Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

Have you ever slaved away on the perfect dessert?

I’m not talking an hour or two. I’m talking days of strategizing, googling, and ingredient shopping, followed by an early morning wake-up to ensure adequate time if (when) something goes wrong. I’m talking egg whites that need to be beaten to a perfect foam while the yolks get tempered into another part of the dessert. I’m talking a crust that needs to be partially rolled out and then re-refrigerated before the butter gets too warm. I’m talking finicky, fragile chocolate that can be ruined with even a molecule of water.

I have slaved away on that dessert. This is not that dessert.

This is the beautiful opposite of that dessert. This is the dessert that requires zero preparation, save for the five ingredients you’ll need to have around. ย It’s what you bring to the dinner party you were invited to with just a few hours’ notice, but it’s also such a crowd-pleaser that you can bring it to something fancy without batting an eye. ย I’ve been making this for several years now – I originally got the recipe from a coworker who regularly brought it to our office’s Finer Things Club, and it’s been my go-to fast, simple dessert ever since.

While I do get good feedback on the “perfect desserts” I mentioned before, I’m usually too exhausted and sweaty from the day’s kitchen Olympics to appreciate or even politely acknowledge it. These cheesecake bars make people just as happy as any three-hour-from-scratch-blood-sweat-and-tears dessert – and you’ll have the energy to smile, say “thank you,” and explain how ridiculously simple they are to make. I once had a stranger (drunkenly, with his mouth full) ask me to marry him after trying these. I was somehow able to resist his charms and politely decline, but talk about a return on investment – it’s amazing what a sweet cream cheese filling and a cinnamony burnt sugar topping can do to people!

My most recent batch of these were the result of a promise I couldn’t keep. I had a friend in town from the west coast, and I’d promised months ago that I’d make a fresh rhubarb pie for his birthday party – hey, it was scheduled for mid-May, prime rhubarb season. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to find it. But after hitting six grocery stores the night before the party with zero luck, I had to accept defeat.

Okay, I lied. I didn’t accept defeat. If I had, I would’ve just made a regular fruit pie sansย rhubarb and not given it one more thought. But I’m stubborn and maybe a little obsessive, so what actually ended up happening was this:

  • I premade a double pie crust in anticipation of my morning victory
  • I looked up rhubarb on Amazon, found only seeds, and accepted that I could not actually grow it by the next morning
  • I woke up at 7 AM to hit the farmer’s market, despite being fully aware that rhubarb doesn’t really grow ’round these parts

When I finally admitted defeat (for real this time) around 8 AM, it finally struck me that I’d promised a dessert for this birthday party and had nothing. Thankfully, I remembered this recipe in my metaphorical back pocket, had all the ingredients in my fridge, and honestly? I’m sure a fresh rhubarb pie wouldn’t have gone over any better. I hope these can get you out of a jam, too.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Category: Dessert
Yield: 16-18 squares
  • 2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 16 oz (2 packages) cream cheese
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9X13 baking dish.
  2. Unroll one package of crescent rolls into the bottom of the baking dish. Push/roll to cover the bottom and use your fingers to seal the seams.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the cream cheese in three or four 45 second intervals, stirring between each.
  4. When softened, stir in 1 cup of the sugar and vanilla. Spread over the bottom layer.
  5. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and spread over the cream cheese layer. Seal the seams with your fingers.
  6. Mix the remaining ½ cup sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.
  7. Melt butter in the microwave. Pour over the top layer - use a basting brush to spread evenly. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top and bottom are browned and mixture is bubbling. Cool completely before cutting. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Source:ย Pillsbury

22 Responses to Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

  1. Those sound so awesomely easy! My family makes a pastry with crescent rolls and wondered if you’ve seen that they’re now selling the crescent roll dough without seams!

    • Yes! I’ve used the seamless ones for these before and it makes these even easier. This time I had the knockoff brand from Trader Joe’s though ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What a quick and easy dessert! I could definitely make this for my Texan boyfriend and he’d be a happy camper!

  3. I made a priority of running to the store and buying the ingredients pretty much immediately after reading this (haven’t made them yet, but will let you know how it goes!). Mmmmm. Also, while I was there, what did I pass in the produce section, but rhubarb! What the… I wasn’t sure if I should tell you or not. But, there it is. Want me to buy you some? ๐Ÿ™‚ I do delivery.

    • Okay, success! After returning to the store to replace the can of dough that broke open somehow on the way home the day before (I just love going to the store, especially with two hungry kids, especially in a thunderstorm downpour…), I allowed (okay, coerced) Steve to make them while I did something else (don’t even remember what), and, oh my gracious… They are ridiculous. Fantab. We might have both eaten them as some form of breakfast. I’m also plotting things to bring them to (Memorial Day gathering is first on the list). Thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Worth the extra grocery store run and the coercion of the man of the house. I think he agrees.

      • I’m so glad they turned out well! Glad it was worth twisting Steve’s arm to put on the chef’s hat ๐Ÿ™‚ Bring them to everything you go to (including my house).

    • I saw it the DAY AFTER I went to six stores looking for it – at one of the stores I had gone to the day before! I was too angry at it to buy it ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Yeah, I found myself strangely emotional towards it as well. I stopped and stared for a minute, then stalked off. Solidarity, man.

  4. These were amazing! Brought them into work today and overheard three of the guys go “oh my God…seriously…thats like one of the best things I’ve ever had” haha Funny how overhearing something like that always makes you feel even better than when they say it to your face! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll be blogging this recipe later this weekend for sure! Thanks!

    • I’m so glad you and your coworkers enjoyed them! They are definitely great for getting large groups of people to love you ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I just made this for the second time, and I had a little bit of the dough left over so I rolled it up with some of the cinnamon sugar mix and a tiny bit of butter brushed over top that was left over and I made 2 mini cinnamon rolls. And of course the sopapilla cheesecake bars are going to be wonderful! Tomorrow am taking them to the 2nd birthday party of a little girl I babysit for.

    • That’s a great idea to roll them up into cinnamon rolls! Although I wish you could teach me how to have leftover dough, since I usually end up stretching it way beyond its means ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope the birthday girl and everyone else enjoys them!

  6. I put fresh blueberries in them over the summer and they were to DIE for!!!!! Now my family is asking can I make it pumpkin for thanksgiving!?!?!?

    • Yum! Fresh blueberries sound great. I think you can definitely add pumpkin – I would add a can of pumpkin and 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (or do 2 teaspoons pumpkin, 1/2 tsp each of ginger and nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp allspice) to the filling mixture. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  7. I’ve made these twice and they are delicious. Had all the ingredients on hand so had to make them. Besides it was a good reason to turn on my oven & warm up the house. It’s 42 degrees in Cali! Unheard of! We arent used to this weather ;}

  8. These are THE best and so simple it’s ridiculous! I have made them several times since finding your recipe this past summer! I am curious how it turned out with the pumpkin, as I am a pumpkin lover! Thanks for sharing! just made them again yesterday for New Years Eve.