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Easy Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars Recipe

With a gingersnap crust and an easy no-bake cranberry swirl layer, this Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars recipe is a simple way to makeover your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Once Thanksgiving ends, you are often left with more turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce than you might ever want to eat in a year. But no one wants to let these leftovers go to waste, right?

Instead, give leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce a whole new life in this recipe for light and fluffy Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars. These are perfect for dessert after the big day.

How to make Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

This easy recipe starts with a super-easy ginger snap crust. Just combine your gingersnaps and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until they form big crumbs.

Press the crumbs into a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Then, bake the crust until it sets – about 10 minutes.

Next, it’s time to make your cheesecake layer. Combine room temperature cream cheese with sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix it slowly at first before increasing the speed to medium. Beat until it’s smooth. You could also use a big mixing bowl and a hand mixer for this, if you prefer.

Add the heavy cream and beat again – slow at first, and then increasing the speed to medium – until it becomes very thick. The cream cheese mixture should hold its shape when you lift the head of the stand mixer.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust into an even layer and top with cranberry sauce. Swirl it gently. Then chill for at least two hours.

And that’s it. The dessert is ready to be sliced into 12 bars and enjoyed.

Done. Easy. And the cheesecake layer needed no baking … Score one for this leftover makeover!

Yield: 12 bars

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars


  • 4 cups ginger snaps
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the ginger snaps and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarse crumbs form. Press into a 9x13-inch glass baking pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges. 
  3. Once the crust is out of the oven, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the cream cheese and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on its lowest speed at first and then increase to medium speed and beat until smooth – about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream. Beat on the stand mixer’s lowest speed until it begins to incorporate. Then increase the speed to medium and beat well until it becomes very thick and smooth. The cream cheese mixture should hold its shape when you lift the mixer head. 
  4. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the crust and spread into an even layer. Drop the cranberry sauce by the spoonful all around the cheesecake topping. Swirl gently with a knife. 
  5. Chill, covered, for at least two hours before serving. Cut into 12 bars.

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