Creamy eggnog cheesecake topped with homemade salted caramel sauce! This holiday dessert is irresistible.
Every year, right around this time, I find myself absolutely eggnog obsessed. I love drinking it – especially when it’s dressed up with a shot of bourbon and freshly grated nutmeg – but it also makes an amazing baking companion. I’ve already shared with you my one-bowl eggnog cupcakes (have you tried them yet?), and today I’m super excited to present you with this Salted Caramel Eggnog Cheesecake.
A buttery graham cracker crust + silky smooth eggnog filling + from-scratch salted caramel sauce = a trifecta of deliciousness.
If you’re an eggnog-oholic like me, this cheesecake is for you.
This stunning salted caramel eggnog cheesecake is made up of 3 parts: the graham cracker crust, the eggnog cheesecake filling, and the salted caramel sauce. For some, making a cheesecake from scratch can seem intimidating, but fret not – I’m going to walk you through each step.
Making the graham cracker crust is the first step in this recipe and it’s a seriously simple one. Ingredient wise you’re going to need graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt – that’s it! You will need to pulse the graham crackers into crumbs, or – if you want to make things even easier (!!!) – you can buy already crushed graham cracker crumbs at the store. I typically find them in the baking aisle, somewhere near the pie fillings/ ready-to-bake crusts. To assemble the crust you’ll combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt, then fold in the melted butter and stir until it’s well combined. You want all of the crumbs to be moist from the butter. At this point you’re going to dump the crumb mixture into a lightly greased 9″ springform pan and press it down firmly, working from the center and slightly up the edges.
For the cheesecake filling you’re going to need cream cheese, eggnog, sour cream, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and a spot of flour. Few things! For the cream cheese, it MUST be verrrrry soft. I typically leave my blocks of cream cheese out on the counter for two hours before I plan on baking. As for the eggnog, you can use store bought or homemade, just make sure it’s a brand you know and enjoy – the flavor really shines through in this cheesecake!
If you’re unfamiliar with the water bath process, please read on! A water bath is simply the term bakers use when they place a baking pan (in this case, our cheesecake pan) into a larger pan that’s been filled with hot water. Taking this extra step helps insulate the pan from direct heat on all sides while it bakes. The water bath method helps your cheesecake bake gently, ensuring the finished product doesn’t burn, curdle, or crack. It also helps the cheesecake maintain its silky smooth texture. When it comes to choosing a pan for your water bath, choose one that is as tall as the cheesecake pan and large enough to leave a few inches between the cheesecake pan and the outer rim – you want enough room for the water to circulate easily. When you’re ready to make your water bath, here’s what you do: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to called for temperature. When the oven is preheated, carefully (using an oven mitt) pull out the middle rack and place your large pan on it, fill the pan half way with hot water, then place the filled cheesecake pan in the center of the water bath. Slowly slide the rack back to its full inserted position, close the door, and bake the cheesecake according to instructions. If you’re using a spring form pan it’s essential to wrap the pan in heavy-duty tin foil to avoid water seeping in. I wrap my pan from every angle pressing the foil in and around to prevent a soggy crust.
I use my large skillet as a water bath and it works great. Visual below in case ya need it 😉
The salted caramel sauce is probably the most tricky part of this recipe. The execution is simple and straightforward, but caramel happens FAST, so I recommend you read through my recipe completely before beginning, and give the caramel sauce your full attention when you’re cooking it. Be sure to let the caramel cool before pouring it over the cheesecake. You may pour the caramel over the entire cheesecake for a dramatic presentation, or you can slice the cheesecake first, then drizzle the caramel on top right before serving.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #bakerbynature on instagram! Seeing your kitchen creations makes my day. ♥
Salted Caramel Eggnog Cheesecake
For the Crust:
- 2 cups Graham Crackers, pulsed into crumbs
- 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 7 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
For the Eggnog Cheesecake Filling:
- 3 (8 ounce) packages Full-Fat Cream Cheese, very soft
- 1 and 3/4 cups Eggnog
- 1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 1/4 cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- 3 large Eggs + 2 Egg Yolks, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons All-purpose Flour
For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).
For the Crust:
- In the body of a blender or food processor, combine graham crackers, sugar, and salt; pulse until the crackers have been completely transformed into fine crumbs. Add melted butter; stir well to combine. Press down into a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
For the Eggnog Cheesecake Filling:
- In the body of a high power blender, food processor, stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand held mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add in the eggnog and and sour cream and beat smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add in the eggs and yolks and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour, mixing just until combined.
- Pour filling into prepared crust, and spread the top smooth.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan in tin foil (I highly recommend doing several diligent layers here; no one wants a wet/soggy crust).
- Place the cheesecake pan into another large pan (it should be wide enough to comfortably fit the springform pan holding the cheesecake and deep enough to hold a few inches of water without risk of a spill) . Fill the pan up with very hot water; it should rise half way along the cheesecake pan. This is your water bath and will help ensure your cheesecake comes out crack free. Be sure to pour the water in slowly, as you don't want any of it to splash up and get into the actual cheesecake!
- Place pan into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit, undisturbed, for 45 minutes inside the oven with the door shut. The cheesecake should be still slightly wiggly in the center.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven, run a knife very gently around the edge of the cake, and let it sit in the pan for another 15 minutes before covering loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerating for at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, top with salted caramel sauce and enjoy!
For the salted caramel sauce:
- Add the sugar to a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir for 30 seconds, then increase the heat to medium and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the sugar transforms from clumps into a smooth amber-brown liquid. Pay close attention here - sugar burns FAST. Once the sugar has completely melted, add in the butter. Warning: the caramel will ferociously spatter when you add the butter, so do this with care.
- Stir the butter into the caramel sauce until completely melted, then slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, constantly stirring the whole time. Again, be careful here as the caramel tends to spatter when the cream is added.
- Boil the caramel for 1 minute, allowing it to rise in the pan as it cooks.
- Remove pan from heat and stir smooth. Whisk in a 1/2 teaspoon of the flaky sea salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cool for at least 20 minutes before drizzling over the cheesecake. Do not try touching the caramel before this time - it is dangerously hot!
- Sprinkle the remaining sea salt on top of the cheesecake right before serving.
*To save time, you may make the salted caramel sauce in advance. Covered tightly, it may be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. Warm the caramel sauce up in the microwave for 10 seconds before pouring it over the cheesecake. *Pour the caramel sauce over the cheesecake right before serving. If you plan on having leftovers, I recommend slicing the cheesecake without the caramel, then drizzling it on each slice right before serving. This will help the cheesecake stay firm and fresh.