Filed Under: Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
January 15th, 2020

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars feature an easy graham cracker crust, ultra rich and creamy caramel cheesecake filling, and topped with more gooey salted caramel. Easy to make and transport!

Yield: 9 bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook: 45 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Sweet, salty, and tangy. Such a perfect combination!
Texture: The crust is thick, crunchy, and buttery while the cheesecake is insanely rich and creamy. Top it with gooey caramel and it’s HEAVEN.
Ease: Much quicker and easier than a full size cheesecake. Also simpler to transport and serve!
Pros: See the above. That plus they’re delicious.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

As much as I love cheesecake, it can be kind of a pain to make.

Especially if there’s a water bath involved. Sometimes it’s a wild hunt for a pan big enough to create a water bath.

Then there’s the long baking time and even longer chilling period. It’s definitely not a recipe to make when you want an instant sweet craving satisfied.

Bars of salted caramel cheesecake topped with caramel sauce and flaky sea salt

That’s why I’m so in love with cheesecake bars.

They’re SO much easier. No water bath. Short baking time and shorter chilling time. So much easier to transport and serve.

Not to mention much cheaper to make than a full sized cheesecake.

Salted caramel cheesecake bar on a plate with a bite taken out

And when you add salted caramel to the mix? Well basically this is the perfect crowd pleasing recipe!

How to Make Amazing Cheesecake Bars

Graham cracker crust being pressed into a baking pan with a cup

How to Make Rich & Creamy Lump Free Cheesecake

Make sure all of your cream cheese is completely at room temperature. If it’s a cold day, then the cream cheese will need to sit on the counter for several hours or you may need to nuke it in the microwave until it’s completely soft.

To ensure there’s no lumps, also be sure to scrape down your mixing bowl thoroughly after adding pretty much every ingredient. Even if you have a beater attachment that scrapes as it goes (those often make things worse). Use a spatula with a pointed angle to get every little nook and cranny.

If lumpy cheesecake is a common issue for you, try running your mixing bowl under warm water then dry thoroughly before mixing your cheesecake batter.

As always, use high quality bricks of full fat cream cheese for cheesecake.

Cheesecake batter in square pan ready to be baked

How to Avoid Overbaking Cheesecake

You’re looking for the edges of the cheesecake to be just slightly golden and for the top of the cheesecake to look dry. However, the key is for the center to remain slightly jiggly.

In this recipe you’ll see that after the cheesecake has baked we turn off the oven but allow the the cheesecake to remain inside with the oven door just cracked open for 30 minutes. This not only helps to finish off the cheesecake baking without over cooking, but the gentle cool down also helps to prevent cracks.

However, if cracks form in this recipe it’s no biggie. Caramel makes the best crack concealer!

Do I have to use homemade caramel?

No! Even though I love my easy caramel sauce recipe, you could easily use store-bought instead. Trader Joe’s is my favorite brand.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! Simple double all of the ingredients and bake in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, checking for doneness at 45 minutes.

How to Make Cheesecake Bars Ahead of Time

Store the cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

The untopped bars can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Top with the caramel then allow to thaw in the fridge overnight.

Salted caramel cheesecake bar on a plate with a bite taken out

More Cheesecake Bar Recipes:

How to make
Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 9 bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Chilling 4 hours 30 minutes
Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars feature an easy graham cracker crust, ultra rich and creamy caramel cheesecake filling, and topped with more gooey salted caramel. Easy to make and transport!

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 9 (135 grams) graham crackers
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 16 ounces (454 grams) cream cheese, completely softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

Make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the crackers until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan using the bottom of a measuring cup or glass. Bake until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Make the filling:

  1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, sugar, and caramel until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add the sour cream then the eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. Add in vanilla and salt and blend until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  2. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake at 325°F until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 40 to 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and crack the oven door and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Transfer to rack to let cool completely.

Make the topping:

  1. In microwave-safe bowl, heat caramel in 10-second intervals until melted. Spread evenly over cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours or overnight.
  2. The cheesecake can be made and refrigerated 2 days ahead of time. Sprinkle bars with flaky sea salt before serving, if desired.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel, graham cracker crust

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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