Creme Brulee Cheesecake is a thick, rich and creamy vanilla bean cheesecake with a classic graham cracker crust. This decadent cheesecake is topped with a beautiful golden brown bruleed sugar crust. Make this brulee cheesecake the next time you need a simple, stunning and celebratory dessert.
Why Should You Make This Recipe
I have a few cheesecake recipes on the blog that I absolutely adore. My Cranberry Cheesecake, Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake, Coffee Cheesecake and San Sebastian Cheesecake are all incredibly delicious and creamy cheesecake recipes. I know you’ll love this Creme Brulee Cheesecake recipe because:
- Super simple to make. From start to finish, you can prep this wonderfully easy brulee cheesecake in about 20 minutes. Once everything is prepped, just bake, cool, chill and brûlée the cheesecake.
- A delightful contrast of flavors and textures. From the brown sugar graham cracker crust and the flecks of vanilla bean inside the rich, creamy and custard like cheesecake filling, to the crunchy burnt sugar brûée top that shatters when cut, this Creme Brulee Cheesecake will delight all your senses.
- You love showstopper desserts. It’s not everyday that you get dessert and a show all in one recipe. Right before serving this decadent vanilla cheesecake, top the cheesecake with sugar and use a culinary torch to caramelize the sugar into a gorgeous burnt sugar shell.
This easy Creme Brulee Cheesecake requires only a handful of ingredients to make and you probably already have them in your pantry and fridge. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy creamy burnt sugar cheesecake.
- Graham Cracker Crust: Gather graham crackers, light brown sugar and melted butter.
- Creme Brulee Cheesecake: Gather cream cheese, sugar, vanilla bean paste, sour cream, heavy cream and eggs.
Here are my recommended substitutions to make this Creme Brulee topped cheesecake with if you need them.
- Graham Crackers: This is a classic crust in every vanilla cheesecake. Use any brand or type of cookie you like.
- Melted Butter: This is essential to hold the cookie cracker crust together. Use salted or unsalted.
- Cream Cheese: This brûléd cheesecake is made with full fat Philadelphia cream cheese. It is important to use full fat versus reduced fat for this baked cheesecake recipe. I personally love using Philadelphia for all my cheesecake recipes, but feel free to use any brand you like. Mascarpone cheese would be the easiest substitute for cream cheese.
- Heavy Cream and Sour Cream: I love using a combination of both in my cheesecakes. The sour cream adds richness and a touch of tanginess. Heavy cream adds richness without the extra tangy flavor of the sour cream. Feel free to substitute one for the other if you are missing either one.
- Granulated Sugar: For an easy refined sugar free option use maple sugar.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: Use vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean paste. The flavors will remain the same without the flecks of vanilla bean.
- Salt: Just a pinch of salt rounds out the overall flavor of the cheesecake.
- Eggs: Eggs and an egg yolk hold the cheesecake filling together. The extra yolk brings a touch more richness to the cheesecake. This recipe has not been tested without eggs or egg substitutes.
How To Make
Learn how to make creme brulee cheesecake in a few easy steps.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Lightly grease and line the bottom of the springform pan. Press the crust along the bottom of a 9” springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven to cool on a cooling rack. When it is time to fill the pan with cheesecake filling, place the springform pan inside of a 10” cake pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F (163 C).
- In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese on low until very smooth. On low, beat in the sugar until well combined. On low beat in the heavy cream, sour cream and vanilla bean paste until smooth and well combined. On the lowest speed, mix in the eggs, one at a time until combined.
3. Pour the creamy vanilla cheesecake filling into the prepared cookie crust. Then place the cheesecake into a large roasting pan filled with very hot water.
- Bake for 65-75 minutes. After baking, turn the oven off, crack the oven door and leave the cheesecake to cool inside the cooling oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, the water bath and the larger 10” cake pan. Place the springform pan on a cooling rack to cool the cheesecake at room temperature for 1 additional hour. Once completely cooled, transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours.
- When it is time to serve, pull the cheesecake out of the fridge. Top the cheesecake with a layer of sugar. Carefully ignite a culinary torch and brulee the sugar into a caramelized shell on top of the cheesecake.
How To Serve, Store, Freeze and Thaw
- Serve: Serve this cheesecake with creme brulee topping with fresh fruit or with a more traditional Strawberry Glaze on the side.
- Store: Keep this creme brulee vanilla cheesecake wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in mind that the brûléed sugar top will soften a bit while sitting in the fridge. The flavor of the caramelized sugar will remain. However, the crunchy texture of the burnt sugar will soften.
- Freeze: Wrap the entire baked cheesecake in plastic wrap and foil. Store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Alternatively, slice the cheesecake into pieces, wrap in plastic warp and store in an airtight and freezer safe container. Do not brulee the top of the cheesecake if you plan on freezing the cheesecake. Save this step for right before serving.
- Thaw: Transfer the frozen cheesecake to the fridge to thaw overnight. If you plan to freeze the cheesecake, I recommend topping the cheesecake with the creme brulee topping right before serving.
M’s Expert Tips
- Use a 10” cake pan instead of foil. This is a foolproof way to bake the best Creme Brulee Cheesecake without worrying about preventing a soggy bottom. Check out this article from Bake From Scratch for other options to prepare a cheesecake for a water bath.
- Bring all other cold ingredients to room temperature: This allows the ingredients to mix together more evenly. Depending on the temperature of my kitchen, I pull my cream cheese and eggs out about 1 - 2 hours before starting the recipe.
- Helpful tip: If the cream cheese is still too cold to easily cream into a smooth even texture, heat up a damp dish towel in the microwave for 30 - 45 seconds. Carefully remove the towel and wrap it around the bottom of the mixing bowl. Mix the cream cheese on low. The heat from the towel will soften the cream cheese while it’s mixing.
- Go low and slow: Mix the ingredients at the lowest speed and just until they are mixed well. This is especially true after the eggs have been added.
- Give the cheesecake time to cool down properly. This is the easiest way to ensure a perfect cheesecake.
- Make sure to chill the cheesecake cake for at least 6 hours. Chilling this creamy and decadent cheesecake for less time could result in filling that isn’t properly set.
Yes, traditional creme brulee is essentially custard that has been baked to set. Then a layer of sugar is sprinkled on top and is torched to caramelize the sugar into a harden shell. This provides the signature crack when the shell is broken.
This classic french dessert is baked custard with a hard shell on top made from caramelized or burnt sugar. This creme brulee cheesecake recipe is inspired by that classic french dessert.
Very similarly to this creme brulee cheesecake, traditional creme brulee is made from heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar vanilla and salt.
Yes cheesecake can melt. Make sure to keep the cheesecake in the fridge until it's time to serve. Depending on the room temperature, cheesecake can sit out for 2 - 4 hours, but keep in mind the cheesecake will soften a lot while sitting out. If the top of the creme brulee cheesecake melts a bit after caramelizing the sugar on top, transfer the cheesecake back to the fridge for 15 -20 minutes.
Other Cheesecake Recipes to Try
If you try this Creme Brulee Cheesecake Recipe please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Doing so helps other readers decide if this is a great recipe to bake. Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram using @olivesnthyme so I can see what you’re baking! Happy Baking! - M
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Recipe
- 1 parchment paper
- 1 food processor or ziplock bag
- 1 10-inch cake pan to replace foil for water bath
- 1 stand mixer with paddle attachment or electric hand mixer with beaters
- 1 small pot or kettle for boiling water
- 1 large roasting pan for water bath
- 1 culinary torch
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups crushed graham crackers about 9 - 10 sheets
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
Creme Brulee Cheesecake
- 4 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (180 g) sour cream, room temperature
- ¼ cup (59 ml) heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla bean paste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 - 3 tablespoons (25 - 38 g) granulated sugar for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Pour water in a small pot and place the pot on the stove. Lightly grease and line the bottom of the springform pan. If you would like, line the sides of the cheesecake pan as well.
- Make the graham cracker cookie crust by processing graham crackers in a food processor to mostly fine crumbs. Pulse to combine the sugar and melted butter until the mixture clumps together. Press the cookie crust along the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.2 cups crushed graham crackers, 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted, 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven to cool on a cooling rack. When it is time to fill the pan with cheesecake filling, place the springform pan inside of a 10 inch cake pan. This takes the place of foil for the water bath. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F (163 C).
- In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese on low until very smooth. Scrape the bowl as needed. On low, beat in the sugar until well combined. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl again. The cream cheese will look smooth and more glossy. On low beat in the heavy cream, sour cream and vanilla bean paste and salt until smooth and well combined.4 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, room temperature, 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, ¾ cup (180 g) sour cream, room temperature, ¼ cup (59 ml) heavy cream, room temperature, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla bean paste, ¼ teaspoon salt
- On the lowest speed, mix in the eggs and yolk, one at a time until combined. Do not mix more than is needed to fully incorporate the eggs. Pour the creamy vanilla cheesecake filling into the prepared cookie crust.3 large eggs, room temperature, 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- If you haven’t done so yet, place the springform pan into a larger 10 inch cake pan. Then place the cheesecake into a large roasting pan filled with very hot water.
- Carefully place the roasting pan with the cheesecake into the oven to bake for 65 - 75 minutes. The cheesecake is finished baking with the edges are set and the center has a jiggle similar to jello. After baking, turn the oven off, crack the oven door and leave the cheesecake to cool inside the cooling oven for 1 hour. I use a spoon to crack the oven door during this time. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, the water bath and the larger 10 inch cake pan.
- Place the springform pan on a cooling rack to cool the cheesecake at room temperature for 1 additional hour. Run a butter knife along the edges to loosen any cheesecake stuck to the pan. Once completely cooled, cover the pan in plastic wrap and transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours.
- When it is time to serve, pull the cheesecake out of the fridge. Top the cheesecake with a layer of sugar. I prefer to use superfine sugar. Carefully ignite a culinary torch. Using a slow and steady sweeping motion, brulee the sugar into a golden brown caramelized shell on top of the cheesecake. If the creme brulee cheesecake has softened a bit, place it back into the fridge for 15 - 20 minutes to reset the top part of the cheesecake. Serve with fresh fruit if you like, slice and enjoy!2 - 3 tablespoons (25 - 38 g) granulated sugar for topping