Pecan Pie Cheesecake with real pecan pie filling on top of a creamy cheesecake base.
Fall is officially upon us and I can think of no better way to celebrate than with apple pie cheesecake and pecan pie!
But not just any pecan pie, I'm talking about a pecan pie cheesecake. A rich creamy cheesecake topped with real pecan pie filling. Sounds incredible, doesn't it?
This recipe is a fun way to take two well-loved classics and combine them into one. It tastes so good, you'll want to make it all season long.
Don't let this recipe scare you. I know there are quite a few ingredients and the steps to making the cheesecake look overwhelming but it's really not that complicated.
Why this recipe works
- There's a lot of crust! This will help hold the filling and topping. Plus there are ground pecans in the crust for more flavor!!
- The batter for this recipe is from my basic cheesecake recipe. I scaled it back some so there would be room for the pecan pie filling on top. It gets baked for over a half-hour before adding the topping.
- The filling calls for rum but you could bourbon also. Or if you don't want to use alcohol, you can mix in vanilla extract instead. It bakes up gooey and sticky on top of the cheesecake. It's perfection!
Pecan Pie Cheesecake Recipe
This cheesecake got rave reviews with my taste testers. It has a creamy filling, crunchy crust, and ooey-gooey pecan pie topping.
I've retested the recipe, updated the process, and made a video with process shots to help you have success when making it. The biggest challenge is preventing the cheesecake from sticking inside the pan. Even with lining it and spraying it with nonstick spray, the topping seeped down and "glued" the springform together.
I tried so many different ways of baking it and the same thing happened every single time. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to avoid using all the syrup with the topping. I'll go over this in detail down below.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake Ingredients
While the ingredient list is long, most of the ingredients are used in multiple parts of the recipe. Go ahead and measure everything out to save time when putting the recipe together. Also, make sure to bring all the cold ingredients to room temperature before you begin baking.
- Graham crackers: You need 2 whole sleeves of graham crackers to make enough crumbs for the crust.
- Pecans: I used ground pecans in the crust and chopped pecans in the topping. Make sure the pecans are raw and unsalted.
- Sugar: Both granulated white sugar and brown sugar are used in the recipe. White sugar goes in the cheesecake filling. Brown sugar goes in the crust and topping. You can use light or dark brown sugar.
- Butter: Melted unsalted butter holds the crust together. Then butter also goes in the topping.
- Cream cheese: Use full-fat brick-style cream cheese for the best results.
- Sour cream: Full-fat sour cream is best. You could probably use Greek yogurt also but I haven't tested it.
- Vanilla extract: A high-quality pure vanilla extract will give the best flavor. It's used for both the filling and topping.
- Salt: Just a tad for flavor.
- Eggs: Eggs are used as binding in the cheesecake layer. They are also added to the topping to create a gooey pecan pie filling.
- Dark corn syrup: I prefer dark corn syrup but you can also use maple syrup.
- Rum: Rum or bourbon adds so much flavor to the topping. If you must avoid alcohol, you can use vanilla instead.
- Heavy cream: Heavy cream is added to the topping to help create the rich, gooey texture of pecan pie.
To bake this cheesecake you need:
- Springform pan: This recipe will completely fill a 9-inch springform pan.
- Electric mixer: You can use either a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer to make the cheesecake filling.
How to make pecan pie cheesecake?
There are several steps to making pecan pie cheesecake. You must first make the crust, then the filling followed by the topping. It takes time so make sure you plan ahead before starting this recipe.
The Crust - I used a scaled-up version of my usual graham cracker crust and added ground pecans. The crust is assembled and baked before the cheesecake filling is added.
The Filling - The filling is about half of my best cheesecake recipe. It gets baked for about 40 minutes before adding the topping.
The Topping - The topping is a from Joy of Baking. It's the best pecan pie filling I've tried.
Step 1: Make the crust
Start by pulsing the graham crackers and pecans in a food processor until finely ground. You can continue to mix the crust in the food processor or transfer the ground crackers and pecans to a mixing bowl.
Add brown sugar and melted butter to the ground graham crackers and pecans. Mix until everything is well mixed and resembles wet sand.
Line the inside bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan then wrap the bottom with tightly with foil.
There is a chance that some of the topping will seep down under the cheesecake and leak out of the pan. Wrapping it will foil will help prevent it from spilling in the bottom of your oven.
Press the crust tightly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. There's enough crust to work it pretty far up the sides. This will help hold topping once it's added.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes then set it aside to cool while you make the filling.
Step 2: Make the cheesecake filling
Using either a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it is smooth and creamy.
Then add sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium speed until you have a lush, creamy consistency. Lightly beat eggs and add them to the batter. Fold them in gently with a silicone spatula.
I use this method for adding eggs in every single one of my recipes. It helps prevent adding extra air which is the main cause of cracks in cheesecakes.
Spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the prepared crust and bake it for 40 minutes. The cheesecake will be just set enough to hold the filling without collapsing.
Typically, I'd recommend using a water bath for cheesecakes but it's really not necessary for this one since we are topping it with pecan pie filling.
Step 3: Make the pecan pie topping
Start on this step while the cheesecake is baking!
Melt brown sugar, dark corn syrup, rum, and butter together in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool while the cheesecake bakes.
After the cheesecake has baked for 40 minutes, remove it from the oven and continue with the making the topping.
Whisk eggs, heavy cream, and salt together in a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the slightly cooled syrup while whisking continuously until everything is well combined.
Stir in the chopped pecans making sure all the pecans are coated in the syrup.
Use a large spoon to gently spoon the topping over the cheesecake.
TIP: Don't add all the syrup! Spoon the pecans on first, then add just enough syrup to fill the crust. If the syrup goes above the crust, there's a high chance that it will leak down under the crust. This causes the crust to become runny and the syrup will "glue" the springform pan together.
Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for an additional 50 minutes. The top should look golden brown and crisp.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven an allow it to cool completely.
Pecan pie cheesecake does need to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before serving but it's better if you let it chill overnight.
When you are ready to serve it, remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter.
To cut the cheesecake, use a sharp knife and run it under hot water to warm the blade. Carefully wipe the water off the blade then make a cut in the cheesecake. Repeat this step with each cut and your slices should come out perfect.
TIP: I also recommend freezing the cheesecake for 1-2 hours before slicing it. Do this if you have time because a frozen cheesecake slices neater. Then allow the slices to thaw before serving. Thawing will only take about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Can pecan pie cheesecake be frozen?
Yes, it certainly can. After it has set in the refrigerator, remove the springform pan and wrap the cheesecake tightly with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil.
It can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw the frozen cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.
Tips for making pecan pie cheesecake
- As with all cheesecakes, this one needs time for preparation and refrigeration. Plan accordingly.
- No water bath is needed for this recipe. The cheesecake will remain creamy and any cracks that may form will be covered with the topping.
- Bake this cheesecake on the middle rack.