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A stack of 3 cranberry cheesecake bars on a square white plate

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

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Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars are perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert buffet. Or wait till after the holiday, and use leftover cranberry sauce to make them for your holiday cookie exchange in December.

A stack of 3 cranberry cheesecake bars on a square white plate

Tired of the Same Ol’ Thanksgiving Leftovers?

Well, the Sunday Supper crew has you covered. Today we are sharing all sorts of incredible recipes you can make with your Thanksgiving leftovers.  At Chez Berg, turkey tetrazzini and sandwiches are a given, but by day three, I need some inspiration. If you happened to buy an extra can of whole berry cranberry sauce, though, I can help. You’ll love these cranberry cream cheese bars!

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars on a white dessert plate with fresh cranberries and mint

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

This is the time of year to stock up on canned pumpkin, an extra turkey for your freezer, and cranberry sauce. With sales rampant, it just makes sense. One the few fruits native to North America, the cranberry, is nearly always associated with Thanksgiving dinner.

When my parents would visit for the holiday, I’d always grab a can of cranberry sauce, my dad’s preference…while my mom and I favored the freshly ground relish, which also graced our table. But sitting on our lazy susan, behind a cupboard door, that can of  jelled cranberries would often get forgotten due to all the craziness in the kitchen. These cranberry cheesecake bars can help take care of any leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving!

So if you have a memory lapse like me or spot an extra can in your pantry, I hope you’ll try this Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars dessert recipe.

An oatmeal crust is topped with a cheesecake-like layer, followed by slightly sweetened cranberry sauce and an oat streusel. Sounds divine, doesn’t it?

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars stacked on a white dessert plate

Tips for Making Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars:

I love making layered bar cookies. They’re an ideal way to serve a crowd with very little effort. One pan can serve 24 people if you cut the dessert into 4 bars across the short side, then 6 bars across the long side.

  • To make these bars easy to release from the pan, line it with non-stick aluminum foil. The foil will act like a sling and you can remove the bars to a cutting board for easier slicing.
  • PRO-Tip: Chill the bars well before cutting to make the neatest slices. Check out my post on How to Cut Perfect Cookie Bars for details.
  • To make nice even layers, I use a flat bottomed meat mallet or measuring cup to smooth out the surface after patting the crust into the pan with my fingers.
  • Then I use an offset spatula to smooth the sauce and cheesecake layers.
  • Have your butter and cream cheese at room temperature for the best results. Both will be much easier to incorporate if not cold from the refrigerator.
  • Set these cranberry cheesecake bars out on the counter at least an hour before you begin baking. If you need to help them along, gently microwave for just 15-20 seconds. Remove the foil wrap on the cream cheese first.

In addition to my cranberry cream cheese bars, here are more recipes to make with Thanksgiving leftovers:

Main Dish:

Side Dishes:

Sandwiches:

Dessert:

Cocktails & Drinks:

Thanksgiving Leftover Roundups:

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Cranberry Cheesecake Bars #SundaySupper

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

A terrific bar cookie for when you have that extra can of cranberry sauce on hand after Thanksgiving! Recipe adapted from my friend, Chezz

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 bars
  • Category: Dessert. Bar Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (16 ounces) can whole berry cranberry sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 350°. Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with non-stick foil.
  2. In large bowl combine flour, oats, 3/4 cup sugar and butter; mix until crumbly. Set aside 1 1/2 cups crumbs for topping, and press the rest into the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. In large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy, gradually mix in condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. Spread over crust. In small bowl combine remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, cornstarch and cranberry sauce. Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top.
  4. Bake 40 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack, then chill before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

 

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61 comments on “Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars”

  1. Forget Thanksgiving, I take these cranberry bars anytime of day. This totally sounds divine and I need a bar…or more.

  2. Your cookies sound great Liz! I see lots of cranberry goodness all over the net this morning-love it! Happy Thanksgiving Week:@)

  3. I am sending this list to my mom. Super handy for those leftovers. I hope she makes some of these bars.

  4. Great photos! I can almost taste it. Alas, almost.

  5. Looks so yummy and love your presentation!

  6. Liz!! what a great way to use up cans of cranberry sauce!! because you know I always have a few left in my pantry! love these cream cheese bars!!

  7. These are beautiful, Liz! I tend to use the leftover can of whole cranberry sauce in a cake recipe a friend shared with me years ago, but now I’ll have to branch out to these cream cheese bars.

  8. These look so good, Liz! I love the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbuck’s during the holidays…but these look even better!!

  9. Oh Liz you have done it again — I am over here drooling and wishing I had this deliciousness to enjoy with my cup of coffee.

  10. I love cranberries and I love cheesecake. These look so good, Lizzy. They would be a hit with my family!

    I hope you and yours have a very beautiful Thanksgiving holiday.

    Hugs and kisses to you,
    Tammy<3

  11. Here we havent’t Thanksgiving, doesn’t care ! Because these is perfect for any moment ! In Christmas time will be gorgeous 😉

  12. Wish I had a nice slice of these bars right now! Yum!

  13. I love this recipe. I hope I have extra cranberry sauce so I can make these.

  14. This looks so delicious, Liz! What a great idea…cranberry and cream cheese in a bar…awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  15. I have GOT to make sure I get sent home with leftover cranberry sauce this year so I can make these amazing bars!!

  16. All those layers are win, win, win! Love this dessert, gorgeous!

  17. Oatmeal crust and streusel topping?! This sounds divine!

  18. Wow Liz – I can’t believe how good those cranberry cream cheese bars look! I want one now!!

  19. Liz, these bars are absolutely gorgeous. They look scrumptious.

  20. I haven’t thought about these for years but my mother made something very similar every Christmas. That was before I thought cream cheese was something worth eating. Let’s call that my Bill phase. 🙂

    These look yummy.

  21. Absolutely delicious and a wonderful celebration of cranberries!

  22. I like make cranberry crumb bars from leftover cranberry sauce – but I need to make these next time. That cream cheese layer looks like heaven!

  23. These are such pretty bars, Liz! Love those layers!

  24. Lizzy,
    I love all your desserts. This one doesn’t disappoint. We always forget to bring out one or two things when we have everyone over. Many times it’s the jellied cranberry sauce. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Annamaria

  25. You already know I’m going to tell you I love this, especially since a cheesecake no-bake bar I made yesterday went horribly awry. Well, I LOVE these. Such clean cuts! Definitely a level of patience I’m still working up to 😉

  26. Why have I never thought of the cranberry and cheesecake combo before? These look amazing!

  27. Phew! What a great number of links leftover turkey. Wow, that was a lot of work, I’m sure. You’re amazing! These squares are perfectly festive for the Thanksgiving dessert table.

  28. Oh I love this recipe. Great way to use up leftover sauce. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  29. these look like a delicious way to use cranberry sauce!

  30. You are a dessert queen, Liz. I love esp. the cookies and bars you have baked…these cranberry cheesecake bars look heavenly!

  31. Love this, Liz. I bet the tartness off the cranberry is perfect against the richness of the cheesecake layer.

  32. What pretty bars, Liz. I do love cranberries but for us (as we sadly don’t have Thanksgiving), it’s all about Christmas. I’m hoping to be able to buy frozen cranberries (no such thing as fresh) so I can make my own cranberry sauce xx

  33. Grrrrreat and delicious idea, Liz! Thank you for the keeper recipe…Glad I’m not the only one who buys a special condiment or something and then forgets to serve it!

  34. No surprise these tasty looking bars got picked for foodgawker, they look so good!

  35. Perfection by Liz! Delicious layers.

  36. OMGeeee!! These look fabulous! Totally wanna try this one! YUMMMM! Great idea for leftover cranberry sauce!

  37. These look great! Will definitely pull this one out if we end up with some leftover cranberry sauce!

  38. Oh wow these look fabulous Liz! A nice sweet treat to snack on and you use up that leftover cranberry sauce!

  39. Oh my goodness, these look absolutely divine! I’m going to go buy a can of cranberry sauce *just* so I can make these!

  40. These look so yummy! Can’t wait to try them!

  41. These bars look very addictive, so creamy and inviting!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  42. Yum and festive! I like the recipe links at the end too, very helpful. I just did a Thanksgiving recipe roundup on my blog as well. Pinned for later and I’m looking forward to more of your recipes.

  43. Oh wow! yummy!
    Looks so delicious and what a perfect cuts.

  44. I would eat these at any time of year, Liz! They are so pretty!

  45. I’ll take leftovers any night like this! I don’t think you’ve made a dessert that I didn’t want to sink my teeth into!! So yummy!

  46. Fantastic recipe, Liz!!! I love how cranberry sauce can be repurposed in these along with ingredients we’re all bound to have on hand around Thanksgiving!

  47. Using up leftovers in cheesecake is the perfect idea! Pinned!

  48. I need these bars in my life Liz!! OhhEmmmGeeee!!

  49. Oh my goodness, Liz! This one is a winner for sure!

  50. You’ve done it again! I love every component in this treat – the tart, the nutty, and the tang!

  51. Oatmeal and cranberry…hey sounds like a perfect breakfast treat to me!

  52. What a great idea! This would be perfect party food

  53. Oh wow, these do sound incredible!! Your pictures are beautiful too. I’d love a whole plate, thanks! 🙂

  54. I bought a can of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and completely forgot about it until a few days ago. Thanks for the recipe!

  55. I love using cranberries in desserts! This seems like it would have so many wonderful flavors and textures.

  56. This could be a great holiday dessert addition! Great idea, Liz.

  57. Fantastic bars! Cream cheese and cranberry – sounds wonderful
    I LIKE these bars

  58. Pingback: White Chocolate Cranberry Orange Cookies - Beyond Frosting

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