This no bake caramel pecan cheesecake is made with creamy vanilla cheesecake filling topped with roasted pecans and luscious caramel topping.
This cheesecake with caramel pecan topping is a delectable combination of classic creamy no bake cheesecake on top of a buttery graham cracker and pecan meal base. Topped with toasty roasted pecans and lashings of rich, sweet caramel topping, it may just be the perfect Fall dessert for the holiday season.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Perfect Fall flavors of pecans and caramel.
- Save room in the oven with this easy no-bake dessert.
- Make it ahead of time, leaving you more time spread with family during the holidays.
Pecans: an essential part of pecan caramel cheesecake. Look for whole-natural or roasted pecans.
Light brown sugar: also known as brown sugar. It adds some caramel notes to the cheesecake filling and to that all-important caramel!
Granulated sugar: also known as white sugar, it adds some sweetness to the cheesecake filling. You could also use castor sugar.
Vanilla extract: sometimes also called vanilla essence, depending on where you live. You can use either, or imitation vanilla essence, depending on your preference and budget.
Cream cheese: full fat cream cheese is best for this recipe for that classic creamy cheesecake taste. If you use light cream cheese it may not set properly.
Cream: I use thickened cream with a fat content of about 34%. You could also use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream which is similar.
Lemons: a dash of lemon juice helps balance the sweetness of the cream cheese. Fresh is best, I don't recommend bottled lemon juice.
Graham crackers: are a type of sweet plain cookies with wholegrain which are the classic cheesecake base. If you can't get Grahams you can use Digestives which are similar.
Unsalted Butter: because butter makes most things taste better. In this case it binds and sets the base.
How to make caramel pecan cheesecake
See the full recipe card at the end of the post for ingredient amounts and instructions.
To make the cheesecake base
Blitz the pecans for the base. Heat a dry clean skillet on medium heat. Add the blitzed pecans and stir till toasted, stirring well to prevent them from catching. As soon as it's done take it off the heat and transfer it to a heat-proof container as they can burn easily.
Grease and line your springform cheesecake pan. Break the graham crackers up and blitz them into crumbs in a food processor. Add the graham cracker crumbs to the toasted pecans and mix well.
Melt the butter in a microwave or in a pot on the stove. Add the butter to the crumbs and toasted pecan meal and mix well. Tip into the lined cake tin. Press down with the back of a spoon and chill for at least one hour, and up to twenty-four hours before filling. You want to press down enough for the base to hold together but not too firmly to your base will be too hard.
Hot tip: do not skip chilling the base. If it's too hot when you add the filling it can make the filling weep, resulting in a soggy cheesecake base. If you are pressed for time on the day you can make the base the day before and store it in the fridge.
How to make the no-bake cheesecake filling
Slice and juice the lemon. Beat the cream cheese briefly to soften it. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar to the room temperature cream cheese and beat on low until combined and the sugar has all dissolved. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat until combined.
Hot tip: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. This can take anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour depending on where you live. If your cream cheese is too cold it won't mix in properly and is one of the main causes of lumpy or grainy cheesecake.
In a separate bowl whip the cream until firm peaks form. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix and fold in until combined. Tip onto the chilled cheesecake base and smooth down with a spatula. Chill in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
How to make the caramel pecan topping for the cheesecake
Add the pecans for the cheesecake topping to a dry clean skillet on medium heat. Heat until toasted, tossing frequently. Once toasted remove from the pan immediately to prevent burning. Allow to cool.
Add the brown sugar and butter for the caramel to a small pot. Heat on medium and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the cream and heat on medium, stirring frequently until the caramel is thickened slightly. It will thicken more as it cools. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and stir well.
Once the cheesecake has set remove it from the tin and carefully peel back the parchment paper or acetate. Carefully slide a large knife between the base and parchment paper to loosen it, then transfer it to a serving plate or board. Smooth the edges with a spatula.
Hot tip: the pecans are prettier when left whole, but much easier to and nicer to eat if chopped up. This also makes the cheesecake easier to slice. I have done a little of both here by adding a pretty circle of whole pecans, then filing in with roughly chopped pecan. You can leave them all whole, or chop them up, as you prefer.
Separate out the whole and mostly whole pecans and arrange them in a circle around the edge of the cheesecake.
Roughly chop the rest of the pecans. Mix the caramel and chopped pecans then add to the center of the cheesecake and you're done!
How to serve
To serve this Philadelphia caramel pecan cheesecake pop it onto a plate, slice and enjoy! Fabulous on its own or with some extra caramel sauce drizzled over the top, delicious!
How to transport
If you are making this cheesecake to take for Thanksgiving or the holidays I recommend the following:
- Make the cheesecake two days in advance. This will give it even more time to set and reduce the chance of runny cheesecake.
- Transport the cheesecake in the springform tin in an ice chest. Make sure the cheesecake is well wrapped to protect it from the ice or cold packs in the chest. Take the roasted pecans and caramel topping separately.
- Once at your destination and you are ready to serve remove from the tin, smooth the sides with a spatula, then add the pecans and caramel sauce.
- If your caramel sauce has set too firmly to pour, heat it just enough so it becomes pourable. Do not overheat or it will become too runny and melt the top of your cheesecake.
How to store
You can store this pecan cheesecake with caramel sauce in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days.
Recipe tips and frequently asked questions
Can I make this with other types of cookies?
Yes if you can't get graham crackers you can use an alternative sweet cookie such as Digestives.
Can I make this with other types of nuts?
Pecan is the classic nut, but this would probably also work with walnuts or possibly brazil nuts or almonds. I haven't tested these variants so I could not for certain if they would work.
My caramel has set too hard
This can happen when you make the caramel in advance. Gently heat the caramel until it's just melted, then mix in the nuts and pour over the cheesecake.
Have you made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below and tag me on instagram so I can see your delicious creations! @keep_calm_and_eat_icecream
Looking for more yummy thanksgiving dessert recipes?
Why not try making
Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
- Spring form cake tin, 7" x 2.5" (18cm x 6.5cm)
- Electric hand held beaters or stand mixer
- immersion blender with chopping bowl attachment or food processor
- Parchment paper or acetate
For the cheescake base
- 1 & ⅓ cups (150gms) graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup (100 gms) pecans
- 1 cups (150gms) unsalted butter
For the cheesecake filling
- 2 x 8 ounce tubs (450gms total) full fat cream cheese
- ⅓ cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons (40gms) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup thickened cream
For the caramel pecan topping
- 1 cup (100gms) pecans
- ½ cup (110gms) light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (40gms) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (125mls) cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
To make the cheesecake base
- Line the base and sides of a springform tin with parchment paper.
- Finely chop the pecans for the base in a food processor until you have something that resembles almond meal.
- Heat a dry clean skillet on medium heat. Add the blitzed pecans and stir till toasted. Keep stirring well to prevent them from catching. As soon as they are done take it off the heat and transfer to a heat-proof container as they can burn easily.
- Break up the graham crackers and blitz briefly in a food processor into crumbs. Add the graham cracker crumbs to the toasted pecans and mix well.
- Melt the butter for the cheesecake base in a microwave or pot on the stove. Add the butter to the pecans and cracker crumbs and mix well.
- Tip the base mix into the lined tin. Press down with the back of a spoon. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour and upto twenty four hours before filling.
To make the cheesecake filling
- Slice and juice the lemon. Beat the room temperature creamchesse briefly to soften it.
- Add the brown and white sugar and beat on low until the sugar has fully dissolved. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until combined.
- In a different bowl whip the cream until firm peaks form. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix and fold until mixed in. Add to the chilled base and smooth down with spatula.
- Chilled in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- Once set remove from teh tin and carefully peel back the parchment paper. Transfer to a serving plate or boad, Smooht the edges with a spatula.
To make the caramel pecan topping
- Heat a skilllet on medium. Add the pecans for the cheesecake topping and heat until toasted. Once toasted remvoe from the skillet immediatly to stop them from burning.
- Add the brown sugar and butter to a small pot. Heat on the stove, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.
- Ad the cream and heat on medium for about five minutes, stiring frequently until the caramel thickens slightly (the sauce will thicken more as it cools).
- Add the lemon juice and vanilla and stir well. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.
- Separate out the whole and mostly whole pecans and arrange in a circle around the edge of the cheesecake. Roughly chop the rest of the pecans. Mix the caramel and the chopped pecans, add to the centre of the cheesecake and you're done!
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online database. The nutritional content of ingredients may vary by brand. If you require accurate nutritional information, you should calculate this based on the specific brands and products you are using.
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