Think of your favorite creamy cheesecake and then a nutty pecan pie - this pecan pie cheesecake is those two things combined! This cheesecake has a pecan graham cracker crust, cinnamon brown sugar filling and covered in a caramel pecan topping.
Now I love a pie for Thanksgiving, but sometime it's nice to mix it up! This pecan pie cheesecake is the perfect dessert for those who love pecan pie, and I swear they won't be missing that pie once they take a bite!
I've got some tricks on how to make a cheesecake without using a tricky water bath, so keep reading!
Why you'll love this pecan pie cheesecake!
- This cheesecake is based off of my apple crisp cheesecake, another delicious (and simple) dessert.
- It has a pecan graham cracker crust, though you can easily sub out the graham crackers for digestive biscuits.
- The filling is a simple brown sugar cinnamon creamy cheesecake filling.
- While the cheesecake cools, make an easy caramel on the stove, then stir in roasted pecans. Roasting your pecans will really bring out their flavor!
Graham Crackers: I have tested this recipe with both graham crackers and digestive biscuits!
Cream Cheese: make sure to use full fat cream cheese. If you're in Europe and your cream cheese comes in tubs, make sure to pat it down with a paper towel before using. Cream cheese in Europe has more moisture!
Sour Cream: this is going to give us that slightly tangy taste for the cheesecake!
Pecans: use crushed pecans for the crust and pecan halves for the topping.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Mix together your graham cracker pecan crust ingredients in a bowl, making sure all the graham cracker crumbs are moist! Pack down into a 9″ springform pan. I use the bottom of a measuring cup to do this, I also make sure it slightly goes up at the sides. Bake in a preheated oven (350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 325°Fahrenheit/160°Celsius. Make sure there is a rack in the middle of the oven and space at the bottom of the oven. Place a large roasting pan at the bottom of the oven.
Step 2: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese with the sugar and light brown sugar. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Beat on medium low speed until everything is combined.
Step 3: Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed and stopping as soon as each egg is combined. While doing this, put your kettle on to boil.
Step 4: Pour the cheesecake batter into the cooled crust. Tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles! Open the oven and pour the boiling water into your roasting tin (you want about an inch of water in there!). Then place the cheesecake on the middle rack, above the boiling water.
Bake for 55-65 minutes. Turn off the oven and crack the oven open (I use a wooden spoon to keep it open about an inch!) for an hour. After that hour, remove it from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. Place in the fridge overnight, then the next day you can remove it from the springform pan!
Step 5: While your cheesecake is cooling in the fridge, preheat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius. Pour the pecan halves on to a baking sheet or in a baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let them cool.
Step 6: In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the heavy cream, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until it sugar has melted. Once it starts to simmer, stop stirring and let it bubble away for 2 minutes (use a timer!). Take it off the heat and stir in the pecans. Let this cool down, then decorate your cheesecake with the pecan topping.
Baking Tips & Tricks
- Measuring – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake!
- Cream cheese in tubs – if your cream cheese comes in tubs and not packets, make sure to pat it down with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture!
- Water bath – you can still use a regular water bath if you prefer! I love the method that I use though because I don’t have to worry about water leaking into my springform pan. Placing the cheesecake just above the pan with water means it will still create a moist environment for the cheesecake to bake in.
- Room Temperature Ingredients – make sure all of your ingredients, especially the sour cream, eggs, and cream cheese are at room temperature before starting this recipe!
- Toasting Pecans - this step is optional but it really brings out the nutty flavors in the pecans and I recommend taking the time to do it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Make sure not to overbeat the cheesecake batter. Mix on low when you are adding the eggs and stop mixing as soon as the last egg is combined. If you mix too much then you are adding more air into the batter, which will lead it to crack. Cheesecakes are also likely to crack if you bake them for too long, so keep an eye on it while it's in the oven as all ovens are different!
By using this easier version of a water bath, we're creating steam in the oven. A moist environment is going to keep the cheesecake creamy and delicious instead of drying out.
Yes! The cheesecake does need a few hours in the fridge, so you can make it the day before. The day of you can make the pecan topping and pour that over just when you're about to serve the cheesecake.
I recommend storing this cheesecake in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the cheesecake slices.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
- 1 9" springform pan
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecans
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 32 ounces full fat cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup sour cream room temperature
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius. Spray your cheesecake pan with cooking spray, or grease it with butter, and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together graham cracker crumbs, chopped pecans, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Pour in melted butter and mix until all the crumbs are moist and there are no dry spots left.1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup finely chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, pinch salt, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to evenly press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes, it should be golden brown. Take out of the oven and let it cool. Lower the oven temperature to 325°Fahrenheit/160°Celsius. Make sure there is an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and space at the bottom of the oven free.
- Take out a pan or roasting tin and put the kettle on to boil. This will be for your water bath!
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and light brown sugar on the lowest speed.½ cup light brown sugar, 32 ounces full fat cream cheese, ½ cup sugar
- Add the sour cream, vanilla extract and cinnamon and mix again but on medium speed.1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ⅔ cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Add the eggs one at a time, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Make sure to only mix on low speed as we don't want too much air in the batter. Once you have added the final egg, stop the mixer as soon as it is combined.4 large eggs
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the cooled springform pan. Tap on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles.
- Take your roasting pan and pour in about 1 inch of boiling water. Carefully place it at the bottom of the oven, then place the cheesecake on the middle rack so it is just above the boiling water! Quickly close the oven door, this will keep trap any steam so your cheesecake can be nice and moist.
- Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes-15 minutes. Jiggle the pan and the middle might still be jiggling but the sides should be set.
- Turn off the oven and crack it open, I find it useful to place a spoon handle there to keep it open, for 1 hour. After 1 hour, take it out of the oven and let it come to room temperature. Take a small flexible rubber spatula to run it around the edges of the cheesecake to make sure it isn't sticking to the sides. Place the cheesecake in the fridge overnight to chill and set. I do not recommend wrapping the top of the springform pan with plastic wrap as this will cause condensation.
- Preheat your oven to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius. Pour your pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes to roast them, then let them cool.2 cups pecans
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the heavy cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Stir on medium low until the sugar has melted and it begins to boil. Stop stirring and leave it for 2 minutes (use a timer!). After 2 minutes, turn off the stove. Add the pecans and stir to cover the pecans in the caramel. Let this cool completely.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, ½ cup heavy cream, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Take the chilled cheesecake out of the fridge and remove it from the pan. Pour the cooled pecan topping on top and enjoy!