Two of the best desserts known to man, combined in one. It’s a thick, custard-y, vanilla-y cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and a crunchy, not-quite-burnt caramel shell on top, just like Crème Brûlée. This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. Originally published February 2, 2016.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake with fresh raspberries.
Table of Contents
  1. This Crème Brûlée Cheesecake is what dreams are made of
  2. Cheesecake Brûlée ingredients
  3. Tools to use for Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
  4. How to make Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
  5. Cheesecake Brûlée variations
  6. Tips for making Brûléed Cheesecake
  7. How to serve Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
  8. Storing Brûlée Cheesecake
  9. Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Recipe FAQs
  10. More amazing cheesecakes!
  11. Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Recipe

So the other day I saw my 8-year-old nephew Landon, and we exchanged an epic high five. It hurt WAY more than a high five with an 8-year-old should, and I was feeling like a total wuss. But then I looked down and saw that my palm was BLEEDING.

Who high-fives while holding an EXTREMELY SHARP number 2 pencil?? Watch out for those nephews, guys. They have no mercy.

I have been double checking every high five since that day. No sharp pencil? Okay, we’re good, let’s high five.

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a slice of Crème Brûlée Cheesecake shot from above with fresh raspberries.

This Crème Brûlée Cheesecake is what dreams are made of

Creamy, dreamy vanilla bean cheesecake. Buttery gingersnap crust. Crunchy, crackly caramelized sugar topping. “Am I dreaming??” is exactly what you’ll be asking yourself when you take your first bite.

Now look, I know cheesecake has a real reputation for being fussy. A prima donna, if you will. But all she needs is a little star treatment. I’m going to show you exactly how to pamper her so she can steal the show (and your heart).

The idea for this cheesecake has been floating around in my head for a few years now. The first hurdle was getting a kitchen torch, because this recipe is impossible to make without it. Someone gave me a torch for Christmas last year, but I had no fuel. Finally got some butane at Home Depot a few weeks ago, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do this sooner, because oh. my. gosh. This cheesecake. Guys.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake shot from above with fresh raspberries.

After I made this cheesecake for the second time, I asked my cousin Lani to come over and try it. She is my official taste-tester because she is not afraid to tell me if a recipe sucks. (True friends are hard to come by. You’re the best Lani. Thanks for eating my food. I know it’s a rough job.)

She took one bite and said, Karen, I think this is the best thing you have ever made.

Then we got really excited with the torch and tried to caramelize the outer edges of the cheesecake. It sorta worked.

(If you want to try this, the best method is to wet your hands and moisten the side of the cheesecake, then use your other hand or a spoon to press sugar onto the wet part. Then torch. But probably none of you are as desperate for brûléed sugar as we are.)

torching the edges of a cheesecake topped with raspberries.

After our fire-fun, Lani went home, but I got this text from her several hours later, “All I can think about is that cheesecake! Best dessert I think I have ever had.” I think she liked it.

The photos don’t do it justice. We need audio. If you could hear the crack of that caramelized topping when you tap your fork into it. Oh man. I’m telling you.

a piece of Crème Brûlée Cheesecake  with crackly top and fresh raspberries.
You can tell that this is a little softer than a regular cheesecake. It still holds its shape and everything, just as a cheesecake should, but it’s meant to be a little more soft and custard-y, like crème brûlée.

If you are stumped for what to get your special someone for Valentine’s Day this year, I say just make them this. No one is going to argue with this cheesecake. Skip dinner and eat the whole thing. I can’t think of anything more romantic.

Cheesecake Brûlée ingredients

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to make this cheesecake. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for a complete list!

  • Gingersnaps (or graham crackers, or Nilla Wafers)
  • Sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract, or one vanilla bean)
  • Heavy cream
  • Large eggs
  • Superfine sugar
  • Raspberries (for the garnish)

How to make Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

Let me step you through how we’re making this cheesecake. Make sure that you scroll to the bottom of the post to see complete instructions in the recipe card!

Start by wrapping the bottom and sides of your springform pan in three layers of aluminum foil. 

Pulse the gingersnaps into fine crumbs, then add sugar, salt, and melted butter and pulse again.Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer, then bake. Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, then add sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt, and beat again.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Heat the cream on the stove. While it’s heating, crack the eggs, separating the yolks, and beat. 

egg yolks in a mixer.
Look at those gorgeous yolks! This is why it’s such an incredibly rich cheesecake.

Pour the heated cream through a fine mesh strainer into a large pourable glass measuring cup. While the beaters in the egg yolks are on, slowly add the warm cream, then pour this mixture into the cream cheese mixture. 

Transfer the foil-wrapped crust into a large high-sided skillet, or a roasting pan, then pour the cheesecake batter into the gingersnap crust. Fill the skillet or roasting pan with hot water from the tap and transfer the water bath to the oven.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Bake the cheesecake until done, then crack the door of the oven and let the cheesecake come to room temperature inside the oven.

When the cheesecake is mostly cool, remove it from the water bath, and remove the foil. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

Sprinkle superfine sugar all over the top of the cheesecake. Use the torch to caramelize the sugar. Let sit for a minute for the sugar to harden, then garnish with fresh raspberries.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Cheesecake Brûlée variations

I love this cheesecake so much. Here are a few easy ways to make it your own!

  • Substitute blueberries, blackberries, peaches, or any fruit you choose for the raspberries. The basic flavors of the cheesecake are caramelized sugar and cream – you basically can’t go wrong adding any fruit topping you want.
  • Instead of vanilla bean paste, you can use a vanilla bean. Scrape the pod and add it to the cream cheese mixture. Throw the remaining bean in with the cream when you cook it, so that you soak up all the flavor.
  • You don’t have to use gingersnaps for the crust! You can use 1 and 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or Nilla Wafer crumbs instead. YUM. 
an entire Crème Brûlée Cheesecake.

Tips for making Brûléed Cheesecake

Here are my favorite tips for making this cheesecake turn out just perfectly. You can do this!

  • Wrap your cheesecake in foil. This is going to keep your cheesecake dry since it will be baked in a water bath. I know 3 layers of foil may seem excessive, but talk to me when you spend half a day making your precious cheesecake and you end up with a soggy crust. Trust me, the prep time is worth the cost of the foil!
  • You don’t have to buy special sugar. You can just throw some regular sugar into the blender or food processor for 30 seconds or so. Smaller granules help the sugar melt faster when you are torching it. Regular sugar will still work fine though. I’ve tried both.
  • Keep the beaters going while you’re adding cream to yolks. Add the warm cream sloooowly. If you are not mixing while you do this, the eggs will curdle. Enlist help if you can, this part is a little tricky.
  • Don’t pull the cheesecake out of the oven…yet. When the cheesecake is finished baking, you can either crack the door of the oven and let the cheesecake come to room temperature inside the oven, or you can take it out but leave it in its water bath for a couple hours. The goal is to avoid a drastic change in temperature so the cheesecake doesn’t crack, a classic cheesecake problem! 
  • Leave time to chill the cheesecake. You need to wait until the cheesecake is mostly cool, remove from the water bath, and remove the foil. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight. If you don’t it’s going to be an absolute mess. 
  • Release the spring slowly. After all that work we are not going to let this cheesecake crack! When you are ready to serve it, remove the plastic wrap and carefully loosen the sides of the pan; you can use a butter knife or just make sure to release the spring gently.

How to serve Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

Crème brûlée is fancy pants stuff. It’s perfect for serving on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, your anniversary…shoot, you could serve it at a wedding. I like to serve it in small slices at the end of a nice meal. Here are some of my favorite elegant dinners to pair it with!

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Asparagus << just such a gorgeous meal!

Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Creamy Wine Sauce << romance on a plate

Ratatouille << Oo la la, a French dinner to go with a French dessert!

Killer Homemade Lasagna << sure, it’s a million more calories. Go big or go home

Ribeye Steak << the king of dinners marries the queen of desserts

Beef Bourguinon << serve cheesecake after THIS and you’re getting proposed to

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake shot from the side with fresh raspberries.

Storing Brûlée Cheesecake

If you know you’re going to have leftover crème brûlée cheesecake, I highly recommend that you only sprinkle with sugar and torch the slices you’re going to eat right away. The crunchy sugar topping will soften right up in the fridge, and that crisp crackle is non-negotiable. Whenever you’re ready to serve another slice, sprinkle it with superfine sugar and torch it right before the lucky recipient (maybe it’s you) takes the first bite.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Recipe FAQs

Is crème brûlée a hot or cold dessert?

Crème brûlée is served cold. This crème brûlée cheesecake is also served cold – because hot cheesecake would be gross. (OR WOULD IT?)

What makes the top of crème brûlée?

That beautiful crispy sweet caramel top of crème brûlée is just sugar. Crazy right?? You just need a kitchen torch to make it happen.

If you make this cheesecake, snap a photo and share on Instagram using #TheFoodCharlatan. I would be so happy to see it!!

More amazing cheesecakes!

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar << this is great for parties! Self-serve. Love this stuff.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars << perfect cheesecake texture, ALL the oreos

Classic Cheesecake << New York style creamy dreamy goodness

Sensationally Smooth Chocolate Cheesecake << every chocolate lover’s dream!

No Bake Salted Caramel Cheesecake with Caramelized Bananas << need I say more?

No Bake Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Caramelized Peaches << this one’s for you guys in Australia. I can only dream of fresh peaches right now.

Berry Cheesecake Baklava << love baklava and cheesecake? Here’s your mashup

Small Batch Cheesecake from Buttermilk by Sam

Basque Burnt Cheesecake from Spatula Desserts

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Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

4.90 from 37 votes
Prep: 12 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 57 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
A thick, custard-y, vanilla-y cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and a hard caramel shell on top, just like Crème Brûlée. This is the best cheesecake ever.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 & 3/4 cups gingersnaps, about 35*
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 3 (8-oz. packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 & 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, **
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10 large egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons superfine sugar, **** for torching
  • raspberries, to garnish

Instructions

For the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan. Tear off an 18-inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil. (Reynolds is best) Set the pan in the center of the square and carefully wrap the foil up over the edges of the pan, crimping at the top so that it is secure. Repeat with a second sheet of foil. Be very gentle so it doesn’t tear. Repeat again with a 3rd sheet of foil.**
  • Use a food processor to pulse the gingersnaps into fine crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 5 tablespoons melted butter and combine.
  • Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use the bottom of a glass to press it into an even layer. Don’t do a side crust. (I’m usually very pro-side-crust, but it’s hard to keep it from burning when you are torching the sugar later.)
  • Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Be careful not to tear the foil.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling.

For the cheesecake:

  • Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for 4 minutes, making sure to scrape the sides.
  • Add 1 and 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla bean paste, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and beat for another 4 minutes, scraping sides.
  • Meanwhile, add the cream to a small pot on the stove. Heat over medium low heat until it is warm. You don’t want it to bowl.
  • While that is heating up, crack 10 egg yolks into a mixing bowl. (Save the egg whites for something else!)
  • Beat the egg yolks for about 2 minutes, until they are pale.
  • Pour the heated cream through a fine mesh strainer into a large pourable glass measuring cup (or anything that pours).
  • While the beaters in the egg yolks are on, slowly add the warm cream. If you are not mixing while you do this, the eggs will curdle. Enlist help if you can. Don’t try to take a photo during this step. I’m just watching out for you.
  • Once all of the hot cream has been incorporated with the egg yolks, it’s time to slowly pour that into the cream cheese mixture. I find this is easiest to do from a pourable measuring cup, but if you are dexterous enough to do it from the mixing bowl then go for it.
  • Beat the cream cheese and slowly pour in the egg-cream mixture. Make sure you scrape the sides and get out all the lumps. The batter will be pretty thin.
  • Transfer the foil-wrapped crust into a large high-sided skillet, or a roasting pan.
  • Pour the batter into the gingersnap crust, forming an even layer on top.
  • Fill the skillet or roasting pan with HOT water from the tap. You want the water to go at least halfway up the pan of the cheesecake.
  • Carefully transfer the water bath to the oven.
  • Bake at 325 for about 1 hour and 35 minutes. You will know it is done when it is mostly set in the center and doesn’t jiggle too much when you shake it. (some movement is ok–it will continue to set as it cools. It just shouldn’t be liquidy.) If the cheesecake starts to brown, turn off the oven.
  • At this point you can either crack the door of the oven and let the cheesecake come to room temperature inside the oven. I removed the cheesecake but left it in the water bath for a couple hours so that there wasn’t a drastic change in temperature.
  • When the cheesecake is mostly cool, remove from the water bath, and remove the foil. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
  • When you are ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and carefully loosen the sides of the pan. I didn’t use a knife, just release the spring very slowly.
  • Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons superfine sugar all over the top of the cheesecake. (Or just the portion you plan to eat. Once the crunchy topping is refrigerated, it doesn’t stay hard)
  • Use the torch to caramelize the sugar. See photos. This can take several minuets if you are doing the whole cheesecake. Keep the torch moving at all times. The sugar is caramelized when it just starts to bubble and smoke.
  • Let sit for a minute for the sugar to harden.
  • Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Notes

*You don’t have to use gingersnaps! You can use 1 and 3/4 cup graham crackers crumbs or Nilla Wafer crumbs.
**You can also use 1 vanilla bean. Scrape the pod and add it to the cream cheese mixture. Throw the remaining bean in with the cream when you cook it, so that you soak up all the flavor.
***The foil is to keep your cheesecake dry since it will be baked in a water bath. I know 3 layers may seem excessive, but talk to me when you spend half a day making your precious cheesecake and you end up with a soggy crust. Trust me, it’s worth the cost of the foil!
****You don’t have to buy special sugar, you can just throw some regular sugar into the blender or food processor for 30 seconds or so. Smaller granules help the sugar melt faster when you are torching it. Regular sugar will still work fine though. I’ve tried both.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 311mg | Sodium: 360mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 1187IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 549
Keyword: brulee, cheesecake, creme
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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Comments

  1. Hi Karen,
    Is adding in other flavourings to this cheesecake ok and will not affect overall finish? I was thinking a cup of stewed rhubarb, or same quantlty passionfruit pulp.

    Thanks Ian.

    1. Hi Ian! I think it would take away from the simplicity of the bruleed topping, personally. But I’m sure it would be tasty! I’m not sure how the liquid from the fruit will impact the ratios of the recipe though. Let me know how it goes!

  2. I would like to make this, but I have a 10in springform pan. Do you have any recommended adjustments so that it turns out just as good given the pan size difference?

    1. Hi Paul! Great question. You’ll see a thinner crust and shorter cheesecake with a larger pan, and since the mixture is more spread out, it will likely cook more quickly, by as much as 15-20 minutes. Make sure to check it so it doesn’t over bake! Enjoy :-)

  3. Hello! I want to make this but in mini versions for a dessert pot luck at work. Any recommendations on how to accomplish this? Thanks so much!

    1. hi Bianca! That sounds like a lot of fun! How mini are we talking? I would bake the crusts the same, about 10 minutes, even though they are smaller. Then divide the batter and bake as directed, but the cheesecake bake time will probably be a little less. you will have to use your best judgment! I would research some other recipes for mini cheesecakes to give you an idea. Check it often! Good luck I hope they turn out amazing! I would LOVE to see a picture if you remember to snap one! Email me or Instagram 💕

      1. Thank you for the information! I will definitely snap a picture and share! Looking forward to trying this delicious recipe out!

  4. I’m making this tomorrow, but I’m a bit confused with the cream cheese part: “3 8 oz”. Is it 3/8 or 3.8? Forgive if I sound silly haha, just asking so I can do the right conversion into grams.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Camila, I’m so glad you asked! It’s actually three packages of cream cheese weighing 8 ounces each, or a total of 24 ounces of cream cheese. It sounds like a lot, but that’s why we call it cheesecake, right? Enjoy!

    2. I think she means three 8 ounce blocks. I made cheesecake all the time and that’s usually how much cream cheese recipes call for.

  5. 5 stars
    Hello I wonder if you could translate this recipe into metric please, I so want to make this for Christmas. Best wishes from the UK.

    1. Hi Margaret! You’re not the first reader to request metric measurements. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have an easy and accurate way to give those to you. Sometimes using Google to calculate the measurements works pretty well – I hope, if you try this, that it turns out beautifully!

  6. 5 stars
    Rave reviews from my whole family! “Restaurant quality”, “the texture is so satisfying”, “can I get the recipe” we’re just some of the compliments! A few substitutions for personal preference but this recipe is a winner! 

  7. Hi. If I make this first thing in the morning on Thanksgiving – will it be ready by dinner time?  (around 5pm?). I won’t have time to make it the day before and I’m afraid Tuesday would be too early. 

    1. Hi Ellyn! I do “how early do I have to start making this?” math in my head all the time, so relatable! You can definitely have this ready in time for Thanksgiving dinner at 5:00 PM if you start first thing. If you include prep time, baking time, cooling time, and chilling time, you’re looking at about 8 hours, so I wouldn’t start any later than 9AM if you want it to be ready for dessert in the evening. Best of luck and happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Hi, I just made the cake and it did not go well. 😅The top was brown and the bottom soggy. Can that have something to do with the oven setting. Convection or conventional? I couldn’t find any notes on the setting in the recipe. Thanks, Camilla.

    1. Hi Camilla, I bake this cheesecake on the regular setting on my oven, not convection. The bottom was soggy because there was a tear in your aluminum foil, sadly! The top was browned because I think you probably left it in too long. In the instructions it says to turn off the oven immediately if you see any browning, and really the oven should be turned off before any browning happens on top. I’m so sorry if didn’t work out!

  9. 5 stars
    Yum!! I used golden Oreos instead of ginger snaps and it was soo good. Instead of foil I put the spring form pan inside and 10” cake pan and the in a roasting pan filled with water to keep it water proof. It took longer to cook but turned out amazing 

  10. Mom life got distracted and my top got browned (also learning a new to me oven) :-( 
    I’m now cooling it overnight  – any tips for a nicer presentation? 

    1. You know Marysia you are in luck. Just top it with sugar like usual and torch and no one will be the wiser! I would brulee the whole top so that no one can see the browned top. We are lucky that slightly overbaked cheesecake and caramelized sugar are the same color, haha! Enjoy!

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