Let me start by saying this: my husband and I are bonafide cheesecake snobs. We’ve eaten the best of the best in NYC (and no, it is not Junior’s), and tear down every which way that a cheesecake falls flat or doesn’t make the cut. So believe me when I claim this dulce de leche cheesecake to be damn near perfect. I mean it.
The crust is thick, as it should be. The cheesecake is dense, but luxuriously creamy (a must have). And the dulce de leche? It’s kind of the icing on the cake. Er, cheesecake.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a 7″ springform, I have this one – it’s great!
What’s in this dulce de leche cheesecake?
This chocolate crust cheesecake requires surprisingly few ingredients. The cookie crust itself is made with just chocolate chip cookie crumbs, butter, and a smidge of sugar.
And the homemade cheesecake filling uses cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs. It gets topped with store-bought dulce de leche, and that’s it!
What is dulce de leche?
Dulce de leche is made by slowly heating sweetened condensed milk on a stovetop (or baked in the oven) until it turns into rich, thick, creamy, caramel-like dulce de leche.
How to make dulce de leche cheesecake
You’ll first need to prep the crust for this cookie crust cheesecake. Combine the melted butter, cookie crumbs, and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixture resembles sand. Press firmly into the bottom of a springform pan, then bake until golden.
Meanwhile, you can start on the dulce de leche cheesecake filling. Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl until creamy, then add in the eggs. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust, then drizzle the dulce de leche over the cheesecake filling. Use a knife to swirl the dulce de leche.
Bake the cookie crust cheesecake until the edges are golden, then turn off the oven and crack the door to let it cool for an hour. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it finish cooling on your counter before refrigerating it.
Can you freeze cheesecake?
Yes, this dulce de leche baked cheesecake freezes really well. Let it cool completely, then wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil (you’ll likely need to freeze the cheesecake in the springform pan, or carefully transfer it to another container). When you’re ready to eat the frozen cheesecake, place it in the fridge overnight to thaw.
Do I have to use a water bath?
In the instructions below, you’ll see that I ask you to bake the dulce de leche cheesecake in a water bath. You absolutely must bake this homemade cheesecake in a water bath. The water bath ensures the cheesecakes bakes evenly throughout. Wrap your springform pan in multiple layers of foil to prevent the water from leaking into it.
Tips for making the best homemade cheesekcake
- Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature to avoid lumps!
- Don’t be afraid to let the cheesecake mixture continue mixing for a few minutes (I recommend at least 2 to ensure it’s well incorporated and super creamy).
- Resist the urge to open the oven door while baking or you increase the chance of cracks.
- You want the cake to have a little jiggle in the middle — this is normal! DO NOT OVER BAKE until cake is firm in the middle! Just don’t do it!
- When cheesecake has finished, crack the door of the oven slightly and let it continue to cool for 1 hour inside the oven before removing. Do not skip this step!
If you make this Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, please let me know by leaving a review below!
For more dinner party-worthy desserts, check out the following:
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust
- 7" springform pan
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
For the crust
- 1 ½ cups chocolate chip cookie crumbs
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
For the filling
- 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese softened
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- ¼ cup dulce de leche (melted (canned is fine!))
Make the crust
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar in a small bowl. Pour into a greased 7-inch springform pan, then press into an even layer along the bottom, reaching up maybe a ¼” on the sides. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil (trust me on the ‘heavy duty’ part) and bake for ~10 minutes, or until the crust turns a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool while you make the filling.
Make the filling
- Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, then add eggs and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated and mixture is well mixed and fluffy.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled crust.
- Pour melted dulce de leche on top of cheesecake mixture, then use a knife to swirl into the batter.
- Place springform pan in a large baking pan, then fill about ~1” with hot water. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until edges of cheesecake turn golden brown and pull away from the sides. The middle of the cheesecake will be a little jiggly.
- Per my friend Sam over at @frostingandfettuccine ’s advice, turn the oven off and crack the door just slightly. Let cheesecake cool for an hour in the oven, then remove and continue at room temperature until fully cool. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving.
- Cheesecake can be frozen whole or cut into slices. Allow to cool completely (which you should be doing for all cheesecake recipes anyway!). To freeze individual pieces, slice individually and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. If you’re freezing the entire cheesecake, make sure there’s a sturdy base underneath it, such as a cardboard round, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Cheesecake will last up to 1 month.