This Salted Caramel Cheesecake is a show-stopping dessert that is worth every bit of effort and every single calorie. Silky, rich caramel cheesecake is baked in a buttery graham cracker crust and slathered with homemade salted caramel sauce and flaky salt. It is a caramel lover’s dream!
For the Crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (roughly 15 crackers)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
- 4 (8-oz) blocks of full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup homemade salted caramel sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- Additional 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
- Flaky sea salt
- Whipped cream
For the Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place roughly 15 graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the machine until fine crumbs form.
- Add in the sugar and salt and pulse to combine.
- With the machine running, slowly stream in the melted butter. Run until all the crumbs are moistened by the butter and beginning to clump together.
- Generously spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray on the bottom and sides. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper (I do one round piece for the bottom and a thin strip that runs around the sides). Spray the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
- Press the crumb mixture into the pan, firmly packing it to form the crust. It should fully cover the bottom of the pan and up a couple inches on the sides of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you finish prepping the rest of the cheesecake.
For the Filling:
- Set a kettle or pot of water on to boil.
- While the crust is baking, make the filling by combining the blocks of cream cheese in a stand mixer (alternatively, you can mix it in a bowl with a hand mixer). Beat the cream cheese together until smooth and creamy. It’s important to thoroughly cream the cream cheese before adding the other ingredients – it makes for a silky smooth filling.
- After the cream cheese is smooth, stir it with a spatula to remove any excess air that may have been incorporated. Excess air can cause your cheesecake to crack during baking.
- Beat in the salted caramel sauce, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth. Again, scrape down the sides and stir the mixture with a spatula to remove excess air.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition until the filling is smooth and creamy.
- Take your spatula and once again stir the batter a few times, taking out any excess air that may have been incorporated.
Baking the Cheesecake:
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and place a large baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water (I find that using a kettle for this is easiest) into the baking dish and close the oven door.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and smooth out the top. Rap the pan gently on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles in the filling.
- Transfer the cheesecake to the oven, setting it on the middle rack above the baking dish with water, and close the door quickly so that all the moisture does not escape.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the cheesecake is puffed and set around the edges and has a slight jiggle in the center when you shake the pan. It will be golden brown on top because of the caramel in the filling. Start checking it around 1 hour (all ovens are different and actual cooking time may vary a bit).
- Turn off the oven and crack open the oven door. Allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven with the door open for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Once it is cool, transfer the cheesecake to the oven for a minimum of 4 hours (longer is actually better – I prefer to do it overnight).
- Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and gently and carefully remove the collar from the springform pan. Peel off any parchment paper that may be sticking to the cheesecake.
- Pour the salted caramel sauce in the center of the cheesecake, gently spreading it out to the edges. Sprinkle the flaky sea salt over top.
- Slice with a very sharp knife and serve, garnished with whipped cream and additional caramel sauce, as preferred.
- I highly recommend using a homemade caramel sauce for this recipe. While store bought is probably OK, I haven’t tested this cheesecake using it, so I cannot guarantee the results. The homemade recipe is easier than you may think and SO worth it.
- Using full-fat dairy and room temperature ingredients will ensure that your filling mixes together easily and smoothly – this results in a creamy cheesecake.
- All the steps outlined in the baking section are important. We want to gradually cool down the cheesecake – this reduces the chance of the cheesecake cracking. We don’t want the filling to seize from the drastic drop in temperature. Opening the oven door for 1 hour allows it to gradually and gently cool. The subsequent steps continue the gradual cool-down process. Cheesecake is not a baked good that can be rushed – so make sure you allot enough time for cooling.
- Leftover cheesecake will keep in the fridge for up to a week. I also have frozen individual slices with great results.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Category: cheesecake
Keywords: salted caramel cheesecake, cheesecake with homemade salted caramel sauce, salted caramel sauce, caramel cheesecake