A slice of this creamy Cranberry Cheesecake is worth rushing through dinner so you can get straight to dessert. While a classic New York-style cheesecake is a formidable contender, this vibrant, fresh cranberry twist is a tasty stunner.
Every bite of this Cranberry Cheesecake is nothing less than creamy, dreamy, decadent nonstop bliss.
Cheesecake with cranberries is one of my favorite fall and winter dessert classics. The familiar taste of tart cranberries are perfectly balanced sweet and creamy deliciousness of a New York-style cheesecake.
The combination of flavors and this cheesecakes festive appearance are worthy of any celebration, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Related: Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake
Why You’ll Love This Cranberry Cheesecake Recipe
- This recipe is easy to make, even if you’ve never made a cheesecake.
- The festive colors are a showstopper on a holiday table.
- The sweet-tart combo of flavors are a welcomed taste after consuming a large holiday meal.
- Cheesecake must be made ahead of time, so your dessert is guaranteed to be ready early.
How to Make Sugared Cranberries
Garnishing the top of this cheesecake with sugared cranberries is not a requirement, but it does add to the overall beauty of the final dessert. Luckily they are easy to make!
- 3 tbsps. light corn syrup
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Step 1: Heat corn syrup in the microwave until warm.
Step 2: Toss corn syrup with cranberries, making sure to allow excess corn syrup to drip off before tossing with sugar.
Step 3: Place sugared cranberries on wax paper until set, about one hour.
Fresh and Pantry Ingredients for Cranberry Cheesecake
- Fresh or frozen cranberries: Provides the vibrant and tangy cranberry flavor.
- Granulated sugar: Adds sweetness to balance the tartness of the cranberries.
- Water: Helps create the cranberry sauce consistency.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Graham cracker crumbs: Forms the base of the crust, providing a crunchy texture.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the crust.
- Melted butter: Binds the crust together, adding richness.
- Cream cheese: Forms the creamy and smooth base of the cheesecake.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the filling.
- Vanilla extract: Adds a warm and aromatic flavor.
- Large eggs: Contributes to the structure and richness of the cheesecake.
- Heavy whipping cream: Enhances the creaminess of the filling.
- Whipped cream: Complements the richness of the cheesecake.
- Sugared cranberries: A sweet and festive garnish.
- Rosemary: Provides a subtle, herbal aroma and adds an elegant touch to the topping.
One way to change up the flavor of this cheesecake is by changing up the flavor of the crust.
- Try using crushed digestive biscuits, vanilla wafers, ginger snap cookies or even chocolate cookies (cranberry and chocolate go well together) as an alternative to graham crackers.
- Brown sugar or a sugar substitute can be used instead of granulated sugar.
You can also change up the topping/garnish portion of the cheesecake.
- Use coconut cream or a dairy-free whipped topping.
- Fresh berries or other fruits can be used for a colorful and sweet garnish.
- Mint leaves or basil can be used instead of rosemary for a different herbal note.
How to Make Cranberry Cheesecake
For full instructions, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
Make the Cranberry Sauce: Simmer cranberries, sugar, and water for a tangy sauce.
Make the Crust: Combine crust ingredients to make the base and press into the springform pan.
Make the Cheesecake Filling: Blend softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and whipping cream until smooth. Follow directions on how to properly make a water bath and cool the cheesecake for best results.
Garnish: Finish with whipped cream, sugared cranberries, and rosemary for flair.
Expert Tips for Cheesecake Success
- Blend cream cheese, sugar until very smooth and fluffy. Scrape the bowl for a silky and creamy cheesecake.
- Baking the cheesecake in a water bath creates consistent and gentle heat, which ensures a beautifully set custard without curdling.
- Turning off the oven and letting the cheesecake cool slowly for an hour with the oven door cracked helps maintain a delicate texture and potentially prevent cracking.
- You’ll know the cheesecake is ready when the outer ring is slightly puffed, but the inner circle jiggles like barely set Jell-O. Avoid overbaking.
- After taking the cheesecake out of the water bath, use a thin-bladed knife to gently loosen the cake from the pan’s edges. This prevents sticking, ensuring a smooth settling without cracks.
- While this cheesecake is festive for the fall and winter holidays, it’s also perfect for Valentine’s Day and any of the red, white and blue holidays. You will need to buy extra cranberries now and keep them frozen, since they usually not available at other times of the year.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the purpose of a water bath when baking cheesecake? A water bath ensures even and gentle heat, preventing the cheesecake from cracking and resulting in a smooth texture.
Is there a trick to getting a perfectly smooth cheesecake surface? Using a spatula to smooth the surface before baking can help, and tapping the pan on the counter can release air bubbles.
How do I prevent cracks in my cheesecake? Gradually cool the cheesecake in the turned-off oven, and run a knife around the edges after the water bath to prevent sticking.
What if my cheesecake cracks despite precautions? There is no way to guarantee a completely crack-free cheesecake, if it does happen, you could completely cover the top with whipped cream.
Can I make cheesecake ahead of time? This is a must. Making it a day in advance allows flavors to meld (ripen), and it’s easier to slice after chilling.
How can I store leftover cheesecake? Wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Consume within a few days for optimal freshness.
Can I freeze cheesecake? Make sure it’s well-wrapped to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
More Cheesecake Recipes
More Cranberry Recipes
- Cream Cheese Cranberry Bars
- Orange Glazed Cranberry Loaf
- Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
- Cranberry Apple Cobbler
- Cranberry Pull-Apart Bread
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- hand mixer or stand mixer
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Graham Cracker Crust:
- whipped cream
- sugared cranberries
- Start by making the cranberry sauce so that it can cool. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar, and water. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, or until cranberries have burst and fallen apart, and a thick sauce forms. (If desired you can strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, but it's not necessary). Place the sauce in the refrigerator to cool down.3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup water
Graham Cracker Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare a 9-inch springform pan with a parchment paper circle and spray the top with cooking spray. Set aside.cooking spray
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Add crust mixture to the springform pan and press firmly on the bottom and along the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and cool while making the filling.2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 2 tbsps. granulated sugar, 6 tbsps. butter, melted
- In a large mixing bowl with a hand or stand mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.24 oz. full-fat cream cheese, room temperature, 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, 2 tsps. vanilla extract
- Add eggs, two at a time, and mix until combined. Slowly add the heavy cream while mixing on low speed; mix until completely combined.4 large eggs, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Add a double layer of aluminum foil around the cheesecake pan to stop water from leaking in when placed in the water bath.
- Pour ½ the cheesecake batter over the crust and spread into an even layer. Spoon ½ of the cranberry sauce over the batter and swirl with a knife. Pour the remaining batter on top, followed by the remaining cranberry sauce and swirl with a knife.
- Place the cheesecake into a large shallow pan (a roasting pan works great) containing hot water that comes half way up the side of the springform pan (about 2-3 inches).
- Bake at 350 degrees F until the sides start to puff, the center is slightly jiggly, and the surface is no longer shiny (about 1 hour- 1 hour 25 minutes). Let the cheesecake sit in the turned-off oven with the door cracked for one hour, remove it from the water bath and let it cool completely on the stovetop, then chill in the fridge overnight. (If cracks start to form in your cheesecake, remove it from the oven immediately.)
- Top with whipped cream, sugared cranberries, and rosemary.whipped cream, sugared cranberries, rosemary
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