These gingerbread cheesecake bars feature perfectly rich and creamy cheesecake atop a rich spiced gingerbread cookie bars. Top them with adorable little gingerbread men for decoration! They're quicker and easier to bake then a full cheesecake and easy to cut and share with family and friends this time of year.
Gingerbread Cookie Cheesecake Bars
The holiday season calls for some sort of gingerbread flavor. I love gingerbread cookies, but sometimes it's fun to switch things up and try a new version of your favorite treat. These gingerbread cookie cheesecake bars take two classic desserts, gingerbread cookies and cheesecake, and bring them together into one beautifully creamy and silky cheesecake bar.
I almost went with the gingersnap crust I used on my pumpkin pie bars (it uses gingersnap cookies), but a rich and chewy gingerbread cookie felt like the move here. The warm spices and cookie base yield deliciously chewy gingerbread bars.
And the cheesecake layer? It's made with 4 blocks of cream cheese and 6 whole eggs. Thee eggs act as a binder, helping to hold the ingredients together, giving the cake structure. At the same time, the eggs add richness and flavor to these cheesecake bars. The fats in the egg yolks contribute to the creamy and velvety texture.
You're looking at the most perfect holiday dessert! Follow the step-by-step instructions and recipe tips below for perfect cheesecake bars.
How to Make Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars
Here are the basic steps, with images, for these gingerbread cheesecake bars with cookie crust. Skip down to the recipe card below for the full printable recipe.
Make the mini gingerbread men: Hop over to my gingerbread snowflake cookie for the perfect gingerbread cutout recipe. I used a mini gingerbread man cookie cutter for these cute guys.
Gingerbread Cookie Base
Cream the butter and sugar: beat the butter and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes to introduce air into the batter.
Add the wet ingredients: Add the eggs, vanilla, and molasses and beat for another 1-2 minutes. The mixture might look a little lumpy, this is ok.
Mix the dry ingredients: whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a separate bowl.
Finish the dough: add the dry ingredient with the mixture on low until combined. Turn the cookie dough out into the pan and use a silicone spatula to press it into all four corners of the pan.
Beat the sugar and cream cheese: Add the granulated sugar and cream cheese to the same bowl and beat until it's creamy and minimal lumps remain. Add the sour cream and mix until combined.
Add the eggs: Slowly add each egg one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of bowl as needed. Finish with the vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Do not overmix!
Cover the cookie crust: pour the cheesecake filling over the cookie dough. Lift and tap the entire pan on the counter 8-10 times to remove as many air bubbles as possible.
Bake: Transfer the pan to the oven and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. If you made the gingerbread man cookies, remove the bars 5 minutes before it's done and arrange them on top. Continue baking for 5 minutes.
Cool the gingerbread cheesecake bars: Allow the bars to cool almost completely on a wire rack (this takes about 2 hours). Cover them and chill the bars in the fridge for at least 6 hours before cutting. If it's cold where you live, you can place them in the garage if you don't have room in your fridge!
Different Size Pans
This recipe yields a 9x13-inch pan, serving about 18 people. If that's too big, you can easily halve the recipe and use an 8-inch square baking pan. For a regular cheesecake pan, halve the crust recipe and follow the instructions on this classic cheesecake to use a water bath.
Expert Recipe Tips
- Use large eggs in holiday baking! Using a different size egg, without making an adjustment, will affect texture, flavor and consistency. If you don’t have large eggs, use this conversion chart to see how to substitute different sizes.
- Room temperature cream cheese and sour cream: using room temperature cream cheese ensures a silky smooth filling with no lumps. It also mixes with the other ingredients better.
- Use room temperature eggs. Set eggs out about 30 minutes ahead to safely bring them to room temperature for easy mixing into batter or dough.
- Tap the pan against the counter before baking. You will visibly see air bubble rise and pop on the surface of the cheesecake. These gets them out so they don't rise and leave air bubbles in the top of your cheesecake bars.
- Don't overbake them! Use the jiggle/wobble test to see if the 2-3 inches of the outside are set while the center still jiggles slightly. Here are more details on how to tell if cheesecake is done using a thermometer.
This post is sponsored by the Ohio Poultry Association. Visit www.OhioEggs.com and follow the Ohio Poultry Association on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for more egg recipes and to learn about egg nutrition and egg safety tips.
More If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars
Gingerbread Man Cookies (Optional)
Gingerbread Cookie Base
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 220g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup (170g) unsulphured molasses
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups (281g) all purpose flour gluten-free if needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 (8-ounce) packages full fat block cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup (114g) sour cream room temperature
- 6 large eggs room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
Mini Gingerbread Man Cookies
- Optional: Follow the instructions for these gingerbread snowflake cookies. They are a fun, decorative addition to the cookies! But you could leave them plain or decorate them with gingerbread man sprinkles.
Gingerbread Cookie Base
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a metal 9x13-inch baking pan (Note 1) with nonstick spray and place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom, leaving an overhang of excess paper on the sides for easy removal.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, and brown sugar together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, and molasses and beat again for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined. Turn the gingerbread dough out into the prepared baking pan and use a rubber spatula to press and spread it evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Do your
- Clean the bowl of the mixer (or the main bowl you’re using to mix). Cream the sugar and softened cream cheese together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Beat in the sour cream until combined.
- With the mixer running on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl then add the vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Beat until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
- Pour the cheesecake filling over the gingerbread cookie base. Lift and tap the entire pan against the counter firmly 8-10 times to release any air bubbles.
- Bake in the preheat oven for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are puffed slightly and the center jiggles slightly. The outer 2-3 inches should be firm while the center should have a slight amount of wobble to it. If you made the mini gingerbread man cookies, remove the cheesecake from the oven with 5 minutes left and arrange them on top of the cheesecake. Place it back in the oven and continue baking. Bake for the full 40 minutes non-stop if you are not using the gingerbread men. Transfer the cheesecake bars to a wire rack to cool completely when they're done.
- Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days before cutting. Store baked gingerbread cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.