This Pecan Pie Cheesecake features a tasty vanilla wafer crust, creamy cheesecake, and decadent pecan pie filling. This crowd-pleasing dessert is one of my favorite Thanksgiving pies that will delight your friends and family. They’ll beg you to make it again for Christmas!
Decadent Pecan Pie Cheesecake
When it comes to the holidays, nothing beats pie. But, when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert ideas, there is almost too much to choose from. Lucky for you, you don’t need to choose between two classic favorites!
Enter the best combination of flavors you’ll ever taste: creamy cheesecake layered on top of decadent pecan pie filling. This Pecan Pie Cheesecake recipe takes Thanksgiving pies to a whole new level.
First, a bit about the preparation. This is one of the simplest cheesecakes I’ve ever made. The crust is a breeze – only three ingredients. I tend to sacrifice full crust coverage up the sides for a thicker bottom crust, which gives a little more support to the two layers of this pie.
The cheesecake filling may seem a bit thin, but don’t worry. It always bakes up perfectly. With this low-and-slow baking method, there’s never a crack in site!
Even with several desserts to choose from at a holiday celebration, this one is pretty much always the most popular. Some of the comments I’ve heard around the table:
- “That’s the best cheesecake I’ve ever had!”
- “Don’t ever make any other cheesecake.”
- “Can we have this again for Christmas?”
I share these comments not to toot my own horn but to encourage you to make this cheesecake! I promise your guests will be just as happy with your efforts!
What You’ll Need
For the Crust
- Vanilla wafers – These will be finely crushed to form the base of our crust. You can also use a different cookie like graham crackers if you like.
- Brown sugar
- Unsalted butter – Melted
For the Pecan Pie Filling
- Granulated sugar
- Corn syrup – I like dark corn syrup here for its bold flavor, but you can use light if that’s what you have.
- Unsalted butter – Melted
- Eggs – These will mix more easily if they’re not straight from the refrigerator. Set them out before you being baking.
- Pecans – Finely chopped
- Vanilla extract
For the Cheesecake
- Cream cheese: Bring the cream cheese to room temperature for a smooth filling. Full-fat cream cheese works best.
- Brown sugar – Pack firmly in the measuring cup or measure by weight.
- All-purpose flour
- Eggs – Set these out along with the cream cheese.
- Heavy whipping cream – Don’t substitute, as this helps make the cheesecake creamy and rich.
- Vanilla extract
How to Make This Pecan Pie Cheesecake Recipe
To Make the Crust
- Preheat the Oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Using a food processor, grind up the vanilla wafers into small crumbs. Alternatively, you can place the cookies in a zip-top bag and crush them by hand with a heavy glass or a rolling pin. Combine the vanilla wafer crumbs and brown sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Add the butter. Melt the butter in the microwave and stir into the cookie mixture. Mix until fully combined.
- Press the crust into the springform pan. Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I like to make the bottom of my crust a little thicker to support the filling, so it doesn’t go all the way up the sides.
- Bake. Bake the crust for 6 minutes.
- Cool. Set the crust aside to cool while you make the filling.
To Make the Pecan Filling
- Combine the filling ingredients. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, eggs, chopped pecans, and vanilla in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until it’s thickened. You’ll need to stir the filling constantly so it doesn’t burn. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
- Pour over the crust. Pour the pecan filling over the crust and set it aside to cool.
For the Cheesecake
- Reduce the oven’s temperature. Reduce the oven to 325°F.
- Beat the cream cheese. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it’s light and creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients. Add the brown sugar and flour, and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. You want the egg to be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next one.
- Stir in the cream and vanilla. Add the heavy cream and vanilla to the batter and stir gently to combine. I like to do this by hand with a spatula so I don’t lose any of the volume that was just created.
- Add the filling to the crust. Pour the cheesecake over the pecan filling. You should have two distinct layers on top of the crust now.
- Bake. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour. Then, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for another hour. It’s important not to open the door so the residual heat continues to cook the cheesecake.
- Remove from the oven. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin knife around the edges to loosen it from the sides of the pan.
- Cool. Let the cheesecake cool completely on the counter.
- Chill. Chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours prior to serving. This will allow the pie to set completely and prevent any sticking when you release the springform pan.
- Serve. Prior to serving, release the springform pan and gently remove it from the cheesecake. Cut slices with a sharp knife and enjoy!
Tips for Success
Don’t let this Pecan Pie Cheesecake recipe intimidate you! Despite the long preparation time, the individual components are easy to make. Here are some tips to make your experience with this Thanksgiving dessert a memorable one.
- Toast the pecans. While this is 100% optional, toasted pecans give the pecan pie filling an added layer of flavor. It will only add a few moments to the preparation time. Chop your pecans and toast them in a dry pan (no oil) over medium-high heat. Be sure to stir/shake the nuts constantly, so they don’t burn. The nuts are toasted when they start to smell amazing and darken a bit in color.
- Make it in advance. If you’re making this pecan cheesecake as one of your Thanksgiving desserts, save yourself some stress and make it ahead of time. The pie can chill overnight in the refrigerator and be ready to serve the next day.
- No Water Bath? Unlike traditional cheesecake recipes, you won’t need a water bath with this one! Baking it low and slow will provide the same results without the fuss.
If you have leftover pecan pie cheesecake slices, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place the slices in an airtight container. If you’d rather keep the cheesecake in the springform pan, wrap the entire thing tightly in plastic and refrigerate.
Can I Freeze Pecan Pie Cheesecake?
Yes, you can freeze this cheesecake! After it has set in the refrigerator, remove the springform pan and wrap the cheesecake tightly with plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. You can do the same thing with individual slices that are leftover. Properly stored, the cheesecake can stay in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator prior to serving.