Margarita Cheesecake Bars have a silky smooth texture that is sweet and tart from the limes with a salty pretzel crust.
Do you like margaritas? I do! My favorite margaritas are the original lime ones, on the rocks, with plenty of salt on the rim. I love the sweet, salty, and tart flavor and it always pairs so well with spicy Mexican food.
I tend to laugh when my friends drink margaritas because they most often have them frozen but to me that's just silly. Why dilute the delicious lime flavor with a lot of ice? I also have several friends that not only like them frozen, but they like them flavored as well. Not me. I'm a margarita on the rocks with salt on the rim kind of girl.
So when my school decided to have a Cinco de Mayo taco bar I knew I wanted to bring a margarita dessert. I also knew that it would have to be something baked so that the tequila would cook out of it since there is no alcohol allowed in school.
That's when I decided on these Margarita Cheesecake Bars. Instead of a graham cracker crust like so many cheesecake bars these have a pretzel and graham cracker crunch which gives me all that salty flavor I love in a margarita.
- pretzels (smaller shapes are better because you will be grinding them up)
- graham crackers
- butter (I like salted but you can use unsalted)
- limes (you will be using both the zest and the juice)
- cream cheese (use full fat, not reduced fat)
- sour cream
- granulated sugar
- Triple Sec (or any orange liqueur)
The first thing you will do is make the crust because it needs to bake first. The crust consists of pretzel crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, butter, and lime zest. It's pressed into the bottom of the pan and baked until it starts to harden.
Next up is the cheesecake. Beat cream cheese and sour cream together until it is smooth. Make sure you don't skip this step as it will lead to a grainy texture of your cheesecake if you do.
How do I zest a lime?
When zesting a lime make sure you are only getting the bright green part and not the white pith inside as it is very bitter. Since limes are so small this can be tricky. The best way to do this is to use a microplane. Rub the lime carefully back and forth over the microplane, turning the lime as the zest comes off. Do this until all the zest is off the fruit.
Can I use bottled lime juice?
While you could use bottled lime juice you then won't have any lime zest which gives both the cheesecake and the crust a ton of flavor. So go ahead and use the bottled juice, but you will also need fresh limes to zest.
Do I have to add the tequila?
No. You do not have to add the tequila or the Triple Sec to the cheesecake. Keep in mind if you are worried about the alcohol being in the cheesecake the actual alcohol will burn off and it will just leave behind the orange and tequila flavors. If you are not adding the alcohol use orange juice in place of the orange liqueur and milk in place of the tequila.
After the cheesecake batter is mixed up it gets poured over top of the pretzel crust. Bake it in a lower temperature oven so that the cheesecake does not crack.
Once it comes out of the oven it needs to cool to room temperature then it goes into the refrigerator. The cheesecake must chill for several hours before it will be ready to serve. I often chill it overnight.
More Cheesecake Recipes:
- Instant Pot Key Lime Cheesecake
- Crumbl New York Cheesecake Cookies
- No Churn Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- No Bake Mocha Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Lemon Lavender Cheesecake
The margarita cheesecake filling has a subtle flavor from the tequila, which is baked into the cheesecake so the alcohol burns away. The zest from the lime is what really shines through in these bars. The cream cheese and eggs make a velvety smooth cheesecake that pairs so nicely with the salty pretzel crust.
I like to top mine with a slice of lime before I serve because it adds a touch of color and lets everyone know what they are going to be eating. These really are the best margarita cheesecake bars I've have and it's such an easy recipe!
Make sure you invite some friends over when you make these because you are going to want to eat the entire pan! Serve them for dessert or pair them with a homemade margarita for a special treat.
If you’ve tried my Margarita Cheesecake Bars or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:
Margarita Cheesecake Bars
Silky smooth cheesecake bars have a sweet and tart flavor from the limes with a salty pretzel crust.
For the Crust:
- ½ c. crushed pretzels
- ½ c. graham cracker crumbs
- ⅓ c. sugar
- 5 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
For the Filling:
- 20 oz. cream cheese (2 ½ packages)
- 1 c. sour cream
- ¾ c. sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Triple Sec (or orange juice)
- 2 Tablespoons tequila
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon lime zest
- 4 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the pretzels, graham crackers, and sugar in a food processor and process until
they are finely chopped. Add in the butter and zest and process until
- Press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Meanwhile, place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the sour cream, sugar, Triple Sec, tequila, and lime juice. Beat until smooth. Add in the lime zest and then the eggs, one at a time, until completely mixed.
- Pour the cheesecake batter onto the slightly warm pretzel crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the sides of the cheesecake begin to brown and the top is slightly firm to touch.
- Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Cut into 24 squares and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Could these be made ahead and frozen?
I am not sure. I've never frozen cheesecake before but if you've had success with regular cheesecake I'm sure you would have success with these as well.
Thanks for posting this recipe. I won an office dessert competition with these and a little sea salt sprinkled on top. I think the lime wedge garnish in your picture is a must. The extra lime flavor with the juice makes it taste just like a margarita.
Congrats on winning your office contest, that's great! I agree that the lime wedge is a must.
Love the look of the lime slices on top!
These look so great, I love that they are margarita flavored and the pretzels sound great in the crust!
Nancy @ gottagetbaked
Good call on making a pretzel crust, Heather! I bet it provides the perfect crunchy, salty contrast to the creamy sweet 'n tart filling. These are gorgeous!
Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen
These are gorgeous!! I'm totally with you on your thoughts of frozen margaritas - why bother?? 😉
Thank you! I agree...why both with frozen and ice as a filler?
Delaware Girl Eats
what a creamy delight!
Julie @ Texan New Yorker
Yes please! Love margaritas, love cheesecake, so I guess this one is a no-brainer for me! Pinning! 🙂
I love both margaritas and cheesecake too so this was a delicious dessert for me!
pam (Sidewalk Shoes)
These sound amazing!
Lane @ Supper for a Steal
I'm the same way with my margaritas, only on the rocks for me. I love these cheesecake bars. They sound amazing!
LOVE bars in any form and LOVE the twist you did with margarita flavors!
You have combined my favorite dessert with my favorite drink. And I'm totally with you on the blended vs rocks! Although the marg I made for todays post was actually better blended. Not sure why.....LOL. Happy National Margarita Day!!
Oh, man, I couldn't have these at my house for long! SO yummy, SO tempting! They look delish!
Heather // girlichef
Mmmmm...I absolutely love these, Heather! That pretzel crust is such an added bonus - the look mouthwatering. 🙂
Betsy @ Desserts Required
I love how you baked your margarita into these delicious cheesecake squares! Happy National Margarita Day!
Totally drooling thinking of eating these bars. I love the fresh taste of lime with cheesecake. Gorgeous!!
Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere
I love the pretzel crust! These look delicious!