German Chocolate Cheesecake


This German Chocolate Cheesecake is show stopping Christmas worthy!  I’ve also included very detailed instructions so even if you have never made a cheesecake before, it will turn out PERFECT every time!

German Chocolate Cheesecake with a gold fork on a white plate.

I’ve saved the best for last.

Show a full German Chocolate Cheesecake.

In anticipation of Christmas, I‘ve loved sharing easy neighbor desserts like Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Clusters and Pistachio Chocolate Pretzel Bark, but now it’s time for the main event – the Christmas dessert that your family and friends will be talking about, begging for and dreaming of for years to come.  It’s time for German Chocolate Cheesecake.

Now before you scroll down and get intimidated by the long instructions, let me say the instructions are simple yet detailed to ensure you end up with a leak-proof and crack-free cheesecake.  Making a cheesecake is easy when you know exactly what to do and I love that it tastes even better after 24 hours so you can make it a day in advance before all the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  So please, bake on!

What is German Chocolate?

This German Chocolate Cheesecake is luxuriously rich and creamy made with German chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa powder.  If you aren’t familiar with German chocolate (and haven’t read my German Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache post AKA another FABULOUS Christmas dessert), then let me share that German Bakers Chocolate has nothing to do with Germany but is named after Samuel German, a Walter Baker & Company employee who developed the chocolate in 1952. German chocolate is sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate and is famous for German Chocolate Cake with its Coconut Pecan Frosting.

Side view of a slice of German Chocolate Cheesecake.

And that Coconut Pecan Frosting is what makes this German Chocolate Cheesecake truly magical.  The delectable sweet and sticky Coconut Pecan frosting is made by toasting our coconut and pecans together in the oven.  Next, we whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar, evaporated milk, and butter and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon to create a gooey caramel like base to which we add our toasted coconut and pecans.  Hello deeeeelicious.

Showing how to make German Chocolate Cheesecake toppings.

Now we pour half of our chocolate cheesecake batter into our pan followed by about 2/3 of our Coconut Pecan Frosting and top with our remaining cheesecake batter.  We save the rest of our frosting to smother all over the top of our baked and cooled cheesecake and then finish off with more toasted coconut.

Showing how to make German Chocolate Cheesecake.

German Chocolate Cheesecake adding the icing on top.

You can refrigerate you German Chocolate Cheesecake at this point or drizzle with chocolate and serve.  You will want to drizzle with chocolate right before serving as it gets brittle when refrigerated.

German Chocolate Cheesecake with chocolate drizzle on top.

Now all that’s left is to dig into that indulgently creamy, chocolaty cheesecake bursting with caramel-esque toasted coconut and pecans…

Because it’s Christmas.  And because your diet doesn’t start until January 1st.  


Looking for more holiday dessert recipes?

A perfect slice of German Chocolate Cheesecake.


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German Chocolate Cheesecake AKA the best German Chocolate anything! The rich and creamy chocolate cheesecake has a hidden layer of traditional caramel-eaque sweet and crunchy Coconut Pecan Frosting and another layer on top! This cheesecake is to live for!

German Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadently rich and creamy German Chocolate Cheesecake stuffed with a hidden layer of caramely,  crunchy Coconut Pecan Frosting and smothered with another layer on top!  This Cheesecake is show stopping Christmas worthy!  I’ve also included very detailed instructions so even if you have never made a cheesecake before, it will turn out PERFECT every time!
Servings: 12 servings
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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Special Equipment

  • Crockpot liner or oven bag optional but recommended
  • 18″ wide heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Parchment paper
  • Cooking spray
  • Roasting pan

Chocolate Crust

  • 9 chocolate graham cracker sheets finely ground
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Coconut Pecan Filling/Topping

  • 1 7 oz. pkg. sweetened shredded coconut (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling

  • 4 oz. Bakers German Chocolate bar chopped
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate chopped
  • 3 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese (full fat) at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat) at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk at room temperature

Chocolate Drizzle (optional)


  • PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.
  • WATERPROOFING STEP 1 (optional but HIGHLY recommended): Place 9” springform pan in the center bottom of a slow cooker liner or oven bag. Bring the liner bag up to the top of the pan then gather excess to one side and tie it in a knot.
  • WATERPROOFING STEP 2 (do this over liner even if you have already done step 1 for double coverage): Place 2 large 18″ x 18″ pieces of aluminum foil on a flat surface underneath the pan in the form of a “+.” Gently fold (to make sure you don’t create any holes) up the sides of the foil around the (lined) pan.
  • GREASE: Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the inside of your entire springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • CRUST: Combine the CRUST ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Add to springform pan and firmly press the crumbs down on the bottom of the pan until you have an even layer. (I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to press down.) Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • TOAST COCONUT AND PECANS: Add coconut to one half of a large jelly roll pan and pecans to the other half. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees F (you can bake with your crust), stirring occasionally, until coconut is golden and watching closely towards the end as coconut turns very quickly. Remove from oven and transfer pecans to cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop pecans. Set aside.
  • COCONUT PECAN FILLING: Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, evaporated milk and brown sugar together in a large saucepan. Add butter and cook over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle simmer then turn heat down to medium. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, salt, chopped pecans and 1 ½ cups coconut (save remaining ½ cup coconut for topping).
  • WATER BATH: Fill a roasting pan with 1 ¼ inches water to create a water bath for your cheesecake (to prevent cracking). Place roasting pan in the oven to heat while you prepare your cheesecake filling.
  • CHEESECAKE FILLING: Add German chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate to a medium bowl and microwave at 50% power at 30 second intervals, until completely melted, stirring after every 30 seconds. Set aside.
  • Add cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (no less!). Add sugar and beat 3 additional minutes.
  • Add cocoa powder and cinnamon and beat until combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just until blended. Add the eggs, then the egg yolk, 1 at a time, beating as little as possible, just until combined after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate with a spatula just until combined.
  • ASSEMBLE: Transfer about half of the cheesecake batter to the cooled crust and smooth into an even layer. Spoon about two-thirds of the Coconut Pecan Filling evenly over cheesecake and smooth. Top with remaining cheesecake and smooth. Drop pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Refrigerate remaining ⅓ Coconut Pecan Filling for later.
  • BAKE: Add cheesecake to water bath and bake at 350 degrees F for 60-75 minutes OR until edges are firm and the center 2-3 inches of the cheesecake is still wobbly. (DON’T open door before 60 minutes, this can cause cracks.)
  • COOL: Turn off your oven and crack open the oven door. Allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 60 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and gently run a hot knife along the edges of the cheesecake (to prevent cracking) then continue to cool for 2-3 hours or until cheesecake is completely cooled. Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn’t actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator overnight but best if 24 hours.
  • GARNISH: Remove cheesecake to serving platter. Stir in 1 tablespoon water to Coconut Pecan Filling (now topping) and microwave approximately 30 seconds, or until softened. Spread over cheesecake and top with reserved coconut. The cheesecake can be refrigerated again at this point or served.
  • CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE (optional): Just before serving, add chocolate and ½ teaspoon shortening to a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, until completely smooth, stirring after every 30 seconds. Add chocolate to a small plastic bag and snip one corner. Drizzle chocolate all over cheesecake.

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  1. Spencer says

    Looks AMAZING! What a combo!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you! It might be the best cheesecake ever!

    • Robin says

      Do you think I could make this recipe into mini German chocolate cheesecakes?

  2. Robin says

    This is one of the most delicious cheesecakes I have ever made thinking it would be extremely sweet but its not its creamy and absolutely delicious. As always I add my own tweaks to make it my own. This recipe is a must try if you love German chocolate cake and frosting. Everyone went crazy over this cheesecake. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

    • Jen says

      Sorry for the delay Robin as summer has been crazy and I just got back from Italy, but thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I’m honored you (and everyone else!) loved this German Chocolate Cheesecake so much and that it’s the best cheesecake you’ve ever made! That’s the ultimate compliment!

    • Stephanie Lewis says

      Can’t wait to try the German Chocolate Cheesecake I do try a lot of different cheesecake recipes, I use the dry mote method for the water bath. It is so easy and 100% fool proof. I have only seen this method used in 1 recipe for a banana cream cheesecake, so I use it all the time now. Thanks for all of your great recipes. You have taken me out of my comfort zone at times but you never fail me. What a gifted lady you are! Thank you for sharing your hard work with us!

      • Jen says

        You are so kind to take the time to comment Stephanie! I’m honored you’re following along making so many of my recipes!

  3. Laurie says

    I made the German Chocolate Cheesecake over the last two days and we had it for dessert last night. My family LOVED it! My daughter said it was better than anything The Cheesecake Factory makes and she loves The Cheesecake Factory. Perfect instructions, amazingly delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Laurie, thank YOU for taking the time to comment! I’m thrilled it was such a hit!

  4. Amy says

    I’d like to try this as mini German chocolate cheesecakes. Do I still need to do the water bath? Do I need to change the cooking time? Any other suggestions for making “minis?” Thanks.

    • Jen says

      Hi Amy, no need for a water bath with mini cheesecakes. Not sure about the cooking time because I don’t know how mini they are ;). I would google mini cheesecakes and look for suggested baking times. Good luck!

  5. Nicole says

    I have made this recipe once before, many years ago and it is amazing! I want to make it again but they no longer make the chocolate graham crackers. Do you think I could just process teddy grahams? If yes, about how many cups of processed crumbs do I need? Thank you!!

    • Jen says

      Great idea! You will need about 1 1/2 cups.

  6. Cindy Mechling says

    I made this for a house warming party for my daughter. It was the best German chocolate cheesecake I’ve made. I followed all the directions and it turned out perfect no cracks. It’s definitely a keeper and worth the effort.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much, Cindy! I am thrilled this was worth the effort and that it’s a keeper!

  7. Lori M says

    Is the cinnamon necessary? Is there a substitution for it? I’m allergic, unfortunately.

    • Jen says

      Cinnamon is not necessary, feel free to leave it out! Enjoy!