I’m always on the lookout for desserts I can serve for the holidays that are a little different and original but still keep the traditional holiday dessert essence. That’s why I love these Pecan Pie Cheesecake – it’s the perfect medley of two classic desserts in one!
Though it feels like we’re still in the middle of summer, the holiday season is quickly approaching. Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is just two months away. How crazy is that?!
Of course, that means I’ve already started a mental list of dishes to make for upcoming holiday dinners, with a focus on my favorite course – dessert.
Desserts for the Holidays
I want to make some new desserts this year, something a bit more exciting than pumpkin pie, while still keeping with the traditional holiday flavors.
I’m a huge cheesecake lover, not just during the holidays but all year round, and one of my favorite holiday pies is chocolate pecan pie.
I started wondering what it would be like to combine those two flavors, which resulted in this Pecan Pie Cheesecake. I’m fairly positive it’s a candidate for one of the best pecan pie recipes, it’s that good!
This is definitely not a last minute dessert, since the cheesecake needs to chill for at least 8 hours before being served (I think 12 or more is best) but the pecan topping should be added just before being served.
Why You’ll Love Pecan Pie Cheesecake
A creamy cheesecake layer topped with a crunchy pecan topping, all encased in a sweet graham cracker crust- what’s not to love!
- Perfect for the holidays – While this cheesecake is definitely a labor of love, the flavors and overall presentation make it perfect for serving with your holiday dinners.
- Classic flavors – Combining the two classic flavors of cheesecake and pecan pie is quite genius. The blend of flavors is incredible.
- Easy recipe – If this is your first time making cheesecake or you’re a total pro, this recipe is easy to follow.
The ingredient list may seem long, but it is totally worth it when the result is the creamy pecan pie cheesecake!
- Graham cracker crumbs – You can either make your own crumbs with a food processor, or you can use a pre-made crust from the grocery store.
- Brown sugar – We will use a blend of both dark brown sugar and light brown sugar. They will be included in all elements of this pecan pie cheesecake recipe: crust, cheesecake and pecan pie filling.
- Kosher salt – Different salts measure differently, so be sure to pay attention to that. Do not use table salt as it has a metallic taste to it.
- Unsalted butter – I always use unsalted butter when baking so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe. If using salted butter, make sure to omit the Kosher salt to avoid a salty dessert.
- Cream cheese – Make sure that your cream cheese is room temperature. It is much easier to work with when softened. Full fat will provide the best luxurious flavor and texture.
- Sour cream – Sour cream helps to soften the cream cheese a bit, making for an extra silky smooth cheesecake.
- Eggs – Eggs help to hold the cheesecake together, as well as add a richness to improve the velvety texture.
- Flour – Not all cheesecake recipes call for flour, but the starch helps to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
- Vanilla extract – We need to add flavor to the cheesecake layer, and vanilla adds a warmth that totally completes the cheesecake batter. Almond or butter can also be used.
- Heavy cream – In addition to butter and brown sugar, we need heavy cream to make the pecan filling
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips – The pecan pie topping is from my favorite chocolate pecan pie recipe and adds something a little different to the cheesecake.
- Whole shelled pecans – These are easily found down the baking aisle at your local grocery store- especially around the holidays!
How to Make Pecan Pie Cheesecake
You are going to love how easy it is to make this classic cheesecake with gooey pecan pie filling!
- Prepare oven and pan. Preheat oven and line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper, then coat with cooking spray.
- Make graham cracker crust. Stir together graham crackers crumbs, brown sugar and Kosher salt until well combined. Add melted butter. Press into bottom of springform pan.
- Bake crust. Bake until crust is lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool while you assemble the cheesecake layer.
- Beat cream cheese and sour cream. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and continue to beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and paddle.
- Add brown sugar. Incorporate dark brown sugar, beating until well combined. Scrape down the sides and paddle.
- Eggs, flour, vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Add flour, vanilla and salt.
- Add to crust. Spread cheesecake mixture over cooled graham cracker crust. Tap several times to release air bubbles and settle the batter.
- Water bath. Place your cheesecake in another, larger baking dish. Fill with water to half way up springform pan.
- Bake. Place in oven. If the top starts to brown, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Turn off oven. Turn off oven and vent door, allowing to cool naturally for about an hour.
- Chill. Remove from water bath, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for 8-24 hours.
- Make pecan pie layer. Melt butter over low heat in a medium skillet. Add brown sugar and heavy cream. Continue to stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Add chocolate chips until smooth.
- Add pecans and salt. Remove from heat, add pecans and Kosher salt, tossing until fully covered. Set aside to cool.
- Add on top of the cheesecake. Spoon over cheesecake before serving
Cheesecakes can be finnicky, so there aren’t many ways you can change this recipe up. But here are a few options:
- Pie crust – Instead of a graham cracker crust, try making an Oreo crust! The chocolate of the Oreos will really complement the chocolate in the traditional pecan pie filling.
- Maple syrup – Try adding a splash or real maple syrup to the cheesecake batter to bring even more warm, fall flavors to the table.
- Toppings – I like to top my pecan pie cheesecake with a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce. Fleur de sel will also add another element.
How to Serve Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Because this is obviously a dessert, I generally serve this cheesecake after Thanksgiving dinner. Because of the pecan pie-like quality to it, it’s especially great for serving at holidays like Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas.
Make-Ahead, Storage and Freezing
How Far In Advance Can You Make Cheesecake?
You can make cheesecake up to 2-3 days in advance, allowing it to set and develop flavors in the refrigerator. For the best results, refrigerate it for at least 4-6 hours or overnight before serving.
How Do You Store Cheesecake?
Store any leftover pecan pie cheesecake in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Be sure to store the pecan topping separately.
How Do You Freeze a Whole Cheesecake?
To freeze a whole cheesecake, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn, then place it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. Store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months for best quality.
How Do You Freeze a Slice of Cheesecake?
To freeze a slice of cheesecake, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, ensuring it’s tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn. Place it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag, and store it in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.
More Cheesecake Recipes
- Instant Pot Peanut Butter Cheesecake
- Berry Ricotta Cheesecake
- Grasshopper Cheesecake Bars
- Fried Cheesecake
- Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake
- Japanese Cheesecake
Pecan Pie Cheesecake Recipe
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper, then coat with cooking spray.
- Stir together graham crackers crumbs, brown sugar and Kosher salt until well combined.
- Add melted butter until fully combined. Press into bottom of springform pan.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool while you assemble the cheesecake layer.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and continue to beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and paddle.
- Incorporate dark brown sugar, beating until well combined. Scrape down the sides and paddle.
- Add eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
- Add flour, vanilla and salt.
- Spread cheesecake mixture over cooled graham cracker crust. Tap several times to release air bubbles and settle the batter.
- Wrap the bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil to prevent water bath from seeping in.
- Place your cheesecake in another, larger baking dish. Fill with water to half way up springform pan.
- Place in oven for 90 minutes. If the top starts to brown, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
- After 90 minutes, turn off oven and vent door, allowing to cool naturally for about an hour.
- Remove from water bath and take off aluminum foil wrap. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for 8-24 hours.
- To make pecan pie cheesecake, melt butter over low heat in a medium skillet.
- Add brown sugar and heavy cream. Continue to stir and heat over low heat until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture is smooth.
- Add chocolate chips until smooth.
- Remove from heat, add pecans and Kosher salt, tossing until fully covered. Set aside to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Spoon over cheesecake before serving.
- Garnish with Easy Caramel Sauce and Fleur de Sel.