Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

These dulce de leche cheesecake bars have the rich, caramel flavor of dulce de leche in the cheesecake batter AND in the glaze topping. Elegant, easy, and so delicious!

dulce de leche cheesecake square on white plate with bite taken out

Cheesecake? Dulce de leche? Yes. To both. 

Talk about a killer combination. 

These fabulous cheesecake bars are ultra simple and don’t require any fancy cheesecake methods (water bath, I’m looking at you).

So if creamy cheesecake + caramelly dulce de leche make you happy, I really think you’re going to love these bars. 

cutting off bite of dulce de leche cheesecake square with fork on white plate

Cheesecake bars are where it’s at

I love cheesecake. No-bake. Baked. Give me all the cheesecake. 

But I have a special place in my heart for cheesecake bars. They are so simple, so straightforward. 

And they make a perfect dessert for an elegant occasion (I haven’t been part of an elegant occasion in about three lifetimes, just want to point that out) or a casual get together. 

mixing up ingredients for graham cracker crust in glass bowl

Like any good cheesecake bar, this dulce de leche variation starts with a really fabulous (and easy) graham cracker crust. 

The only variance is the little pop of ground cinnamon in the ingredients. It adds great things to the dulce de leche and cheesecake. 

Sidenote: I definitely think someone should seriously consider swapping chocolate crackers or cookies for the graham crackers for an extra decadent/chocolatey variation. 

pressing graham cracker crust into 9X13-inch pan and baking

Cheesecake Batter

Other than adding a significant dollop of dulce de leche to the cheesecake batter, this part is pretty straightforward. 

Like any good cheesecake filling, once you add the eggs, you want to mix just until combined. Over mixing at this point will increase the possibility that the cheesecake bars will crack while baking. 

They’ll be covered up with dulce de leche, so it’s not a super big deal, but it’s still a pretty good tip to keep in the forefront of your cheesecake making brain.

Don’t Over Mix Once You Add The Eggs. Or DOMOYATE for short. 

mixing dulce de leche cheesecake batter in glass bowl

Spread the cheesecake filling onto the cooled crust and bake until the edges are slightly puffed and pulling away from the pan.

The center of the bars may be slightly soft – that’s ok. They’ll set up as they cool.

And it’s ok if you get little moon shaped craters on top. No one will notice once the dulce de leche is liberally applied. 

Let’s talk about dulce de leche

Since dulce de leche is a significant flavor in these cheesecake bars, we need to get a bit serious about where to buy it or how to make it. 

Here’s a pretty easy pressure cooker dulce de leche recipe. It’s pretty darn good. 

For storebought brands, I highly recommend this brand (comes in a jar; I buy it on amazon but it may be available at your local store). It is the tastiest storebought brand I’ve had. As in, it’s not safe if there is a spoon and a dark pantry close to me. 

La Lachera is another really popular, easily available storebought brand – I haven’t used it in these bars, but I’m sure it will work fine.

pouring dulce de leche on top of baked cheesecake bars

Once the cheesecake has cooled, spread lightly warmed dulce de leche on top and refrigerate until set (the dulce de leche topping will be a little soft even after chilling).

You can serve these dulce de leche cheesecake bars plated…or they can be served picked up and eaten out of hand. 

Although you might possibly consider offering a napkin; they are just every so slightly messy thanks to the delectable dulce de leche topping.

cutting off bite of dulce de leche cheesecake square with fork on white plate

For dulce de leche lovers, these cheesecake bars are a no-brainer. 

They are indulgent and fun. And they are a great reminder that I need more dulce de leche in my life. 

As in, I would like to make it a daily thing. Has anyone declared dulce de leche a super food yet? The minute they do, it’s going on my morning oatmeal. 🙂

squares of dulce de leche cheesecake bars cut on wood cutting board

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Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 12-15 bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
dulce de leche cheesecake square on white plate with bite taken out

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) graham cracker crumbs (about 16-17 rectangles)
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) butter, melted

Cheesecake Batter:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Glaze:

  • 2/3 cup dulce de leche
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a metal 9X13-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (for easy lifting of the bars after they cool and easier cutting). Lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the graham cracker crust, combine the graham crackers, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Cool while mixing the cheesecake batter.
  3. With an electric mixer (stand or handheld), mix the cream cheese, granulated sugar and sour cream together until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the dulce de leche and mix until well-combined. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until just combined (don't overmix or the cheesecake may crack while baking).
  4. Spread the cheesecake batter evenly over the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are puffed and center is soft-set (not firm but no longer jiggly). Cool completely.
  5. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the dulce de leche and heavy cream. Heat for 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until pourable. Add additional cream if the mixture is too thick. (The exact amount of cream will depend on the brand of dulce de leche.) Spread the glaze over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate until chilled.

Notes

Dulce de leche: store bought brands of dulce de leche will vary in texture and consistency. I use the San Ignatio brand when I can find it.

Cream Cheese: full fat cream cheese is best in this recipe (light cream cheese will alter the texture of the bars).

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Recipe Source: adapted slightly from this recipe at Epicurious