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Impress your holiday crowd or your weekend guests with this spectacular no-bake caramel pecan cheesecake!
It’s made with a buttery crumbly crust and a creamy smooth cheesecake filling topped with a gooey crunchy topping made from pecans and caramel sauce!
Step by step photos and instructions below!
I have no idea where the debate about whether a no-bake cheesecake is better than a baked cheesecake (or vice versa) came from. I mean, cheesecake is cheesecake, right?
The perfect crust-to-filling ratio combined with the balance between sweetness and tang, along with the rich, creamy textures and the crunchy crust. Whether it’s a no-bake blueberry cheesecake or a baked triple chocolate cheesecake recipe, give me all of it.
However, I will say, that despite my love for any and all cheesecakes, there is something to be said about an easy no-bake cheesecake that doesn’t require a water bath, or turning on the oven.
This caramel pecan cheesecake is where everything we love about a no-bake cheesecake meets everything we love about pecan pie and it’s one of my family’s favorite cheesecake recipes!
The graham cracker crust is embedded with pecan halves for a nutty crunch and the smooth vanilla cheesecake filling is infused with cinnamon and sweetened with sugar.
It’s served chilled with a topping of crunchy toasted pecans and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Or if you’re like me, it’s less of a drizzle more of a slather!
Creamy caramel pecan cheesecake is great for making ahead because it needs to be chilled anyway, so make this impressive showstopping dessert the next time you want to serve your guests an unforgettable dessert!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Minimal prep time. Prep this entire cheesecake in 20 minutes. Make the crust, add the filling, and chill!
- Elegant. Caramel sauce always adds a little fancy schmancy to any dessert. The earthy colors, the toasty pecans, the clean edges, and the distinct layers are all so pretty!
- No baking is needed. It makes it a lot easier not to have to worry about the temperature of the oven, using a water bath, worrying about cracking, it’s all taken out of the equation when there’s no baking required!
Frequently Asked Questions
The culprit is usually not enough time to chill and set in the fridge. This, and making sure you’re using cream cheese from a block. The spreadable kind from a tub contains more water and won’t set up as nicely.
Absolutely! Although it’s a caramel pecan cheesecake, there’s no reason you can’t get creative with it. Swap the pecans for walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, if preferred.
You can also leave the nuts out altogether, and make it a cheesecake with just the caramel sauce on top!
No problem! Ginger snaps are a great alternative and pair nicely with caramel and pecans.
To toast the pecans, spread out a single layer on a cookie sheet or shallow pan, and bake them for 3-5 minutes at 350°.
You can also toast them in a skillet on the stovetop for 2-5 minutes over medium heat.
For clean slices, make sure to use a sharp knife. Wipe the knife clean with a paper towel between each slice for clean edges.
What to serve with Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
- Whipped cream.
- More caramel sauce.
- A scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- An Irish coffee or an After Dinner Affogato
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
What to do with leftovers
Keep any leftover slices stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Cover them in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. You can then transfer them to a zip-top bag.
- Use raw pecans instead of toasted pecans for the topping.
- If you have homemade caramel on hand for the topping, use that instead of store-bought caramel sauce.
- Use pecan pieces instead of pecan halves.
- For a lighter filling, yogurt or sour cream can be used instead of heavy whipping cream. For my taste, it’s too tangy and doesn’t complement the sweetness of the caramel very well.
I recommend freezing caramel pecan cheesecake without the topping. Either freeze the cake as a whole wrapped in plastic wrap or wrap the individual pieces.
A layer of foil overtop would also help to avoid freezer burn. Keep it frozen for up to 4 months, then thaw in the fridge overnight.
Add the topping just before serving.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Graham crackers. You can pulse these yourself into crumbs, or sometimes you can buy a box of Graham cracker crumbs. Whatever you can get your hands on is great.
- Pecan halves. Some will be added to the crust and some will be toasted and used for the topping.
- Brown sugar.
- Melted butter.
- Cream cheese. Use full-fat blocks of cream cheese at room temperature. Bring them out about 30 minutes before you begin.
- Granulated sugar.
- Ground cinnamon.
- Heavy whipping cream. Keep in mind the difference between heavy whipping cream and heavy cream.
- Whipped topping. Cool Whip is probably the most well known. It comes frozen, so be sure to thaw it ahead of time.
- Caramel sauce. Store-bought or homemade.
Styled Pin Header
- 9-inch springform pan.
- Shortening or butter for greasing the pan.
- Food processor.
- Large mixing bowl.
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
How to make this recipe
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with butter or shortening. Set it aside.
- Make the crust
Pulse the graham crackers, pecans, and brown sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs are formed.
On low speed, slowly add melted butter.
Use a small spoon to make sure crumbs are evenly coated and it resembles wet sand.
Transfer the crumb mixture to the prepared pan and press it into the bottom.
Use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to ensure it’s level.
Freeze it for 20 minutes until it’s set.
- Combine the filling
In the meantime, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and cream together until smooth.
Gently fold in the whipped topping, being careful not to overmix.
Add the filling to the cooled crust.
Spread it out evenly with a spatula.
Chill it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- Add the topping
Once the cheesecake is out of the fridge, unlock the sides of the springform pan and transfer the cake to a serving platter.
Place pecan halves on top towards the center and drizzle the caramel overtop. Having it drip down the sides is a major bonus!
More delicious cheesecake recipes:
- Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes. Individual servings of pumpkin cheesecake have all the fall flavors in a bite-sized treat. Indulge just a little!
- Toffee Caramel Cheesecake. Creamy cheesecake flecked with bits of crunchy toffee bits topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce!
- Banana Cream Cheesecake. Banana cream pie in the form of a cheesecake? Yes please!
- Pineapple Coconut Cheesecake. Bring the taste of the tropics to your dessert table with these sweet mini cheesecakes.
- Apple Crisp Cheesecake. A mouthwatering, showstopper of a Fall dessert that is so easy to make!
Caramel Pecan Cheesecake (No Bake)
- 2 cups pecan halves (toasted)
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce
- Grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with shortening or butter and set aside.
- Break apart the graham crackers and place them in a food processor along with the pecans and brown sugar. Run the food processor at high speed until the graham crackers become fine crumbs.
- Slowly pour in the melted butter while the processor runs at low speed. Stir the crumb mixture with a small spoon to make sure the crumbs are evenly coated with butter.
- Press the crumb mixture into the base of the springform pan firmly, then freeze for 20 minutes.
- While the crust is freezing, combine the cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and heavy whipping cream in a large mixing bowl, and use an electric hand mixer to beat the ingredients together until smooth.
- Fold in the thawed whipped topping, then spoon the cream cheese mixture into the springform pan. Spread it evenly over the crust with a spatula, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator and carefully remove the springform pan ring. Transfer the cheesecake to a large plate or platter.
- Place the pecan halves on top of the cheesecake towards the center, then drizzle the caramel sauce over the pecans. Serve chilled.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.