Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars

vanilla cheesecake bars

Most of the people I know enjoy cheesecake and, if I had to guess, I would say that you probably know a lot of fans of the rich and creamydessert, too. But full-sized cheesecakes can be difficult to make. Water baths are often required to achieve the perfect texture and if you’re pressed for time, you can’t just wait around for a cheesecake to bake, cool and then chill in the fridge before you get your fix. This is where cheesecake bars come in. They deliver a creamy texture, great cheesecake flavor and take far less time than a regular cheesecake. As an added bonus, they also travel well and can easily be sliced, tucked away without fear of smushing them and eaten without requiring a fork and knife (although you are more than welcome to use them when eating the bars).

This recipe is a favorite of mine and I have used it many times. The crust dough comes together very quickly and the filling is poured in while the crust is still hot from the oven, so there is no time spent waiting around for things to cool and an entire batch can be made from start to finish in about an hour. An additional bonus is that the recipe is open to lots of flavor variations, so there is a lot that can be done with the basic recipe.

For the vanilla flavoring, I scraped the seeds from a vanilla bean into my cheesecake batter, and used vanilla sugar in the crust to further boost the flavor. Vanilla sugar is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand to add a final – and flavorful – touch to muffins, cookies, etc., but you can easily use plain sugar instead, or use plain sugar and add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract. You can also use vanilla extract, vanilla paste or a similar product as a substitution for the vanilla bean in the cheesecake mixture, although I would recommend using something that contains specks of vanilla bean (as vanilla paste and some vanilla extracts do) to get the vanilla bean “look” in your final product.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars
1/3 cup sugar (pref. vanilla sugar)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup half & half/light cream
2 (8-oz) packages plain cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or used the Baker’s Edge).
Begin by making the crust. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.
While the crust bakes, combine sugar, half & half and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time, waiting until each in incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture (or add extract) and add the flour. Pulse until smooth.
Pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (baking time should be reduced slightly if using a 9×13-inch, as the filling will be slightly thinner) and not jiggly.
Cool completely before slicing (don’t be alarmed if the cheesecake appears to deflate somewhat as it cools), or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 20-24 bars.


  1. Just Curious, it’s sounds delicious but I don’t like cheesecake. Will i like it?

  2. Those look really decadent and now I’m craving one. Too bad I have to get back to work. I’ll have to save this recipe and try to fit it into my schedule soon.

  3. These look really good. I like the idea of cheesecake bars!

  4. Stone – I have no idea if you’ll like them. I suppose that it depends what part of cheesecake you don’t like. For instance, if you don’t like the flavor, I’m not sure that you’ll like these. But if it’s the richness you don’t care for, these may suit your tastes.
    My suggestion? Make these for a party or something where you know other people will be able to eat them, then try a bite and see if you like them. If not, they’ll still get eaten. If it turns out you do, well, you can always hide the batch from your friends.

  5. WOw, those look soooo good. I love me some cheesecake so why not in bar form!

  6. For some reason I’m a little afraid of making cheesecake, but this recipe seems less intimidating somehow. Can’t wait to try it.

  7. I made these for an office party and they turned out really well. I didn’t have a vanilla bean so I substituted vanilla flavoring. They lose a little something with the seeds because the color of the cheesecake blends right into the color of the crust. But the flavor of the crust was terrific! I’ll definitely make them again.

  8. Yummmmm… I like cheesecake, but in small doses. These look just perfect and I’ll definitely give them a try!

  9. This recipe looks so great! I am actually baking it as we speak it smells so good!
    I love how the crust is from scratch! I can not wait to try it!
    Thank you for the recipe:)

  10. I made a variation on this, using crushed gingersnaps in the crust with a bit of orange zest and copped sweetened dried cranberries blended in. I then stirred a cranberry ribbon (made from pureed cranberries cooked in a simple syrup) into the filling and adorned the finished product with a drizzle of white chocolate. It was a huge hit!

  11. I made this and I must say that it was even more delicious that the picture. I added a touch of white chocolate as a finishing touch.

  12. I have no idea if you’ll like them. I suppose that it depends what part of cheesecake you don’t like.

  13. I’m a little afraid of making cheesecake, but this recipe seems less intimidating somehow.

  14. FINALLY got the opportunity to bake these, all I can say is thank you, friend. Well done.

  15. I have to say I’ve been looking for an excuse to use that Baker’s Edge pan for the first time. I needed some cheesecake bars for a treat for a visiting tech in my office and hit this recipe and saw the use of the pan to make them and figured “win-win”. The recipe turned out great and I have to say I love the pan for this recipe. Now I can use it more often. I worried about getting the bars out easily but they came out beautifully and the pan cleaned up great too. I will definitely be making these bars again AND using that pan for the making! Thanks for both great ideas!!!!

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