Put your leftover cranberry sauce to good use with these deliciously festive cranberry cheesecake streusel bars! They’re quick, easy, and gluten-free too!
Gosh I’ve missed you guys! I know it doesn’t seem like it, of course, because I keep choosing the rugrat over you, but trust me when I say I miss the blogging community like a missing limb.
You guys are basically the equivalent of a foot to me.
Er… that sounds a bit odd. I should have gone with something along the line of a squirrel missing his nuts something a bit less weird.
That’s weird too? Well then let’s get down to business!
To say thank you for sticking around, I have quite the treat for you today. Not only are these bars insanely delicious, but they’ll save you time and money. Really!
All you have to do is squirrel away a cup of leftover cranberry sauce from your holiday celebration and you’re good to go. Boring, forgotten leftovers are a thing of the past!
Cranberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars
This deliiiiish cranberry cheesecake bar recipe yields 9 large bars or 12 smaller slices.
Cranberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 oz cold unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup finely chopped/crushed unsalted walnuts
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1-1.5 cups leftover cranberry sauce
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 TBSP milk
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a square 8×8-inch square baking pan. For easy removal, make a parchment paper sling by cutting a sheet to drape over edges of the pan.
- Set out your cream cheese to soften.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour [gluten-free or regular], oats, brown sugar, and salt.
- Next grab a cold stick of butter from the fridge and cut it into the streusel by either chopping into small pieces, grating with a box grater, or using a good old fashioned pastry cutter! This will create the streusel for the base and the topping of the bars.
- The trick to a good streusel is getting your hands dirty and using your fingers to rub the butter into the flour/oat mixture. I keep squeezing and finger-mashing the mixture until it's nice and crumbly and no leftover bits of dry flour remain. It will resemble crumbly slightly wet sand.
- Next stir in your chopped walnuts and grab a measuring cup.
- Measure out 2 cups of streusel and press it firmly into your greased/lined baking pan to make a crust.
- In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese and 1/4 cup granulated sugar until smooth. You can use a stand mixer or a hand-held electric mixer for this.
- Once incorporated, add egg, vanilla, and orange zest and mix to combine.
- Pour over crust and top with cranberry sauce. Some sauces are pourable but if yours is not, add little spoonfuls all over the top of the cheesecake mixture and lightly spread with a baking spatula. Take the remaining streusel and crumble over the top.
- Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes.
- Allow to fully cool. Then transfer to the fridge to set before cutting into 9-12 squares. I like to leave mine in the fridge for a few hours so they're extra chilled!
- For vanilla glaze (optional but delish!) whisk ingredients well and drizzle over bars before serving. Enjoy!
streusel adapted from Rachel Ray Magazine
If by some miracle you have leftovers, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or pop a few in the freezer for a future indulgence.
so… how were they?
These Cranberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars were a huge hit!
I quality-tested three batches (one gluten-free, one regular, and one with double the cheesecake… yeah I said it!) partially because I wanted to make sure my measurements were spot-on and partially because everyone kept eating them all on me!
The crumbly streusel is a delicious substitution for the typical graham cracker crust and the zesty, creamy cheesecake is a perfect match for the sweet-yet-tart cranberry topping.
The extra streusel on top?
Well that just makes me happy. Farewell leftovers; hello deliciousness!
craving more cranberries?
- Cranberry Walnut Holiday Cheese Ball
- Cranberry Kale Quinoa Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta
- Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad
- Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce
If you get a chance to try these Cranberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars, let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!
The top streusel never browned or crisped up, the cheesecake overcooks before the crumble top even remotely cooks. It’s like eating raw flour-ey oatmeal.
So odd! We make this often and I’ve never encountered these results. Were any ingredient swaps made? Have you noticed your oven requires extra bake time when you make recipes? Happy to help troubleshoot.
I wanted to find a good dessert recipie with cranberries,& cheescake for Christmas at my moms. I made these a couple weeks ago to see how they would turn out. These turned out perfect! So delicious! Thank you!
This was deliciously sweet and tangy! I especially liked the extra crunch of the granola ontop of the smooth filling. My tastebuds were dancing away. I love that it’s gluten free as the in-laws will be massively impressed! Smiles all round!
I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the cheesecake bars! Thank you, Louise!
What a delicious treat! True story – my children will not eat cheesecake or cranberry sauce, but they inhaled these bars. The bars have a silky texture but rich taste. Pure awesome!
Yay!!!! I’m so happy they were a hit!
Oh man this looks amazing! I know what I’m doing with my pot full of leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving!
mmmm yes and YES. i love any excuse for streusel! xo jillian
Oh Jenn!! These look incredible! Love the orange zest you popped in there…cranberries and oranges make for one of the BEST flavor combos out there! And really, this is just a damn genius way of using up leftovers!
For the record, I’ll be your nut ANY day! Miss you mama! Give that sweet baby girl of yours a little toe wiggle for me (I’m so not a cheek pincher!)! 😉
These look absolutely INCREDIBLE! I’ve never made a streusel bar, but I’m ready to pop that cranberry (er, cherry?) 😉
I want I want and I want. They looks so tasty. And the second analogy with the squirrel is weirder than the foot haha I would definitely prefer to be a foot 😀
i just swallowed really hard…:P
Confession: I’m not a big cheesecake fan. That being said, these looks like something I’d actually enjoy. Oats, orange zest, butter, walnuts…those are my kind of ingredients.
I think I’ll try to nab some leftover cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.
We totally understand that the babe is your priority. How could you not want to spend all your time with her? She’s gorgeous.
These looks delicious. I’ve never thought of making cheesecake into handy little bars. Nom!
I love the use of the leftover cranberry sauce, here! So smart. And anything with streusel needs to just come over here and let me snack on it. (Weird? No weirder than being your squirrelly nuts.)
I think that’s incredibly cool that you tested out three versions so you would know what to recommend! Although, I can’t help but think that it might have been *partly* because you wanted an excuse to eat these again 😉 Haha. Look great! I’m excited to get baking with cranberries too after I just saw them in the grocery store for the first time last week.
I absolutely love streusel topping AND cheesecake… man but this is just out of this world! Great recipe!
These look amazing!!
Oh darn these would be so dangerous in my house! Already drooling. Thanks for sharing!
I have been looking for a recipe to make with my stash of cranberries in the freezer – this is it!! Thank you!!!
I want one of the gfree. Por Favor.
GET OUT OF HERE! I’m making these tonight 🙂 xoox
I am in love with this cake already! Sadly we don’t really get fresh cranberries here in Germany. Do you think I could make this recipe using cherry sauce or blueberries?
Practically any fruit filling will work in my experience. Just make certain that the fruit filling relatively solid. If there is too much liquid, the excess liquid will interfere with the even cooking of the cookie bars.
You can also substitute jams or preserves. Raspberry preserves with chopped almonds with 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract work very well.
Very true, Alex! I made blueberry ones in the Spring and can’t wait to try it with blackberry and raspberry preserves!
Obviously someone had squirrels on the brain while writing this post 😉 Lol
I need these yesterday. For real. Our Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I’d whip up a batch of fresh cranberry sauce just to be able to make these. You temptress, you…
I think I love you!! Cheesecake is totally my weakness!! That looks amazing!!!
Absolutely! I actually made them a few weeks ago with a homemade blueberry compote — super yummy! I’ll post the compote/filling recipe as soon as I can a bit of free time to blog again! xo