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Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

slice of Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust on a light gray plate

I love cheesecake just about any way I can get it, from the simple, no-frills varieties to the over-the-top wonders. This Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake falls somewhere in between, combining a few simple flavors in all of its layers of deliciousness.

Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. First, the crust is much like an oatmeal cookie. It’s buttery and sweet and chewy and really just delightful. It also has just a hint of cinnamon to give it a little extra flavor that complements all the good stuff on top of it.

overhead view of Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust on a round white serving tray

Next comes a layer of caramel. This is the quick and easy version of caramel that starts with a bag of soft caramels. I often make caramel this way in multi-step recipes because it takes a lot less time and attention than making caramel from scratch. It chills well without getting too hard to slice, and it gets nice and gooey after it’s plated and allowed to sit for a few minutes.

On top of the caramel is a variation of a classic cheesecake filling. But this one is made with all brown sugar to give it a little different flavor. If you’re a fan of brown sugar, then you’re going to be in dessert heaven. It’s sweet and has that hint of caramel-like flavor that brown sugar lends to baked goods.

Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust on a round white serving tray

To top it all off, there’s some simple sweetened whipped cream plus some chocolate toffee bits for garnish. The layer of whipped cream is a bit of an extra sweet indulgence on top of this fantastic cheesecake. I really like the crunch of the toffee bits to go along with this smooth, creamy cheesecake. You could also top it with something else, like toasted nuts or chocolate shavings, or just leave it unadorned if you like.

If you love caramel and brown sugar, then this is the cheesecake for you. The flavor is really just wonderful. All those layers work together perfectly! Even though making each layer takes a bit of time, this cheesecake is still simple to make. It’s just the kind of thing when you want an impressive, crowd-pleasing dessert without too much fuss.

Find more cheesecake recipes in the Recipe Index.

Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

Yield 16 servings
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours

This Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake has SO many delicious layers - oatmeal cookie crust, caramel, cheesecake, and whipped cream. A big-time crowd-pleaser!

This Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake has SO many delicious layers. The flavor is AMAZING! - Bake or Break

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (74g) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup (67g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramel:

  • 11 ounces (312g) soft caramels (about 40 caramels)
  • 1/3 cup (78ml) heavy cream

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 24 ounces (680g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (113g) sour cream

For the topping:

  • 1 cup (236ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
  • toffee bits, for garnish

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oats. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
  5. Press the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides (about 1/4" to 1/2") of the prepared pan.
  6. Place the pan on a lined, rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills. Bake 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make the caramel:

  1. Place the caramels and cream in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Pour over the cooled crust, and spread evenly. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you make the filling (about 10 minutes).

To make the cheesecake filling:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Mix in the sour cream.
  2. Pour the filling over the chilled caramel, and spread evenly.
  3. Place the pan on a lined, rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°F. Bake for 2 hours.
  5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and gently run a thin knife around the edges of the pan.
  6. Turn off the oven, and return the cheesecake to the oven. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 2 hours.
  7. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.

To make the topping:

  1. Place the cream in a large, cold mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until the cream begins to thicken.
  2. Sprinkle the sugar over the cream.
  3. Continue beating until you can lift the whisk out of the whipped cream and a peak that curves downward forms in the cream. This should take 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Spread the whipped cream over the cheesecake. Garnish with toffee bits.

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    24 Comments on “Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust”

  1. Could I just use a jar of caramel sauce (Trader Joe’s salted caramel) or is the texture different when you melt the caramel. Do you have a brand you use?  Thanks

    • Hi, Laurel. You can use a store-bought caramel. The consistency just may be different. I’d try for a thicker sauce versus a thinner one that’s mainly used for toppings. It’s been a while since I used Trader Joe’s, but I think it would be just fine.

  2. Well this is a truly mega gorgeous cheesecake. Each layer and component sounds better than the next!

  3. Have you ever tried making this recipe using muffin tins? 

  4. Hi Jennifer! I just finished making the cheesecake in muffin tins and they worked great. Lined the 2 tins with the muffin paper. Followed all the measurements but I had to make a double batch of the crust for 24 muffins. Baked them in a convection oven at 325 for 20 minutes. They sat on my counter to cool for an hour then in the fridge for a few more before putting The later of topping. Thanks again! Happy Thanksgiving 

  5. Just finished making this for Thanksgiving tomorrow! The caramel oozed a little so I’m super glad you recommended the cookie sheet underneath. Can’t wait to cut into this after dinner tomorrow. Thanks!

  6. I just made this for Thanksgiving, and it was a real winner! I used turbinado sugar for topping the cheesecake because I didn’t have Heath bits. Thanks for a solid recipe!

  7. Hi jennifer… Love you generosity… Love your recipe… Love you passion in baking… Keep it up..💋❤

  8. I’m preparing sonething i can bake on my kid’s birthday this feb.. Your links help me a lot.. Thank you

    • May I know the rationale for needing to bake at low heat for 2hours? Also I tried using Werther’s hard caramel candies because I couldn’t find any soft caramel. It hardened super fast once i got it on my cookie base so I wasn’t able to spread out haha for those who are using hard candies do rmb to butter the saucepan to prevent sticking and burning!

      • The low heat allows the cheesecake to bake more slowly and avoid cracking. Hard caramels are a very different thing than soft caramels. I wouldn’t expect those to work at all here.

  9. Hi…can this brown sugar caramel cheesecake be made ahead and put in the freezer until thanksgiving which is about a month away?

  10. I’m curious, why such a long bake time? 

  11. Good Morning, loved the recipe but had a problem with the oatmeal crust getting hard. Tried with biscoff cookies with the same result. Any suggestions?

    • Hi, David. It’s possible that the crust baked too long or too fast. I’d recommend checking your oven’s temperature accuracy with an oven thermometer and using a light colored pan. Also, make sure your oven rack is in the top third of your oven.

  12. I’d love to try making this but it seems like it’s an awful lot of sugar and I’m afraid it might be very sweet, which I definitely don’t want. Am I wrong? And if I wanted to go for a salted caramel taste, would you recommend adding some salt to the cheesecake layer or just sprinkle coarse salt on top? 

    • Hi, Linda. For the most part, I tend to make things a little less sweet than most people do. I don’t find this cheesecake overly sweet, but that’s completely subjective. It might be simplest to add salt to the caramel.

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