Go Back
+ servings
Print Recipe
4.67 from 6 votes

Easy Cheesecake Bars No-Bake

Mixed Berries top an airy cream cheese and whipped cream filling, paired with a slightly salty pretzel cake base. The easy cheesecake bar recipe is not only doable, it's also no-bake so it needs to be placed in the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving. The pretzel cake base gets better and better over the next couple of days so I recommend making it at least 24 hours ahead of time. A show stopper, to be sure!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Minimum freezing time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: berries, cheesecake, dessert, no bake
Servings: 12 bars
Calories: 540kcal
Author: Sally Humeniuk

Equipment

  • 9x13-inch baking pan
  • Stand mixer
  • Medium bowl
  • Food processor
  • Off-set spatula

Ingredients

Pretzel Cake base

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely ground pretzels measure after ground in food processor
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Creamy filling layer

  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups whipping cream cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced (about 1 tbsp zest and juice)

Mixed berry topping

  • 6 ounces fresh raspberries rinsed
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries rinsed
  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries rinsed

Instructions

Make the Pretzel Cake Base

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place a strip of aluminum foil in the bottom and up the sides of a 9x13-inch baking dish, approximately 8-inches wide by 15-inches long. This strip will help you remove your bars from the pan after freezing, as the parchment paper might rip. Line the pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of the pan. See notes for tips on the parchment paper step. Once the pan is lined, lightly rub the bottom and sides of the pan with some butter or shortening.
  • Next grind the pretzels for the cake base. You can do this in a food processor or with a rolling pin. In a food processor, place the pretzels in the work bowl and pulse until finely ground, about 10 times. I ground mine pretty finely but you can have some bigger pieces and it'll be great. Alternately, place the pretzels in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup sugar, at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pretzels, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition (in other words, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the milk, another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining half of the milk, then the rest of the flour mixture). Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  • Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 13 to 15 minutes. The top will turn golden and the sides will start to pull away slightly from the sides. Let cool completely in pan.

Make the cream cheese-cream layer

  • Clean bowl of the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat cold cream at medium speed until thickened. Slowly increase mixer speed to medium-high. Transfer the whipped cream to a large bowl and set aside.
  • Clean bowl of the stand mixer again and add the paddle attachment. Beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth. About 30 seconds. Add 1 cup granulated sugar, and beat at medium speed until smooth again. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add zest from one lemon, then add lemon juice, about 1 tablespoon. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
  • Using a large fork, fold about one-third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until combined. Fold in remaining whipped cream just until combined. Spread onto cake layer, smoothing flat with an offset spatula.

Add the berries

  • Making sure your clean berries are dry (if they're not, turn them out onto a doubled paper towel and lightly tap with another paper towel to remove moisture, being careful not to crush or break the skin), lightly press berries into cream cheese mixture, leaving a 1/4-inch border on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Let bars stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Using the parchment and foil as handles, remove from pan. Using a hot, dry knife, trim 1/4 inch off each side, and cut into bars. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

How to store leftovers

  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days, or frozen for two weeks. If freezing leftover bars, let stand on counter for 20 minutes before serving, or transfer to refrigerator the night beforehand.

Notes

  • To adapt the recipe for lactose free version- When making the cream cheese layer, I made this version for my son who is lactose intolerant (this is not dairy-free). Green Valley cream cheese is amazing and the only lactose-free cream cheese that I use. Dairy free cream cheese has not worked for me in recipes. So, if you can find this awesome brand (their sour cream and cottage cheese are excellent too), use 2 8-ounce containers of the cream cheese. Add all the remaining ingredients just like in the recipe except for the whipping cream, and mix well in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Spread just as you would with the whipped cream version. The filling layer will not be as tall but will be every bit as delicious. I should note that for this version I baked the pretzel cake in a 9-inch springform pan instead of the 9x13. When ready to serve, just cut like you would a traditional cheesecake.
  • When lining the pan with your parchment paper- You'll cut two pieces of the parchment; one going the long way across and one going the short way. Try to cover both sides of the pan as much as possible with parchment (doesn't have to completely cover) but also make sure the parchment hangs over the edge enough for when you're lifting the bars out of the pan (see recipe photos). If you need to, use a little butter or shortening rubbed on the pan to help your parchment stick.
  • To make the pretzel cake even more unique and to increase the salty/sweet factor- After the base has baked and cooled and before you add the cream cheese mixture, place an additional 1 cup of pretzels into a plastic bag and using a rolling pin, crush the pretzels, keeping into larger pieces around 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch in size. Sprinkle them evenly on top of the cake. Then smooth the cream cheese mixture gently over top.
  • Trimming the edges of the bars before serving- Of course trimming the 1/4-inch off the edges of the bars before cutting and serving is optional. This step just makes the bars on the outsides of the pan look nice and cohesive. Totally up to you whether you do it or not.
  • Mixed berries for the bars- Any berries or fruit that don't require being chopped work well for this recipe. Cutting into the berries when you cut the bars is fine as they've been frozen and won't weep onto the topping.
  • Make the bars even more festive- For Christmas, use only raspberries on top and color the cream cheese mixture with green food coloring before spreading. For Thanksgiving, try using fresh cranberries in place of the mixed berries. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 226mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 1401IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 1mg