Strawberry Lime Cheesecake Bars are ultra-creamy and a perfect party dessert. Tangy lime cheesecake is topped with summer sweet strawberries on a brown sugar pretzel crust.
Beautifully ripe and juicy, strawberries are one of the treats of summer and the ideal dessert ingredient.
Always a popular choice, cheesecake gets dressed down a bit into a bar. Flavored with lime juice and zest, Strawberry Lime Cheesecake Bars are a great make-ahead recipe for your next party or barbeque.
One of my favorite desserts, cheesecake is always a go-to for me when I need to make dessert for a potluck or a friend's party. Frankly, I don't need a reason to make cheesecake. I always have cream cheese on hand, just in case.
I like to play around with flavors and toppings. The inspiration for Strawberry Lime Cheesecake Bars is the retro recipe, strawberry pretzel salad. Futzing around with the flavors, I experimented with lime juice to complement the strawberries. This tangy and bright dessert is now a favorite!
- graham cracker crumbs
- brown sugar
- unsalted butter
- cream cheese
- heavy cream
- vanilla bean
- powdered gelatin
The first step is to prepare the crust. Buttery and sweet, the crust also has a slight salty taste from the addition of the pretzels.
You can use a food processor or crush the pretzels by hand. Put them in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to break the pretzels into pieces. You want some variation in size but the pieces should be smaller.
- Combine the pretzels with the graham cracker crumbs and the brown sugar. Add melted unsalted butter to crust mix, stirring until all the ingredients are coated. The crust should feel sandy. Press it into a 9x13 pan, making sure the crust is flat and even.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the sugar has melted and the crust is a lightly hardened layer. Set aside to cool while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
Lime cheesecake bars
- Add the softened cream cheesecake to a mixing bowl. On slow speed and using a paddle attachment, add the sugar to the bowl. The cream cheese will start to become silky smooth.
- The cornstarch is added next. It helps to stop the mixer before adding the cornstarch so it doesn't blow out of the bowl into your face. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle before starting the mixer.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, completely mixing before adding another. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Pour the heavy cream into the cream cheese and only mix until it is incorporated.
- Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. If you don't have a vanilla bean, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add to the bowl along with the lime zest and mix for 1 minute to incorporate.
- Add the lime juice and mix just until it is blended with the batter. Scrap the sides of the bowl again, making sure there are no lumps and all ingredients are well incorporated.
Bake the cheesecake
- Pour the finished batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the cheesecake in a water bath known as a bain-marie. Have a kettle of steaming hot water ready. Place the sheet pan on a larger sheet pan or in a shallow roasting pan on the middle rack in the oven. Pour the hot water into the sheet pan or roasting pan, surrounding the smaller pan. If you use a roasting pan, you should add 1-2 inches of water.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature.
- Once cool put the cheesecake in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Cut 1 ½ cups of strawberries into ¼-inch slices.
- Puree 1 ½ cups (8 oz) of strawberries.
- Add 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin to ¼ cup of water. It will absorb the water.
- Heat the puree along with ½ cup of sugar just until warm.
- Add the gelatin to the warm puree and mix until melted.
- Fan the sliced strawberries in rows across the top of the cooled cheesecake.
- Spoon the strawberry glaze on top of the strawberries, letting it fill the crevices.
- Chill for at least 3 hours.
Secrets to making a good cheesecake
Use room temperature cream cheese.
It helps to take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator an hour before mixing. This helps to eliminate lumps.
Air is the enemy
Mix the cream cheese batter at a slow temperature and only until all ingredients are incorporated. Too much air mixed into the batter - using a high speed and for too long - causes the batter to expand or souffle when baking. Cracks will appear on the surface of your cheesecake.
Use a bain-marie
A water bath also known as a bain-marie helps to regulate the oven temperature. It creates a steamy environment thereby baking a creamy cheesecake. It helps to evenly distribute the heat of the oven and gently cook desserts with a custard-like texture.
Great party dessert
This recipe can be prepared in advance, making it a great party dessert.
Easy to freeze, it's best to do so before adding the sliced strawberries and glaze. Defrost the cheesecake first, then add the topping. Refrigerate for 3 hours, until the glaze has set.
When cutting the cheesecake into bars, it helps to wipe the knife blade clean after each cut. Also, running hot water over the knife before slicing helps to cut through a cold cheesecake to make a tidier bar.
Not that cheesecake needs to be sold to anyone, but Strawberry Lime Cheesecake Bars have something for every taste. Combine sweet, juicy summer strawberries with tangy and bright cheesecake on top of a buttery, salty, and sweet pretzel crust.
Plus they are so pretty. You don't need a party to make these. Treat yourself!
Other strawberry desserts -
Strawberry Lime Cheesecake Bars
- 1 9x13 sheet pan
- 1 mixer and mixing bowl
- 2 medium-sized bowl
- 1 rubber spatula
- 1 blender
- 1 small saucepan
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (3 ounces/84 grams)
- 3 cups pretzel sticks (4.5 ounces/130 grams)
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed (4 ounces/113 grams)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (4 ounces/112 grams)
- 24 ounces cream cheese (3-8 ounce bars/678 grams)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (8.7 ounces/246 grams)
- 3½ tablespoons cornstarch (1 ounce/28 grams)
- 2 eggs
- ⅜ cup heavy cream (j3.25 ounces/just shy of 100 ml)
- ¼ cup lime juice (2 ounces/58 grams/juice of 2 limes)
- 2 teaspoons lime zest ( zest of 1 lime)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 pound strawberries (454 grams)
- 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin (.2 ounces/7 grams)
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar (3.2 ounces/90 grams)
- Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour prior to making the recipe. A smooth batter is easier to mix if the cream cheese is at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Crush pretzels into small pieces. You can use a food processor or break the pretzels by hand. Place them in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. There should be some variation in size but the pieces should be on the smaller size.
- Combine pretzels with the graham cracker crumbs and the brown sugar. Make sure the brown sugar is evenly distributed.
- Melt the butter and pour it into the pretzel mix. With a spatula combine the crust ingredients until everything is coated with the melted butter.
- Pour the crust mixture into the 9x13 sheet pan. Press the crust into an even layer using a spatula, a measuring cup, or a potato masher.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let the crust cool while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
- Add 24 ounces (3-8 ounce boxes) of cream cheese to a mixing bowl. Using a paddle attachment and at slow speed, mix the cream cheese with 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. The cream cheese should start to get creamier. Make sure to occasionally stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula so that everything is fully mixed.
- After mixing the cream cheese for about 5 minutes, add 3½ tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl. The mixture should be very creamy without lumps.
- Add the eggs one at a time, again scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Only mix until each egg is incorporated.
- Pour the cream into the bowl. Only mix until the cream is incorporated, about 1 minute, then stop.
- Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds and the lime zest to the cream cheese mixture.
- Add 2 teaspoons of lime juice to the bowl. Mix just until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared 9x13 sheet pan. Smooth the batter with an offset spatula so that the cheesecake is an even thickness.
- Have a kettle of steaming hot water ready. Place the sheet pan on a larger sheet pan or in a shallow roasting pan on the middle rack in the oven. Pour the hot water into the sheet pan or roasting pan, surrounding the smaller pan. If you use a roasting pan, you should add 1-2 inches of water.
- Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes at 325 °. At the halfway point rotate the pan in the oven so that the cheesecake bakes evenly.
- After 30 minutes remove the cheesecake from the oven. The center of the cake may appear to giggle and not be set. It will continue to set as the cheesecake cools off.
- When the cheesecake is at room temperature, place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- While the cheesecake is cooling, puree 8 ounces (1 ½ cups) of strawberries in a blender. If you are using a high-speed blender, the strawberry seeds will be pulverized. If you are using a regular blender and strawberry seeds bother you, strain the puree to remove them. You should have 1 cup of puree.
- Hull the remaining strawberries. Cut them into ¼-inch slices. Set aside until the cheesecake has chilled in the refrigerator.
- To prepare the glaze, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin over ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of cold water. Set it aside as the gelatin blooms, which means it absorbs the water and expands.
- Combine the strawberry puree and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Heat the puree until warm. You do not want to heat the liquid until it is very hot. It just needs to be warm enough to dissolve the bloomed gelatin.
- Add the gelatin to the warm strawberry puree. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Set aside to cool off, around 20 minutes.
Arrange the cheesecake bars
- Start to line up the sliced strawberries across the surface of the baked cheesecake. I fan the slices in rows.
- When the strawberry slices have been arranged, spoon the cooled glaze onto the cake. Let the glaze trickle into the spaces between the strawberries. Once the cake has been covered with the glaze, refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, check to make sure the glaze has set. If so, cut the cheesecake bars into 3x3 squares. Sprinkle some lime zest on top if you prefer. You can also add a dollop of whipped cream.