Apple Pecan Cheesecake: It’s Better Than Pie!
Every year when fall rolls around, my family requests this apple pecan cheesecake recipe. It’s the perfect autumn cheesecake, made with a graham cracker crust, apples, pecans, cinnamon, and brown sugar. If you’re over pumpkin pie and looking to switch it up, give this recipe a try!
I also make this apple pecan cheesecake every Thanksgiving and, without fail, every year, it’s eaten within the blink of an eye. It doesn’t matter how much you may love your apple pie, you will try a slice of this easy apple cheesecake and come back for more.
While most people love a good cheesecake and graham cracker crust, it’s really the apple topping that makes this dessert oh-so-addictive.
The topping tastes like candied apples with toasted pecans. It could almost be described as a toffee apple cheesecake because of that sticky caramelization on top.
Heck, you could turn this into a real caramel apple cheesecake by drizzling the top with caramel sauce too. I’m here to tell you though, that even if you don’t, you’ll still have a finger-licking good dessert on your hands!
You can use any variety of apples to make the topping, but I recommend sticking to the sweeter apples like honey crisp, gala, fuji, and golden.
You could throw in a small granny smith apple into the bunch if you wanted to, but honestly, I think this is the time to go sweet with your apples rather than tart.
The apples get peeled and diced, then tossed with pecan pieces, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It’s a really simple topping recipe, but it makes a big impact with this cheesecake.
The actual cheesecake batter is very similar to a classic New York cheesecake recipe. The only swap is that we use brown sugar in this apple pecan cheesecake vs. your classic granulated white sugar.
The graham cracker crust is also very common among cheesecake recipes and is made practically the same way with the slight addition of a 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon. That little bit of cinnamon adds to the delicious fall aroma and flavor of this apple pecan cheesecake.
Perhaps best of all is that you never have to worry about someone else bringing the same kind of dessert as you to Thanksgiving dinner. While apple and pumpkin pies are common, this apple pecan cheesecake is a unique gem that your family and friends will love!
I have a few tips that you can use to help you get a perfect cheesecake, whether you’re making this apple pecan cheesecake or any other kind of cheesecake:
- Make sure you always use room temperature cream cheese when you’re making your cheesecake batter. If your cheesecake is too cold, you’ll get a lumpy batter that you’ll be tempted to over-mix to try and get smooth (see next tip).
- Don’t over-mix your cheesecake batter. This is a tip that can be applied to any type of cake as over-mixing results in a dense cake. Mix just until your ingredients are blended together.
- Let your cheesecake cool for at least 1 hour in the springform pan before releasing the sides of the pan. By this point, your cheesecake will have cooled a bit and shrunk away from the sides of the pan, allowing for a clean release.
Apple Pecan Cheesecake
A rich and creamy cheesecake topped with a delectable brown sugar, apple-pecan topping.
For the Crust
- 1 1/2 cups of honey graham crackers crumbs
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan, melted
For The Filling
- 2 blocks of cream cheese, 16 oz. total, must be room temperature
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
For the topping
- 2 cups of diced apples, peeled + cores removed
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 6 tbsp pecan pieces
- Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease a 10” springform pan with softened butter (optional: also line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper for easier removal).
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour the melted butter in and use a rubber spatula to mix everything until all the crumbs are coated in butter.*
- Pour the graham cracker mixture into your springform pan and spread evenly through the pan. Use a flat-bottom cup to completely smooth out the crust. Bake the crust for approximately 10 minutes.
To create the filling
- Cream the cheese and sugar together on low speed, just until combined. Add the sour cream and again mix until combined.
- Pour the vanilla extract in and mix on medium-low speed before adding in your eggs. Mix only until everything is blended in, stopping to scrape mixture off the sides of the bowl. You do not want to over mix your cheesecake batter.
Create the topping and Assemble
- Take the graham cracker crust out of the oven to cool for at least 15 minutes. While crust cools, create your topping. Toss the diced apples, sugar, cinnamon, and pecans together so that apples and pecans are evenly coated in mixture.
- Pour the cheesecake batter onto the prepared graham cracker crust before distributing the topping all over the top of the cheesecake.
- Bake for about 60 to 75 minutes, or until the center of cheesecake is only slightly jiggly and the topping is nicely browned. Use a sharp knife to slide along the edges of the pan to prevent the cheesecake from sticking to the pan as it cools.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. After, release the sides of the springform pan, gently sliding the ring upward and off the cheesecake. Keep the cheesecake resting on the bottom portion of the pan. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours prior to serving.
If you're using graham crackers, pulse the graham crackers in a food processor to create crumbs. Alternatively, you can place the graham crackers in a big ziplock bag and roll a rolling pin over the crackers to crush them into crumbs.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 10 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490
Made this for Thanksgiving dessert and it was a huge hit, even my pickiest guests ate their entire piece! Wonderful texture and flavor. I was concerned about not baking in a water-bath, but it was great cooked just per instructions. One thing I did change was to add approx. 3 Tablespoons of flour to the apple/sugar/spice mixture as I was concerned about the apples putting out water and making the top of the cheesecake overly wet.