Swirls of colors make these Red White and Blue Cheesecake Bars a fun dessert to share at holiday BBQ's. This super simple red, white, and blue dessert is sure to brighten your Memorial Day and 4th of July picnics. So, let's get this party started.
Add a batch of these 4th of July Cookies and your picnics will be perfect.
One of our favorite desserts is this Rainbow Cheesecake. I love that it is so easy to make and to customize for any party. You can change the swirls of color match any party theme.
All the stores have red, white, and blue decorations out right now for Memorial Day and 4th of July, so I picked a few things up for our summer picnics. One of my favorite things to do for holidays is to make a dessert that is fun and colorful, so I grabbed some star sprinkles too.
Cheesecake bars are a great way to add some color and fun to any party. I was looking through the 4th of July treats I have made over the years, and there was nothing red, white, and blue in the cheesecake section, so I had to make a red white and blue dessert right away.
What You'll Need
The swirls in this 4th of July cheesecake are easy to do, and they make this red white and blue dessert the perfect holiday treat for picnics or parties.
- Food Processor - to crush the cookies
- 9x13 pan - line with foil for easy removal
Oreo Cookie Crust:
- Oreo cookies - leave the filling in the cookies
- Butter - unsalted and melted
- Cream Cheese - set out ahead of time to soften
- Sugar - granulated sugar sweetens and smooths the filling
- Vanilla Extract - adds flavor
- Sour Cream - gives the bars a slight tang
- Flour - adds a little structure so the cheesecake bars do not crack
- Eggs - gives the cheesecake a smooth and rich texture
- Gel Food Coloring - red and blue for patriotic desserts
How to make Red White and Blue Cheesecake Bars:
The longest part of making cheesecake bars is the wait time after. Cheesecake has to chill for 4-6 hours, so that it has time to set up before you cut into it.
I suggest making this patriotic cheesecake the night before, so it can chill overnight.
- Set the cream cheese out at least 30 minutes ahead of time. It's much easier to beat it into the sugar if it is softened first.
- Crush the cookies and mix with melted butter. Press the mixture evenly into a pan.
- Bake and cool the crust.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add the flour, vanilla, and sour cream and beat again.
- Add the eggs and mix until just mixed in. Do not over beat once the eggs are added.
- Divide the cheesecake batter evenly into three bowls. Tint two of the bowls red and blue. Gel food colors will give you more vibrant colors.
- Drop the batter by spoonfuls over the top of the cooled cookie crust in a grid pattern
- Use a butter knife and gently drag it through the colors. Go up and down and then back and forth. Make sure you do not pull the knife through the crust!
- Bake over a steam bath.
- Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I customize the colors of the cheesecake bars?
You sure can. Choose any colors that you like and tint the cheesecake batter with those choices.
How do you prevent cheesecake from cracking?
- Set out your ingredients ahead of time, so they come to room temperature.
- Do not over beat the cheesecake batter. Beating too much and too long will add air bubbles to the batter which will result in cracks in the cheesecake as it bakes.
- Bake cheesecake with a steam bath. My favorite way to bake cheesecake is with a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven. The pan of cheesecake goes on the oven rack right above it.
- Do not over bake the cheesecake. The center of the cheesecake should still be a little jiggly like Jello when you pull it out. It will set up as it cools. If the whole dessert moves, go ahead and continue to bake it a little bit longer.
- Loosen the cheesecake from the edges of the pan about 5 minutes after you pull it out of the oven. As cheesecake cools, it will shrink and pull on the sides of the pan. If it is still attached, it will cause cracks in the center.
What should I do if my cheesecake cracks?
Cover it with a fun topping like pie filling, chocolate ganache, or this Whipped Cream recipe, and no one will ever know.
How do you cut cheesecake bars cleanly?
The best way to cut slices of cheesecake cleanly is to use a hot knife for each cut. Dip the knife in hot water and wipe with a clean towel before making each cut.
Can you freeze cheesecake?
You certainly can. Cheesecake will keep for1-2 months in the freezer. Cheesecake can be frozen whole or cut up into slices. If you are making it ahead of time for a party, wrap and freeze it whole. If you have leftovers, freeze individual squares for future snacking enjoyment. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
How to Freeze Cheesecake
- After baking, let the cheesecake cool for 1-2 hours on the counter, then refrigerate until completely chilled.
- If you are freezing the cheesecake whole, place it on a board or pan and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil. If you are freezing individual slices or squares, wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and then again in foil.
- Place in the freezer for 1-2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or at least a few hours before serving. Once thawed, add Homemade Whipped Cream and sprinkle decorations.
Other Red White and Blue Desserts:
- Firecracker Cupcakes
- 4th of July Donuts
- 4th of July Rice Krispie Treats
- White Chocolate Parfait recipe
- Red White and Blue Swirl Bundt Cake
- 4th of July Marshmallow Pops
- Fruit Parfait
- Homemade Fruit Dip
- Cherry Filled Cupcakes
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
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*The post for Red White and Blue Cheesecake Bars was first published May 25, 2017. The post was updated and republished May 26, 2021
Can you make this gluten free?
Yes, you can use gluten free cookies for the crust and leave the flour out. The flour is in it to give the batter some support, so it doesn't crack as it bakes, but it's ok to leave it out. Or use a gluten free flour in its place. I hope that helps and you enjoy the cheesecake bars.
My husband’s step-mom made this after seeing it on my FB page and it was amazing!! I’m lucky enough to have stole a piece ?
I want to make this but I want a graham cracker crust instead of chocolate cookie. Any advice on how to make the crust? I am very excited to try this for our 4th of July party.
Yes, you can definitely do a graham cracker crust. Here is a link to a cake that I did with a graham cracker crust. Use that in place of the chocolate cookie crust. I hope you enjoy the cheesecake bars. https://insidebrucrewlife.com/chocolate-smores-pudding-cake/
I made this and got a pink and green swirled cheesecake. I used a whole bottle each of gel food coloring. What did I do wrong????
What kind of food coloring did you use? I always use the Wilton gel colors because they are more concentrated and give a better color. Plus, you don't have to use as much to get a good color. I'm not quite sure how you would have gotten a green swirl though if you used blue food coloring?
All purpose flour or self-rising flour?
All my recipes are all purpose flour unless otherwise marked. I hope you enjoy the cheesecake bars!
Love love this idea. But I'm curious could I add strawberries and blueberries to the batter? Would it change the cooking time or consistency?
Do you mean you want to add fresh strawberries and blueberries to the batter instead of the food coloring? It shouldn't really add too much extra time to the baking. Here is another version of these cheesecake bars that I did with pie filling and the baking time was about the same. https://insidebrucrewlife.com/blueberry-key-lime-cheesecake-bars/
Yeah thank you very much. Making it tonight can't wait!
Do you think I can make these in a mini silicone star pan for the 4th?
Thank you in advance
You definitely could do that. The only thing that would change would be the baking time. I'm not quite sure how long to tell you because I haven't made this recipe in a different pan, but when I do cupcake cheesecakes I usually bake them anywhere from 18-22 minutes depending on what I'm making.
Thank you very much for this recipe! I just made one in a springform pan for the Fourth of July and am so pleased with how it turned out! The Oreo cookie crust is delicious.
Just made this tonight and will be taking it to a picnic tomorrow. It looks beautiful! Question: do I cover it with plastic wrap when I put it in the fridge to chill?
I usually cover cheesecake lightly with tin foil or plastic wrap when I refrigerate it. I hope you enjoy the cheesecake bars!!!
Do you have to use gel food coloring?
You can use any food coloring. I just prefer the gel colors because they don't add as much liquid to your batter. Either way works though! I hope you enjoy the cheesecake.
These cheesecake bars are perfect for the upcoming 4th of July celebration. I was wondering what the purpose if for lining the cake pan with aluminum foil?
It's not necessary, but I like to use it because you can get the bars out of the pan much easier. Then it is easier to cut the bars into nice neat squares!
Would you be able to use box cheesecake instead of making it from scratch?
I'm not sure I understand what you are wanting to use. Do you mean a box of NO BAKE cheesecake? If so, yes, you could make that and tint the batter different colors and swirl them together.
Oh my goodness, these look delicious! I love baking with my children for the 4th of July it is one of our favorite traditions. That and creating my Grandma's favorite cherry pie and patriotic sugar cookies. I love how this turned out. Great post! 🙂
Do you think that it would be possible to make these ahead of time and freeze them for 2-3 days?
You can definitely make these ahead of time. They will keep for a few days in the refrigerator if you do them ahead of time. Or you can freeze them. Just make sure to wrap them tightly and freeze completely. Then to thaw them, unwrap them and place in the refrigerator overnight. I hope you enjoy the bars!
Can you make it in a cheesecake springform pan? How would it change cooking time?
You could bake it in a springform pan, but it is going to increase your bake time quite a bit. My guess is probably about 45 minutes to an hour, but I can't say for sure because I didn't bake it that way.
Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats
My husband's step-mom made this after seeing it on my FB page and it was amazing!! I'm lucky enough to have stole a piece 🙂
You think I can use Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream? I've already started making it and realized I forgot sour cream at the store but I do have the yogurt! ????
I'm sure you already made this, but yes, you can sub Greek yogurt for the sour cream instead. I hope you enjoyed the cheesecake bars!
Congratulations!!!!! These look like the absolute perfect celebratory treat.
Aww congrats!!! Such an exciting time for you guys 🙂 And I can't think of a better way for your family to celebrate, than with cheesecake, 🙂
This looks gorgeous, so delicious and very creative!
Hey, your idea sounds interesting because you can make it anytime and even for special events (USA Independence Day for example). Colorful desserts always make everyone feel joyful and attractive!