This sweet potato cheesecake is one of our favorite sweet potato recipes. From the buttery graham cracker crust to the layers of sweet potato and cheesecake to the tangy sour cream topping with crunchy pecans, every bite is a symphony of dreamy autumn flavors. It’s the southern sweet potato pie and sour cream-topped pumpkin cheesecake crossover you didn’t know you needed this season.
Ingredients for Sweet Potato Cheesecake
- Graham cracker crumbs: A graham cracker base adds a lovely texture contrast against the smooth filling.
- Cream cheese: Soften cream cheese before beating with the sugar to ensure a lump-free cheesecake filling.
- Eggs: Mixing a room-temperature fat with cold eggs can cause your batter to curdle—not a good thing. To prevent this, we always recommend baking with room-temperature eggs.
- Mashed sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes provide a lovely velvety texture in desserts. It’s why we love this cake—and many other sweet potato dessert ideas—so much!
- Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk creates an amazing silky texture in fillings because it’s denser and creamier than regular milk.
- Spices: This cheesecake is an autumnal treat thanks to the sweet cinnamon, spicy cloves and aromatic nutmeg. Make these spices bolder by grinding them fresh instead of using pre-ground spices.
- Sour cream: Sour cream adds that rich depth of flavor cheesecakes are known for.
- Pecans: We finish this cake with a crunchy topping of glazed pecans for an added nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
Step 1: Prepare your pan
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, and place it on a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil (about an 18-inch square). Securely wrap the foil around the pan.
Step 2: Create the crust
In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into the bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the side of the prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until the crust is light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Step 3: Mix the cheesecake filling
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, and beat on low speed just until combined. Pour the batter into the crust.
Editor’s Tip: To avoid a cracked and dense cheesecake, do not over-beat the eggs. Beat the eggs just until they’re combined. It’s one of the many tips in our cheesecake baking guide.
Step 4: Make the sweet potato filling
In a large bowl, beat the sweet potatoes with the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, egg, vanilla, spices and salt until just combined. Spoon over the cheesecake batter.
Step 5: Bake in a hot water bath
Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch. Place the roasting pan to the oven, and bake until the center of the cheesecake is just set and the top appears dull, 50 to 55 minutes.
Step 6: Whip up the sour cream topping
In a small bowl, beat the sour cream, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Spread over baked cheesecake. Bake just until set, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, and cool at room temperature on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Chill the cheesecake
Carefully run a small knife around the inside edge of the springform pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Cool at room temperature for one hour longer. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight. When you’re ready to serve the cheesecake, remove the sides of the springform pan, and sprinkle the cheesecake with the pecans.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake Variations
- Use a different crust: If you don’t have graham crackers, there are other ingredients you can turn into a crumb crust, like gingersnaps or Nilla wafers.
- Add different fall spices: Instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves called for in this recipe, opt for pumpkin pie spice for a more complex combination of fall spices.
- Top with caramel: A little drizzle of salted caramel sauce on each slice of cheesecake will make this a truly decadent dessert experience.
How to Store Sweet Potato Cheesecake
To store this cheesecake, keep it in the springform pan with the ring on, and wrap it loosely. You can also cut the cheesecake into slices and store them in an airtight container. Sweet potato cheesecake can last up to five days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze sweet potato cheesecake?
Yes, you can freeze sweet potato cheesecake. Wrap it with aluminum foil, and store in the freezer for up to one month.
To thaw the cheesecake from frozen, set it out at room temperature for one hour, or move the cheesecake to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake Tips
Can you make sweet potato cheesecake ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this cheesecake ahead of time. It can stay in the fridge for five days, but it will lose its freshness after two days.
Is it better to peel sweet potatoes before baking?
No, there’s no need to peel sweet potatoes before baking them. In fact, we like to roast our sweet potatoes whole with the skin on, then peel the skin off once they’re done roasting. This technique makes the sweet potato easier to mash and concentrates the sweet potato flavor.