Crescent roll cheesecake bars with a cinnamon sugar topping taste just like two amazing desserts in one: a rich and creamy cheesecake and a crispy churro! Assemble the dessert in just minutes, it's the perfect treat to bring to a party.
When talking about her daughter's graduation party menu, a friend told me about these crescent roll cheesecake bars.
I had never heard of them before but was totally intrigued when she told me they had been a staple at every party she attended when she was younger. How had I missed out all these years?
This cheesecake takes just minutes to prep and pop in the oven and would be easy to do even during a super busy holiday or party cooking session.
They taste amazing even when chilled overnight so it is a great make-ahead dessert for your special occasion.
But how do they taste? My husband took just one bite and nearly swooned. We both agreed that the crispy cinnamon sugar top paired with that light and fluffy cream cheese filling and the flaky crescent roll layers makes for a delectable dessert I'd be proud to serve any time of year.
Why This is the Best Recipe
When hosting a party or holiday, there are countless dessert recipes you could choose from but I think this is the best crescent roll cheesecake recipe because:
- Fast Prep: Even when you're busy, these only take a few minutes to make.
- Easy Recipe for Beginners: You could easily hand the recipe to the kids and even have them bake it! It's great dessert for semi-homemade baking.
- AMAZING Texture: That crispy cinnamon sugar topping and the creamy cheesecake filling go perfectly together.
- Make-Ahead Friendly: I couldn't wait, I tested one bar after it had only chilled for a couple hours and was still soft. It was delicious. Then I tried another after it chilled overnight, even more delicious. You can't go wrong whether you make it same day or serve it the next!
To make the crescent roll cheesecake, you only need a very short list of ingredients:
- Crescent Roll Dough: As much as I love my homemade crescent dinner rolls, for this recipe I'd encourage you to keep things extra-easy and just use the prepared dough from the refrigerator section of the grocery store.
- Cream Cheese: I used regular full-fat cream cheese so the cheesecake would be rich and creamy. If you try to use a low fat or fat free cream cheese, the texture will not be the same.
- Vanilla Extract
Prepare the Cheesecake Filling
The first step to making this recipe is to prepare the cheesecake filling.
In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Beat them together with a mixer on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy.
Assemble the Cheesecake
Next, in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, unroll one of the cans of crescent roll dough.
Gently lay it along the bottom of the dish to form the bottom crust.
As you can see in my picture, it is ok if the edges come up the sides a little bit, but you want to try to keep the dough in one solid piece so every bit of the cheesecake has a bottom crust.
Drop the prepared cheesecake filling in big spoonfuls over the top of the dough. This makes it easier to spread out evenly.
Once the cream cheese filling has been smoothed into an even layer, unroll the second can of crescent roll dough and gently lay it over the cream cheese.
Do NOT press the dough into the cheesecake layer. It should just be carefully placed right on top.
You can gently pinch together the seams of the rolls with your fingers to help form the top crust, but just don't smoosh the layers together.
Prepare the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
Melt the butter in the microwave.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon.
Pour the melted butter over the top and spread it around with a pastry brush so that every square inch of the cheesecake is coated in butter.
Then, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.
I used a spoon to shake and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over in several thin coats so I could control how even the sprinkle was.
It will soak into the melted butter quickly and you can't spread it out once it is on the cheesecake so just shake the spoon lightly and go over it a few times until you've used all the sugar up.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the assembled cheesecake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown and the cinnamon sugar has caramelized.
Be careful to not underbake the cheesecake, it is better for the crescent roll dough to be extra crispy rather than gooey and underdone.
Let the crescent roll cheesecake cool on the stovetop and then store it in the fridge until serving time.
Make Ahead Tips
The dessert can be made up to 24 hours in advance for the best texture but will last for at least 2 - 3 days if you cover it with foil and keep it chilled.
Do not try to freeze this cheesecake, the texture of the crescent roll layers and the crispy cinnamon sugar topping will not be the same once it has thawed.
Be sure to keep the cheesecake chilled at all times. It should only sit out for serving for up to one hour before being stored back in the fridge.
I think this churro flavored crescent roll cheesecake is utterly delicious just as written in the recipe card below but there is room to play around with the recipe to make some tasty variations:
Cherry Cheesecake Bars: Pour a can of canned cherry pie filling over the cream cheese layer. Top with the second crescent roll dough and cinnamon sugar, bake as directed.
Apple Cheesecake Bars: Pour a can of canned apple pie filling over the cream cheese layer. Top with the second crescent roll dough and cinnamon sugar, bake as directed.
Blueberry Cheesecake Bars: Pour a can of canned blueberry pie filling over the cream cheese layer. Top with the second crescent roll dough and cinnamon sugar, bake as directed.
Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Bars: Add chopped pecans to the cream cheese filling and bake as directed. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the top of each serving.
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars: Add mini chocolate chips to the cream cheese filling and bake as directed.
Turtle Cheesecake Bars: Add chopped pecans AND mini chocolate chips to the cream cheese filling and bake as directed. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the top of each serving.
Cut the crescent roll cheesecake into generous squares for a stunning dessert or you can slice it into bite-sized squares for a dessert buffet table.
The cheesecake is delicious all by itself but you could also use it as the base for a "top your own cheesecake" dessert bar.
Just add a few jars of these delicious cheesecake toppings and let your guests drizzle their favorites over the top.
More Easy Dessert Bars
If you love how easy a dessert bar is to slice for small portions on a buffet table and how easy they are to pack for going to a potluck, you'll also love these travel-friendly treats:
Crescent Roll Cheesecake Bars
For the Cheesecake Bars
- 1 tablespoon butter softened
- 2 (8 oz) cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough like Pillsbury
- 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Cinnamon Churro Topping
- 6 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the softened butter around the inside of a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- Gently roll one can of crescent roll dough along the bottom of the baking dish. You can gently pat the seams together to form the bottom crust but don't press the dough into the bottom of the pan too firmly.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat them together with a hand mixer until smooth. Spread the cheesecake filling over the layer of crescent roll dough. It helps to drop it in several big spoonfuls over the top of the dough first and then spread it out.
- Carefully roll the second can of crescent roll dough over the top of the cream cheese layer. Do not press the dough into the cream cheese, just place it gently so it covers as much as the surface as possible.
- Melt the butter in the microwave on HIGH. Pour over the prepared bars and gently spread it out with a knife so the entire surface is covered.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mix evenly over the top of the bars.
- Bake the churro cheesecake bars for 25 - 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sugar has crystalized a bit.
- Let cool completely before serving. Bars should be stored in the refrigerator or the cheesecake filling will spoil.
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