Butterscotch Graham Cracker Cheesecake Bars
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Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars — A super chewy crust made with butterscotch chips and graham cracker crumbs that also doubles as the topping!! The silky smooth tangy cheesecake layer is the PERFECT contrast! A simple recipe that FAR EXCEEDED expectations!!
Easy Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars
If you follow my Instagram Stories, you may have seen these bars along with my commentary that they far exceeded my expectations.
You see, after blogging for 11 years, I kind of have a feel for how a recipe is going to taste before I even make it, but these pleasantly shocked me because, truthfully, I wasn’t expecting anything too earth-shattering — how wrong I was.
The crust and topping is made from the same mixture of melted butterscotch chips and butter with graham cracker crumbs stirred in. While it bakes, the crust takes on a really hearty chewiness that you can just sink your teeth into. Delicate and dainty these are not.
The cheesecake layer is made with a block of cream cheese, an egg, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. The cream cheese adds tanginess to cut the overall sweetness level that the butterscotch chips and sweetened condensed milk bring.
And the spongy, springy texture of the cream cheese layer is in perfect contrast to the chewy crust and crunchy topping.
What’s in Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars?
To make these easy butterscotch bars, you’ll need:
- Butterscotch chips
- Unsalted butter
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Cream cheese
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars
You’ll first need to melt together the butter and butterscotch chips. It’s been a very long time since I’ve melted butterscotch chips, possibly since 2012 and I was writing my first cookbook. They reminded me they can be tricky little buggers.
Baking chips have stabilizers in them that prevent them from easily melting, which is an advantage during baking so they don’t melt all over your baking sheet, but in this case it’s a curse. As an aside, I have found that the strongest stabilizers in all forms of baking chips — white, milk, semi-sweet, and butterscotch — are in Nestle baking chips.
Jump to my “Tips” section at the end of the post for all of my tips and tricks for melting butterscotch chips!
Once the butterscotch chips have been melted, add the graham cracker crumbs. The great thing is that the melted butterscotch, butter, and graham cracker mixture serves as both your crust, and your topping. Love it when something does double-duty in baking.
Press some of the graham cracker mixture into a bottom of a 9×9-inch baking dish, then prepare the cheesecake filling. Sprinkle with remaining graham cracker mixture, then bake.
After baking, I chilled my bars overnight. Chill them as long as necessary so they’re sufficiently cold and store them in the fridge.
Can I Prep These Bars in Advance?
Yes! Because you store these bars in the fridge, they’re a great make-ahead dessert. Make them and just park them there until you’re ready for them. They’ll easily keep a week in the fridge.
If you were going to serve them for a party and to guests, I wouldn’t make them a week out, but a few days ahead of time would be totally fine.
Tips for Melting Butterscotch Chips
For this recipe I used Nestle brand butterscotch chips since they’re the most common at most grocery stores. Although right now, nothing is common.
My advice is to melt the chips over medium or medium-low heat, with a stick of butter, and whisk nearly the entire time it will take them to melt, at least 5 minutes. Don’t increase the heat because you will scorch the chips and cause them to possibly seize up and then they will just not melt, period. Slow and steady wins the race here.
During the melting process, the chips will look pretty unappealing as the fat separates out from them and then you’ve got butter you’re trying to incorporate into a smooth and emulsified mixture. Don’t freak out about what a mess it looks like you’ve got in your saucepan. Trust me, I even thought as I was making this, “there is no way this is going to work,” but I carried on, and am so glad I did.
If you get the mixture to at least 95% smooth, don’t obsess if you can’t get it totally perfectly completely emulsified and smooth. We’re adding graham cracker crumbs and they will literally camouflage any melting imperfections.
- 11-ounces butterscotch chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 8 ounces cream cheese, very well softened to room temp
- 1 large egg
- one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350F, line a 9x9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a medium saucepan, add the butterscotch chips, butter, and heat over medium to medium-low heat to melt, whisking nearly the entire time it will take the chips to melt, at least 5 minutes. Tips - Read my blog post for more discussion, but it will take some time for the chips to melt and the mixture to come together and it will look pretty unappealing during the process; keep whisking.
- After mixture is melted, smooth, and emulsified, add the graham cracker crumbs and stir to combine. Remove 1 heaping cup of the butterscotch crumb mixture and set aside in a small bowl.
- Transfer the remaining butterscotch crumbs to the prepared pan and evenly hard-pack them to form a smooth crust; set aside.
- To the bowl a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, add the cream cheese and beat on high power until smooth and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, salt, and beat to incorporate. Note - It's normal that you may see a few small 'blobs' of cream cheese 'floating' and seem difficult to break down and incorporate into the mixture. Keep beating for another minute or two and they will diminish.
- Evenly pour the mixture over the crust.
- Evenly sprinkle the reserved butterscotch mixture over the top and bake for about 32 to 35 minutes, or until the top is set. When done, it will still be a little jiggly, but it will be springy to the touch. Start checking at 25 to 30 minutes because all ovens vary; conversely if it takes longer for yours to bake and set up, don't fret.
- Allow the bars to cool in pan for about 1 hour at room temp before covering and refrigerating until well chilled before serving.
Storage: Bars will keep airtight in the fridge for at least 1 week.
Adapted from Allrecipes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 0gSugar: 33gProtein: 5g
More Easy Cheesecake Bars Recipes:
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Bars – EASY bars that taste like crème brûlée met a cheesecake on the way to the oven with a sugar cookie crust!! Rich, sinfully decadent, and a great make-ahead dessert for parties and events!!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars — These caramel apple cheesecake bars feature a buttery crust that’s topped with cheesecake and spiced apples. After they’re done baking, the bars are drizzled with salted caramel sauce!
Death-By-Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake Bars — Only for serious chocoholics because they’re rich, creamy, decadent, and loaded with chocolate!! NO-BAKE and an easy MAKE-AHEAD dessert!!
Strawberry Cheesecake Bars — The bars are dense, ultra soft, and the taste contrast of the buttery bars, a cheesecake-inspired topping, and strawberry jam swirled throughout is just incredible.
Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars — The soft yet dense apple cheesecake layer tops a crisp, brown sugar-graham cracker crust, while gooey, salted caramel drenches the top.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars — These bars are a texture lover’s dream with a crisp brown sugar-graham cracker crust, a soft yet dense pumpkin cheesecake layer, and gooey soft salted caramel swirls the run like a river over the surface.
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