One of the things that I miss most about being home in Kansas is my Grammy’s porch suppers on the Fourth of July. We rub extra butter on our corn on the cob, consume far too many ribs, and always end with a special, festive, homemade dessert like these Red White and Blueberry Cheesecake Bars.
Most years, Grammy made her classic Peach Shortcake but topped with blueberries, strawberries, and fluffy white whipped cream for a festive touch.
On special years, she made the illustrious Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie, a dessert of such magnificence, it could save the world—or at least make a table filled with dessert aficionados very, very happy.
Since I now usually spend the Fourth of July away from home, I wanted to bring a bit of our family tradition to Wisconsin by creating a festive dessert of my own.
The result: red, white, and blueberry cheesecake bars.
5 Star Review
“These are awesome – and the cheesecake layer is fantastic!”— Rachael —
How to Make Red, White, and Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
While these blueberry cheesecake bars are fit for any summer occasion (try these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes in the fall), a two-second topping of sliced strawberries transforms them into the cutest dish at any Fourth of July or Memorial Day gathering.
I love that this red, white, and blueberry cheesecake is baked in bar form, instead of a traditional springform pan. Cheesecake bars are easier to transport and serve—plus, there’s no need to stress about unmolding.
- Graham Cracker Crust. While I certainly adore a classic, Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust, the delicious simplicity of mixing melted butter and graham cracker crumbs to form an undeniably scrumptious dessert base appeals to me immensely, particularly in summer, when I’m settling into my easy-breezy baking mode.
- Blueberry Pie Filling. In keeping with this low-maintenance approach, I took a shortcut on the blueberries by using my favorite store-bought blueberry pie filling but you can, of course, use a homemade filling (like this Cherry Pie Filling) if that’s more your jam (pun intended).
- Cream Cheese. Reduced-fat cream cheese serves as the base for the airy, lemony cheesecake layer that’s sandwiched between the blueberry filling and golden graham cracker crust.
- Greek Yogurt. Keeps the cheesecake light, but the texture rich and the taste luxurious. (It’s also my secret to this Greek Yogurt Cheesecake.)
- Eggs. For richness and stability so the cheesecake bars hold their shape once cooled and sliced.
- Lemon. Both freshly squeezed juice and zest brighten the flavors of this cheesecake and add some acidity to balance the sweetness of the berries. (I also love the lemon + berry combo in these Strawberry Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.)
- Strawberries. For a final fruity (and patriotic) finish that’s packed with vitamin C.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a food processor, pulse the graham cracker, powdered sugar, and melted butter together until it resembles wet sand.
- Press into the bottom of a foil-lined 8×8 inch pan. Bake and let cool.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- In a stand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, add the sugar, and mix until smooth and creamy.
- Add the yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- Pour half of the filling over the crust, dollop with blueberry filling, swirl with a knife and top with the remaining batter.
- Bake in a 325-degree F oven until the filling is mostly set but a little jiggly in the center when wiggled.
- Remove, let cool for 30 minutes, then chill until completely cooled.
- Before serving, lift the cheesecake out of the pan, top with fresh strawberries, and cut into squares. ENJOY!
How to Store Cheesecake Bars
- To Store. Store cheesecake bars in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze. Place cheesecake bars on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Then, store them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months.
While I still have a way to go before I’m ready to throw a Fourth of July porch supper that will rival my Grammy’s, with these red, white, and blueberry cheesecake bars, I’m off to a good start!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes…and no. If you wish to use fresh blueberries for these easy cheesecake bars, you will need to cook them into a pie filling consistency first.
Yes! If you don’t enjoy blueberry pie filling, you could swap for a different pie filling of your choice. Readers have reported swapping for cherry pie filling with delicious results.
No. While I’m usually all for healthy swaps, this is one recipe that does need some fat to ensure the texture of the cheesecake is smooth, silky, and rich. Fat free cream cheese just won’t yield quite the same result and I want to make sure you enjoy the recipe.
Red White and Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
For the Crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 full graham cracker sheets)
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
For the Cheesecake:
- 2 packages reduced fat cream cheese (8 ounce packages, do not use fat free), at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt at room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup blueberry pie filling (store-bought or homemade)
- Sliced fresh strawberries
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing some of the foil to hang over the sides. Set aside.
- To prepare the crust, break the graham cracker sheets into a food processor or blender. Process until the crackers are fine crumbs, then add the powdered sugar and pulse once more to combine. Drizzle in the melted butter, then pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Press the crumbs into the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool as you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- For the filling, beat the softened cream cheese for one full minute, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl. Then, beat in the sugar for 3 additional minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add the yogurt, then the eggs, one at a time, fully combining between each and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- Once the crust has cooled, pour half of the cheesecake filling over the crust and smooth. Dollop the pie filling over the crust and swirl lightly with a knife (the cheesecake base will not be completely covered). Top with the remaining cheesecake batter.
- Bake the bars in a 325 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is mostly set but still soft and barely jiggles in the center when the pan is wiggled. Remove the bars from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 3 hours.
- Just before serving, lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the foil. Top with sliced strawberries. Cut into squares and enjoy.
- TO STORE: Leftover blueberry cheesecake bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO FREEZE: Place cheesecake bars on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Then, store them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months.
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