Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Cheesecake Bars

Thick peanut butter cheesecake filling on top of a salty pretzel crust, stuffed with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a chocolate drizzle on top.

peanut butter cup pretzel cheesecake bar on a wood board

I’m really sorry for doing this to you today. Really, I am.

Apparently I’m all over the place this week. Sunday night I treated myself to a Wendy’s Frosty. Yesterday I made a large detox smoothie. Today I’m stuffing my face with peanut butter cup cheesecake bars.

If there is such a thing as dessert A.D.D. – I have it.

peanut butter cup pretzel cheesecake bars on a wood board

I adore the combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and pretzels. A-DORE. I have plenty of recipes on this website filled with desserts combining the three! It’s the perfect trio. Salty, sweet, chocolatey, crunchy, peanut buttery, decadent.

I probably love cheesecake as much as I love peanut butter (yes, it’s true!), and these scrumptious bars have been on my to-do list for ages. They will totally blow your diet, but they are worth every single minute on the treadmill!

You’re going to start with a pretzel crust. Yes, a buttery crust made from pretzels! Crushed pretzels, sugar, and melted butter. Told you – this is not diet food! You’ll need 1.5 cups of crushed pretzels, which is about 3 cups of actual pretzels. Grind the pretzels up as much as you can. And make sure no one is sleeping in your house when you do so. Hard pretzels in a food processor is L-O-U-D. Sorry I woke you up, Kevin. 😉

crushed pretzels in a white bowl

Mix the ground up pretzels with the melted butter and sugar and press into your pan. Bake the crust for about 10-12 minutes as you prepare the filling. This salty pretzel crust can also be used for my S’mores Brownie Pie, Key Lime Pie Squares, or these Snickers Cheesecake Bars (yum!).

The pretzel crust is sort of crumbly. There’s no way around it. Pretzels cannot be ground up as finely as graham crackers, so just expect a few crumbs when you cut into and bite into these bars. Have a napkin handy!

The cheesecake filling is easy peasy. Cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and creamy peanut butter. Beat all that together until smooth and mix in several Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (the more, the merrier!). Pour on top of your pretzel crust. Bake for 30ish minutes. Chill the bars for 3 hours before cutting into squares. Waiting is torture. Pure torture.

stack of peanut butter cup pretzel cheesecake bars on a wood board

A little chocolate drizzle is the cherry on top, no? Melt a few chocolate chips with some peanut butter (yep, more peanut butter), and drizzle on top of each cheesecake bar. The drizzle is completely optional, but I never say no to more chocolate and peanut butter.

These cheesecake bars are so good it’s scary. If you do NOT like sweet and salty desserts, this recipe is not for you. The crust is made from salty pretzels, so yes – the crust will be salty! The peanut butter cheesecake filling is undoubtedly the creamiest cheesecake on the planet. And there’s enough peanut butter cups mixed inside the filling to make my No-Bake Reese’s Bars jealous.

What I love most about these bars is how thick the filling is. You won’t even believe it will fit into a tiny 8×8 pan. It will practically fill the entire pan. These bars are so thick and monstrous. It’s glorious. They’re crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet, and dangerously addicting. Quite frankly, I think I found my new favorite dessert! And yours, too. 😉

peanut butter cup pretzel cheesecake bars on a teal plate

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peanut butter cup pretzel cheesecake bars on a wood board

Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Cheesecake Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Thick peanut butter cheesecake filling on top of a salty pretzel crust, stuffed with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a chocolate drizzle on top.


Ingredients

Pretzel Crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (120g) very finely ground salty pretzels (about 3 cups whole pretzels)
  • 3 Tablespoons (35g) granulated sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter, melted

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling

  • 16 ounces (448g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature (not fat free)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125g) creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 10 regular sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (or 20 small)

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (45g) chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line bottom and sides of an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. For the crust: In a food processor or blender, pulse salty pretzels into a fine crumb. See photo above for how it will look. Stir the pretzel crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together in a medium sized bowl. Press evenly into the lined pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
  3. For the filling: Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract together with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. Fold in the chopped Reese’s cups and spread the mixture over crust. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set up and the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.
  4. For the drizzle: Melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips together in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir until smooth and drizzle over squares.
  5. Store bars in a covered container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  1. Double Batch: Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan, baking time will vary – about 45-55 minutes.

Keywords: peanut butter pretzel cheesecake bars, peanut butter cheesecake bars

2 images of peanut butter cup pretzel cheesecake bars

23 Comments

  1. Hi Sally-
    Fairly new to your site. LOVE it! Have drooled over many of your recipes. I made these Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Cheesecake Bars yesterday – one word – Decadent! My kids want to nominate me for Mother of the Year now that they’ve tasted these. Thank You for all your hard work and creativity.

  2. Sally, as of last night I was a first time visitor. After I made this recipe this morning, I think I’m hooked for life! Thanks so much for this phenomenal recipe and keep up the amazing work!

  3. Sally – do you grease the pan before you put the crust in it?

    1. No – just use aluminum foil without greasing.

  4. I am making these today—-they look fabulous! I need to make a larger batch—can I double the recipe and put in a 9×13 pan?

    1. Hey Darla! You sure can. For about 45-55 minutes. Keep a close eye on them at 40 minutes though.

  5. I made these today for a teacher’s “back-to-school” potluck picnic. I am excited for my colleagues to try them. I’ve been snitching as I arranged them on the plate, and my oh my….how YUMMY! I did make a pretty major change though, and I’m very happy with the outcome. I used the Oreo crust from your Snickers cheesecake bar recipe instead of the pretzel crust. I was apprehensive to read about the crumbly-ness of the pretzel crust, so tried the Oreo crust hoping it would hold together better, and it was beautiful….no crumbling! AND very tasty with the peanut butter cups. Thanks for sharing TWO AMAZING recipes!

  6. Hi Sally,
    If I want to make these a little less thick (so I can get more bars out of the recipe), could I use the recipe as is in a 9×13 pan and just bake for a shorter length of time? I have the recipe as is in my oven now and I can’t wait to try them!

    1. I fear a 9×13 size pan would really be stretching it. But give it a shot! Let me know.

  7. Is it possible to use maybe a Graham cracker crust instead of pretzals crust?

    1. Definitely. Here is my favorite graham cracker crust. https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/03/25/lemon-blueberry-cheesecake-bars/

  8. I have been eyeing up this recipe for several weeks.  I finally made it for my family over the 4th of July weekend.  It turned out to be disappointing though.  I don’t know if I did something wrong but it was kind of dry and lacking in peanut butter flavor.  I baked it the minimum amount of time and the edges were only slightly brown.  Unfortunately, I ended up taking over half of the pan home with me as no one seemed to care for them.  

  9. Hi Sally,
    I made these last night and followed your recipe exactly, and they are literally the most delicious cheesecake bars I’ve ever eaten in my life.  Thank you so much for the best dessert recipe out there!  You’re a dessert genius!

  10. Wow these are incredibly good! I had a bunch of leftover pretzels from an appetizer party I wanted to somehow use. I had all of the other ingredients so I thought I’d give this recipe a whirl. So glad I did. The pretzel crust is EVERYTHING!

    The recipe is creative and easy to follow. Comes together quickly. Thank you so much, it’s a keeper for sure.

  11. Nisreen Muntasser says:

    How do you get such a clean cut?

    1. I always use a very sharp knife and wipe it clean between cuts. 🙂

  12. Hi Sally! Do you think I could double this recipe and make it in a 9×13 pan? Thank you!

    1. Hi Valerie! Yes, you can double this recipe for a 9×13 inch pan. Unsure of the exact bake time, but at least 40 minutes.

  13. I’m making for a friend’s birthday to drop off on her porch while she birthday shelters at home. Thoughts on using the topping from your peanut butter cheesecake bars for this recipe? Also, I’m nervous about the crumbly pretzel crust – any suggestions to combat this? Half graham crackers? Or just get over it?

    https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-cheesecake-bars/

    1. Also, would it be ok to make the crust and cheesecake the night before, refrigerate overnight, and then add the topping from the chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars? I’m assuming I would halve that recipe because this recipe calls for an 8×8 tin?

    2. Hi Sean! The chocolate topping from my chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars would be great on these! Pretzel crusts are always more crumbly than graham cracker crusts, so feel free to swap and use all graham crackers or half graham crackers.

  14. Any suggestions for crust other than pretzel or graham crackers? Thank you

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diane, How about an Oreo Crust?

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