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This post was created as in partnership with Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Creamy squares of cheesecake covered in salty sweet caramel are the ultimate dessert for sharing in these Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars! These are great for making ahead and less finicky than traditional cheesecake!
Caramel, especially salted caramel, is one of our favorite dessert flavors! Be sure to check out some of our other caramel recipes like Carmelitas, Chocolate Salted Caramel Whoopie Pies, and Homemade Caramel Apples!
I love cheesecake, but I don’t always love dealing with things like springform pans and water baths. Bars just seem like a more friendly, approachable, and relaxed version of one of our favorite treats!
Put down the knife and fork and enjoy these little handheld squares of cheesecake and caramel that are great for potlucks, parties, and dessert trays!
Why this recipe works
- No need to worry about a water bath when you are cutting the bars into squares anyway. Even a crack down the middle isn’t a huge deal since the bars will be covered with caramel anyway!
- You can use storebought caramel sauce or make your own homemade salted caramel sauce from scratch!
- The recipe is simple and sweet with just a handful of ingredients that combine to make something really special.
- Caramel sauce: You can pick up a jar of your favorite caramel sauce from the store for an easy shortcut, or make a batch of salted caramel sauce and have extra for dipping apples or drizzling over waffles or pancakes!
- Cream cheese: I recommend using full-fat cream cheese for this recipe for best results. Be sure to let it sit out on the counter for at least an hour to come to room temperature so it will combine well with the other ingredients.
- Graham crackers: I love a classic graham cracker crust! But you can switch things up with Oreos, biscoff cookies, or finely crushed iced oatmeal cookies instead!
How to Make this Recipe
- Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add a little sugar and melted butter, then pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a parchment paper sling, then press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to create the base for the cheesecake bars. Bake for 10 minutes to set the crust.
- Make the cheesecake filling by combining the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream in a large bowl and beating well with a hand mixer until creamy and smooth.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla, mixing on medium-low speed just until combined. You don’t want to overmix your cheesecake filling after adding the eggs.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan over the partially baked crust. Bake for 60 minutes until set. Open the oven door a crack and let the cheesecake bars cool slowly for 30 minutes before removing from the oven and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once completely cool, pour the caramel sauce over the cheesecake, tilting the pan so the caramel covers everything evenly. Transfer to the fridge and chill for 4 hours until completely set.
- Once cold, remove the bars from the pan using the parchment paper sling and sprinkle with flaky salt. Use a clean, hot knife to slice into squares. For best results, wipe the knife clean between slices and separate the bars as they are sliced so the caramel doesn’t melt back together.
Find the FULL RECIPE and instructions on Imperial Sugar’s website.
Yes! I have found gluten-free graham crackers that would work really well to make a graham cracker crust. Everything else about the recipe is already gluten-free!
When salt is a primary flavor factor in a dessert like this one, I recommend using fleur de sel or a coarse kosher salt. You want something flaky or with larger granules that melt on the tongue with a flavor that compliments the dessert rather than overpowers it.
- Storage: These bars will do well in the fridge for 4-5 days. You may want to reserve some extra caramel sauce for adding on top if it slides off after cutting the bars.
- Freezing: Both the cheesecake portion and the caramel freeze well for up to 3 months. Just wrap the cheesecake bars in plastic wrap before freezing to protect them. Then thaw in the fridge or on the counter for a couple of hours before serving.
- Don’t cut into the bars too early. Cheesecake needs time to cool completely and then chill in the fridge in order to set up.
- Try a caramel variation like an apple cider caramel or by adding pumpkin spice to your caramel for a flavor twist!
Be sure to stop by Imperial Sugar’s site for the FULL RECIPE! I have partnered with them now for a few years and love their products for my baking needs!
More Cheesecake Recipes
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
- Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
- No-Bake Cheesecake (+ 8 Simple Homemade Toppings!)
- Black Forest Cheesecake