Swirled with a tangy cranberry sauce and loaded with tons of orange flavor, these orange cranberry cheesecake bars are easy to make and a standout on any holiday table!
If you’re looking for a last-minute dessert to grace your holiday dessert table, we’ve got you covered today! That’s a stack of cheesecake worthy of any holiday dessert table.
I think cranberries are the lesser-known GEM of holiday season baking! They don’t get as much hype as gingerbread and eggnog.
We’re giving them the spotlight they absolutely deserve in these cheesecake bars today.
Cheesecake bars are so much more low-maintenance and fast to whip up than traditional cheesecake, which is why we opt to make these beauties for the holidays!
Not only do they look stunning with a beautiful cranberry swirl and flecks of orange zest, but they somehow taste even better than they look!
These Cranberry Cheesecake Bars feature…
- A buttery, golden graham cracker crust
- Incredibly silky, orange-scented cheesecake filling
- Tangy cranberry sauce swirled into every luscious cheesecake bite
Making the Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Cream cheese
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Orange juice
- Grated orange zest
- Vanilla extract
Tips for Perfect Cheesecake Bars
- Prebake crust – prebaking the graham cracker crust helps it hold together better!
- Use mixer for filling – we recommend using either a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer for mixing the cheesecake filling.
- Simmer cranberries – simmer cranberries, honey, and orange juice on the stove until the cranberries have popped and reduced into a thick sauce.
- Swirl cranberry sauce into cheesecake filling – drop the cranberry sauce by the spoonful on top of cheesecake filling, then use a knife to gently swirl the two together. Be careful not to overswirl or you’ll lose the effect!
- Bake bars at 325F – we’re going to bake the bars at a slightly lower temperature of 325F for 20-25 minutes. When done, the bars should be slightly jiggly in the center and register 150F on a kitchen thermometer.
- Cool bars, then chill completely – Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, then transfer to fridge to chill for 2 hours or until completely chilled.
- Clean knife between cuts – for best results, we recommend wiping your knife clean in between slices when you are slicing cheesecake into bars. This makes for nice clean cuts!
Use our suggestions below to change up this recipe a bit to suit your preferences or to use what you have in the house.
- Change the citrus – grapefruit, lemon, or lime would be great citrus replacements in place of the orange.
- Try another fruit – raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries would all work great in place of the cranberries. You could even try a half-and-half mixture of two berries!
- Add chocolate – for a chocolaty kick, sprinkle a handful of mini semisweet chocolate chips on top of bars before baking.
Storing Cheesecake Bars
These cheesecake bars store very well in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. We like to make these bars several days in advance if we’re serving them for a crew for the ultimate ease.
We do not recommend freezing these bars as we’ve found the crust tends to get a bit soggy and the cheesecake filling takes on a grainy texture when thawed.
This is a cheesecake-lover’s heaven, y’all. The crust is perfectly golden and buttery, the cheesecake filling is packed with citrus and incredibly silky, and the ribbon of cranberry sauce just seals the deal.
Make these cheesecake bars a new tradition this holiday season! You won’t be disappointed.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
Love cheesecake? Try these other favorites next!
- No Bake Butterscotch Coffee Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
- Rhubarb Rose White Chocolate Cheesecake
Orange Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
Graham Cracker Crust
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon 2% or skim milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
Cranberry Sauce Swirl
- 1 cup fresh or frozen (and thawed) cranberries
- 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar, tossing until crumbly.
- Press crumb mixture in the bottom and a little ways up the sides of a glass 8×8 baking dish. Bake crust at 350F 10-12 minutes until a light golden brown. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven heat to 325F.
- In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar together 1-2 minutes until completely creamy.
- Beat in orange zest, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until filling is completely smooth. Pour filling over cooled crust. Set aside for a moment.
Cranberry Sauce Swirl
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cranberries, honey, and orange juice to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until cranberries have popped and reduced to a thick sauce. Remove from heat and cool slightly
- Drop cranberry sauce by the spoonful on top of filling and use a knife to gently swirl into cheesecake filling.
- Bake cheesecake bars at 325F 20-25 minutes until cheesecake is lightly golden, but still slightly jiggly in the center. Allow bars to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, then transfer to fridge to chill 2 hours until completely cold.
- When ready to serve, cut cheesecake into squares and serve cold. Enjoy!