I am SO excited to share this recipe with y’all. It is AMAZING and amazingly easy. Cheesecake recipes can often be fussy with water baths and the like, but this one doesn’t call for any of that. But first, let me take you on a little trip…
Last fall, I had the amazing opportunity to take a trip with the National Pecan Shellers Association to be a part of the pecan harvest in Albany, Georgia. Pecans are something I know. My grandparents have lived in a pecan orchard for my entire life. When I create recipes that involve nuts, I almost always use pecans. They’re easy, versatile, and delicious. And while I admittedly learned a lot about harvesting, processing, and packaging pecans on an enormous scale, the thing that I took away from that trip was a connection to a delightful family named the Willsons. They own Sunnyland Farms in Albany and have been providing the country with the highest quality pecans, candies, and baked goods since 1948. There’s plenty I could say about this amazing family-owned business, but this probably says it better than I can…
All that said, Sunnyland has become my source for the highest quality pecans. I used them in this cheesecake because despite it being easy, it’s something I wanted to best ingredients for. Now, I’ll admit pecans can be a premium ingredient, but nothing replaces the flavor of pecans. And like I always tell folks, when you’re on a budget, look for recipes that use pecan pieces rather than halves. They’re more affordable and work just the same in most cases. There’s no reason to buy the more expensive halves only to chop them up for your recipe. This recipe calls for halves on the top, because they’re prettier, but I promise you large pieces will work just as well.
Now, let’s get to this cheesecake. Y’all I can’t even being to tell you how amazing this is. There are pecans in the crust and on top. I mean… gracious!
First, let’s talk about how easy it is. Ok. Many cheesecake recipes call for a water bath and you’ve got to be all fussy about keeping it from cracking when baking. Well, guess what? It’s gonna crack. But you know what else? We’re gonna cover that sucker with the most delicious caramel and pecans; no one will ever know about that little ol’ crack.
I’ve made this a few times and no one could believe that I made this. They all thought I had bought it somewhere. I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that it was good. So, go try it and prove to your family and friends you can make a dessert that’s on-par with the best bakery around. Y’all are seriously gonna love this one!
Easy Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
- 9 full sheets of graham crackers crushed (about 1 1/2 cups crushed)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
For the topping:
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, pecans, and butter. Stir well. Pour the mixture evenly into the bottom of the spring-form pan and press firmly to create a crust.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a bowl and hand mixer) combine the softened cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add the eggs and mix well.
- Pour the batter onto the crust. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the center in almost completely set. Cool completely then remove the outer ring of the springform. Refrigerate overnight to allow the cheesecake to firm up before serving (or at least 3 hours for those impatient folks).
- To make the topping, preheat the oven to 325°F and spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake them for 7 to 10 minutes or until just fragrant. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Cook until bubbly, then stir in the toasted pecans. Cool to room temperature before pouring over the cooled cheesecake.
Nutritional values provided are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
This Caramel Pecan Cheesecake is the best! I have made it for several occasions and everyone has said it’s the best they’ve ever had. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.
You’re so welcome! So glad to hear everyone enjoyed it!
This is the most amazing cheesecake, and it’s so easy. It’s definitely the family favorite! I am taking it to family for Easter. Can I make the topping ahead of time and reheat it when I get there?
So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it! Yes, I think that will work.
Wow, I made this last night and it was my first time making cheesecake. It was so so good. I was able to read the comments before and I used the Kroger brand Philadelphia cheese, so I made sure that I mixed the ingredients very well before I added the egg and my cheesecake came out so smooth the sauce is amazing and I also added a little more vanilla that was listed on the recipe for the actual cheesecake mix. It came out so good thank you so much is amazing. Wow.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Yajaira!
So easy & so incredibly delicious! I’m so glad I found this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I have a question:
Are you supposed to bake the crust first before adding the filling? I’ve seen this step in other cheesecake recipes?
If add the topping early and the refrigerate, but let it sit out before serving will the topping go back to a softer consistency. I want to take this to a Thanksgiving meal not at my home?
Yes, it will soften as it warms up. It might just take a little while. Enjoy!
You can, but it’s not required.
I didn’t I made the crust first and while I let it sit I went ahead and made my mixture and then poured it right in
Hello, this recipe looks delicious! I’m thinking of making it for Christmas dinner but I try to cut fat as much as I can. Can I use low fat cream cheese? It is a name brand. (I did scan all of the comments to see if anyone else had asked this.)
Yes ma’am! Let us know how it turns out!
I want to try to make this recipe but am confused . Do you use Philadelphia cream cheese in this recipe I can’t find the recipe.
YEs, you can use Philadelphia cream cheese in this recipe. You should find the printable recipe card toward the bottom of the post.
Nancy E. Stuart
I do not want to step on ant toes. But if you have made the cheesecake ahead of the time needed and the cheesecake is wanting to be eaten. I have used the caramel topping for ice cream instead and it will stay soft even in the refrigerator. This cheesecake is easy to make and everyone loved it
Glad to hear everyone enjoy it!
Hi Stacey, this is the second Ive made this recipie with many complements fro family and guests. Both times I removed the side panel of the Spring form pan after its been in the fridge over night,parts of the cheese cake side stick to the pan. After reading the comments I note that you suggested to remove it once it has cooled at room Temp. There is no mention of this in the instructions. Lastly your pics show a lip to hold in the topping. I,m interested to read how this is done. Im so glad I found this go to recipie for pecan cheese cake . Look forward to reading your reply.
Tony, I will update the instructions to include removing the springform sides when cheesecake is completely cooled and before placing in refrigerator. The lip on the cheesecake is a result of the baking method. Sometimes the lip is higher than others. Unfortunately, there is no way to ensure that it always happens.
This is the best cheesecake recipe i have come across and now anytime i make one i use this and just mix it up with different toppings and crust! Can i possibly get a recipe using this cheesecake base as a pumpkin cheesecake?
So glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed it! I’d love to hear about some of your topping and crust ideas! We’ll have to put our heads together and see what we can come up with in the way of pumpkin… 🙂
Great cheesecake recipe, Chef! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much!
Yes, this is very simple to make! The topping is outrageously delicious too! The filling came out somewhat chunky, not smooth like traditional cheesecake. What did I do wrong? I thought it might be because of the brown sugar and just a different type of cheesecake? Another thought was, I used generic cream cheese for about half of the cream cheese. Please advise.
Thank you so much!
I honestly think it might have been the cream cheese. I love generic brands in most cases, but the name brand cream cheese does seem to have a different texture. Next time, if you use the generic, be sure to mix it a bit extra and make sure it’s super smooth before adding the eggs.
Can I use the caramel sauce you put on ice cream mix it with the pecans and use for topping
Can I use the caramel sauce you put on ice cream, mix it with the pecans and put on the cheesecake for the topping?
DEFINITELY RECOMMEMD !!! I made this cheesecake for my husband’s family’s Thanksgiving and they told me I could make it every single day for all they care but it was the best cheesecake they ever did eat !!! Thank you so so so so much for the recipe !!! 10/10
Awesome! So glad to hear it!
can you make this ahead of time? by how many days?
Yes! I’ve made it 2 to 3 days in advance.
What an awesome recipe. It was very simple to make. I was worried the crust was not sweet at all but when I tried the finished product I could see why. The topping is so sweet the crust complements it perfectly! It was truly delicious. My husband is a big cheesecake fan and he was impressed. Thank you for sharing! Looking forward trying more of your recipes!
Awesome! So glad to hear y’all enjoyed it!
This was my first ever cheesecake (I’m 66 years old). It was delicious and not too difficult. I’m sure it will get so much easier after I’ve made it several times. And I will definitely make it again. I do think for our taste, I will increase the amount of sauce, decrease (a little) the amount of pecans, and (because the pecan halves I buy are very big) break up the pecans some. But I’m so pleased with my first cheesecake. Thanks for the easy recipe!
Congrats, Sharon! I’m so glad to hear it turned out great for you!
So far, do good. Taste test soon. Thanks so much. If we wanted more of a “salted caramel” taste too the topping, do you have a suggestion of how much salt to add when making it???
I’d start with about 1/2 teaspoon and you can add more to get to the taste you want.
I am planning on making this for a foster youth’s birthday. But she has just informed me that she wants pecan pieces inside the cake and Happy Birthday written on top with drizzled caramel. I’m going to experiment tonight before her birthday next week. Any tips? Should I still toast the pecan pieces (rather than halves)? Thanks so much. She’s been very excited since I told her about this recipe.
I think I would certainly toast the pieces before I added them to the batter. When it comes to the writing on the top, it might be harder to get the writing to stay legible with a caramel sauce as it’s probably too loose. Regardless, I know it will be delicious!
Thanks so much. I’ll let you know!
So far, do good. Taste test soon. Thanks so much. If we wanted more of a “salted caramel” taste too the topping, do you have a suggestion of how much salt to add when making it???
I’d start with about 1/2 teaspoon and add more as little at a time to get it to where you’d like it. Enjoy!
I am not even that experienced in baking, and this thing turns out INCREDIBLE every single time!
Much love from Athens, Greece!
So happy to hear you’ve had luck with this one! Thanks, George!
How long will the topping keep? I want to make it in advance, is that possible or is it best to make the day of?
You can make the cheesecake in advance, but I’d recommend making the topping fresh.
Can this be frozen till ready to serve?? And then put topping on the thawed cheesecake?
Personally, I don’t care if the cheesecake cracks. I’m much more interested in eating it than looking at it. I make a cheesecake to die for with a raspberry sauce topping. Stupendously delicious! It cracks EVERY time, so I call it the Grand Canyon cheesecake. No One has ever skipped eating it because it has a crack.
In fact, they say, “That just means I’ll get more sauce!” That’s how I look at it!
My mother baked hundreds of cakes, and she always said the Best ones were the ones that fell or flopped.
I’m looking forward to making your recipe. Hope it cracks lots so the sauce will pool in my piece!
I absolutely love that way of looking at things!
Silly question. When press the graham cracker inside the pan on the bottom, do you press it on the sides of the pan too?
Not a silly question at all. I typically just press it into the bottom.
Hi, what size springform pan should I use for this recipe? Thanks!
The recipe calls for a 9-inch springform pan.
Just to clarify… I need to let the cheesecake settle/cool in the fridge overnight before cooking/adding topping?
Yes, that’s correct.
Can I freeze this cheesecake?
I’ve not tried it, but I don’t see why not.
I used dark brown sugar and my cake batter turned brown instead of white. Will it still taste delicious? Also my cake was a little lopsided, and the other one has a crack in the middle. Hiw do I troubleshoot this? Will finish it tomorrow after it sets in the refrigerator.
It should taste just fine. The beauty of this recipe is that you’ll cover up that crack with the topping. The other option is to cook it in a water bath to prevent cracking.
Can I double the recipe for the topping and it turn out fine?
I don’t see why not! 🙂 Enjoy!
Made it for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! Sent some extra home with my mother and she called me, angry because my brother ate it. Looks like I will be making it again for Christmas x3!
Ha! So glad EVERYONE enjoyed it!
Several questions: Are the pecan halves raw, roasted, or roasted with salt? Second, can this cheesecake be made in an Instant Pot? I have made a number of cheesecakes in my IP, and they turned out great. I realize I may have to adjust the quantities to fit into the springform pan I use in the IP.
The pecans start raw. I’ve not tried this in the IP, os I can’t say for sure.
Can this cake be refrigerated after placing pecans on top? I am bringing it to thanksgiving dinner and need to make it ahead of time.
It should be refrigerated, but the caramel will harden up.
I love your recipe for the pecan cheesecake. Very easy and less time consuming. I just have one question, after the pecans are added and you have served and have say half left, does the topping get hard after refrigerating?
Thanks so much, Nancy! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it so much! The toping does, in fact, get pretty firm in the fridge.
I made this as my first ever cheesecake. I don’t know if it is the way it was supposed to be or not. It was good, but my texture almost reminded me of custard instead of cheesecake…maybe I needed to cook it longer. It was delicious though. I also added a splash of black rum to my caramel sauce to make it more of a butter rum flavor. It was a good idea. I toasted my pecans in a toaster oven b/c I just thought it’d be easier to control the temp. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I like it.
This makes for a very dense cake, but you might have needed to cook it a bit longer. Regardless, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I wanted to try and double the recipe for a bigger one but leaving the crust recipe the same. Also, I am using a 10 Inch springform Pan. Do you think it will turn out okay? And, how would I go about the cooking time?
I’ve not tried that, so I just can’t say for sure.
DO NOT put pecans in the microwave for 3 minutes! Mine caught fire, burnt my plate, burnt my countertops and broke my plate! 1 minute is fine.
Did you use whole halves or pieces? Burnt your counters???
Some half and whole, I had them in the freezer, because I live in Lousiana and we have pecan trees and keep stashes of them there. I let them get room temp, kinda broke them up and put them in the microwave like she said. And yes, burnt my counter tops because when I pulled the plate out the microwave it was hot and on fire and it burnt my counter in 2 spots, before breaking.
Hmmm… Pecan halves are going to take longer to cook than pieces. I would imagine that had something to do with it. The recipe was developed using halves and the pieces maybe cooked too long. Sorry you had trouble.
I’ve not made this cheesecake yet, however I was wondering if I could use the recipe to make cheesecake bars or even cupcakes?
Thanks first your time!
I think this filling could be used in any of those applications. Enjoy!
Hello this is our first time making in a spring form pan.the cooking time says 40 to 50 min, so we cooked 50 min
it taste good but it has cracks all in top. do you think we should’ve cooked it longer or you have tips on cooking in spring form pan? Thanks Christy
Hi Christy! Yes, cracks are VERY common with cheesecakes. This is why I almost always make toppings for mine that cover up any cracks. The best way to prevent them is cooking them in a water bath, but I find it fussy and a lot of extra work.
I see you are a Southern cook like myself. Hope it is ok if I share your recipes to my Facebook page KooKie Kathy Cooking Southern Recipes. I think my friends will love to try your recipes. Thanks Kathy M
Thanks, Kathy! Feel free to share any links back here to SouthernBite.com that you’d like! 🙂
Do i need to pre-bake the crust? and also will the cheesecake crack, since it’s being baked without a water bath?
No, there’s no need to pre-bake the crust. And yes, the cheesecake may crack, but since we’re covering it with the topping, no one will see it. That’s the beauty of this recipe. It’s super easy and not fussy.
Thank you for responding. and yes, it is super easy, most cheesecake recipes also require you to leave it in the oven for an hour after baking. This takes no time at all.
My sis in law made this but i dont know if this is where she got recipe from.But I’m gonna try yours. It looks so good.(?) How much brown sugar in batter and how much in toppin to use?. I read comments.said microwave 2 min. Not 3.mins. . well i’ll let u know how it comes out when i make this for Christmas 2018. Thank u Stacy so much..
The amounts are in the recipe card above. When it comes to toasting the nuts in the microwave, if you’ve got a super charged one, you might want to start with 2 minutes. You can always add more time.
Brought this to my in-laws for thanksgiving and it was an absolute hit! It was my first time making a cheesecake too and Im floored how well it came out and tasted, the recipe was very easy and I’ll for sure be making it again.????????❤
Awesome, Taylor! So glad everyone enjoyed it!!
Way too sweet! Use regular sugar in the batter. It was good though, whole family enjoyed but everyone agreed it was stupid sweet. Thanks!
Ha! It’s dessert! It’s supposed to be sweet, right?
Can i use a premade graham pie crust?
I’m afraid the filling won’t fit in a crust that size.
Can I bake it in a water bath??
Of course! Just wrap the pan well with aluminum foil to prevent the water getting in.
Which amount of brown sugar goes into cake
1 1/4 cups go in the batter, 1/2 cup goes in the topping
I don’t have one of those pans, can I just make in a regular pan?
You can, but might find it difficult to get the pieces out once sliced.
I’m new too cooking dessert. I tried this and it was delicious… but I could only eat the middle cz the edges were too hard.. I don’t know if I over cooked it or what. Do you remove the springform pan and put it on a cooling rack? Cool to room temp before putting in the fridge?
It sounds like it might have been a touch overcooked, but I’m not sure. Allow it to cool on the counter before removing the ring, then cover and refrigerate.
Pros: Very easy to make, Absolutely delicious, Looks beautiful before its cut
Cons: Because of all the nuts on top its impossible to cut without squishing the whole thing down and therefore looks very messy once cut.
I am gonna try to make it again doing individual cheesecakes in ramekins to save the problem of cutting and ruining the look!
I totally agree. Sometimes I use chopped pecans which make it easier to cut, but the halves are so much prettier. Enjoy!
I know this is an old post but I just found it! Haha anyway was wondering if it would hurt it at all to cut the cheesecake before putting the pecan topping on to make it easier to serve? Sorry if this sound like a stupid question ????????
No, I think that’s a great question AND a great idea!
Making this georgeous cheesecake today. I’m so glad I reread the recipe. First time around, I thought I saw 2 8 oz cream cheeses, once my darling husband was at the market getting eggs, i noticed it said 4…8oz cream cheeses..lol. I phoned him and said, “Are you still at the store”? Thankfully he was and went back to the dairy sept and got me 2 more. I’m 62, so my eyes play tricks on me once in a while. I told my darling husband, I make this today, you can eat it tomorrow. His smile turned upside down in a hurry. He’s impatient when it comes to desserts… thank you for sharing this recipe. Merry Christmas!!
Merry Christmas, Maggie! I sure hope it turned our great for you!
Can I pour the sauce and pecans over cheesecake in advance before serving? I’m taking it to a birthday party so I will not be in my own kitchen before serving. Thanks
DO NOT MICROWAVE YOUR NUTS FOR “ABOUT” 3MIN.. you will scorch them and they are expensive.. So glad I followed that rather than realize it was wrong.. luckily I caught it at 2 min before they all were lost. We now have chopped pecans as I couldn’t salvage much.. thanks a lot.
Also some of us have never made a caramel sauce which is why were following your stupid recipe from the beginning maybe it would be nice to put a setting for the stove like say oh I don’t know medium-low High what should we do should we scorched the caramel like we did the pecans with your recipe luckily I went to Food Network and found a temperature
I’ve done hundreds or maybe even thousands of pecans that way without scorching. Maybe you have a super charged microwave! 🙂 Sorry to hear you had trouble. In the future, I’m always happy to answer questions if something’s not clear. But keep in mind, manners will go a long way here. Having them will certainly get you a quicker response.
Yeah holy cow no need to be so rude. I’ve tried hundreds of recipes over the last 5 years, some work, some don’t. I don’t hold the recipe written responsible for that.
And what a waste of your time it must have been to have to google what temp to make caramel at. It’s seems you have absolutely no time to waste, even though you had enough spare time to bake a cheesecake and write a horribly rude review.
Thanks, Brandy! 🙂
Good answer..lol! Your recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
Yes theres definetley no reason to be rude to this wonderful lady who was gracious enough to share this delicious recipe with us, and she didnt have to, and you have the audadity to get nasty with her, and it seems that your very simple minded if you need that much of a detailed time as to how to cook your pecans, and how high to cook your food, everyones microwave and stove are different, and are adjusted to different temps. That why you should just use your better judgement. And this recipe is decilius and my family, friends and entire work staf totally enjoyed this, Im definetley a fan Stacey, cant wait to try more of you delicious cuisines.
Thanks, Que! Glad to hear everyone enjoyed the cheesecake!
No need for such negative comments. Recipes are hit and miss. I’m an extremely experienced cook and still come across recipes that don’t work out but I don’t blame the person that graciously shared the recipe. Personally I toast my pecans on the stovetop, that’s my personal preference and they turn out every time. If this recipe didn’t turn out it’s because you’ve obviously made a mistake, maybe take some responsibility for that instead of blaming the poster of the recipe.
Good Luck in the kitchen! It sounds like you need it.
Thanks so much, Susan!
That is a gorgeous cheesecake. I love the flavors of caramel, pecans, and cheesecake. I am sure it tastes divine.
Thanks so much!!
Hi, can I use Dulce Le Leche in this somewhere? Ever since Christy (Southern Plate) introduced me to this wonderful stuff I’m like a maniac with a can opener! Best caramel I’ve ever tasted. Please please. I can stick to your recipe because it looks wonderful and since it’s Mardi Gras time here, this will be a welcome addition to the dessert table. Thank you.
Sure! I think it would be fine to substitute the caramel in this with a dulce de leche.
Only have dark brown sugar….hoping that works just as well as light brown sugar.
It’ll work! Hope it turns out great!
Mother of 3
Oh my! Does that ever look amazing! I love cheesecake and I love pecans so it’s a win- win for me. Pinned.
Thanks so much!!
This looks awesome! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks so much for the recipe!
I sure hope you’ll enjoy!!!
O my, this looks delicious. I can taste this now. Thank you for sharing and I love pecan. I put it in everything. Happy holidays
Stephanie from Canada
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. It was delicious yet simple. My family loved it. Being in Canada I substituted Maple Syrup for corn syrup and it turned out great (added slightly more butter to thicken) . I have only made cheesecake a couple of times before and find most recipes complex. I rarely write reviews, but had to let people know how good this is. It was simple and the cake came out delicious and pretty. I got so many compliments from my family. I will definitely make this again for my friends.
I’m so glad to hear you found this easy AND tasty!!
Have you ever substituted shortbread cookies for graham cracker crusts? Luscious and doesn’t overpower the cheesecake taste. I have been buying from Sunnyland Farms for several years and I’ve never had a bad product, ask my relatives at Christmas. This cheesecake will be our “special” dessert this year. Love your recipes, do you ever list any lo-carb? Thanks, D
Thanks, D! Yes, I love a shortbread crust! And yes, I’m working on some low carb things right now. 🙂
I have made this recipe several times and it always gets rave reviews from family and friends! Highly recommend!!!
LOVE hearing that! Thanks, Michelle!
Hi there. About to try this and want to be sure the cheese quantity is correct. I use grams so it’s going to be 900grams. Sounds like a huge amount.
I’m showing that one 8 oz. package of cream cheese adds up to be about 226 grams.
Where does the caramel come into play for the recipe?
You make a caramel topping with the pecans.