Get ready for the ultimate holiday indulgence. This peppermint cheesecake is stacked with layers and layers of chocolate-peppermint goodness, from the homemade Oreo crust to the peppermint candy-spiked cheesecake batter to the luscious whipped cream cheese topping. A final decoration of crushed candy canes and shaved chocolate takes this cake over the top. This peppermint cheesecake is so rich and decadent that it’s easily one of our favorite peppermint desserts, no question!
Peppermint Cheesecake Ingredients
- Oreos: There are 36 Oreos in a package, so you only need to buy one package for this peppermint cheesecake recipe—with 11 cookies left to snack on!
- Cream cheese: Of all the best cream cheese brands, our Test Kitchen pros found Great Value to be the best budget-friendly pick. That comes in handy, considering this recipe needs six cream cheese packages!
- Sour cream: Soften the sour cream before starting this recipe. Implement the same methods on how to soften cream cheese when softening sour cream.
- Peppermint extract: A dash of peppermint extract adds the sweet and cooling minty flavor we’re after in this peppermint cheesecake recipe.
- Eggs: Baking with room-temperature eggs is imperative for cheesecake recipes. If cold eggs hit softened cream cheese, the cream cheese will seize up and create lumps in the batter. The lumps will make you want to over-beat the batter back to a smooth consistency, but at that point you’ll have added way too much air into the batter, causing the cheesecake to rise, deflate and crack in the oven.
- Andes candies: Andes baking chips or candies add a lovely layer of mint-chocolate flavor in this peppermint cheesecake.
- Whipped topping: Whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, fluffs up the cheesecake’s topping for an ultra-light finishing layer.
Step 1: Prepare the springform pan
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place a greased 9-inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil, about an 18-inch square. Securely wrap the foil around the outer perimeter of the pan. This foil barrier will keep the hot water bath from seeping into the springform pan during baking.
Step 2: Create the crust
In a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet, and bake until the crust is set, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool the crust to room temperature on a wire rack. Do not turn off the oven.
Step 3: Make the cheesecake batter
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and lump-free. Beat in the sour cream, flour and extracts. Add the eggs, and beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in chips with a spatula.
Editor’s Tip: Take the time to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the eggs to make sure everything is incorporated. Once the eggs are added, you’ll want to do as little mixing as possible to avoid a cracked cheesecake.
Step 4: Assemble the hot water bath
Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. (The springform pan will be full.) Place the springform pan in a large baking pan. Pour 1 inch of hot water into the large baking pan.
Step 5: Bake
Bake the cheesecake at 325° until the center is just set and the top appears dull, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. It may be tempting, but don’t open the oven door during baking!
Remove the springform pan from the water bath. Cool the cheesecake at room temperature on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Editor’s Tip: How do you know when a cheesecake is done? Try the cheesecake wobble test. Open the oven door and, with a wooden spoon, gently but firmly rap the side of the cheesecake pan. You’re looking for a slight wobble, not an undercooked rippled jiggle. This is one of our favorite cheesecake tips!
Step 6: Cool and refrigerate
Carefully run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Cool the cheesecake at room temperature for one hour longer. Wrap the cheesecake (that’s still in the springform pan) in a layer of storage wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Remove the storage wrap, and the rim of the springform pan.
Step 7: Whip up the topping
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat one-fourth of the whipped topping into the mixture just until combined. Fold in the remaining whipped topping with a rubber spatula.
Step 8: Decorate the cheesecake
Spread or pipe the whipped topping onto the cheesecake. Garnish the cheesecake with crushed candy canes and shaved chocolate if desired.
Editor’s Tip: To make clean cuts when serving your cheesecake, grab a sharp chef’s knife, and run it under hot water. Carefully wipe away the excess water with a clean kitchen towel, and make your first cut. Repeat these steps until you’re finished cutting and serving. It may feel tedious, but your slices will look picture-perfect.
- Use a different crust: While we absolutely love the Oreo crust in this peppermint cheesecake recipe, there are tons of other crumb crust ingredients to try out, such as Nilla wafers, chocolate wafer cookies and shortbread.
- Add a few drops of food coloring: Drive home the peppermint/candy cane look by adding a few drops of red gel food coloring to the whipped topping.
How to Store Peppermint Cheesecake
To store peppermint cheesecake, keep it in the springform pan with the ring on, and wrap the pan loosely with storage wrap. You can also cut the cheesecake into slices and store them in an airtight container. Peppermint cheesecake can last up to five days in the refrigerator.
We do not recommend freezing the peppermint cheesecake with the whipped topping as the topping would not freeze well. To freeze the cheesecake without the whipped topping, wrap the cheesecake with a few layers of storage wrap and a final layer of aluminum foil. Store it 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 for eight hours or overnight. Decorate with the whipped topping, candy and chocolate garnishes.
Peppermint Cheesecake Tips
How can I prevent my cheesecake from cracking?
To prevent your cheesecake from cracking, a water bath is your best friend, so don’t skip that step in this recipe. Besides that, using room-temperature ingredients (especially the eggs and cream cheese) will emulsify better in the batter so you don’t have to overmix.
Finally, avoid overmixing when the eggs are added to the filling. Overmixing adds too much air into the cheesecake. This will puff up and deflate the filling when it’s baked, causing the cheesecake to crack.
How do I crush candy canes?
The best way to crush candy canes is to place the candy into a resealable plastic bag, and close the bag completely. Place the bag of candy on a kitchen towel on a stable work surface. With the smooth side of a meat mallet or hammer, hit the candies until they’re broken into small pieces.