These no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are the perfect summer dessert. Made with only a few simple ingredients, they take less than 20 minutes to make. They have a crunchy graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake filling & sweet cherry topping. Always a crowd-pleaser at BBQs or potlucks.
**This post was updated March 5, 2020 with new photos & recipe tips**
I love cheesecake. And there’s absolutely nothing better than quick and easy cheesecake bars. Especially when they’re no-bake cheesecake bars with cherry topping.
Because when the weather turns hot – do you really want to turn on the oven????
No-bake cheesecake tastes like a regular New York Cheesecake because it’s creamy and tangy. However, it’s lighter in texture – almost more like a deliciously creamy mousse.
How to Make No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars
These cherry cheesecake bars start with a crunchy graham cracker crust. It’s made with:
- 1 ¼ cup graham crumbs
- ⅓ cup butter – melted
- and 2 tablespoons sugar
The mixture is stirred together and then pressed into the bottom of your pan.
Then the cheesecake layer is made in 4 easy steps:
- First, you’ll beat 1 cup of whipping cream until peaks form.
- Then in a separate bowl, you’ll beat 16 ounces (2 packages) of cream cheese until soft. Then you’ll mix in ¾ cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon juice helps to give the cheesecake that tangy flavor you’d expect from cheesecake.
- Then you’ll gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. You want to be sure to fold it in gently so that you keep the volume of the whipped cream. You’ll fold it in until the mixture looks smooth and even (at first you’ll see streaks of whipped cream and cream cheese).
- Spoon the mixture on top of the crust, and then gently smooth the top.
The whole thing then gets chilled in the fridge to let the cheesecake set for 6+ hours. This is important for the cheesecake to firm up so that you can easily cut it into slices.
Pro Tip: Line your pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper so that there’s an overhang around the edges. Then when you’re ready to serve, lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the foil/parchment and place it on a cutting board. then you can gently trace around the edges of the cheesecake, peel back the aluminum foil and slice the bars. I find this way easier for cutting and getting even slices.
You’ll notice that the texture of these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars is a little different than your traditional baked cheesecake, but you’ll still absolutely love it. It’s creamy, smooth & luxurious (all the qualities that matter), but just not quite as dense.
Baking Tips and Tricks
- If you’d prefer to use whipped topping (such as Cool Whip) instead of whipped topping, thaw the Cool Whip in the fridge and measure out 1 ½ cups. Skip step 3 in the recipe card below and fold in the Cool Whip step 5 instead of whipped cream.
- Do not use light or spreadable cream cheese for this recipe. I find using light cream cheese makes it hard for the bars to set.
- If you’d like to double the recipe, simply double everything and make it in a 9×13 inch pan instead.
- Do not freeze this no-bake cheesecake. It can get ice crystals and no longer be as creamy and smooth.
Then after the cheesecake bars have set in the fridge, it’s time to serve. We topped them with cherry pie filling for the ultimate treat. But you could also make these as no-bake strawberry cheesecake bars by topping them with strawberry sauce or no-bake blueberry cheesecake bars by topping them with my favorite blueberry compote.
Either option is totally delicious.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy cheesecake recipe, or the perfect recipe for summer – these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are definitely for you!
And if you love cheesecake, make sure to try these other favorites:
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake
- Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
- Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
- No-Bake Mini Egg Chocolate Cheesecake
No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter melted
For the Cheesecake Filling
- 1 cup whipping cream*
- 16 oz brick-style cream cheese* room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 jar cherry pie filling
- Line an 8x8 (or 9x9) inch square pan with aluminium foil leaving an overhang on each side. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl stir together the graham crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar & melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream until peaks form.
- In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until soft. Then beat in th powdered sugar, vanilla extract & lemon juice until smooth.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream using a rubber spatula until the mixture is even and no longer streaky.
- Spoon over top of the prepared crust and smooth the top. Chill in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight.
- To serve, lift the aluminum foil out of the pan and place the bars on a cutting board. Slice into bars.
- Top each bar with cherry pie filling.
- Whipping cream can be substituted with 1 ½ cups thawed Cool Whip (whipped topping). Skip step 3 of the recipe, and fold in the Cool Whip in step 5 instead of the whipped cream.
- Make sure to use full-fat, brick style cream cheese - not light, spreadable or whipped.
- Recipe can be doubled and made in a 9x13 inch pan.
- Make-ahead Tips & Storage: Cheesecake can be made the day before and chilled in the fridge overnight. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Do not freeze.