It really doesn’t get better than these No Bake Caramel Cheesecake Bars! A simple graham cracker crust topped with a creamy no-bake cheesecake filling and then a batch of gooey homemade caramel drizzled all over.
Easy No-Bake Cheesecake Bars
Marie here again from Sugar Salt Magic! Have I got a treat for you! Caramel Cheesecake Bars. They take less than half an hour to put together and are all kinds of creamy, and buttery and ultra-indulgent.
The part I really love about making these caramel cheesecake bars is they are entirely no-bake! The easy buttery crust is a simple mixture of graham cracker crumbs, butter and a touch of brown sugar.
The no-bake cheesecake layer needs just 6 ingredients and sets in the fridge. Can I get a yes please for no water baths or cracking cheesecakes?
The smooth caramel topping is real-deal caramel and it’s so easy to make, right on the stovetop. Pour it all over the cheesecake and let the whole thing set for 3-4 hours.
The last part is to slice it up into bars and serve it to all your swooning guests. Comforting when it’s cold and the perfect treat cold on a hot day. Everyone will love these gorgeous little cheesecake bars.
What’s Needed for No-Bake Cheesecake Bars?
These easy cheesecake bars have three main components: the graham cracker crust, the no-bake cheesecake filling, and the homemade caramel sauce. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Heavy cream
- Powdered gelatin
- Cream cheese
- Superfine sugar
- Vanilla extract
How to Make No-Bake Cheesecake Bars
The caramel topping is a simple homemade caramel sauce that thickens when cold but it never sets firm. What this means is upon cutting, you’ll get caramel sauce slowly oozing down the sides in a gloriously gooey way. For this reason, these bars are best served on a plate but personally, cutlery is optional. Also, it’s worth waiting until you serve these bars to sprinkle over the sea salt so that it doesn’t disappear into the caramel.
Here are the basic steps to making cheesecake bars:
- Make the graham cracker crust and press it into a 8×8-inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle gelatin powder over 1/4 cup heavy cream, then gently heat to dissolve.
- In a separate bowl, whip the remaining heavy cream into soft peaks.
- In another bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add in the vanilla and gelatin mixture.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- Spread the no-bake cheesecake filling over the crust.
- Make the caramel sauce, then let it cool 10 minutes before pouring on top of the cheesecake.
- Let cheesecake bars chill in the fridge at least 4 hours before serving.
Tips for Making the Caramel Sauce
- Use Low heat: You’ll start this caramel by dissolving sugar in a touch of water. Keep the heat low as you don’t want the mixture to boil until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Make sure your pan is ultra clean: This is because even the tiniest bit of grease can turn what starts as a lovely caramel into a grainy mess. I will often run a cut lemon around the inside of the pan then rinse, right before I make caramel. The lemon will cut any grease away.
- Don’t stir: at least not until you add the cream and butter. Instead, swirl the pan every so often to make sure it’s heating evenly.
Can You Freeze Cheesecake Bars?
You can absolutely freeze these no-bake cheesecake bars. In fact, you can even eat them as a frozen treat straight from the freezer. Can you say frozen cheesecake ice cream?! Yum.
The caramel will still never harden and that’s due to it having such a high proportion of sugar but that’s fine. You can keep these in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To freeze, place each piece on a small square of baking paper and fold up the sides to make them easier to take out when you feel the urge.
How Long Will Cheesecake Bars Keep?
These bars will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Tips for the Best Cheesecake Bars
- How to make a lump-free cheesecake: You’ll need to start with room temperature cream cheese and this part is really important to make sure your cheesecake is smooth and totally lump free.
- How to make cheesecake light and airy: Whipped cream gives this cheesecake it’s light texture and the cream will need to remain cold to whip properly. You’ll be adding it slowly to the cream cheese so that it doesn’t start setting that cream cheese again and causing lumps though.
- How does no-bake cheesecake filling set? There are a number of ways you can do this but, in this version, a little gelatin powder is all you need. This gets melted into a small portion of the cream before whipping the rest.
More Easy Cheesecake Recipes:
- Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
- No Bake Mini Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce
- Easy Baked Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Sauce
- Mini Twix Caramel Cheesecakes
- Mini Dutch Apple Cheesecakes
- Swirled Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- My Favorite Lime Cheesecake with Triple Berry Sauce
- Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel Sauce
- Lemon Blueberry No-Bake Cheesecake
- No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake
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Caramel Cheesecake Bars
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 2 cups (8oz) graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , melted
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar , packed
- 1 cup heavy cream (divided 1/4 + 3/4)
- 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
- 1 pound cream cheese , softened
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup superfine sugar (see notes below)
- 1/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes (optional)
For the crust:
- Grease and line an 8x8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the crumbs, butter and sugar, then press into the base of the tin firmly.
For the cheesecake filling:
- In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatine powder over 1/4 cup of the cream and let it sit for 5 minutes, before heating over low and stirring until dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl with an electric beater or in a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip the remaining cream to soft peaks. Set aside.
- In a new bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and gelatine mixture and beat through just until combined.
- Mix one third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Use a spatula to gently fold the rest of the cream through trying not to beat out the air.
- Spread the cheesecake filling evenly over the base.
For the caramel topping:
- Place the sugar and water in a large heavy based stainless steel saucepan over low heat. Heat, swirling gently from time to time until all the sugar is dissolved. Let it come to bubble until it turns amber in colour.
- Carefully pour in the cream and whisk it in to combine. Be careful as it will start to bubble up.
- Stir in the butter until it melts and is combined, then bring it back to a bubble for a further minute.
- Let it cool for about 10 minutes before pouring over the cheesecake.
- Place in the fridge to set. Sprinkle over the sea salt (if using) right before cutting into squares.
- Superfine sugar (not powdered) is best as it will dissolve quicker. If you can only use regular white granulated sugar, just keep the heat a little lower so that it is mostly dissolved before it starts to bubble.
- Make sure to use a large saucepan that is perfectly clean to make the caramel.