Pecan Pie Cheesecake
You’ll go nuts for a heavenly slice of Pecan Pie Cheesecake with a pecan graham cracker crust that combines two classic desserts into one sinful bite. Serve it as dessert for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
When I think of pie for the holidays, I often think of pecan pie. It’s a Thanksgiving alternative to pumpkin pie and a strong contender for Christmas dessert.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody I came up with Pecan Pie Cheesecake with a pecan graham cracker crust.
As the name states, it’s a cross between pecan pie and cheesecake.
The bottom is a homemade graham cracker crust with ground pecans.
In the middle is a classic cheesecake filling.
The topping is what you’d find in a pecan pie – pecans, corn syrup, and cream.
All together it makes a deliciously decadent Pecan Pie Cheesecake recipe.
And since cheesecake needs to sit overnight, you can bake it the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas then you’ll have one less recipe to make during the actual holiday.
What is pecan pie?
As the name states, pecan pie is pie crust filled with pecan nuts mixed with butter, sugar, and corn syrup.
It’s often a very sweet pie thanks to the sugar and corn syrup, so it’s usually a love it or leave it dessert. I have a big sweet tooth, so of course I’m all in.
Instead of pie crust, I made a cheesecake with pecan crust. Then I poured what is usually the pecan pie filling on top.
Ingredients For Pecan Pie Cheesecake
To make your easy pecan pie cheesecake, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Graham cracker crumbs: The most traditional crust for cheesecake. Use a food processor to finely chop your graham crackers.
- Pecans: You’ll need two types – finely ground for the crust and chopped for the topping. Use the food processor to finely grind the pecans then use a knife to chop the rest.
- Butter: Melted butter is used to bind the crust while tablespoons are used in the topping.
- Cream cheese: Use full-fat blocks of cream. Using whipped or low/no fat may result in a watery filling.
- Sugar: Balances tanginess of cream cheese
- Eggs: Gives the filling its custard-like texture as well as helps the batter to rise
- Vanilla: Enhances all of the other flavors
- Brown sugar: Helps sweeten the filling as well as adds caramelization
- Corn syrup: In addition to sweetening, corn syrup prevents sugar crystallization which means your topping won’t be grainy.
- Heavy cream: Helps loosen the topping you can pour it over the cheesecake
- Salt: Although pecans are salty, you’ll still want a little more salt to balance the flavors.
Can you substitute the corn syrup?
I get it. We’re raised to believe corn syrup is bad for you but the kind you buy at the store is not high fructose corn syrup. Really it’s just liquid sugar that helps prevent crystallization when baking.
Pecan pie is synonymous with corn syrup, so I highly recommend buying it and using it for best results. Please don’t leave it out.
If you can’t find it at the store, check next to the maple syrup. I often find it there and not in the baking aisle.
Which pan should I use to bake pecan pie cheesecake?
You always want to use a springform pan for cheesecake because it’s too fragile to flip out of a cake pan.
The springform pan allows you to remove the pan without damaging your dessert.
For this particular pecan pie cheesecake recipe, I recommend covering the outside of your pan with foil then placing it on a baking sheet. Because the pecan pie topping is liquidy, the pan may leak a bit.
How To Make Pecan Graham Cracker Crust
Typically cheesecakes are made with a graham cracker crust. Because we’re talking pecan pie cheesecake, I added ground pecans for some extra nuttiness. It’s subtle but it’s a nice touch.
The easiest way to make your pecan graham cracker crust is to use a food processor. This makes really fine crumbs that can easily bind together.
Don’t have a food processor? You can also crush them inside a freezer bag with a rolling pin.
Once your crumbs are ready, mix them with melted butter then pat into the bottom and roughly 2 inches up the side of a springform pan.
How To Make Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Before you get started, make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature. If they’re too cold, they’re more likely to seize up while mixing, creating a lumpy cheesecake batter.
Sometimes I’ll even microwave the cream cheese (without the aluminum wrapper!) for 5-10 seconds to ensure it’s not cold.
Here’s how to make your pecan cheesecake:
- Mix graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, and melted butter to make a crust then press into your springform pan.
- Beat cream cheese and sugar until super smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Beat in eggs one a time, being careful not to overbeat then add the vanilla. Transfer the batter to your crust then place a baking sheet.
- Whisk brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, and salt in a large saucepan then bring to a rolling boil.
- Cook for 3 minutes, whisking often to prevent bubbling over. Remove from the heat then stir in the vanilla and pecans. Pour over cheesecake.
- Bake at 350F for 45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 150F. The center will still jiggle slightly but will firm as it cools. It’s important you don’t overbake it as it’ll crack if baked too long.
- Cool completely then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 week.
Tips For A Lump Free Cheesecake
- Use room temperature cream cheese. It should not be cold to the touch. If it’s been sitting at room temperature and still a touch cold, you can carefully microwave it in 5-10 second increments (without the foil wrapper! Do not microwave the foil wrapper).
- Use a cream cheese brand you trust. I’m not endorsing any brands here, but I usually have better luck with Philadelphia cream cheese than store brand cream cheese. Feel free to try out different brands until you find one you like.
- Use room temperature eggs. Nothing will ruin your batter more than cold eggs. If needed, warm them up in some water while they sit on the counter.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake FAQ
Yes! This recipe would work well with walnuts, almonds, or even pistachios.
Don’t overbake your cheesecake. Use a digital thermometer to ensure it bakes to 150F.
Yes, you can make your cheesecake up to 2 days ahead of time.
No, you don’t need a water bath for this particular recipe!
More Cheesecake Recipes
Enjoyed this recipe for pecan pie cheesecake? Here are more flavors to make:
- German Chocolate Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Carrot Cake Cheesecake
- Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Peppermint Cheesecake
- Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely ground pecans
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 24 ounces (3 blocks or 24 tablespoons) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature and not cold to the touch (do not sub fat free)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pecan Pie Topping
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350F. Cover the outside bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with foil then place on a baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, and melted butter. Pat into the bottom and roughly 2 inches up the side of the pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, for 1 minute each.
- Add the vanilla then beat for an additional 1-2 minutes. Spread the batter into the crust.
- Next, make the topping: In a large saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
- Once boiling, cook about 3 minutes, whisking often to prevent bubbling over. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and pecans.
- Pour the topping over the cheesecake then bake 45 minutes. or until the internal temperature reaches 150F. The center will still jiggle but will firm as it cools.
- Cool 1 hour in the pan then carefully run a knife along the edge to loosen the cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the pan side before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
First published on November 14, 2016