Bourbon Caramel Swirl Cheesecake is wonderfully rich, sweet, and bold. Caramel and bourbon are a perfect pair for a really amazing dessert!
I tend to think of cheesecakes as seasonal. Sure, I make plenty of no-bake cheesecakes during the summer, but I feel like the amount of oven time required for baked cheesecakes makes them a better candidate for cooler weather. Add in some caramel and a little bourbon, and this cheesecake is definitely made for fall and winter.
The recipe for this cheesecake evolved a bit as I was testing it. I had originally envisioned a topping for it, but one taste was enough to assure me that it didn’t need another thing. I added just an extra drizzle of caramel when serving, and that was plenty of embellishment.
I used a store-bought caramel sauce for the caramel swirl. If you have a homemade caramel you prefer, then feel free to use that instead. Whether you use regular or salted caramel is up to you. The salty flavor won’t be very bold once it’s mixed with the cheesecake, so think about which you’d prefer for drizzling over slices when you serve it.
The bourbon adds a wonderful flavor and richness. Bourbons have different flavor profiles, so the one you choose will affect the cheesecake’s flavor. I chose one with a buttery, spicy flavor, but there are some with notes of vanilla, caramel, citrus, and all sorts of great flavors. Personally, I am not a bourbon drinker. My experience with it is that I enjoy the aftertaste of it far more than the actual taste. The flavor in the cheesecake reminds me of that wonderful aftertaste. It’s warm and spicy and really just fantastic.
This baking method is pretty much the only way I bake cheesecakes. No terrifying water baths! It does require a lot of time, but it’s hands-off time while the cheesecake is in the oven. Just keep the total time in mind when you start baking. Be sure not to skip that last bit of oven time. At first glance, it may seem unnecessary but this method is the best way I’ve found to prevent cracking.
As with most cheesecakes, this one comes together quickly and easily. But, of course, the best part is the spectacular flavor. The rave reviews it gets are pretty great, too.
More Bourbon Desserts
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29 Comments on “Bourbon Caramel Swirl Cheesecake”
I’m been an avid baker for three decades now. I must have made 100 cheesecakes. This one is, by far, the best! My husband says it’s the best cheesecake he’s ever had…big words from an Italian.
That’s so great to hear, Stacey! Thanks for letting me know how much you and your husband liked the recipe.
What type of bourbon did you use in the recipe?
Hi, Andrea. I often use a local straight bourbon whiskey called Widow Jane, but any kind will do.
Hi, im making this for my dad birthday, he’ll be 65 tomorrow. He loves cheesecake & Bourbon. Do the eggs need to be room temperature?
The eggs can be cold or at room temperature.
Would like to make, but is the bourbon flavor very strong, or subtle? I wasn’t quite sure after reading.
Hi, Susan. For the volume of cheesecake batter, it’s a relatively small amount you’re adding. It’s not overpowering, but you know it’s there.
I was hunting through my cookbooks earlier hoping to find a good cheesecake recipe. I shouldn’t have wasted my time! I should know by now that if I want a good recipe to look at yours first. 🙂
Thanks, Yvonne! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
I baked this yesterday, served it today, for my dad’s birthday. Huge hit, rich and delicious. I usually can’t stand whiskey (my dad picked out a rye whiskey for it, rather than a bourbon), but it made for a really complex flavor that went great with the cheesecake, without any of the paint-thinner burn of straight whiskey. Delicious.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Beth. Happy belated birthday to your dad!
I made this with minor mods (half vanilla wafers, half Graham crackers for crust; half a bean of vanilla paste in filling) for a 2019 Kentucky Derby party yesterday. It almost generated as much excitement as the race! Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m going to bake another today for us at home. So delicious.
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Thoughts on baking two at once? Would baking time be the same?
Hi, Michelle. If your oven is large enough that they two pans aren’t crowded, I think it would be fine. You can always add more time at the end if you feel like they aren’t done.
Hi there! I have a question regard your fabulous looking recipe. For his birthday party in a week, my husband requested a bourbon cheesecake similar to one he loves at a local restaurant. I’ve never baked a cheesecake before. (No pressure, right?!?!)
Here’s my question — would it hurt anything or change any of the other ingredient amounts if I didn’t use the caramel sauce in layers within the cheesecake batter? I’m thinking I’d like the sauce to just be on top but IDK if that means I would need to make other changes (like increase the amount of liquid in the cheesecake batter itself as an example). I’m hoping you see this in time to respond before I need to start baking! Thanks so much!
Hi, Bonnie. You shouldn’t need to change anything else. Happy birthday to your husband!
I Hey Jennifer! This recipe looks amazing. It’s my parent’s 40th anniversary this weekend and I’m making a few desserts in smaller sizes. Do you think I could make this in cupcake size? If so, what changes should I make considering oven time and such?
Hi, Dirrae! I’ve not tried that with this recipe, so I can’t say for sure how it would work. I’ve made more mini cupcake size than regular cupcake size. Looking at the recipe for Peanut Butter Cheesecake Minis, I’d try 350°F for 20 minutes and assess from there.
I made mini ones too and it worked! Thanks!!
I didn’t have any bourbon so used 3 teaspoons of peppermint extract and chocolate sauce. So good!!
I’m glad you liked it! Your flavor tweaks sound good!
What is a non alcoholic substitution I could use?
Hi, Pat. You can omit it or add a little more vanilla extract.
I love cooking cheesecakes this time of year! Today I’m making one for a Friendsgiving event..
Trying this for first time… still another hour in the oven. I may have used Evan Williams Kentucky Cider for a twist. I figured you can go wrong with cheesecake, Carmal, bourbon mixed with cider😉. Smells amazing!!!
That sounds so good! I hope you enjoyed it!
hello!! can this be halfed to make a smaller cheesecake or can it be spilt into smaller pans?
Hi, Abby. I think you could use a 6-inch springform for a half recipe. That size pan holds roughly half of a 9-inch pan.