Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Pecan Pie Cheesecake with a luscious layer of creamy spiced cheesecake topped with caramel pecan topping is guaranteed to be a new holiday favorite!

This Pecan Pie Cheesecake combines two favorite desserts – cheesecake + pecan pie all nestled in a graham cracker pecan crust to create one deliciously decadent dessert that everyone will be OBSESSED with.  It is also made 100% ahead of time for a stress-free dessert!  I’ve included detailed instructions on how to make a cheesecake so even if you’ve never made cheesecake before, it will be a runaway success and the hit of your holidays! 

up close taking a slice of pecan pie cheesecake with graham cracker crust on a pedestal

Can I BEG you to make this Pecan Pie Cheesecake for Thanksgiving?!  It is jaw-dropping (so you can keep shoveling more into your face) delicious.  In fact, both Patrick and I could not stop eating this cheesecake – we kept sneaking – or more like unabashedly gobbling – forkfuls from the refrigerator until it was gone.

Yes, the two of us ate the entire Pecan Pie Cheesecake.  I thought about bringing the cheesecake leftovers to friends like I usually do – and cheesecake does keep extremely well – but the siren calls of one of the best cheesecakes EVER prevailed.  And I’m not sorry about it.

 

About Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Just like my Pumpkin Cheesecake and Strawberry Pie Cheesecake,Pecan Pie becomes exponentially more delicious when combined with cheesecake.  You get the creamy, velvety, rich texture of cheesecake plus the sweet, crunchy, gooey, caramel pecan topping for the perfect flavor and texture combination in every bite.

This new Thanksgiving favorite starts with a brown sugar Pecan Graham Cracker Crust that is super simple made in your food processor.  The pecans naturally toast as the cheesecake bakes for even more pecan goodness.

The cheesecake filling uses brown sugar instead of granulated sugar, a whole cup of sour cream and an extra egg yolk for an incredibly rich cheesecake all spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves reminiscent of Pecan Pie.

The true Pecan Pie, however, comes in the topping.  The caramel sauce is made with butter, sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon and a splash of corn that simmers on the stove to thicken then we stir in loads of pecans.  Finally, we pour the pecan caramel sauce all over our cheesecake to make Pecan Pie Cheesecake.

Have I convinced you to break with tradition and be the hero of Thanksgiving with this new twist on the comforting classic?!

Now, I’m going to break down how to make Pecan Pie Cheesecake.  Although the directions are lengthy, it actually comes together very quickly and is quite easy to make AND you will love that it is 100% done before Thanksgiving!

far away top view of taking a slice of pecan pie cheesecake on white pedestal

How to bake cheesecake in a water bath

Cheesecakes require a water bath in order to cook evenly so the cheesecake doesn’t crack.  A water bath is when you fill a roasting pan with about 1 ¼” of warm water then placing your cheesecake in your springform pan in the center.  The pan will displace the water so it comes up about half way up the springform pan.

The hot water insulates the outer edges of the Pecan Pie Cheesecake, so the edges don’t bake faster than the middle.  This ensures even baking throughout and lessens the likelihood of the Pecan Pie Cheesecake cracking.

showing how to make Pecan pie cheesecake by placing it tin a water batth

How to Water Proof Pecan Pie Cheesecake

We need to waterproof our cheesecake so the water bath doesn’t seep through the bottom seem in the springform pan and soak into our Pecan Pie Cheesecake.   I suggest 2 steps for waterproofing instead of just the typical foil:

  1. WATERPROOFING STEP 1: 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 pan.
showing how to make pecan pie cheesecake by waterproofing springform pan
showing how to waterproof pecan pie cheesecake with foil
  1. WATERPROOFING STEP 2 (optional but HIGHLY recommended): Place foil lined springform pan in the center bottom of a slow cooker liner. Bring the liner bag up to the top of the pan then gather excess to one side and tie it in a knot.
showing how to waterproof pecan pie cheesecake with slow cooker liner

If you combine these two steps, your Pecan Pie Cheesecake will be 100% leak proof – winning!  If you don’t do step 2, then I suggest 2 more layers of foil around your springform pan.

HOW TO MAKE PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE

Step 1:  Make Pecan Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Add graham crackers and pecans to your food processor.
showing how to make pecan pie cheesecake by adding graham crackers for crust to food processor
  1. Pulse until coarsely ground.
showing how to make pecan pie cheesecake with graham cracker by crushing graham crackers in a food processor
showing how to make pecan pie cheesecake with graham cracker crust by mixing graham crackers with butter and sugar in a food processor
  1. Add sugar and butter and continue to process until finely ground and completely combined.
  1. 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.
showing how to make pecan pie cheesecake by firmly pressing graham cracker crust into bottom of springformpan

5.  Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

showing how to make easy pecan pie cheesecake by baking graham cracker crust in a springform pan

Step 2: Make CHEESECAKE FILLING

  1. 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 5 additional minutes. This is the time to get your cheesecake light and fluffy because you don’t want to overmix after we add the rest of the ingredients.

2.  Add the sour cream, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and beat until blended.

showing how to make best pecan pie cheesecake by adding cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to cream cheese filling in mixere
  1. Add the eggs, then the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating as little as possible, just until combined after each addition. After you add the eggs, take care not to overbeat to prevent cracking and a smooth texture. Room temperature eggs will allow them to mix more easily without overbeating.
showing how to make easy pecan pie cheesecake by whipping cream cheese, brown sugar, sour cream, until smooth
  1. Pour mixture onto cooled Crust and smooth. Drop pan on counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
showing how to make pecan pie cheesecake by adding cheesecake filling to baked graham cracker crust

Step 3:  Bake Cheesecake

  1. Add cheesecake to water bath and bake at 325 degrees F for 70-80 minutes OR until edges are firm and the center 2-3 of the cheesecake is still wobbly but NOT runny. The Pecan Pie Cheesecake will continue to cook and firm up while it cools.
showing how to bake pecan pie cheesecake in a water bath

Step 4:  Cool Cheesecake

  1. Turn off your oven and crack open the oven door. Allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 60 minutes.
  2. Remove cheesecake to a wire rack and gently run a hot knife along the edges of the cheesecake (to prevent cracking).
showing how to cool pecan pie cheesecake on a wire rack
  1. Continue to cool cheesecake until completely cooled, about 2-3 hours.
  2. At this point, you can add the Pecan Topping or refrigerate and add Topping later. Cover the cheesecake with foil and chill in the refrigerator overnight but best if 24 hours.

Step 5: PECAN TOPPING

  1. Add butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until butter melts.
  2. Once butter melts, bring to gentle boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  You don’t want to overcook your caramel or it will harden instead of staying gooey.
showing how to make pecan topping for Pecan Pie Cheesecake by melting butter and sugar together in a saucepan
  1. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream (careful, it will bubble a lot!) and cinnamon followed by pecans.
showing how to make pecan topping for Pecan Pie Cheesecake by adding pecans to caramel sauce
showing how to make pecan topping for Pecan Pie Cheesecake by stirring pecans into caramel
  1. Let cool for 5 minutes then pour over cheesecake and smooth to cover the top of cheesecake. Refrigerate cheesecake at least one hour before serving (topping will thicken as it cools).
showing how to make pecan topping for Pecan Pie Cheesecake by spreading pecan topping over cheesecake

side view of pecan pie cheesecake with graham cracker crust recipe

Step 6:   Slice Cheesecake

  1. Fill a large glass with hot water, then dip knife in hot water before each cut. Wipe knife clean after each cut.
up close top view of taking a slice of pecan pie cheesecake on white pedestal

 

How do I keep my Cheesecake from cracking? 

We are going to cover our Pecan Pie Cheesecake with glorious pecan caramel so don’t stress too much about cracks.  Still, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure a beautifully crack- free Pecan Pie Cheesecake.

  • Use a water bath:  As previously mentioned, the hot water insulates the outer edges of the cheesecake, so the edges don’t bake faster than the middle.
  • Room temperature ingredients:  Room temperature eggs, sour cream and softened cream cheese allow them to mix more easily and evenly and reduces the risk of cracks.
  • To quickly bring eggs to room temperature: Fill a bowl with warm water (not hot) and add eggs and let sit 10-20 minutes.
  • Mix well:  Mix your cream cheese and sugar very well until it is light and fluffy.
showing how to make easy pecan pie cheesecake by whipping cream cheese, brown sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs until smooth
  • Don’t peak!  It is paramount that you don’t open the oven while your cheesecake is cooking to prevent cracking.  Opening the door dramatically lowers the temperature and causes your cheesecake to sink and crack.
  • Don’t overbake:  Over baking the cheesecake causes the filling to shrink and crack.  You want the edges to be firm but the center to wobble slightly when shaken.
  • Cool in oven:  Sudden changes in temperature can cause cracks so by allowing the Pecan Pie Cheesecake to cool in the oven and then on the counter before placing it in the refrigerator lets it gradually adjust to each temperature.
taking a slice of easy pecan pie cheesecake on a pedestal

How to Serve Pecan cheesecake?

I recommend chilling your Pecan Pie Cheesecake for at least 24 hours before serving. You can add the Pecan Topping once the cheesecake has cooled and you are ready to refrigerate it OR as little as 60 minutes before serving.  Just make sure the Pecan Topping has 60 minutes to set in the refrigerator.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

up close iew of side view of a slice of best pecan pie cheesecake on a white plate with a gold fork with the whole cheesecake on a pedestal

Can I freeze Pecan Pie Cheesecake?

Yes!  Cheesecake freezes very well but you will want to freeze the cheesecake WITHOUT the topping.

How to Freeze Pecan Pie Cheesecake:

  • Cool cheesecake completely and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  • Place chilled cheesecake on a baking pan and place, uncovered, in the freezer.  Freeze until firm.
  • Remove from the freezer then wrap cheesecake in plastic wrap followed by heavy duty aluminum foil and finally in a large heavy duty freezer bag.
  • Pecan Pie Cheesecake can be frozen for 2-3 months.
  • To thaw, remove Pecan Pie Cheesecake from freezer to the refrigerator.  Let thaw overnight.
  • Top with Pecan Topping and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.
a bite of easy pecan pie cheesecake on a fork

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up close taking a slice of pecan pie cheesecake with graham cracker crust on a pedestal

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

This Pecan Pie Cheesecake combines two favorite desserts – cheesecake + pecan pie all nestled in a graham cracker pecan crust to create one deliciously decadent dessert that everyone will be OBSESSED with.  It is also made 100% ahead of time for a stress-free dessert!  I’ve included detailed instructions on how to make a cheesecake so even if you’ve never made cheesecake before, it will be a runaway success and the hit of your holidays! 
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

Cheesecake

  • 4 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened full fat
  • 1 cup +2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat) at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp EACH ground cloves, ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk at room temperature

Pecan Caramel Topping

  • ½ cup unsalted butter chopped into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 cups toasted roughly chopped pecans*

Special Equipment

  • 1 9″ round, 2 3/4” high springform pan
  • 1 slow cooker liner optional but recommended
  • 18-inch wide heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Parchment paper
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • Roasting pan

Instructions

  • PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F.
  • GREASE PAN: Line bottom of a 9″ spring form pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the inside of your entire pan with nonstick cooking spray. (The parchment will allow you to transfer your cheesecake later.)
  • CRUST: Prepare crust according to recipe instructions. 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 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • WATERPROOFING STEP 1: 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 pan.
  • WATERPROOFING STEP 2 (optional but HIGHLY recommended): Place foil lined springform pan in the center bottom of a slow cooker liner. Bring the liner bag up to the top of the pan then gather excess to one side and tie it in a knot.
  • WATER BATH: Fill a roasting pan with 1 ¼ inches water to create a water. Place roasting pan in the oven to heat while you prepare your cheesecake filling.
  • CHEESECAKE FILLING: 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 5 additional minutes.
  • Add the sour cream, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and beat until blended. Add the eggs, then the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating as little as possible, just until combined after each addition. Pour mixture onto cooled Crust. Drop pan on counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • BAKE: Add cheesecake to water bath and bake at 325 degrees F for 70-80 minutes or until edges are firm and the center 2-3 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. At this point you can add the Pecan Topping or refrigerate and add Topping later. Cover the cheesecake with foil and chill in the refrigerator overnight but best if 24 hours.
  • PECAN TOPPING: Add butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Once butter melts, bring to gentle boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly (set timer – you don’t want to overcook or it will harden on the cheesecake).
  • Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream (careful, it will bubble a lot!), vanilla and cinnamon followed by pecans (it will be on the thin side but will thicken as it cools). Let cool for 5 minutes then pour over cheesecake and smooth to cover the top of cheesecake. Refrigerate cheesecake at least one hour before serving.
  • SLICE: Fill a large glass with hot water, then dip knife in hot water before each cut. Wipe knife clean after each cut.

Notes

*To toast pecans, add pecan halves to baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees F for approximately 5 minutes.

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30 Comments

  1. Lesley says

    This looks amazing, what size pan did you use?

    • Jen says

      Great question, I will add that right now! I used a 9″ spring form pan.

  2. Kiara says

    Cheese cake is a yes for me

    • Jen says

      It makes everything better!

  3. Sandra says

    Absolute Deliciousness!! I love cheesecake and I love pecan pie. A perfect blending of the two. The topping would also taste wonderful over vanilla ice cream. Yum! I am gluten free and this recipe was so easy to modify with gluten free graham cracker. No modifications to anything else. Yeah me!!!

    Thank you again Jen for another amazing, easy to make, staple ingredients recipe.

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Sandra, thank you for taking the time to comment! I’m so pleased you loved this Pecan Pie Cheesecake and were able to easily make it gluten free! and I am loving the idea of the topping over ice cream – mmmm!

  4. Debbie says

    I have this cheesecake cooling in the oven now. I was wondering, after the cheesecake has cooled in the oven and then on the counter for 2-3 hours until completely cooled and then add the pecan topping do I leave the cheesecake in the springform pan and cool in refrigerator for 24 hours or do I remove cheesecake from pan then add topping and then refrigerate for 24 hours? This is my first time making a cheesecake and I don’t want to mess it up.

    • Jen says

      Hi Debbie, usually either way would be fine, but for this cheesecake I prefer to leave the springform pan on so the pecan topping doesn’t go over the sides. Enjoy!

  5. Julie says

    This was our dessert for Thanksgiving and it was Amazing!! Best cheesecake ever!! Thanks for another incredible recipe.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Julie, I so appreciate your comment! I’m so pleased it was a hit for your Thanksgiving!

  6. Natasha says

    I’m a big fan of crust. Could I double the crust or do you think the filling would no longer fit? Thank you

    • Jen says

      Hi Natasha, I think it will still fit – I had a little room at the top of my pan. Enjoy!

  7. Teri says

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! I would like to make it for a Christmas party as well, but would like to change it to make as squares (just because that will be easier for a potluck). To make squares instead, would you just half the cheesecake recipe but keep the rest the same?

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Teri, I’m so pleased this Pecan Pie Cheesecake was a hit! Yes, that is exactly right, for a 9×13, I would half the cheesecake and leave the rest. Enjoy!

  8. Kirsten says

    Hi! I’ve just baked this cheesecake for Christmas lunch tomorrow and I’m thinking I might do the pecan topping in the morning *fingers crossed it comes out good*
    I actually don’t have Corn syrup as I’m from South Africa and we don’t get that here. Do you know of a substitute I could use or could I possibly leave it out? Is there a risk of the caramel crystallising if I don’t have it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Kristen, I’m sorry I don’t know of an adequate substitute. There are substitutes like honey for flavor but the corn syrup keeps it from crystalizing and hardening – I’m afraid it will become too hard without it.

  9. Amanda says

    Ahhhmazing! Finally made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving and it was beyond delicious! My family couldn’t get enough – “best cheesecake I’ve ever had” and “I’d pay good money for that” Jen – your recipes are always so thoroughly written and well-tested making them basically no fail- Thanks for making us star bakers and cooks in the kitchen!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your kind, thoughtful, awesome comment Amanda! I’m thrilled this Pecan Pie Cheesecake was such a huge hit and the “best cheesecake!” Thank you for making my recipes and for taking the time to comment! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Heather says

    Could I snag your PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE recipe? The page is not showing anything up, other than the comments.

    • Jen says

      Hi Heather, click the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page and it will take you right to the recipe. Enjoy!

  11. Jack says

    Recipe not showing up. Sad!

    • Jen says

      Sorry about that Jack, it should be working now.

  12. Cody Walton says

    Jen,

    A couple of questions….1) If I am planning a dinner party with 8 total people, would a single service size of this cheesecake be enough? I’m thinking it would be plenty, but the serving size of 4 by the list of ingredients has me a bit nervous and 2) is it ok to make this dessert the day before? Any special directions prior to servings. Thanks in advance and I look forward to trying this as all of your recipes that I’ve tried turn out great.

    Cody

    • Jen says

      Hi Cody, what a fun dessert for a dinner party! I am having problems with my recipe card serving size showing up correctly, so 4 servings isn’t accurate – this cheesecake will definitely comfortably feed 8. And yes, PLEASE make it the day before. Cheesecake always tastes better if chilled 24 hours ahead of time. You can add the Pecan Topping once the cheesecake has cooled and you are ready to refrigerate it OR as little as 60 minutes before serving. Just make sure the Pecan Topping has 60 minutes to set in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

  13. Ranjini says

    Hi Jen,

    Looks really good. I am bugging you again to find out where you got the cake stand from. I am so obsessed and been searching it all over the internet. If you could tell me that will be super awesome of you.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Ranjini, I’m so pleased you loved the cake! Unfortunately, I can’t be much help because the cake stand was a wedding gift 15 years ago, sorry!

  14. Heather Cortez says

    Hello Jen,

    Do you keep the cheesecake in the fridge right up until serving? I know cheesecake is best when it is very cold, but wondering I the typing is better at room temperature, so I wasn’t sure. What are your thoughts?

    • Jen says

      Hi Heather, yes, you keep the cheesecake in the refrigerator up until serving. The pecan topping will still be pliable thanks to the corn syrup (if not initially overcooked 😉 )

  15. Amy Raymond-Horton says

    Hi! Made the cheesecake last night, and it looks beautiful – today, i made the pecan topping and it appears VERY thin.

    Can you clarify a point in the instructions?
    You say: Once butter melts, bring to gentle boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly (set timer – you don’t want to overcook or it will harden on the cheesecake).

    Is it: let it come to a gentle boil, then cook for three minutes, or, is it “once the butter melts, cook for three minutes”?
    My cream did not bubble when added, so im concerned it was barely a rolling boil. I’m more used to toffee than caramel, so this could be normal.

    Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Amy, it means to let it boil for 3 minutes starting after the butter melts. If the cream didn’t bubble then it likely wasn’t hot enough – sorry!