This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
Layers of fluffy homemade pastry, creamy cheesecake, and lots of sweet cinnamon sugar and honey make these Gluten-Free Sopapilla Cheesecake bars hard to resist. They’re great to slice up and serve at parties or for times when you want cheesecake but with a twist!
Why You’ll Love This Sopapilla Cheesecake Recipe
I love deep-fried pastries, but I don’t always love the actual deep frying part when I make them at home – there’s so much oil and often a bit of mess. So I thought, why not take the general concept and flavors of sopapillas – deep-fried, air-filled pastries – and make them into a simpler, still super decadent dessert?
The results were incredible, so here’s a quick summary of why you’ll want to get in on the goodness too:
- Buttery and creamy. In this gluten-free version of sopapilla cheesecake, I use two batches of homemade gluten-free crescent roll dough to sandwich a creamy, vanilla-scented cheesecake filling.
- Quick and easy. This recipe takes just 45 minutes from start to finish, with only 10 minutes of prep work required.
- Perfect for any occasion. You can make these sopapilla cheesecake bars for a dinner party, a birthday celebration, or just because!
What Is Sopapilla Cheesecake?
Traditional sopapilla pastries are little pillowy pockets of air-filled, deep-fried dough. They can be made in either a savory or sweet manner, but you’ll most often see them on menus as a dessert offering drizzled with honey.
Sopapillas have an interesting history – they’re thought to be a version of the olive oil fried dough known as sopaipas that originated in southern Spain. It’s probable that Spanish settlers brought their culinary tradition to North America, specifically New Mexico, where it evolved into the sopapilla pastries you’ll now find on many New Mexican menus. You may also see versions of sopapillas in Mexico and in South America. In this recipe, though, I skip the gluten and frying to make gluten-free baked sopapilla cheesecake bars. Let’s get into it!
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick glance at what you’ll need to make this recipe. Don’t forget to check out the recipe card at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts and instructions.
- Gluten-Free Crescent Roll Dough: You can use my recipe for gluten-free crescent roll dough, or purchase gluten-free dough if it’s available where you live.
- Cream Cheese: If you wish to make this recipe dairy-free, you can use a dairy-free cream cheese in place of regular cream cheese.
- Sugar: I just use white granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Egg: To bind everything together.
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter. To make these sopapillas dairy-free, use your favorite non-dairy butter instead.
- Cinnamon: Use ground cinnamon for this recipe.
- Honey: To be used as a garnish.
How to Make Sopapilla Cheesecake
Follow along with the photos and details below to learn the best method for making sopapilla cheesecake bars.
- Preheat the oven and have a pan ready. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Then, set aside a 9×13-inch ungreased baking dish.
- Mix together the cream cheese and sugar. Combine the cream cheese and a cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat them together with an electric mixer until smooth, and scrape down the bowl.
- Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat the mixture again until it’s just combined.
- Roll out half of the dough. Remove 1 batch of chilled crescent roll dough from the refrigerator. Lightly dust a piece of parchment paper with flour. Next, roll the dough out to a rectangle that’s roughly 9×13 in size.
- Fit the dough in the pan. Use your pan as a guide to cut the dough to the exact size that will fit in the bottom of the baking dish. Using the parchment paper to hold the dough, transfer it there.
- Spread out the cream cheese mixture. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the dough.
- Roll out the second half of the dough. Roll out the second piece of dough using the same method as above. Transfer it to the pan and place it on top of the cream cheese mixture.
- Add the melted butter. Pour the melted butter over the top crust. Use a pastry brush to spread it evenly.
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it over the top of the dough. Combine the remaining 1⁄4 cup of sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle it over the top crust.
- Bake the bars. Bake them in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool completely before slicing.
- Garnish with honey. Garnish your cheesecake bars with a drizzle of honey and serve!
Tips for Success
This sopapilla cheesecake recipe is not very difficult to bake, but I still have a few tips to share. They’ll help you get the best results possible each time you make these creamy cheesecake bars:
- Use parchment paper. Parchment paper is key here to avoid any stickiness when rolling out the gluten-free dough. It will also help when you’ve baked the bars and want to remove them from the pan. Parchment paper is one of the best cook’s helpers out there.
- Keep the dough cold until you’re ready to use it. Gluten-free dough can often be more delicate than dough made with wheat flour. To help with rolling it out, keep the gluten-free crescent roll dough in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
- Use store-bought dough in a pinch. While I truly recommend making my recipe for homemade crescent rolls dough, if you’re short on time you can use store-bought gluten-free dough. You can usually find this in the gluten-free freezer section of stores like Whole Foods. If you buy frozen dough, defrost it according to the package directions before using it.
- Substitute gluten-free pie dough for the gluten-free crescent rolls dough. Again, I highly recommend using crescent rolls dough! But if you wish, you can use a double-crust gluten-free pie dough in place of the dough. Try my gluten-free pie crust recipe or use a purchased gluten-free pie dough.
- Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. Bringing the cream cheese to room temperature before making the filling will help when you spread it on top of the dough – softer cheese won’t tear the dough.
What Goes With Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars?
When you’re in the mood for simplicity, serve individual slices of sopapilla cheesecake drizzled generously with honey. But if you want to up the ante, try some of my ideas below.
- Drizzle with chocolate sauce. You can either skip the honey and substitute chocolate sauce, or top the sopapilla cheesecake bars with honey and chocolate sauce. Make sure to use a thinner chocolate sauce rather than a hot fudge sauce, which is typically thicker.
- Top with whipped cream. A pile of lightly sweetened whipped cream would taste so good contrasted with the sweet cream cheese filling! You could add the whipped cream before dolloping on the honey, or add the whipped cream after you’ve drizzled the honey. Whatever you like!
- Add fresh fruit. Sliced strawberries or a combination of fruit like raspberries and blueberries would go so well on top of slices of cheesecake. Add whipped cream and fruit for the ultimate presentation.
- Sprinkle on some toasted nuts. Add some toasted nuts like chopped walnuts or almonds along with the honey for crunch and texture.
How to Store Leftovers
If you have leftover sopapilla cheesecake, you can store it in the fridge. Place individual bars in a single layer in an airtight container, or, if you want to layer the bars, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper in between them. Store your bars in the fridge for up to 3 days, and then serve them cold or at room temperature.
Can I Freeze Sopapilla Cheesecake?
Yes – cheesecake freezes well. To freeze leftover sopapilla cheesecake bars, wrap each bar in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost everything in the fridge and serve the bars cold or at room temperature. Note that the texture of the dough may change slightly after it defrosts (but it will still taste good).
Things You’ll Need
As mentioned, you’ll need a 9×13-inch baking pan and parchment paper to handle the dough. I like this pan from OXO because it is sturdy and non-stick, and pre-cut parchment sheets are convenient and don’t roll up. A small offset spatula is a helpful kitchen tool, in this case for spreading the cheesecake mixture. And, finally, silicone pastry brushes are easier to clean than other types of bristles.
More Gluten-Free Cheesecakes
Ready to test out some more easy gluten-free cheesecakes? You’re in the right place!
- No-Bake Peach Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll
- Syrnyk Ukrainian Cheesecake
- No-Bake Apple Cheesecake Bars
Gluten-Free Sopapilla Cheesecake
- 2 batches Gluten-Free Crescent Roll dough
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature (I used 2 8-oz packages)
- 1 ¼ cups sugar, divided (250 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup butter, melted (57 grams)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- honey, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Set aside a 9×13 ungreased baking dish.
- Combine cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and beat again until just combined. Set aside.
- Remove 1 batch of chilled crescent roll dough from the refrigerator. Lightly dust a piece of parchment paper with flour. Roll the dough out to a rectangle, roughly 9×13 in size.
- Use your pan as a guide to cut the dough to the exact size to fit in the bottom of the baking dish. Using the parchment paper to hold the dough, transfer it to the bottom of your baking dish.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the dough.
- Roll out the second piece of dough using the same method. Transfer it to the pan on top of the cream cheese mixture.
- Pour the melted butter over the top crust. Use a pastry brush to spread it evenly.
- Combine the remaining 1⁄4 cup of sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over the top crust.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before slicing.
- Garnish slices with a drizzle of honey and serve.
- Refrigerate leftover bars.
- You could use gluten-free pie crust in place of the crescent roll dough if you prefer.
- Note that the nutritional information does not include the values for the homemade crescent rolls dough.
- To store. If you have leftover sopapilla cheesecake, you can store it in the fridge. Place individual bars in a single layer in an airtight container, or, if you want to layer the bars, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper in between them. Store your bars in the fridge for up to 3 days, and then serve them cold or at room temperature.
- To freeze leftover sopapilla cheesecake bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Store the bars in the freezer for up to 3 months, then defrost them in the fridge and serve them cold or at room temperature. Note that the texture of the dough may change slightly after it defrosts (but it will still taste good).