Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
This Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars recipe features a crisp, buttery oats crust and crumble topping with a sweet-tart creamy rhubarb cream cheese filling. It’s a simple yet decadent dessert!
Easy Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
Love rhubarb? Well, this Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars recipe features a delicious combination of flavors and textures that are hard to resist.
This simple yet decadent dessert features a crisp, buttery oats crust and crumble topping with a sweet-tart creamy rhubarb cream cheese filling. It’s the best of all worlds, in one easy dessert!
This recipe comes from my mom. Surprise, surprise, right? She’s always had a special affection for rhubarb, and taught me early on how to make the easiest rhubarb sauce and her mom’s rhubarb custard pie. It didn’t me long to come up with many more rhubarb recipes of my own.
My whole family loves rhubarb and cheesecake, so this recipe for rhubarb bars with cream cheese is a natural fit around here. No need to ask them twice if they’d like a second bar!
Why You’ll Love This Rhubarb Dessert
Rhubarb has so much going for it, from its gorgeous pink/red color to its wonderfully tart taste. When it’s sweetened up a bit and paired with cream cheese, you’ve got one dreamy dessert.
Here’s why we love these rhubarb cheesecake bars:
- Easy. This is a very easy recipe. In one bowl you make a buttery oats mixture that is used for the crust and the crumble topping. And in another bowl you make a cream cheese and rhubarb filling. Then you just layer them in a pan and bake!
- Simple ingredients. Besides the rhubarb, this recipe calls for simple baking ingredients. I’m betting you already have everything in your pantry and fridge.
- The right blend of sweet and tart. Rhubarb (which is actually a vegetable!) is super tart on its own. And even when you cook it with sugar it still keeps a bit of its mouth-puckering flavor. This is what makes rhubarb so unique and helps rhubarb dishes stand out in the crowd.
- A fun mix of textures. I love that there’s a luscious, creamy filling sandwiched between a crispy, buttery crust and crumble topping!
- So pretty. Layered desserts are extra fun, and that pop of pink/red rhubarb color in the filling is oh so pretty.
- Makes cheesecake lovers happy! If you already love cheesecake and rhubarb, you’re gonna love rhubarb cheesecake bars! Also see my rhubarb cheesecake pie recipe – it’s a total winner!
What You’ll Need
Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need to make these beautiful, decadent rhubarb cheesecake bars.
Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts and full set of instructions.
For the Crust and Crumble Topping
- All-purpose flour – Flour serves as a base for these bars.
- Oats – Be sure to use old-fashioned rolled oats rather than quick oats.
- Brown sugar – I use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar would also be nice.
- Butter – I use unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, just reduce the amount of added salt.
For the Rhubarb and Cream Cheese Filling
- Cream cheese – For that gorgeously creamy, tangy filling.
- Sugar – There’s just enough sugar to sweeten the cream cheese and rhubarb.
- Egg – This adds rich flavor and helps bind the filling together while baking.
- Vanilla extract – Use pure vanilla extract for the very best flavor.
- Ground spices – Cinnamon and nutmeg for a hint of warming spice.
- Rhubarb – See my tips below for how to choose the best rhubarb.
How to Cut Rhubarb
To cut rhubarb, first cut off the leaves and trim the bottom ends of the stalks. Discard the leaves and trimmed ends.
Then wash the rhubarb and place two or more stalks parallel to each other on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the stalks into the size specified in your recipe.
How to Make Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
It’s so easy to make this crowd-pleasing dessert. Here’s how to make amazing rhubarb cheesecake bars:
- Heat the oven. Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Make the crust & crumble topping. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Then cut in the butter with a rigid pastry cutter until well incorporated and pea-sized crumbles form.
- Press half the crust in a baking pan. Firmly press half the mixture into an ungreased 9” x 9” pan. Set aside the remaining mixture.
- Now, make the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, and egg until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and blend just to combine. Fold in rhubarb.
- Layer in the filling and crumble topping. Spread the filling over the crust and then sprinkle the remaining crust/crumble topping over the top of the filling.
- Bake. Then bake for 40 minutes, or until crumble topping is lightly browned. Let cool, then cut into bars and enjoy.
Tips for Success
These rhubarb cheesecake bars are beyond easy to put together! Here are a few tips to help you make them:
- Use in-season rhubarb. You can sometimes get rhubarb year-round in some grocery stores, but it tastes the best and is easiest to find during spring and early summer.
- How to choose rhubarb. At the store, don’t buy stalks that are limp, very thick, or look “woody”. A good rule of thumb is to choose firm stalks that are about 1″ wide.
- Rhubarb’s color is no big deal. The color of the stalks doesn’t affect the flavor, despite what it looks like. So green stalks will cook up the same as pink stalks. Don’t worry if your stalks are not super vibrant pink or red – although I personally find the pink/red stalks more pretty! The main thing you’re looking for is a firm stalk that’s not too thick.
- Harvest your own rhubarb correctly. If you’re lucky enough to have rhubarb growing in your garden, definitely use it in these rhubarb cheesecake bars. To pick rhubarb the right way, grab a stalk close to the soil line and give a slight twist as you pull rather than yanking on it. Make sure to leave two-thirds of the stalks on the plant so it continues to produce.
- Use room-temperature cream cheese. For the creamiest, lump-free filling, be sure to let the cream cheese soften so it blends well.
These bars are great as-is, but you can definitely embellish if you like. If you’re wondering how to serve rhubarb bars with cream cheese, here are a few ideas:
- A scoop of vanilla ice cream. Topping a cream cheese bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream will take it over the top. You could also serve it with crème fraîche strawberry ice cream – because strawberries are excellent with rhubarb!
- Whipped cream. A big dollop of freshly whipped and sweetened cream would be delightful with rhubarb cheesecake bars.
- Add fresh strawberries. Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic combination – so many people love my strawberry rhubarb crisp and strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. Top these rhubarb cheesecake bars with sweet fresh sliced strawberries for an extra treat!
- As a brunch dessert. These rhubarb bars are a perfect brunch dessert. Choose some dishes from my breakfast and brunch options, and finish with rhubarb cheesecake bars!
How to Store Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars
Store leftover rhubarb cheesecake bars in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Serve straight from the fridge or bring to room temperature. Just know that the crumble topping will not be as crisp after being stored in the fridge.
Like this Recipe? Save to Pinterest
Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
FOR THE CRUST & CRUMBLE TOPPING
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened (not melted)
FOR THE RHUBARB & CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅙ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1½ cups chopped rhubarb
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- For the crust & crumble topping: Combine flour, oats, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. With a rigid pastry blender, cut in the butter until well incorporated and pea-sized crumbles form.
- Firmly press half the mixture into an ungreased 9'' x 9'' pan. Set aside the remaining mixture.
- For the rhubarb & cream cheese filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, and egg until very smooth, about 1 minute.
- Add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the cream cheese mixture and blend just to combine.
- Fold in the rhubarb.
- Spread cream cheese/rhubarb filling over the pressed-in crust. Then sprinkle the remaining crust crumbles over the top of the filling.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until crumble topping is lightly browned. Let cool completely on a cooling rack. Enjoy right away, once cooled, for the crispiest crumble topping texture.
More Rhubarb Desserts + Drinks
- Rhubarb Margarita
- Rhubarb Custard Cake
- Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
- Ruby Rhubarb Syrup
- Pickled Rhubarb
- Rhubarb Mojito
- Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
- Raspberry Rhubarb Cosmopolitan
This post was originally published in 2013, then updated in 2023.