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Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars – Oh Sweet Basil

Creamy strawberry cheesecake bars start with the most delicious flaky crust topped with a sweet but tangy cream cheese layer all topped with gorgeous juicy strawberries! Life will never be the same!

I’m closing down the blog and walking away. I’m living my life out as a middle-aged Momma who wants nothing more than to LIVE and PLAY and EAT. These bars are one of the best recipes we will ever share on Oh Sweet Basil.

I mean, I’m not really shutting down the blog. I couldn’t ever be as fulfilled without a creative outlet, but these strawberry bars are one of the best desserts I’ve ever brought to the site. If it’s the only spring dessert recipe you make, you will be forever happy. Once again, we have Megan to thank, so let’s all give her a little praise for continuously sending amazing recipes to us! If you haven’t tried the mixed berries version of this recipe, do that asap!

The crust is a flaky, perfectly made crust but the best part is, in my opinion, making the dessert a day ahead so that it softens a stitch. Oh my goodness, my mouth just started salivating! WHAT IS MY DEAL?! I’m obsessed! 

The filling is the most delicate cream cheese, almost cheesecake filling, while the topping is a burst of vibrant strawberries, reminiscent of a strawberry pie! It’s honestly like a creamy strawberry shortcake, which happens to be my most favorite dessert ever.

a photo of a pan of creamy strawberry cheesecake bars with several pieces removed to see the layers from the side of the bars.

Ingredients for Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

I’m going to divide up the list of ingredients by layer so it’s easy to see what is needed for each step. Here is what you will need…

Crust Layer

  • Flour: regular all purpose flour
  • Salt: enhances all the flavors
  • Sugar: adds a little sweetness to the crust
  • Vegetable Oil: the fat needed to create the flaky but strong base for the bars
  • Milk: helps bind all the ingredients together

Cheesecake Layer

  • Cream Cheese: you can use full fat or 1/3 fat but I do feel like the full fat sets up better, make sure it is room temperature so the cream layer isn’t lumpy
  • Powdered Sugar: adds sweetness to the filling
  • Heavy Cream: helps thin out the filling a little
  • Vanilla: adds flavor

Strawberry Layer

  • Strawberries: fresh bright red ripe berries
  • Sugar: adds sweetness to the topping
  • Ultra Gel: my preferred way for thickening the strawberry topping, see recipe card for using cornstarch the thicken
  • Lemon Zest and Juice: balances the sweetness of the berries
  • Water: thins everything out to create a glossy berry topping

This is meant to just be an overview of all the ingredients. The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

a photo of a square piece of a cheesecake bar topped with juicy strawberries.

How to Make Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

I know most people expect a cheesecake to have a graham cracker crust, and I love a graham cracker crust as much as the next person, but trust me on this oil-based crust! It is so flaky and makes the perfect base to these cheesecake bars. Here are the steps for each of the layers…


  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until it forms into a ball.
    • PRO TIP: It will be quite crumbly but it should hold together when it is squeezed. Add tiny splashes of milk if needed.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Roll dough out between two pieces of wax paper into a square and transfer to your baking pan.
  6. Bake and let cool completely.

Cream Layer

  1. Place the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl and whip together until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form then add the vanilla and mix until stiff peaks form.
  3. Combine the cream cheese mixture and whipped cream together and mix on low speed until well combined.
  4. Spread the cream layer evenly on the cooled crust. Then pour the strawberries on top and let the bars chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Strawberry Layer

  1. Start by taking part of the strawberries and pureeing them and straining them to removed the seeds.
  2. Place the pureed strawberries with the rest of ingredients into a sauce pan. Heat until simmering and thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer to a different container and let it cool completely.
  4. Once it is cool, fold in the remaining sliced strawberries and spread over the cream layer.

The detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post. You can also save or print the recipe there.

a photo of a single cheesecake bar topped with juicy bright red strawberries sitting on a small dessert plate.

Can I Use Frozen Strawberries?

Yes, you can use frozen strawberries! Strawberry season isn’t nearly long enough, so getting those fresh bright red strawberries isn’t always easy. If you use frozen strawberries, let them thaw completely and drain them to reduce the extra juices. The strawberries will be a little soft, but they will taste great!

How to Cut Cheesecake Cleanly

Cutting a cheesecake or a creamy dessert bar can be tricky, and it’s so deflating when you’ve gone to all the work to make a fabulous dessert and the knife gets all gunky and the pieces come out all messy. So frustrating!

The key to cutting a cheesecake or cheesecake bars cleanly is to let the bars cool completely. Use a very sharp knife and run it under hot water before making your first cut. Then wipe the knife clean with a paper towel and run it under hot water between each additional cut. It sounds cumbersome, but it will make all the difference!

Do Cheesecake Bars Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, cheesecake bars should be kept in the refrigerator up until serving. With all the dairy in the cream layer, you don’t want these bars to get too warm or they will start to spoil.

a photo of a piece of a strawberries and cream bar with a thick flaky crust and topped with juicy strawberry topping.

Can Cheesecake Bars Be Made Ahead of Time?

I mentioned above that I actually prefer this dessert when it is made a day ahead of time. The crust gets just a little bit soft and it’s the perfect bite in my opinion. Refrigerating helps them set up even better, so ideally, they should be made 6 hours ahead of time. You can make them in the morning and then store them in the fridge until dessert. Or if you’re like me, you could make them the day before, just store them in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap until about 15 minutes before serving them.

Storing and Freezing Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry cheesecake bars will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator and should be kept in an airtight container.

These bars also freeze extremely well. I like to cut them into individual pieces and then place them on a baking sheet and stick them in the freezer for about an hour to freeze them. Then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight (or at room temp for a couple of hours) before serving.

Reasons You Will Love this Recipe

  • Crust: Even though I’m obsessed with strawberries, the crust might be my favorite part and is different than most cheesecake bar recipes you’ll find out there.
  • Texture: The cheesecake layer is perfectly creamy and smooth and paired with the flaky pie crust, it’s the perfect bite
  • Easy: All three layers are simple to make and there is no baking the cheesecake layer so it’s totally stress free.
  • Crowd Pleaser: You can cut the pieces as big or as small as you need depending on the occasion and the number of people you are feeding, and everyone raves about this recipe!
    • PRO TIP: You can double the recipe and use a 9×13 pan if you need more.

It’s time for warm weather, bathing suits, swimming pools, fresh garden tomatoes, grilling and fresh strawberries! I’ll be making all the strawberry desserts over here and this creamy strawberry cheesecake bars is at the top of the list!

More Cheesecake Bar Recipes:

Servings: 12

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Prevent your screen from going dark

For the Bars

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.

    2 Cups Flour, 1 teaspoon Salt, 1/2-3/4 teaspoon Sugar

  • Fill a measuring cup with the oil and milk and whisk quickly together.

    1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil, 1/4 Cup Milk

  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids. Using a fork, drag flour into the middle, stirring as you do to incorporate the wet and dry.

  • Dump out into plastic wrap and squeeze into a ball. Set aside in the fridge to rest for 10-15 minutes.

  • Roll out between two wax paper sheets into an 8×8″ square and then turn into your pan. Press it evenly as needed.

  • Bake for 8-10 minutes.

  • Cool for about 10 minutes then place in the fridge to finish cooling if in a hurry.

For the Cream Filling

  • Meanwhile, beat the softened cream cheese (it must be softened!) and powdered sugar until smooth.

    12 ounces Cream Cheese, 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

  • In another bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form (see notes), add the vanilla and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

    1 Cup Heavy Cream, 1 teaspoon Vanilla

  • Add half of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat to combine. Then scoop in the rest of the whipped cream and beat until well combined.

  • Spread over the cooled crust and top with strawberries. Refrigerate until serving, I prefer to make this a day ahead or at least morning of.

For the Strawberries

  • Add 1 1/2 cup of strawberries to a blender and puree until smooth. Press the pureed strawberries through a mesh sieve to remove any seeds.

    8 Cups Strawberries

  • In a saucepan, add the sugar and ultragel (see note for cornstarch) and stir together. Add the lemon juice and zest, water and pureed strawberries and stir to combine.

    3/4 Cup Sugar, 5 Tablespoons Ultra Gel, 1 Lemon, 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice, 1 Cup Water

  • Heat over medium heat until simmering and thickened.

  • Remove from the heat and pour into a glass bowl to cool completely. Once cool, fold in the sliced strawberries

    8 Cups Strawberries

  • Add the cream to the cooled crust and spread evenly over the crust.

  • Add the strawberry filling to the top of the cream and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set. I like to take it out of the fridge 15-20 minutes before serving to take the chill off.

Do not miss that you are beating the cream into peaks! Do not just pour it into the cream cheese or it will not set up the same!
For cornstarch, use 3 tablespoons but I prefer Ultra gel as you can’t taste it at all.
I prefer a diced berry as it doesn’t drag down when cutting the bars.

Serving: 1barCalories: 479kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 5gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 312mgPotassium: 161mgFiber: 1gSugar: 54gVitamin A: 570IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 1mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: 100 Best Brownies and Bars Recipes

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