This Easy Caramel Pecan Cheesecake recipe features a brown sugar flavored cheesecake topped with a decadent caramel pecan sauce! It’s like cheesecake with a pecan pie topping! And there’s no fussy water bath to deal with.
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.
Y’all I can’t even being to tell you how amazing this is. There are pecans in the crust and on top in that delicious caramel topping. I mean… gracious!
I’ve made this a few times and no one could believe that I actually made it. They all thought I bought it from some bakery. 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!
How can I tell when my cheesecake is done?
Cheesecake is the dessert that’s as rich and complicated as your Aunt Patty’s love life. You know, the one who’s been married five times? Yeah, that Aunt Patty. But fret not, my friend, because making cheesecake doesn’t have to be complicated. Knowing when it’s done is key to avoiding that heartbreaking crack down the middle or that texture that screams, “I needed five more minutes, darling!”
First off, let’s get this out of the way: Don’t trust your oven timer like it’s gospel. Ovens are like snowflakes, no two are the same. Your oven’s 350°F might be another oven’s 325°F. So, timing can be a tricky beast.
Now, for a few telltale signs your cheesecake is ready to leave the oven:
- Jiggly but not Sloshy: When you gently shake the pan, the outer ring of the cheesecake should be firm, but the center should still wobble just a bit, kinda like a waterbed from the ’80s. Don’t worry, that middle will firm up as it cools down, promise.
- Color Matters: You’re looking for a cheesecake that’s slightly puffed and possibly just starting to turn a light golden color, but not browned. Think of it like catching a suntan but avoiding a sunburn.
- Temperature Check: If you’re more of a “trust but verify” type like me, you can stick an instant-read thermometer halfway into the center of the cheesecake, avoiding the crust. You’re looking for a temperature of about 145°F to 150°F.
- Clean Stabby-Thing Test: You can also insert a thin knife or a skewer into the cheesecake about an inch from the edge. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging for dear life, you’re in business!
Now, once you’re confident your cheesecake is done, let it cool in the oven with the door ajar for about an hour to ease it back to room temperature. This helps to avoid that Grand Canyon-sized crack we talked about earlier.
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 springform 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 cheesecake filling 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. Open the oven door and allow the cheesecake to cool for about 1 hour in the oven. Remove and cool completely. Remove the outer ring of the springform pan. 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.
If nutritional values are provided, they 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.
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…
Not only can you order THE BEST pecans, but some of the most amazing candies, cakes, and gift baskets you can find anywhere. I can still remember the smell of the candy kitchen when we walked in. Amazing!
All that said, Sunnyland has become a great 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.
This post is sponsored by my friends at Sunnyland Farms, but the thoughts and opinions are all my own – just as always.