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!
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!
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.
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:
- 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.
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
- Add graham crackers and pecans to your food processor.
- Pulse until coarsely ground.
- Add sugar and butter and continue to process until finely ground and completely 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.
5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Step 2: Make 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. 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.
- 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.
- Pour mixture onto cooled Crust and smooth. Drop pan on counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
Step 3: Bake Cheesecake
- 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.
Step 4: Cool Cheesecake
- Turn off your oven and crack open the oven door. Allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 60 minutes.
- Remove cheesecake to a wire rack and gently run a hot knife along the edges of the cheesecake (to prevent cracking).
- Continue to cool cheesecake until completely cooled, about 2-3 hours.
- 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
- 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. You don’t want to overcook your caramel or it will harden instead of staying gooey.
- Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream (careful, it will bubble a lot!) and cinnamon followed by pecans.
- 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).
Step 6: Slice Cheesecake
- Fill a large glass with hot water, then dip knife in hot water before each cut. Wipe knife clean after each cut.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Looking for more Easy Cheesecake Recipes?
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookie Cups
- Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake
- Eggnog Cranberry Cheesecake
- German Chocolate Cheesecake
- Blueberry Cheesecake
- Strawberry Cheesecake
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