Turtle Cheesecake Bars are creamy dessert bars with a graham cracker crust and cheesecake filling, topped with caramel, candied pecans, and hot fudge. Try my Texas Turtle Sheet Cake for another sweet dessert with the classic turtle flavored toppings.
Turtle Cheesecake Bars
The combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans usually means it’s a turtle-flavored dessert. These cheesecake bars are no exception. What sets this turtle dessert apart from the others are the homemade candied pecans. The sweet and crunchy nuts are good enough to eat on their own, but save a few for this dessert!
Turtle Cheesecake Bars Ingredients
Graham Crackers: I used about 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs for this recipe. You can buy graham cracker crumbs or you can crush your own (about 14 sheets of graham crackers for 2 cups crushed).
Room Temperature Ingredients: It’s important to use room temperature ingredients. Make sure the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs are all at room temperature before combining them for the cheesecake filling.
Superfine Sugar: Also known as caster sugar, the superfine crystals make a difference in this recipe. If you don’t have caster sugar, simply process granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds.
Sour Cream: The amount of sour cream used in the filling is just enough to give the cheesecake a creamier texture, but not too much to be noticeable in the taste.
Pecans: You can buy pecans already chopped, and you can use regular pecans. However, for the best results, try the candied pecans.
Hot Fudge: Make your own homemade chocolate syrup to drizzle over these bars along with the caramel sauce.
Graham Cracker Crust
Cheesecake crust recipes can be made from graham crackers, any cookies, animal crackers, etc. There are cheesecakes with brownie crusts, too, but we’re going to stick to the basic cheesecake crust recipe using graham crackers. You can buy graham cracker crumbs or simply smash a bunch of graham crackers to make the crust.
To make the crust, combine the graham crackers and the butter in a small bowl. Use a fork to mix the two ingredients, making sure that every single graham cracker crumb is coated in butter. The butter binds everything together so bits of the crust don’t pop up in the cheesecake.
Press the crust into a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper. Use your hand to flatten the crust; then, use the bottom of a glass to press it down flatter. Set aside as you make the filling.
How to Make Turtle Cheesecake Bars
It’s all about a creamy cheesecake recipe for the filling. To make the filling, grab a hand mixer and beat the cream cheese until it’s creamy, and then add just the sugar into the cream cheese. By doing this and scraping down the sides of the bowl after every step will ensure there are no lumps left before adding the ingredients with a looser consistency.
Next, add in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Lastly, add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat just until the egg is mixed and then add the next egg. Do not overbeat the cheesecake filling. If the filling is overmixed, it may change the texture of your cheesecake bars.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the baking dish, on top of the crust. Bake the bars at 350°F for 60-70 minutes, or until the edge of the cheesecake is pulling from the sides a bit, but the center is still a bit jiggly. When done, remove the bars from the oven and let them cool to room temperature. After they have cooled, place them in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
When ready to serve, remove the bars from the refrigerator and top them with caramel sauce, candied pecans, and hot chocolate or chocolate syrup. Cut into squares (or turtles, if you can) and enjoy! Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Looking for More Cheesecake Recipes?
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1¼ cups (250g) superfine granulated sugar
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- ½ cup chopped pecans, candied or plain
- ½ cup hot fudge
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter, mixing well with a fork. (You want every crumb coated in the butter as this will be the glue that holds it together.)
Press the graham cracker crust onto the bottom of the lined baking dish. Pat it flat with your hand and then use a kitchen glass to press flatter. Set aside.
Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix cream cheese until creamy and smooth.
Beat in the sugar and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the sour cream and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
With the mixer on low, add in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the crust.
Bake until the top of the cheesecake turns golden, about 60-70 minutes. Or until the edges of the cheesecake are pulling away from the sides a bit, but the center is still a bit jiggly.
Let the cheesecake come to room temperature before chilling it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Top with caramel sauce, candied pecans, and hot fudge. Serve.