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Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

I'm originally from Paraguay, and dulce de leche reminds me of where I came from. If you can't find it at your grocery store, try caramel ice cream topping instead. It tastes different, but this decadent dessert will still be amazing. —Sonia Lipham, Ranburne, Alabama
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. Bake: 1 hour + chilling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1-3/4 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 35 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (13.4 ounces) dulce de leche
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche
  • 3 tablespoons hot water


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Press onto bottom and 2 in. up sides of prepared pan.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in milk, flour and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust.
  • Pour dulce de leche into a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at 50% power until softened. Drop dulce de leche by tablespoonfuls over batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl.
  • Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull.
  • Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chips; stir until smooth. Stir in chili powder. Spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk dulce de leche and hot water until smooth; drizzle over cheesecake.
Editor's Note
This recipe was tested with Nestle La Lechera dulce de leche; look for it in the international foods section. If using Eagle Brand dulce de leche (caramel flavored sauce), thicken according to package directions before using.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 468 calories, 28g fat (16g saturated fat), 104mg cholesterol, 327mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate (37g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.

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  • Ashley
    Oct 9, 2020

    I so wanted this to be fantastic! I couldn't find dulce de leche where I live, so I tried substituting in caramel ice cream topping as recommended by the author. I should have stopped as soon as I started pouring it on over the filling! The caramel ice cream topping I used was thinner than dulce de leche and eventually sunk all the way to the bottom into the crust, thereby gluing the crust to the pan and making the filling to wet to set. The whole thing turned into inedible mush. Next time, I'll make the dulce de leche from scratch!

  • Negz
    Jul 26, 2020

    I have been making this cheesecake for the past 14 years! I LOVE IT! I leave out the chocolate, chili and walnuts!

  • Jaime
    Mar 16, 2020

    Loved this recipe. I made it for a birthday cake and it is delicious... I did change a few things based on the preference of the birthday guy:) I made a standard graham cracker crust for it, and I did as another reviewer suggested and mixed a spoonful(maybe 3 tbs) of dulce de leche with the batter(1/3C or so) and swirled that into the top. It looked so pretty and baked perfectly. For the chocolate topping, I knew the chocolate would be too hard for what I wanted, so I made it a ganache. I used milk chocolate chips and added heated heavy cream to it. Drizzled the chocolate over the top and the dulce de leche. It was amazing. Looked so pretty too. I love that the recipe can be played with to make it exactly what you want!

  • wendy149
    Aug 30, 2019

    I'm puzzled. What does the chili powder do for the topping???

  • Robin
    May 16, 2019

    I used a jar of "hot fudge topping" on top so I had no hard chocolate later to cut through. Wonderful!??????????

  • Stephanie
    Jun 3, 2018

    This might be the best cheesecake I ever ate.Instead of spreading the top of the cheesecake with chocolate, I spread the top with the entire 2nd can of dulche de leche and made a ganache using 4 oz bittersweet chocolate mixed with a splash of heavy cream that I drizzled over the top of the dulche de leche. This gave it a slight mocha flavor. My family said it tasted better than a restaurant cheesecake.I only had one problem and that was the baking time. I had trouble telling when the cheesecake was done because it never "set." The whole thing wiggled, even after 90 minutes in the oven. I finally took it out of the oven after 100 minutes and it was perfectly cooked when we ate it. The only thing I can figure is the dulche de leche was liquid on top of the crust and this allowed the cheesecake to still giggle.

  • Maggie J
    Sep 24, 2017

    No comment left

  • LuauGirl
    Jul 15, 2017

    Great taste, but as others have pointed out, I found it impossible to cut through the hard chocolate layer. Can the author or anyone advise us on how to do that?

  • marybeth05
    Mar 14, 2016

    I think this is a very good recipe, if rather labor intensive, but I would make one change if I prepare it again. I should have known better, but I spread the cup of melted chocolate chips as instructed, and it created, as I should have expected, a rock hard top layer. That made it very hard to cut, and the presentation was pretty messy. I also think it's a bad addition because it overshadows the excellent flavor and texture of the cake and crust. I would keep everything as detailed in the recipe, but I would either lose chocolate layer, or lightly drizzle a smaller amount.

  • cajmartinez
    Jan 1, 2016

    I first found this recipe on a blog called, "Bake away with me". Instead of dropping spoonfuls of Dulce de Leche into cake batter, I mix 1/2 cup of batter with 1/2 cup of dulce de leche, then drop by spoonfuls onto batter, and using a knife, gently swirl into it. I also mix some of the dulce del leche with heavy cream to make a smooth sauce and drizzle it over the cake, and leave some for servings. Another tip, you can fill a baking pan with water and situate it in the rack just below the cheesecake instead of a water bath. This works for me and is easier. Plus, when baking time is up, I leave my cheesecakes in the oven with the door ajar for about an hour or so, before taking them out to cool and refrigerate overnight or at least 10-12 hours..