Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars are perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert buffet. Or wait until after the holiday, and use leftover cranberry sauce to make them for your holiday cookie exchange in December.
Besides recipes for Thanksgiving Day, you’ll want recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers! At Chez Berg, turkey tetrazzini and turkey 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 as 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.
More Thanksgiving Recipes:
- 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
- Best Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
- 25+ Thanksgiving Recipes
- Classic Pumpkin Pie
- Cranberry Salad
- Cranberry Brie en Croute
- Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
- The Best Holiday Pies
- More Holiday Recipes
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 30mg Sodium: 105mg Carbohydrates: 18g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g