Baked Cranberry Cheesecake

Homemade cranberry cheesecake is everything you could want in a holiday dessert: bright, sweet, tart, creamy, and a total showstopper! Topped with whipped cream and sugared cranberries, this homemade cheesecake recipe is festive and delicious. Full fat cream cheese and sour cream ensure a creamy cheesecake, and a low and slow bake time prevents cracks (no water bath required!).

Cranberry Cheesecake

I love baking with fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The bright, tart flavor is delicious in favorite holiday recipes like cranberry orange bundt cake and cranberry crumb bars.

Here, fresh cranberries shine in a sweet-tart topping that pairs perfectly with creamy cheesecake. The jewel tones are a welcome addition to any holiday dessert spread!

Cranberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake Components

This cheesecake is made up of 4 delicious parts: graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake, cranberry topping, and almond whipped cream! Full photo guidance provided below.

  • Graham cracker crust – Made with graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, the press-in crust is simple and delicious.
  • Creamy cheesecake – Full fat cream cheese and sour cream create a super soft cheesecake. The cheesecake is flavored with vanilla extract and a touch of starch prevents the cheesecake from cracking.
  • Cranberry topping – Made with fresh cranberries, the topping comes together quickly on the stovetop. Orange zest adds brightness and a splash of pure almond extract tempers the tartness of the fruit.
  • Whipped cream – Light, creamy, and so easy to make from scratch! I flavor the whipped cream with almond extract. You can also flavor it with vanilla extract.

Cranberry Cheesecake, Step by Step

Make graham cracker crust: Pulse graham cracker sheets into crumbs in a food processor. Whisk together graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.

Add melted butter and mix in with a fork until completely incorporated and mixture comes together in large pieces.

Press graham cracker crust firmly across bottom and 1/2-inch up sides of prepared pan. Use a measuring cup to tightly pack the crust.

Par-bake crust at 350°F for 10 to 11 minutes, until light golden and set. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Make filling: Mix cubed cream cheese, sugar, arrowroot starch, and salt on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

Add sour cream and vanilla extract to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing in each egg on low speed just until combined, about 10 seconds. Scrape down the bowl after each egg.

Pour cheesecake filling over par-baked graham cracker crust and smooth top with an offset spatula.

Bake cheesecake at 300°F for 60 to 65 minutes, until edges are set, the center is still slightly wobbly, and the cheesecake is slightly puffed.

Once the cheesecake is baked, immediately turn off the oven, prop the oven door with a wooden spoon, and cool the cheesecake inside the oven for 75 minutes (this gradual cooling process helps prevent cracks!).

After 75 minutes, remove springform pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Carefully run a thin metal spatula around the edge of the cheesecake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides of the pan. Cool cheesecake for 1 hour on the rack.

Move cheesecake to the fridge (uncovered to prevent condensation from forming) and chill overnight.

Baked cheesecake in springform pan

Cranberry Topping for Cheesecake

Combine cranberries, orange zest, sugar, brown sugar, almond extract, salt, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until cranberries begin to split open.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce reaches a loose jammy consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Transfer to a glass bowl and cool to room temperature.

Cranberry topping in saucepan

For ease, you can also use leftover cranberry sauce or cranberry preserves to top the cheesecake! You’ll need approximately 1 1/4 cups (350 grams) cranberry topping.

Tip: If cranberry topping is slightly too thick once cool, warm for 10 seconds in the microwave and stir, or add 1 to 2 teaspoons warm water and stir to thin out slightly.

Cranberry Cheesecake

Make Ahead Tips

Make the cranberry topping 2-3 days ahead and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use. Re-warm cranberry topping in 10-second bursts in the microwave (until easy to stir) before using to top the cheesecake.

The cheesecake can be baked ahead, fully cooled, and chilled for up to 2 days before serving.

How to Freeze Cheesecake

Bake and cool the cheesecake, then move to the refrigerator to chill overnight. Once completely chilled, wrap the cheesecake in a layer of plastic wrap. Wrap again with a layer of foil, securing the edges tightly. Freeze for up to 1 month for the best creamy texture.

The day before you plan to serve, move the cheesecake from the freezer to the refrigerator. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, still wrapped to prevent condensation from forming on the cheesecake. Once thawed, add the cranberry topping and almond whipped cream.

Cranberry Cheesecake

Favorite cranberry desserts:

Did you try this Cranberry Cheesecake Recipe? Let me know by leaving a comment and rating below!

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Cranberry Cheesecake

Baked Cranberry Cheesecake

  • Author: Laura Kasavan
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
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Description

Homemade cranberry cheesecake is everything you could want in a holiday dessert: bright, sweet, tart, creamy, and a total showstopper! Recipe makes one 9-inch cheesecake.


Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups (250 g) graham cracker crumbs (16 sheets, pulsed)
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 24 oz (678 g) full fat cream cheese, cubed, softened
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp (6 g) arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240 g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp (8 g) vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs (200 g), at room temperature

Cranberry Topping

  • 2 cups (220 g) fresh cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp (3 g) orange zest
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) water

Almond Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup (240 g) cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) pure almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan evenly with softened butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Make the crust: Whisk together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and mix in until completely incorporated (texture will resemble wet sand) and mixture comes together in large pieces.
  3. Press the crust firmly and evenly across the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of prepared springform pan. Pack the crust tightly with the bottom of a measuring cup.
  4. Bake crust for 10 to 11 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  5. Make the filling: Mix softened cream cheese, sugar, arrowroot starch, and salt on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in each egg on low speed just until combined, about 10 seconds. Scrape down the bowl after each egg. Pour filling over the crust and gently smooth top with an offset spatula.
  6. Bake cheesecake at 300°F for 60 to 65 minutes, until edges are set, the center is still slightly wobbly, and the cheesecake is slightly puffed.
  7. Cool cheesecake: When the cheesecake is finished baking, immediately turn off the oven, prop the oven door with a wooden spoon, and cool the cheesecake inside the oven for 75 minutes.
  8. After 75 minutes, remove springform pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Carefully run a thin metal spatula around the edge of the cheesecake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides of the springform pan. Cool cheesecake for 1 hour on the rack.
  9. Chill cheesecake: Move cheesecake to the refrigerator (uncovered to prevent condensation from forming) and chill overnight.
  10. Make cranberry topping: Combine cranberries, orange zest, sugar, brown sugar, almond extract, salt, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until cranberries begin to split open. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce reaches a loose jammy consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Transfer to a glass bowl and cool to room temperature.
  11. Remove cheesecake from pan: Release the outer edge of springform pan. Use a thin metal spatula to lift cheesecake from the base of pan and transfer to a serving plate.
  12. Make almond whipped cream: Pour cold heavy cream into a chilled mixer bowl fitted with wire whip attachment. Beat cream on medium-high speed until cream begins to thicken; gradually add powdered sugar. Add almond extract and beat until stiff peaks form.
  13. Assemble cheesecake: Top the cheesecake with cranberry topping, smoothing with an offset spatula. Transfer whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe around the edge. Garnish with sugared cranberries, if desired. For neat slices, dip a sharp knife in hot water and wipe dry before slicing cheesecake.
  14. Store cheesecake: Store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator up to 3 days.


Notes

Make ahead: Cranberry topping can be made 2-3 days ahead and refrigerated. Re-warm to room temperature before using. The cheesecake can be baked ahead, fully cooled, and chilled for up to 2 days before serving.

Freeze cheesecake: Once baked, cooled and completely chilled, wrap the cheesecake in a layer of plastic wrap. Once wrapped in plastic, wrap cheesecake again in foil, securing the edges tightly. Freeze for up to 1 month for the best texture. The day before serving, move the cheesecake from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight, still wrapped to prevent condensation. Once thawed, add cranberry sauce and whipped cream topping.

Cranberry topping: You may have some extra cranberry topping. Serve alongside the cheesecake, or enjoy the leftovers over vanilla ice cream or in a cocktail. You can also substitute leftover cranberry sauce or cranberry preserves – you’ll need approximately 1 1/4 cups (350 grams).

Sugared cranberries: Combine 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar and 1/4 cup (60 g) water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 cup (110 g) fresh cranberries to the saucepan and coat completely in the simple syrup. Use a slotted spoon to transfer cranberries to a wire rack. Let dry for 1 hour, then roll in 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar to coat. Transfer sugared cranberries to a clean baking sheet and let dry for 1 hour before using.

Keywords: Cranberry Cheesecake

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4 Comments

  1. OMG!! The cheesecake was so delicious, creamy and the cranberry topping one of my favs. I will cook all my cheesecakes this way from now own.

  2. Hi, I want to bake this cheesecake over the weekend. Do you think gingersnap cookies would work in the crust?

    1. Hi Janelle, gingersnap cookies would be delicious! You may need to adjust the amount of melted butter in the crust (especially if you’re using homemade gingersnap cookies vs store-bought). I would melt the full amount called for and add it gradually until the texture resembles wet sand and the mixture comes together in large pieces.