Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Pecan pie cheesecake is a two-for-one dessert that everyone goes crazy for. Buttery pecans are incorporated in both the crust and topping for maximum pecan pie flavor!
This pecan pie cheesecake combines the best of both classic desserts!
The graham cracker crust is infused with pecans for both flavor and texture. The creamy filling is a spin on my signature homemade cheesecake, but with some brown sugar and cinnamon for more flavor. The topping tastes like pecan pie, but it’s incredibly simple to mix together and cooked for just a few minutes on the stove.
This would be a fabulous Thanksgiving cheesecake that few would expect to see on the dessert table. It can be made a day or two in advance, so all you’d need to do is remove it from the pan and serve!
What You Need
Before beginning this recipe, make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature for best results. Also note that full-fat ingredients are a must for the creamiest, richest pecan cheesecake!
I’ve listed all of the ingredients and exact measurements in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here are the key items you’ll need on hand:
- Sugar: This recipe uses a mix of granulated and brown sugar for maximum flavor! You can use either light or dark brown sugar, both work great in this recipe.
- Cinnamon: The cinnamon adds a little extra flavor to both the filling and topping. While it’s technically optional, I highly recommend using it.
- Pecans: I recommend buying a bag of pecan halves. You will be chopping some for the crust and using the rest for the topping.
- Sour Cream: Breaks up the heaviness of the cream cheese and makes for a smoother, creamier cheesecake filling. If you don’t have any on hand or can’t find it, you can replace it with an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt.
- Heavy Cream: Should be at least 36% fat. You must use heavy cream to make the pecan topping otherwise it won’t set up properly.
How to Make Pecan Pie Cheesecake
This decadent cheesecake has three layers (the crust, filling, and topping), so it does require a little extra TLC than your average cheesecake. However, each recipe step is easy to follow.
Make the Pecan Graham Cracker Crust
- Add the graham cracker crumbs, chopped pecans, sugar, and melted butter to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine (the crumbs should all be moistened).
- Spoon the crust mixture into a 9-inch springform pan lined with a parchment paper circle and press firmly down. I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to make sure it’s really packed into the pan.
- Bake the crust at 325ºF for about 10 minutes, then set aside while you make the filling.
Prepare the Cheesecake Filling
- Before you make the filling, set a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. This will be used for your water bath later on.
- To make the cheesecake filling, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.
- Stop and scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl, then mix in the sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and lightly beat them with a fork. Then, mix in the lightly beaten eggs into the filling until just combined. Make sure not to over mix the eggs at this point! This can incorporate more air into your filling which can cause the cheesecake to crack.
- Wrap the springform pan containing the pre-baked crust with aluminum foil, then place it in a large oven bag (you’ll need to fold down the sides of the oven bag so the pan rests comfortably in it). Once the pan is ready, pour the cheesecake filling on top of the crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter and use a toothpick to remove any air bubbles.
- Place the wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan. Add the boiling water you started earlier to the roasting pan, just until the springform pan sits in roughly 1 inch of water. For more details on how to do this step, I highly recommend referring to the recipe video.
- Bake the cheesecake until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is just slightly jiggly. Turn off the oven, crack the door, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour. This will allow the cheesecake to cool slowly and prevent it from sinking or cracking.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before covering and refrigerating it overnight.
Make the Pecan Pie Topping
- Spread the pecan halves evenly on a baking sheet and toast at 350ºF (180°C) or until they are fragrant.
- Slice the butter and place it into a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until melted, then stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir in the heavy cream, then remove from heat and stir in the pecans and vanilla. Let the topping cool for about 20 minutes before pouring over the chilled cheesecake.
The assembled cheesecake should be covered tightly and stored in the fridge. It will last up to four days.
You can also freeze the cheesecake without the pecan topping. When ready to eat the frozen cheesecake, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and make the topping the day you plan on serving it.
If you’re prepping this recipe before a big gathering, such as Thanksgiving, I recommend making the cheesecake a day or two ahead of time and quickly making the pecan topping the day-of. That way you can ensure the presentation is prettiest and the topping is fresh.
- For best results, bring all of your ingredients to room temperature before making the filling (eggs, sour cream, cream cheese). Using cold ingredients may result in a lumpy filling.
- While an oven bag isn’t necessary for the water bath, it does provide extra reassurance that water doesn’t leak into your pan while the cheesecake is baking in the oven. I use Reynolds oven bags and they always work great!
- Don’t shortchange the cooling process after the cheesecake has finished baking. It needs to cool first in the oven, then on your counter, before being chilled.
- I recommend adding the slightly cooled topping right before serving. If you chill it on top of the cheesecake it tastes fine, but it will firm up and won’t be as pretty.
More Cheesecake Recipes To Try!
- No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Mini Cheesecakes
- Banana Pudding Cheesecake
- Basque Cheesecake
- Classic No-Bake Cheesecake
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Pecan Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs (120 grams)
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans (60 grams)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (65 grams)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (70 grams)
- 32 ounces brick-style cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream room temperature (230 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (100 grams)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
Pecan Pie Topping
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (85 grams)
- ⅔ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (135 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
- Combine the crushed graham cracker crumbs, chopped pecans, and granulated sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add the melted butter and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened.
- Scoop the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan and firmly press it down into one even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely while you make the filling.
- To make the filling: Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil for the water bath before getting started with the filling. Keep the oven temperature at 325°F (163°C).
- 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 on low-medium speed until smooth. Add the sour cream and mix until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pure vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- In a separate small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the beaten eggs to the mixing bowl with the cheesecake filling and mix on low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to turn the filling a few times to make sure everything is fully mixed together. Set aside.
- Wrap the springform pan with the pre-baked graham cracker crust in aluminum foil, then place it 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 the roasting pan. Add the boiling water you started before the filling to the roasting pan until it is about 1-inch deep.
- Transfer the roasting pan with the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 65 to 75 minutes or until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is still very 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 and transfer to the refrigerator to chill overnight (or at least 6 hours).
- To make the pecan pie topping: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans evenly onto the baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside to cool completely.
- Slice the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and place it in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for one minute.
- Quickly stir in the heavy cream, then remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and toasted pecans.
- Transfer to a heat-safe bowl and allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before topping the cheesecake.