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.
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 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?
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:
- Creamy Turkey Orzo Risotto by Family Foodie
- Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Peruvian Cilantro and Turkey Soup by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
- Stuffing Hash by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Thanksgiving Leftover Waffles by Foxes Love Lemons
- Turkey Croquettes by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Turkey Tetrazzini by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Cheesy Jalapeño Potato Cakes by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Cheesy Mashed Potato Croquettes by Noshing with the Nolands
- Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Wings by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Whipped Carrots with Sriracha Butter by Healthy Delicious
- Apple Pecan Chicken (or Turkey!) Salad by NeighborFood
- Cranberry and Turkey Sandwiches by The Redhead Baker
- Curried Turkey Salad Sandwich by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Monte Cristo Sandwich by Nik Snacks
- Sprouted Grain Turkey, Cranberry & Brie Panini by Amee’s Savory Dish
- Banana Cheesecake with Pecan Graham Cracker Crust by Desserts Required
- Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Spiced Cranberry Sauce Buckle by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Cocktails & Drinks:
- Cranberry Bellinis by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Cranberry Orange Crush by The Messy Baker
Thanksgiving Leftover Roundups:
- 12 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes from A Spicy Perspective
- Best Recipes Made from Thanksgiving Leftovers from A Family Feast
- 25 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers from Real Housemoms
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
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 24 bars 1x
- Category: Dessert. Bar Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- 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
- Preheat oven 350°. Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with non-stick foil.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake 40 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack, then chill before cutting. Store in refrigerator.