Creamy, portable Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars are bursting with flavor from a fruity jam swirl and gluten free pecan crust. Guilt free dessert, lower in fat with no refined sugar!
Who said you can’t have cheesecake when you’re trying to eat healthier? Make Instant pot cheesecake bites, healthy no bake strawberry cheesecake, and similar healthy key lime pie bars that are made with wholesome better for you ingredients!
Table of contents
- Why Make Baked Cheesecake Bars?
- Ingredients for Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
- How to Make Cheesecake Bars
- Add-In’s and Variations
- Tips for Best Results
- How to Serve Low Calorie Cheesecake Bars?
- How to Store Healthy Fruit Cheesecake Bars?
- More Healthy Dessert Recipes
I’ve made these baked cheesecake bars 3 times already- they are that good and foolproof! Creamy, rich, and guilt free with no refined sugars at all.
A warm and fragrant pecan crust complements perfectly the smooth and creamy Greek yogurt cheesecake filling, and a strawberry jam swirl on top adds both fruity flavor and gives these an indulgent look!
Why Make Baked Cheesecake Bars?
- Greek yogurt: Rich, creamy and higher in protein.
- Low sugar: And no refined sugars either!
- Gluten free crust: Wholesome pecans make up the bulk of the crust – no processed graham crackers.
- Easy: No need to even wait for your cream cheese to soften!
- Versatile: Swap nuts for what you have on hand, make sugar free and use your favorite jam or custard for the swirl.
These healthy strawberry cheesecake bars really are the best in the world! But don’t just take my word for it, proof is with the taste testers- my kids, former-cheesecake-hater Alex and all 1 cup-sugar-2 packages-cream-cheese friends absolutely loved these!
Ingredients for Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
- Pecans: Pecans are known for their buttery taste (yum, pecan pie bars!), they are perfect for a crust!
- Cinnamon: Adds a warm taste to the cheesecake crust.
- Butter or coconut oil: Either works, you will need this ingredient melted.
- Liquid sweetener: To bind crust and add a sweet taste, necessary for a healthy dessert.
For Low Calorie Cheesecake Bars Filling
- Cream cheese: Gives cheesecake bars a rich taste and lends to the creamy texture.
- Greek yogurt: By replacing 1/2 of the cream cheese with nutrient dense Greek yogurt, it keeps these bars a low calorie cheesecake while still being creamy.
Greek yogurt is one of the ingredients I ALWAYS have stored in my fridge as a healthier alternative, for almond flour carrot cake, healthier chocolate cake, and healthier cupcakes. I even use it as a healthy alternative in savory recipes too; like this cauliflower potato salad.
- Maple syrup/honey: Unrefined sugars add a sweet taste to the cheesecake filling. You can use any liquid sweetener or even any sugar free sweetener.
- Eggs: Helps cheesecake bind and adds to the fluffy texture.
- Pure vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract for best taste.
- Strawberry jam: I used organic strawberry jam from Costco. It was thick with chunks of strawberry, which I thinned with water for easier swirling. Have fresh strawberries? Make these healthy strawberry muffins, instead!
How to Make Cheesecake Bars
- Prep: Preheat oven for the baked cheesecake bars and line a 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
- Prepare the crust: In a food processor, add pecans and process until they are finely ground. Add remaining crust ingredients of melted butter, cinnamon and maple syrup. Process again until combined. Spread in pan.
Be careful not to over process your pecans or you will have pecan ‘nut’ butter!
- Bake crust: For 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Make Greek yogurt cheesecake filling: Reduce oven to 325 F degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat cream cheese, yogurt and maple syrup for 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
- Add eggs and vanilla: Beat in the eggs one at a time and then pure vanilla extract.
- Pour: Add filling to pan with crust.
- Dot filling with jam: Drop small drops of jam into cheesecake filling.
- Swirl: Using a toothpick swirl jam into cheesecake.
- Bake: Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cheesecake center jiggles a bit when you tap the pan.
Alternately, you can check your baked cheesecake bars with an internal thermometer! The center of the cheesecake should be 150F degrees.
- Cool: Completely on wire rack, then transfer to the refrigerator to finishing setting, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Enjoy: Slice into nine square bars and serve.
Add-In’s and Variations
- New York style cheesecake bars: Leave bars plain and then top with berry compote like I do in Greek Yogurt cheesecake.
- Sugar free: Replace maple syrup with your favorite dry or liquid sugar free sweetener, resulting in an even more reduced low calorie cheesecake.
- Nuts: Swap for almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc.
- Jam: Use your favorite fruit jam for the swirl raspberry, blackberry, peach, apricot, blueberry – there are so many options, and these bars are so versatile just like almond flour thumbprint cookies.
- Lemon blueberry: Add lemon zest to the filling and use blueberry jam for the swirl.
- Chocolate chip: Add mini chocolate chips to the cheesecake filling, I use mini chocolate chips because you get a bit of each chocolate in each bite, same goes for healthy cookie dough.
- Chocolate cheesecake bars: Add in a small amount of cocoa or cacao powder to the creamy filling.
- Pumpkin: Add in pure pumpkin puree with the filling plus pumpkin pie spice.
Tips for Best Results
- Smooth jam: This works best for creating the ‘toothpick’ art swirl. Pulse chunky jam in blender or food processor with 2-3 Tblsp of water to ‘thin’ it for proper consistency.
- Butter or coconut oil, melted: Proper measuring is key in baking. Note that this recipe says butter or coconut oil, melted. This indicates to measure out your ‘fat’ then melt it.
- Don’t skip lining the pan: Otherwise you risk the crust staying in the pan when you slice and serve it.
- Don’t over bake, yet don’t under bake: Wearing oven mitts, jiggle your cheesecake bars pan, if the center jiggles slightly, your cheesecake is done. If the center sloshes, liquid breaks through or if more than a 2inch center circle jiggles, your cheesecake is not done. Alternately, if your cheesecake is starting to crack, it has been baking too long, time to remove it from oven!
You can, but you will get low fat tasting cheesecake that will not be as creamy.
You can try, they are similar, but cream cheese is a bit firmer, so your healthy cheesecake bars may not be as firm.
This could be a few reasons, did you alter anything in the cheesecake- i.e. add more liquid sweetener? Did you let it set for 4 hours or overnight? Was the cheesecake done when you removed it from the oven? For a firm baked cheesecake, remove it from the oven when the center is jiggly but not liquid, then cool completely, cover and refrigerate overnight for best results.
I do not prefer this, as it changes the taste of the baked cheesecake bars. Although, if you are worried about the cheesecake cracking you may want to add some.
There is a difference in ingredients as well as cheesecake results. A no bake cheesecake will be light and airy, as seen in my no bake strawberry cheesecake. Baked cheesecake is dense and velvety, like these baked cheesecake bars and my Greek yogurt cheesecake.
This low calorie cheesecake recipe has not been tested using that type of a pan, but I suppose you could use an 8 inch spring form pan and it would work fine or just make my Greek yogurt cheesecake in a springform pan.
I don’t recommend this as regular yogurt is a thinner consistency. You may be able to drain yogurt to get it thicker, or just buy Greek yogurt and save some time.
How to Serve Low Calorie Cheesecake Bars?
- Dessert charcuterie: Make a dessert platter with almond flour brownies, almond flour cinnamon bread, healthy lemon bar recipe and healthy chocolate chip cookies. Add some fresh fruit and melted chocolate for dipping!
- After dinner dessert: With a cup of hot tea, coffee or cocoa.
- Whipped cream: Or small scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.
- Strawberry cheesecake yogurt: Crumble up some leftover cheese and layer in a cup with strawberry yogurt!
How to Store Healthy Fruit Cheesecake Bars?
Store: Refrigerate leftovers covered with plastic or foil for up to 3 days.
Freeze: Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.
More Healthy Dessert Recipes
Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
For the Pecan Crust:
How to make cheesecake crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 8 x 8 square baking dish with unbleached parchment paper, leaving some for overhang. Set aside.
- In a food processor, add pecans and process until finely ground. Add cinnamon, melted butter, maple syrup and process until just combined.
- Transfer to previously prepared pan, level with spatula and press with hands into uniform packed layer. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven to cool off to room temperature.
How to make strawberry cheesecake filling:
- Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, add cream cheese, yogurt and maple syrup. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, pausing and scraping the walls.
- Add one egg at a time and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and beat just until combined.
- Pour filling over baked crust. Drop small drops of jam into cheesecake filling.
- Swirl with a toothpick to create design. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake jiggles a bit when you tap the pan.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool off completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow it to fully set before serving.
- Slice into 9 bars and serve.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers covered with plastic or foil for up to 3 days.
- Freeze: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.
- Other nuts: Instead of pecans, you can use almonds or walnuts.
- Make sure the jam is smooth: If your jam has chunks of strawberries or is too thick, add 2-3 tbsp of water to it and puree in a small food processor or blender. This way, it will swirl easier and won’t sink in the cream cheese filling.
- Dry sweetener or sugar free cheesecake? You can use any other sugar of choice, including sugar free sweetener like erythritol.
- Low fat dairy: It will work but be prepared for less creamy results.
- Don’t over bake or under bake cheesecake: Wearing oven mitts, jiggle your cheesecake bars pan, if the center jiggles slightly, your cheesecake is done. If the center sloshes, liquid breaks through or if more than a 2 inch center circle jiggles, your cheesecake is not done. Alternately, if your cheesecake is starting to crack, it has been baking too long, time to remove it from oven!