These delicious no-bake cheesecake bars have a graham cracker crust with a cool and creamy filling that sets in the refrigerator, swirled with an amazing cranberry red wine quick jam.
I’ve made many variations of these almost no-bake cheesecake bars, but this cranberry red wine swirl variation has become a favorite during the cooler months when fresh cranberries are in season. They’re simmered with red wine (you could substitute with water or cranberry juice if you prefer), cinnamon, and sugar to create a delicious quick jam.
The red wine and cranberries compliment each other perfectly, and there is just a hint of cinnamon to add a spicy warmth. The filling is based on the Cherry Red Wine Cheesecake Bars from 100 Cookies, but I went with a no-bake cheesecake in this version to make things simple.
The secret to no-bake cheesecake is using a combination of cream cheese and heavy cream, creating a cool and creamy filling that sets easily in the refrigerator. The graham cracker crust only needs to bake a few minutes, just to ensure it’s crisp, and provides a sturdy base for the cheesecake.
Best Way to Make Graham Cracker Crumbs:
The easiest way to make graham cracker crumbs is to throw some graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also place the crackers in a sealed plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy pan. It’s a bit of a stress reliever, too!
More No-Bake Cheesecake Recipes:
- (Almost) No-Bake Cheesecake with Jam Swirl
- (Almost) No Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake With Sour Cherry Swirl
Almost No-Bake Cheesecake Bars with Cranberry Swirl
- 2 cups [200 g] graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons [72 g] unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/3 cup [65 g] granulated sugar
- ¼ cup [60 g] red wine such as Merlot
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 24 oz [678 g] cream cheese at room temperature
- ¾ cup [150 g] granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup [180 g] heavy cream
For the crust
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 325F [180C]. Line a 9 x 13 in [23 by 33 cm] pan with a parchment sling.
- Put the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk. Pour the melted butter over the top and stir with a spatula until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the cranberry swirl
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, red wine, cinnamon, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries are soft and starting to break down, 4 to 5 minutes. Puree the mixture along with the 2 tablespoons of water in a blender or food processor until smooth (a mini food processor works best here). * See note. Set aside to cool.
For the cheesecake filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the cream cheese on high until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat again on medium until light and smooth, 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides, add the salt and vanilla and mix again until completely combined and smooth. Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the cream on low for 30 to 45 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and continue beating until soft peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. With a rubber spatula, stir half of the whipped-cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture and fold until combined. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold again until combined and no streaks remain.
- Pour the filling over the cooled crust and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Pipe or dollop most of the cranberry filling over the top, (see note below) and then use a wooden skewer or knife to drag the cranberry filling through the top of the cheesecake, creating swirls. Refrigerate the cheesecake until firm, about 6 hours or overnight. Using the parchment sling, remove the cheesecake from the pan and then slice and serve. Enjoy!