Rich, creamy, and decadent, this chocolate cheesecake recipe is easy to make, but the final product looks so elegant. Top with chocolate ganache and chocolate shavings for triple the chocolate flavor!
This homemade chocolate cheesecake recipe is a chocolate lover’s dream. It features an Oreo cookie crust, a rich and creamy chocolate filling, and an optional chocolate ganache topping.
Best of all, it’s a show-stopping cheesecake that looks elegant but is secretly easy to make!
Chocolate cheesecake is a great make-ahead dessert for holiday parties, birthdays, and special family gatherings. You can prepare it the night before and enjoy stress-free entertaining the next day.
This easy chocolate cheesecake recipe has two main components: the Oreo cookie crust and the chocolate filling. The chocolate ganache and chocolate shavings on top are technically optional, but I’ve linked the ganache recipe I used in the recipe card below.
Let’s quickly go over the ingredients list before we discuss the recipe in more detail:
- Oreos: You can use regular or Double Stuf Oreos. There’s no need to remove the cream filling either.
- Butter: Binds the crushed Oreos together to create the crust.
- Semisweet chocolate: Be sure to use bars of chocolate and avoid chocolate chips. I really love Bakers or Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate bars.
- Espresso powder: This is optional, but highly recommended! The cheesecake will not taste like coffee, the espresso powder just enhances the flavor of the chocolate and makes the cheesecake even more chocolatey.
- Cream cheese: You’ll want to use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese for this recipe. Make sure it’s been softened to room temperature.
- Granulated sugar: To sweeten the chocolate filling. You don’t want to add too much sugar, as the chocolate is also quite sweet.
- Cocoa powder: Be sure you’re using unsweetened cocoa powder. If your cocoa powder has lumps in it, you may want to sift it first using a fine mesh sieve.
- Sour cream: Breaks up the heaviness of the cream cheese, which results in a smoother filling.
- Heavy cream: Do not try to substitute with a lower fat alternative like half and half or whole milk. Also, make sure the cream is at room temperature before starting this recipe.
- Salt: A little salt balances out the sweetness of the filling and enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Vanilla extract: I prefer using pure vanilla extract in my baked goods.
- Eggs: Bring the eggs to room temperature and beat them lightly with a fork prior to adding them to the filling.
How to Make Chocolate Cheesecake
Making homemade cheesecake may seem intimidating, but this recipe is broken down into easy-to-follow steps. First, you’ll need to make the Oreo cookie crust:
Add the Oreos to a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs.
Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl and mix in the melted butter.
Scoop the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan and press it down into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
Next, you’ll need to prepare the cheesecake filling. I’ve provided lots of useful tips and tricks in the recipe card below for making the filling and baking the cheesecake.
Before making the filling, set a large pot of water to boil. This will be used to make a water bath later on.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped semisweet chocolate, stir in the espresso powder, and set it aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder on medium speed until smooth and well combined.
Add the sour cream, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla and mix until fully combined.
Mix in the melted chocolate until no lumps remain and the mixture is completely smooth.
Add four lightly beaten eggs and mix on low speed until just combined. You want to avoid over mixing the eggs, as this can incorporate more air into your cheesecake and either cause it to fall or crack.
When making the cheesecake filling, be sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. You want to make sure the ingredients are all evenly incorporated into the batter. I like using a rubber spatula for this.
The final stage of this recipe is actually baking the cheesecake. To ensure the cheesecake bakes through evenly and doesn’t crack, you’ll need to create a water bath prior to placing the pan in the oven.
Wrap the cooled springform pan containing the Oreo crust in two layers of aluminum foil, then place into a large oven bag. Fold the oven bag down the sides of the springform pan. This will prevent any water from leaking into your pan as it bakes in the oven.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan. I like to tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to bring any air bubbles to the top, then use a toothpick to remove them.
Carefully place the wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan.
Place the pan into the oven on the middle rack.
With the rack pulled out, carefully and slowly add the boiling water until it is about 1 inch deep.
Bake until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. I usually bake mine for 65 minutes.
Turn the oven off, crack the door slightly, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the warm oven for 1 hour. This will allow the cheesecake to cool slowly and prevent any cracks.
After the cheesecake has cooled for 1 hour in the oven, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely to room temperature.
Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight.
To make a triple chocolate cheesecake, I recommend topping your masterpiece with my homemade chocolate ganache. The ganache is made with just two ingredients — chocolate and heavy cream — and is the perfect finishing touch for this easy cheesecake recipe.
The ganache is optional though, and the chocolate cheesecake tastes just as delicious without it. However, the ganache is a good idea to keep in mind in case your cheesecake develops cracks while baking.
How to Store Cheesecake
This cheesecake may be stored, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to five days. It also freezes well if wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap and sealed in a freezer bag.
Frozen cheesecake will last up to three months. When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw overnight in the fridge.
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
Yes! In fact, cheesecake is actually best when made ahead of time. The cheesecake will need to chill at least five hours in the fridge before it can be served, but you can make it 1 to 2 days in advance.
Can I Make Mini Cheesecakes?
I’ve only made this recipe as written, but I imagine you could make mini chocolate cheesecakes with it if desired. This recipe will probably make around 24 mini cheesecakes, so feel free to cut the recipe in half to make less. I recommend using my classic mini cheesecakes recipe as a guide for assembling and baking the mini cheesecakes.
- I garnished this cheesecake with my homemade chocolate ganache recipe. You can feel free to leave it off or top it with some homemade whipped cream instead.
- I used Oreos to make the cookie crust, but you may use any chocolate sandwich cookie you’d like. You can even use gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies if needed.
- To keep cheesecake slices beautiful, dip a sharp knife in hot water, carefully pat dry with a towel, then slice!
More Easy Cheesecake Recipes to Make!
For the crust:
- 24 Oreos (regular or Double Stuf)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled (60 grams)
For the filling:
- 12 ounce semi-sweet chocolate bars roughly chopped (340 grams)
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder optional
- 32 ounces brick-style cream cheese softened to room temperature (905 grams)
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (22 grams)
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream at room temperature (240 grams)
- ¼ cup heavy cream at room temperature (60 ml)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
- To make the Oreo crust: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Add the Oreos to a blender or food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Scoop the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the melted butter. Mix together until all of the crumbs are moistened.
- Scoop the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan and firmly press it down into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
- Bake at 325°F (163°C) for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while you make the filling.
- To make the cheesecake filling: Set a large pot of water to boil for the water bath before getting started with the filling. Alternatively, heat water in a kettle or hot water boiling device.
- Add the chopped semisweet chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between each one, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the espresso powder and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder on medium speed until smooth and well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and mix until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the melted chocolate on medium speed until no lumps remain and the mixture is completely smooth, then mix in the eggs on low speed until just combined.
- To bake the cheesecake: Wrap the cooled springform pan with the pre-baked Oreo crust in 2 layers of aluminum foil, then place into a large oven bag. Fold the oven bag down the sides of the springform pan.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan and smooth it out into one even layer. Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to bring any air bubbles to the top, then use a toothpick or skewer to remove any large air bubbles and smooth them out.
- Carefully place the wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan or 12” cake pan with high sides.
- Place the pan into the oven on the middle rack. With the rack pulled out, carefully and slowly add the boiling water you started before the filling into the roasting pan until it is about 1-inch deep.
- Bake at 325°F (163°C) for 65 to 70 minutes or until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door slightly, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the warm oven for 1 hour.
- After the cheesecake has cooled for 1 hour in the oven, remove it from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 5 to 6 hours or overnight.
- Run a thin knife around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, carefully release the springform pan, then slice into pieces, serve, and enjoy!