Pecan Cheesecake Bars are really just delightful. They have such wonderful flavor, and they’re easy to make, too!
Easy Pecan Cheesecake Bars
If you’ve spent much time browsing the recipes here at BoB, you’ll know that I have a weakness for certain ingredients. Two of those are cream cheese and pecans, which are both wonderfully represented in these lovely Pecan Cheesecake Bars.
I first made these Pecan Cheesecake Bars way back in the early days of BoB, so they were definitely due for an update. The original recipe is so good that I don’t alter it much. I like to add just a bit of salt to the crust and topping. That is, of course, optional but I really like that little salty bite it adds.
This recipe is a great go-to when you want a dessert that is super easy to make and has wonderful flavor. With a short list of ingredients and very little prep time, you’ll have these beauties baking in short order.
What You’ll Need
Get excited about this wonderfully short list of ingredients! Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the ingredient quantities and directions.
For the crust and topping:
- All-purpose flour – Measure by weight or spoon and sweep. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
- Light brown sugar – Be sure to pack the brown sugar firmly when measuring or measure it by weight.
- Unsalted butter – Soften the butter before mixing. Learn more: How to Soften Butter
- Pecans – You’ll need chopped pecans, but you can also add some larger pieces to the topping.
For the filling:
- Cream cheese – Bring this to room temperature so it mixes easily and smoothly. Full-fat cream cheese works best.
- Milk – Bring the milk to room temperature, too.
- Vanilla extract
Where are the eggs?
Unlike most cheesecake recipes, this one doesn’t require eggs in the filling. Eggs are usually present to help hold the filling together and to give the cheesecake a creamy texture. Because these bars are quite a bit thinner than a traditional cheesecake, they aren’t needed for structure. And they’re plenty smooth and creamy even without the eggs!
How to Make Pecan Cheesecake Bars
Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Set out an 8-inch square baking pan. If you like, line the pan with parchment paper. There’s enough butter in the crust that you shouldn’t need to coat the pan with cooking spray.
Make the crust and topping. Stir together the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. You can use a pastry blender, a fork, or just your fingers to mix. Add the butter, and mix until the mixture forms crumbs. Mix in the pecans.
Form the crust. First, set aside about 3/4 cup of the crust mixture to use for the topping. Then, press the remaining crust mixture into the bottom of the pan.
Bake the crust. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until lightly browned (12 to 15 minutes). Set aside while you make the filling.
Make the filling. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, milk, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed. Continue mixing until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Assemble the bars. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the partially baked crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the filling..
Finish baking. Place the pan back in the oven, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The filling should appear set.
Cool and chill. Remove the pan from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to allow the bars to cool completely. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.
Ideas for Variations
There are plenty of simple variations you can try. Substitute another type of nut for the pecans if you like. Hazelnuts, almonds, macadamias, and more would be great choices. If you’re a cinnamon fan, try adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the crust and topping mixture. Or how about a little orange zest in the filling? So many possibilities!
Tips for Success
- Chop the pecans finely. I recommend chopping the pecans fairly well so that they’ll mix well with the rest of the crust and topping mixture. If you like, coarsely chop a few more pecans to sprinkle over the top of the bars. It’s not a necessary addition, but it’s a nice aesthetic touch.
- Use full-fat cream cheese. Be sure to grab the kind in the brick, not the whipped kind in a tub.
- Use a light-colored metal pan. Your cheesecake bars will bake more thoroughly and evenly.
How to Store
Once cooled, cover tightly with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Store these cheesecake bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can These Cheesecake Bars Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze these cheesecake bars. I recommend wrapping the slices individually in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and then storing in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Properly stored, they should keep in the freezer up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.