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Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Creamy cheesecake bars swirled with sweet strawberries, all atop a thick graham cracker crust.
This thick, delicious cheesecake bar comes together in under an hour, and makes a fun, tasty treat perfect for any night of the week! Creamy cheesecake base, and strawberry and Karo® Syrup swirl with the perfect balance of sweetness, make this a go-to for parties, or just a sweet indulgence.
What Do You Need For Strawberry Cheesecake Bars?
The awesome thing about these cheesecake bars is they take really simple ingredients and no special equipment or skills. No springform pan needed. No water bath. Just a little time and effort.
The cheesecake bars are made up of three parts: the crust, the cheesecake base, and the strawberry swirl.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Graham Crackers- You need 2 sleeves of graham crackers. And you use a food processor to crush them up nice and fine.
- Butter- This is the glue that holds the graham crackers together. You have to melt it.
- Sugar- To sweeten up the crust, although you could leave it out as graham crackers are already sweet.
- Strawberries- Fresh strawberries are the first part of the strawberry swirl, which adds a lightness and fun pop of flavor to the cheesecake bars. You just need to wash them and slice them, or rough chop them.
- Karo® Syrup– Karo Syrup is combined with the strawberries to produce a smooth, amazing texture, and a nice balance of sweetness without overriding the strawberry flavor. The strawberry flavor can shine through, but you get quality and consistency with the Karo® Syrup.
- Corn starch- Argo® Corn Starch is added after the Karo® Syrup and strawberries cook together to help aid in the thickening process.
- Cream cheese – I used full fat cream cheese. You want it to be at room temperature so it will be smoother and silky for the cheesecake base.
- Eggs– Large eggs are needed. They act as a binder for the cheesecake.
- Sugar – To sweeten things up.
- Greek Yogurt– I love using Greek Yogurt in my cheesecake, and for this one, I used a strawberry flavored Greek Yogurt to give these cheesecake bars an even more strawberry forward flavor. But you could use a plain Greek Yogurt or even sour cream instead.
- Vanilla– A little vanilla extract goes a long way to adding a smooth and delicious flavor to the cheesecake.
How Do You Make Strawberry Cheesecake Bars?
Making these delicious cheesecake bars is fairly easy, and is done is three separate parts. You make the crust, the strawberry swirl, and the cheesecake base, and combine them all together to form the perfect dessert.
For this Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bar recipe, I am using a standard graham cracker crust recipe of graham crackers, butter, and sugar. However, I like a nice thick crust on my cheesecake bars, I think it helps hold them together better, and I just like the taste.
If you want a thinner crust, cut the recipe in half. It will still be enough to form a crust on the bottom of the whole pan, but not give you such a thick bite.
- Pulse your graham crackers in a food processor to get a nice fine grind.
- Mix with butter and sugar.
- Press into the pan.
It really is that simple. One trick is to use the back of a spoon or measuring cup to press the crust down into a nice firm layer in the baking pan. You want to do this in order to ensure it doesn’t crumble and fall apart later.
This strawberry swirl is a key component of these cheesecake bars, making them beautiful and flavorful. It adds a little tartness and beautiful sweetness thanks to the Karo® Syrup.
I love the addition of the Karo® Syrup as it a very versatile ingredient that can be used in anything from marshmallows and fudges, to pies, cinnamon rolls, sauces, and glazes. Many chefs rely on Karo® Syrup for its quality and consistent performance.
It definitely came through for me in this recipe, giving me the perfect consistency for the strawberry swirl.
- Cut strawberries and put in a saucepan
- Add Karo® Syrup
- Cook on medium heat until strawberries are easy to mash.
- Mash and stir.
- Remove from heat and add Argo® Corn Starch. Whisk together.
- Return to heat and cook down until you get a consistency between a jam and a jelly.
- When adding to the cheesecake, simply add dollops on top of the cheesecake base batter and cut through batter with a knife to swirl.
This strawberry swirl will have a distinctly different texture from the cheesecake base, and a bright, beautiful color, which will make your cheesecake bars delicious and pretty to look at.
The cheesecake part is not finicky like many cheesecakes. The biggest challenge is getting a smooth batter. But, even if you don’t get it totally smooth, it will still turn out just fine.
The trick to a smooth batter is room temperature cream cheese and eggs.
When I initially made these cheesecake bars, I started by beating together the sugar and the cream cheese, and then slowly added in the other ingredients, beating between each.
However, when I made it a subsequent time to retest the recipe, I was in a hurry and just dumped everything in the bowl and beat it at the same time. The batter wasn’t as smooth, but it saved time, and the end results were very similar.
- Combine sugar and cream cheese, and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time. Beat into the cream cheese mixture.
- Add Greek yogurt and vanilla.
- Then spoon over crust in a foil-lined baking dish.
Tips for Making Cheesecake Bars:
- Use a food processor to smash the graham crackers to get a nice fine grind. If you do not have one, you can place the graham crackers in a zip-top bag, and use a mallet or rolling pin to crush them. Just be sure to rotate them a lot to get a nice find grind.
- Take cream cheese out of the fridge early so it can come to room temperature, as this will make for a smoother, creamier cheesecake. Same with the eggs.
- Line your baking dish with foil. This makes removing and slicing the cheesecake bars easier, and helps it bake evenly.
- When making your strawberry swirl, cook the strawberries and Karo® Syrup down until you can mash the strawberries easily, and the consistency is between that of a jam and a jelly. Add the corn starch off the heat, then return to heat to finish cooking it down.
- For a pretty swirl, make a few distinct dollops of the strawberry mixture, then use a toothpick, knife, or skewer and slowly and gently swirl the mixture around. If you want it layered throughout the cheesecake, not just on the top, do half the cheesecake mixture, dollops, and then the other half and more dollops.
- Bake until done. While I suggest 55-60 minutes, every oven heats differently and bakes differently, so check your cheesecake bars at 45 minutes, and every 5 minutes after. Look for browning edges and less wobble or jiggle in the middle. It will still have some when done, but not much.
- Chill completely. To get the consistency you are aiming for and a nice bar that is easy to cut, you want to make sure your bars have a chance to chill completely. So make them a day ahead of when you need them so you don’t feel rushed.
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs 2 sleeves
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup melted butter
Strawberry swirl mixin:
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- ¼ cup Karo syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Argo corn starch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup strawberry greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place 2 sleeves of graham crackers into a food processor, and process until in crumble form, you want a good fine grind.
- Pour graham cracker crumbles into a bowl.
- Melt ½ cup of butter in a microwave safe dish in the microwave. Cover so it won’t splatter.
- Add ½ cup melted butter and ¼ cup sugar to bowl with graham cracker crumble.
- Stir to combine.
- Line a 9x9 baking pan with foil and pour graham cracker mixture into the pan, use the back of a spoon or your hand to press the mixture to compact it into the bottom to form a crust.
- Set aside.
Strawberry Swirl Mix-in:
- Clean and cut tops off strawberries
- Add them to a small saucepan with ¼ cup Karo Syrup.
- Cook over medium heat and use a wooden spoon to smash the berries. Cook until berries are easy to break up and sauce has started to thicken.
- Remove from heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of Argo cornstarch.
- Return to heat, and cook, stirring frequently until it reaches the consistency between a jam and a jelly. Not too runny, but not as thick as a jelly. This should take about 3-4 minutes.
- Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together cheesecake ingredients until combined and smooth. For best results, beat cream cheese and sugar together first, then add the rest.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Spread cheesecake filling on top of the crust that is in the baking dish and spoon strawberry topping over into dollops, then use a toothpick, knife, or skewer to swirl topping into the cheesecake mix.
- Bake for 45 -60 minutes at 325 degrees F, until edges are just starting to turn brown and middle no longer wobbles. Depending on your oven this typically take about 55-60 minutes, but start checking them at 45 minutes.
- Cool completely.
- Refrigerate 2-3 hours before cutting the bars.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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