reply
        • 🙂 Glad you liked them!

          • — Jenn on February 5, 2019
          • Reply
  • Can I substitute chocolate wafer cookies for the graham crackers in the crust

    • — Judy on January 31, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Judy – I’d love to know how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I recently found your site and was inspired by the ease of your recipes. This cheesecake was one of the first things I tried to make cause my family loves cheesecake! I rarely make desserts and have never baked from scratch – baking has always scared me because I know that the measurements need to be pretty precise. This recipe was an absolute success, and it was SO easy!! The cake was so smooth and the crust so delicious, my family would’ve thought that it was store-bought if I had not told them. Since then, I have tried a no. of other recipes and I’m hooked!!! You make everything so easy to follow and my family are starting to think that I can really cook 🙂
    Can’t wait to try more of your recipes, and looking forward to summer rolling around to make all your delicious looking salad dishes.

    • — Sue H. on January 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad you’re having success with the recipes, Sue! ☺️

      • — Jenn on January 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • Coming out of the oven the cheesecake topping split from each corner. What caused this?

    • — Nan on December 31, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Nan, Your oven may run a bit hot; try either turning down the heat 15°F or cooking for a few minutes less.

      • — Jenn on January 2, 2019
      • Reply
  • Do you cover the pan when you refrigerate overnight?

    • — Julie on December 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Julie, Yes, you can cover with foil or plastic wrap.

      • — Jenn on December 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • This is my favorite cheesecake recipe out there! I find regular cheesecakes a bit heavy so this one one is perfect. I always make this for guests and everyone always loves it. It’s super easy to make and doesn’t take much time either! Recipe for the win!

    • — Paola on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • I see in several recipes you use a square glass pan. Is it a Pyrex or someone elses?I had one but it chipped on the edges a lot. Now I cannot find glass only metal at William Sonoma or Sur La Table.
    I love your recipes and cookbook. The cookbook made good gifts to my family.

    • — Rob on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Rob, Yes, it’s a Pyrex. So glad you enjoy the recipes and the book!:)

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2018
      • Reply
  • Have made and shared this recipe numerous times for potlucks and neighborhood events. Easy to make and serve in small paper “squat” portion cups. Reliable and popular winning recipe. Thank you Jenn for this one!

    • — J Wat on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can you make small tarts with graham cracker crumbs with this recipe? If so, what would be the baking instructions. Thanks

    • Hi Nancy, I haven’t tried them this way, but I think it would work. The baking time really depends on the size of the tarts you’ll be making.

  • Can I use light brown sugar instead of dark brown?

    • Sure, Arlene. 🙂

  • Hi, Jenn – These look so wonderful! I was wondering if you could tell me how you would defrost these. I would love to make these ahead of a party and freeze them, but I want to make sure I don’t end up with a soggy crust. Thank you!

    • Hi Laura, I’d just place them in the fridge the day before you plan to serve them – should be fine. 🙂

  • These are simple to make and delicious! For ease of serving each piece can be put on a cupcake liner. Just flatten the liner to make room for the piece of cheesecake, then bring the sides of the liner up around it.

  • These are delicious! And very easy to make. I do make cheesecakes in a water bath for very special occasions, but I needed something quick with fewer servings. (so I’m not tempted to polish off the leftovers!) These cheesecake bars were the perfect solution. I loved the brown sugar element in the crust – that was a new twist. The lemon makes them, I think, but they would be great without too, if you’re not a fan. They baked up perfectly, absolutely no cracking. I put them in the fridge overnight and they lifted out of the pan, no problem. Slice and serve! Really, really good. A keeper, as are most of Jenn’s recipes!

  • I recently made these cheesecake bars for my son who was in the hospital. He told me he normally doesn’t eat cheesecake, but he glommed them up and asked for more.

  • Very easy to make,they freeze well.I put some fruit syrup on top.Great.

  • I made this recipe tonight and I love it. It was so easy to make and is sinfully delicious. I topped it with a little homemade fruit syrup. I saved the recipe and will definitely make it again.

  • Wow, wow, wow! These cheesecake bars are so delicious and incredibly easy to make! I have Celiac Disease so I subbed in Kinnikinnick GF Graham Style Crumbs and gf Jules All Purpose Flour. The only way that my friends knew it was gluten free was by watching me eat it. I paired with the berry sauce. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you for yet another hit, Jenn!

  • I’ve made these many times and they are always a big hit! With fall upon us, I would love to be able to make pumpkin cheesecake bars. Any suggestions on how to go about doing that? Thank you!

    • Hi Marianne, glad you like these! I’d actually use this recipe if you want to go the pumpkin route. You’ll need to cut the recipe in half (and I’d still use a water bath to minimize the chance of cracking). I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try them!

  • WOW! Really terrific cheesecake. We made the crust with chocolate cookie crumbs and added mini chips to the batter. So so good! We would like to try adding strawberry purée swirl – do you think that would work, and if so, how do you do it? Maybe purée fresh strawberries and swirl into the batter? Your expertise is always spot on! Thanks again for sharing your wonderful recipe!

    • Hi Kathy, so glad you enjoyed these! Because cheesecake can be a bit finicky, I’d avoid changing the balance of the recipe by adding pureed strawberries, Instead, I’d suggest spreading it on top of the bars. Hope that helps!

  • These are very tasty. More flavor after sitting overnight. Will make again. Thanks for the temp for testing for doneness. Prevents overbaking. Will make again!

    Texas Baker

  • Could I double this for a 9×13 pan?

    • — Alexandra Robertson
    • Reply
    • Yes, Alexandra, that will work — the baking time may be a little different so just keep an eye on them. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jen!
    Would it still turn out without the lemon? I just don’t care for lemon flavor. I made your boy bait and it got good reviews however all I tasted was lemon. It’s just me, I know but wondering if anything will be sacrificed if I leave it out? Thanks

    By the way…loooove your cookbook.

    • Totally fine to leave it out, Julie — and so glad you like the book! 😊

  • Wow, these were so good! I made them to take to a friend’s shiva and they were the hit of the four items I baked. Everyone raved about them, saying they were the best cheesecake ever! Even Mr. Fussy, my husband, couldn’t get enough of them. I cut them small and kept half the batch for him. I repinned onto my favorite sweets board, too. (Thanks for giving us the temp to check if they are done. Love that tip!)

  • Delicious! I cut the sugar to 2/3 c, subbed Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and beat the egg whites separately from the yolks, then folded them back into the batter at the end to create a lighter treat. The cheesecake ended up cracking a lot (should’ve added a few tb water to the whites while beating), but it tasted great – thanks for the recipe!

    • Lisa, it seems to me that you did not make Jenn’s recipe. Why then are you rating her recipe at only 4 stars? Please rate *her* recipe, not yours, if you choose to comment in the future. Obviously, we all make subs and changes at times, but if you do that, make your changes, comment on them, but don’t leave a star rating.

  • Made these the night before a cookout and everyone loved them. I served with fresh strawberries and blueberries. I thought the amount of vanilla used seemed like it would be too much but I added the amount called for and it was perfect. Easy and delicious!

  • This recipe sounds delicious and I am making it for Teacher Appreciation Day.
    I would like to double the recipe. Should I double all ingredients? I also read another reviewer’s advice about using a 9×13 pan and baking for 45 minutes. Anything else I should take into consideration when doubling this?

    • Hi Ronna, Yes, you would double all the ingredients. The only other thing to keep in mind is that baking time may be a little different so just keep an eye on them. Hope the teachers enjoy!

  • Hi Jennifer, to make this cheesecake bar filling gluten free would it be ok to use gluten free cornflour or flour instead of the regular flour?

    • Sure, Karen, that will work. (Keep in mind though that the graham crackers in the crust have gluten; unless you have a gluten-free version.) Hope you enjoy!

  • My oldest daughter has an insatiable sweet tooth, so I surprised her with these bars on her most recent trip home from Manhattan. She adored them and is taking a container back. Hard to compete with NY cheesecake, but this recipe succeeds! Thank you 🙂

  • Made three trays of these cheesecake squares in mini-cheesecake form. Used aluminum paper lined cupcake cups and added cherry pie filling to the tops. these were terrific, looked oh so cute, and were devoured. Great recipe for party dessert.

  • Can I use a lime instead? If so, would I still use vanilla?

    • Sure, Dawn, you can use lime instead (and I’d still include the vanilla). Enjoy!

  • Thanks Jennifer!!
    These are so easy and such a great knockoff for traditional NY style cheesecake. We added a bit more lemon zest but that was it. Perfect and stand back there will be a run to the kitchen for this treat!

  • Good dessert, especially to finish off a casual lunch or dinner. The bars freeze very well so I try to keep a batch in the freezer for unexpected guests/visitors.

  • I made these for Christmas Eve and they were such a hit I am making them again to bring to the Super Bowl party on Sunday. They are perfection and I like having a small square instead of a big piece of cheesecake.

    • Trudy,

      I was wondering what to bring tomorrow for Superbowl Sunday, read your post, and the search was over, I’ll let you know how it turned out! Go Eagles!!! I always root for the underdogs, even though Brady and I went to the same high school:)

  • I recently made the cheesecake bars they were delicious and very popular at supper after a meeting

    • — Patricia Le Plastrier
    • Reply
  • Can coconut sugar be substituted instead of the granulated sugar listed in the recipe?

    • Hi Margaret, I’ve never used coconut sugar so I can’t say for sure, but I’d be reluctant to make changes to this recipe because cheesecake can be pretty finicky – sorry!

  • Hello Jenn,
    I enjoy your recipes tremendously. Do you have any suggestions on how to make these bars Chocolat-y?
    Thank you

    • Hi PC, you could use chocolate graham cracker crumbs to make a chocolate crust and could add mini chocolate chips to the filling. I wouldn’t fuss with it other than that, as cheesecake is pretty finicky. Hope that helps (and I’d love to hear how it turns out if you make any tweaks)!

  • These are some of the best cheescake desserts I have ever made or eaten! They are so satisfying and everyone who tries them loves it. I substituted the lemon juice and zest for lime the last time I made and they were also fantastic. Gives it a nice subtle flavor if you want to mix up the original lemon flavor. Great recipe!

  • I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a big hit. I didn’t make any changes and will be making them again soon. Love them.

  • A cheesecake lover, I was skeptical about the concept of bars, but these are fantastic (fits right in with the other wonderful recipes on this site). I used Meyer lemons (a more mild lemon-tangerine cross) and used 2t. Managed to spirit a couple to freeze, and worked great nestled in parchment in a plastic container.

  • I loved this great basic recipe for cheesecake bars. For a more holiday treat, I substituted a half cup of ginger snap cookie crumbs for some of the graham cracker crumbs and rather than using lemon zest and juice, merely added a teaspoon of nutmeg to make an egg nog cheesecake bar. Very versatile recipe!

  • These are delicious! I made them for a party and they were the hit of the dessert table. Thank you!

  • These are fantastic. Any suggestions on the best way to double the recipe in terms of pan size and baking time? Also, I’m bringing these to a dinner party, what is the best way to transport these? Would you cut them up just before serving?

    • Hi Adina, glad you like them! I would suggest a 9 x 13-inch baking dish if you want to double these. The baking time may be a little different so just keep an eye on them. In terms of transporting them to a party, you could cut them up either at home or at your destination; whatever is easiest for you. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • Hi, Jenn. I just made these cheesecake bars, doubling the recipe in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish as you recommended. I baked them for 45 minutes and they came out perfectly. Just wanted to let you (and your fellow bakers) know!

        • Thanks so much for the follow-up, Elyse — glad they turned out well!

  • Another 5 Star dish! I made this last night, chilled it overnight, and brought to my office to share. I also chilled a can of cherry pie filling and before I left the house I piled it on top of the dessert. It was superb!!! Co-workers asked for your website.

    Keep them coming Jen. You are turning me into a cooking super star 🙂

  • Hi love the recipe! Question can I freeze these?

    • Glad you like these! Yes, they freeze nicely.

  • I just made these but used limes instead of lemons. Absolutely delicious.

  • I do not like measuring butter. What is the trick to accurately measuring 5 Tbsps of butter? Can I melt it first? Thanks Jenn!

    • Hi Delada, In the States, the measurements are marked on the butter wrapper. You can melt first if your butter isn’t packaged the same way.

      • Perfect, thank you Jenn. I find my crusts are generally too hard or too crumbly. Melting first will work.

  • These turned out beautifully! I used cinnamon graham crackers and subbed Greek yogurt for sour cream since I didn’t have sour cream on hand. The crust was to die for!

  • I made these for a party and everyone loved them. They were gone in minutes. One idea I had for next time was maybe add some cherry pie filling on top after they have cooled down. Definitely 5 stars!

  • Made these cheesecake squares and they were delicious. Super easy also.

  • I made these for my family and they were devoured! They were easy to make and delicious. My husband loved the lemon flavor. The zest gave it a small burst of lemon flavor but not overpowering. I loved the graham cracker crust.

  • This sounds wonderful & easy. How would I change to make it a pumpkin cheesecake bar? How much plain unsweetened canned pumpkin would I add? Would I decrease any other ingredient? I can figure out the spicing. Thanks!

    • Hi Ruth, I’d use my pumpkin cheesecake recipe as a guide, although you can reduce the amount of filling by about half.

      • Thanks. I had not seen your pumpkin cheesecake recipe. It sounds great too.

  • Aloha Jen
    What size pan do you recommend?
    Mahalo Susan

    • — Susan Wakefield-David
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I use an 8 x 8-inch pan. Enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn My 8″ pan is dark metal not glass. What adjustments, if any, do I make to temp and baking time. These look delicious and am anxious to make them. Thanks for all the great recipes.

    • Hi Sharon, you shouldn’t need to make any adjustments to the temp or baking time; just keep your eye on them. Hope you enjoy!

  • How can I make this in a 9×13 pan?

    • Hi Eleanor, you would need to double the recipe if you plan to use a 9 x 13-inch pan. The baking time may be a little different, so keep an eye on them. Enjoy!

  • Can these be frozen after baking?

    • — Alison Bothwell Brown
    • Reply
    • Hi Alison, Yes they freeze well. Enjoy!

      • thanks – I made a gluten free version of this for work and it was devoured by both GF and non GF people. They loved it – all gone within minutes. Excellent recipe. Thank you!

  • According to my family, these were a 10 out of 10! The brown sugar crust was to die for. Can’t wait for an excuse to make them again!

  • I can’t wait to try these…what other desserts freeze well? Thanks in advance.

    • — Wendy Schoenburg
    • Reply
  • What oven temp?? (Cheesecake bars)

    • Hi Ann, the crust gets baked at 375°F. After you remove the crust from the oven, reduce the oven temp to 325°F to bake once the batter has been added.

  • I never seem to press the the crust correctly.
    Either too solid or not enough. Question:
    How hard to press to get right results? Mine are like a rock or doesn’t hold together .

    • Hi Terry, For this recipe, you want to press it as firmly as possible. It shouldn’t be like a rock b/c of all the butter and sugar.

  • Jenn, when turning down the oven temp after baking the crust, can the bars be put in immediately? Or does the oven temp need time to cool some? Looking forward to trying these, they look delish! Jan

    • Hi Jan, I’d let the oven temp come down to 325 before putting the bars in the oven just to be safe. Hope you enjoy them!

  • When baking, is there much difference between a non-stick cooking spray and a spray specifically made for baking, which I’ve always used. This probably sounds like a stupid question, but they are slightly different and I just want to be sure. Thanks.

    • Hi Joan, If the spray is specifically for baking it may have some flour added to it (like this one from Baker’s Joy), with makes it similar to greasing and flouring your pan. I do think it’s a great option for baking.

  • If I am using a glass baking dish would I reduce temps by 25 degrees? I can’t wait to try this…I love all your recipes.

    • — Wendy Schoenburg
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, I used a glass dish for these so I’d just follow the instructions as is. Hope you enjoy and please LMK how they turn out!

      • After the first time, I started using a 13 x9 rectangle glass dish, they go so fast, but other than that I would not change a thing, and I’m making them for superbowl day.
        Denise, February, 2018

        • — Denise Koellisch
        • Reply
        • Hi! I’m looking forward to making this recipe tomorrow for a friend’s birthday. Do you think it’s necessary for the graham cracker crust to be around the sides of the pan or can I bake with the crust just on the bottom of the pan? Thanks!

          • — Mona on October 15, 2020
          • Reply
          • Hi Mona, I may be weighing in too late to help but I think you could get away with putting the crust just on the bottom of the pan. If you do, I don’t think it’s necessary to line the pan with foil as the filling may stick to it. Keep in mind that you’ll end up with a pretty thick crust if you go this route. Hope that helps!

            • — Jenn on October 16, 2020

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