Surpass all dessert expectations with Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars — the ever-popular, crowd-pleasing party dessert with a flaky crust, a buttery, cinnamon-sugar topping and a thick, luscious center of smooth and creamy cheesecake filling.
These layered cheesecake bars can easily be whipped up, assembled and baked with just a few simple steps!
In addition to a failproof dessert recipe perfect for entertaining, we’ll also cover:
- Why you might prefer puff pastry to crescent rolls your Sopapilla Cheesecake.
- How to make an extra fluffy cream cheese filling!
- Helpful recipe tips.
- Plus, serving and storage tips!
FROM SOPAPILLAS TO SOPAPILLA CHEESECAKE
Sopapillas are a New Mexican staple consisting of a pillowy soft dough that is fried, and then either smothered, stuffed, or best of all, dusted with cinnamon-sugar and a drizzle of honey.
You’ll find them as a dessert option on just about any Mexican menu, but they are the perfect ending to any meal. Speaking of perfect endings, back to the Sopapilla Cheesecake.
These cheesecake bars are a souped-up take on the sopapilla, and they are everything your potluck dessert table could want and then some. You’ll find it in a casserole dish, stacked with layers of crispy pastry, filled with a sweet and fluffy cream cheese center, and topped with that signature sopapilla happy-ending of cinnamon-sugar and a drizzle of honey.
WHAT’S IN SOPAPILLA CHEESECAKE?
- Puff Pastry (or Crescent Rolls, if desired — see substitution notes below)
- Cream Cheese
WHY PUFF PASTRY IS BETTER FOR SOPAPILLA CHEESECAKE
When it comes to Sopapilla Cheesecake, you can go one of two ways for the dough — refrigerated puff pastry sheets or crescent rolls. Because one aspect of Sopapilla Cheesecake is a rich, decadently buttery topping dusted with cinnamon and sugar, puff pastry is absolutely the better choice of the two.
While most definitely buttery, the puff pastry sheets you’ll find in the freezer section of your grocery store are not greasylike their crescent roll counterpart. Using puff pastry over crescent rolls will give your Sopapilla Cheesecake a light, crispy and flaky crust, without an overly saturated, oily feel to each bite.
If, however, you are a crescent roll romantic, you will find a crescent roll substitution in the “Notes” section of this recipe.
THAWING PUFF PASTRY
To thaw puff pastry, it is best to leave it in the refrigerator overnight, however, if you are in a time pinch, you could also set it out on the counter at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. If you are in a hurry, use crescent rolls — they don’t require any thawing.
ABOUT THE CHEESECAKE CENTER
The center of Sopapilla Cheesecake is a cheesecake lover’s dream come true. Simple and easy to make, it consists of cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and an egg.
The butter in the filling helps to create a smooth consistency and adds a note of richness. The egg helps to bind the ingredients, and in combination with the cream cheese, will help your filling to stand tall when cut.
HOW TO MAKE SOPAPILLA CHEESECAKE
The absolute first thing you’ll want to do before getting started with your Sopapilla Cheesecake is thaw the puff pastry. As mentioned above, if you anticipate not having time to thaw puff pastry, use crescent rolls instead. You will find instructions for this in the “Notes” section of the recipe card.
- Make the filling.
- Roll out the dough.
- Assemble the cheesecake.
- Add the topping.
- Bake and cool.
1. MAKE THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
For a light and fluffy cheesecake filling, you’ll want to take the time to whip your ingredients into shape. A stand mixer or a handheld mixer will be necessary for this task.
Before you begin, make sure your butter and cream cheese are room temperature and gives easily when poked with your finger.
You’ll first mix the cream cheese and butter together for 1 minute. This ensures a smooth and creamy base for our filling. Next, you’ll add the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and mix for 3-4 minutes more. This second go-round of mixing will help the filling to stay light and fluffy. Lastly, you’ll add the egg, mixing again more to ensure it is evenly incorporated.
HOW TO SOFTEN CREAM CHEESE & BUTTER [QUICKLY]
Life happens, and sometimes, we forget the little things. If this is the case with your butter or cream cheese come the day of, you can always soften it a bit in the microwave.
I suggest doing this at 10-second intervals, turning the block over after each stint in the microwave. It will likely take a few turns before it is ready.
2. ROLL OUT THE DOUGH
Not much rolling will be required as the puff pastry sheets are already in the shape of your pan. You simply need to make the puff pastry the same size as your 9×13″ pan. To do so, dust a work surface and rolling pin, and roll out the puff pastry sheets to fit.
3. PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Once your first sheet of puff pastry is the right size, add it to the greased dish and top it with your cheesecake filling. Smooth over the top, and add your second sheet of puff pastry.
4. THE SOPAPILLA TOPPING
Now for the best part: The sopapilla portion of the recipe. To make the topping, you’ll first combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl. Then, melt down some butter and drizzle it over the top of your dish. Sprinkle the butter with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and it’s time to bake.
5. BAKE AND COOL
Bake your Sopapilla Cheesecake in a preheated 350° oven for 35-40 minutes. You can tell your Sopapilla Cheesecake is close to being done when the edges of the pastry have risen a great deal and it takes on a golden-brown hue.
Once it has finished baking, you must allow the dish to cool before cutting into. Otherwise, your filling will not have time to set up and will likely ooze when cut. While still delicious, this is likely not the look you’re going for.
STORAGE & SERVING TIPS FOR SOPAPILLA CHEESECAKE
Once your Sopapilla Cheesecake has cooled and set, it can safely sit out for an additional 2 hours at room temperature, which is great because Sopapilla Cheesecake should be served at room temp!
When completely cooled, feel free to drizzle the top with honey for an extra authentic touch. Cut into squares or narrow rectangles, serve, and enjoy!
If you’re not ready to serve right away and you’re making the Sopapilla Cheesecake in advance, you’ll need to refrigerate it. Cream cheese based desserts should not be left out on the counter overnight. Your cheesecake will stay good for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
5 MORE PARTY DESSERTS YOU’LL LOVE
- Texas Sheet Cake is based on everything the classic cake was meant to be: Super chocolatey, decadently moist and tender, and topped with gooey, fudgy icing.
- Snickerdoodle Bars are buttery and soft, with a top dressing of cinnamon-sugar. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser everyone will swoon for!
- Brownies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing feature perfect homemade brownies topped with a whipped strawberry cream cheese frosting and berries. Plus, the secret to a perfectly whipped cream cheese frosting!
- Reece’s No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie is a gorgeous, mile-high pie equipped with a creamy peanut butter filling, speckled with decadent bites of chopped Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. The fluffy filling sits on top of an Oreo pie crust, and the whole shebang is finished with a cascade of dreamy whipped cream.
- Chocolate Coconut Bars feature melty chocolate and coconut mixed into an sweet and gooey filling, all sitting atop a buttery graham cracker crust.
- Snickerdoodle Cookies are super soft with big cinnamon flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. This is the best Snickerdoodle recipe ever, and lucky for us, it’s easy to make, well-equipped with a simple list of ingredients and easy-to-follow directions.
Perfect Sopapilla Cheesecake is easy to make and decadently delicious! Layers of flaky crust, a soft and fluffy cheesecake center, with a dusting of cinnamon-sugar on top!
- 1 package puff pastry, thawed
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.
Preheat the oven 350° and have ready a well-greased 9x13" pan.
Add the cream cheese and 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl. Mix on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt and beat for 3-4 minutes more. Wipe down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and mix until evenly incorporated. Set aside.
Dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the first sheet of puff pastry to fit the pan and lay in the pan. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry and set aside.
Add the cream cheese filling to the pan and smooth over the top. Lay the second sheet of puff pastry over the top.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of sugar, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Drizzle the melted 6 tablespoons of butter evenly over the top of the puff pastry, and top with the sugar mixture.
Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 1-2 hours before cutting into.
If you'd like to use crescent rolls instead of puff pastry, there are only 2 small adjustments you'll need to make:
- Use 2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls instead of puff pastry sheets - there is no need to roll them out. Just stretch each roll to fit the pan. On the bottom layer, press to remove perforation marks and on the top, pinch the marks to seal.
- Bake 30-35 minutes instead of 35-40 minutes.