This Caramel Apple Cheesecake is the best of both desserts! Creamy tangy cheesecake topped with brown sugar apples and covered in caramel sauce, it’s so crave-able you’ll have a hard time eating just one slice.
I love cheesecakes, and I might have actually outdone myself here! This recipe is SO good and following the tips I’ll share here you’ll perfect it. If you are a cheesecake lover like me, then you have to try this Absolutely Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake, it’s so easy you’ll find yourself craving it often. If you want to try some more adventurous flavors, this Tiramisu Cheesecake is always a hit, and this Churro Cheesecake is to die for!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Caramel apples are a fall favorite at my house. Cheesecake we eat all year ’round. There are so many fun flavors of cheesecakes I have to have them for every season! At first I was nervous about making cheesecakes. They can be a little intimidating because there is a lot you have to get right for it to turn out perfectly. So I started with a simple key lime no-bake cheesecake. It was delicious! And it made me want to make it the traditional way. Let me tell you, it’s so much easier than I thought it would be! It turned out great and I know yours will too.
This caramel apple cheesecake recipe is great if you are making your first one or your one hundredth! The flavor is off the charts delicious and the apple topping is everything you want in a fall dessert. The apples are perfectly aldente and covered in a sticky, creamy caramel sauce. You could make your own caramel sauce from scratch if you have the time, but for this recipe I used soft caramels from the store. This dessert was such a hit I can’t wait to make it again!
Ingredients in Caramel Apple Cheesecake
This delicious cheesecake is pretty straight forward. It has a graham cracker crust (my absolute favorite on a cheesecake), a cream cheese filling, and a caramel apple topping. I’ve listed out what you will need for each step below. You can find exact measurements at the bottom of the page on the recipe card.
- Graham Cracker Crumbs: You can buy them at the store or make your own crumbs using Graham Crackers and pulsing them in a food processor.
- Granulated Sugar: This is just your regular pantry sugar to help sweeten the crust. You could leave this out if you wanted to.
- Butter: Butter helps the crust stick together. You’ll want to use unsalted because there is added salt in this crust already.
- Salt: Just a pinch to bring out all the lovely flavors!
- Cream Cheese: You will need to buy 4 8oz packages of cream cheese. It’s a lot! But thats what makes this cheesecake so creamy and tangy.
- Granulated Sugar: Your pantry sugar will work great.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream helps to bring out the bright flavors in the cheesecake and cuts some of the sweetness.
- Eggs: I always use large grade A eggs in my recipces.
- Vanilla Extract: Whatever you have on hand for baking will do.
- Lemon Zest: You will want to buy a lemon and zest fresh lemon into this cheesecake. It makes such a difference!
- Apple: The apples will need to be peeled and diced. You want to make them small enough that you can enjoy them in every bite.
- Salted Butter: Salted butter will help you get that salted caramel flavor.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar has molasses in it and has a darker and richer flavor, it’s a must for this topping!
- Salt: A little salt helps cut the sweetness and brings out all the great flavors in the apple.
- Chewy Caramel Candies: You can get the cubes or the longer round ones, just make sure they are the chewy kind!
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is a must to help thicken up this sauce, and to make it flavorful and extra creamy!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts to make. It’s a little bit more work than say a brownie (by the way, have you tried this Brownie Bottomed Cheesecake? It’s amazing!!). But it is always worth it in the end because it’s creamy, tangy, and so satisfying. If you follow these steps this recipe will turn out perfectly!
- Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 325℉. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by spraying with cooking spray.
- Mix: In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and salt together. This should resemble damp sand.
- Press: Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan and press evenly into the pan. You can use the bottom of a flat glass or a flat measuring cup to really press it in well and get a nice, even crust.
- Bake: Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Make Cheesecake Filling
- Beat Cream Cheese: Add the softened cream cheese to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle at medium/high speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for another minute or so, until very smooth..
- Mix: Add the sugar and sour cream and mix at medium/low speed until just combined. Scrape the bowl again and mix again for 30 seconds.
- Combine: Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds-1 minute. Scrape the bowl again. Beat until just combined. At this point the batter should be smooth and fairly runny.
Prep the Cheesecake
- Wrap Foil: Using 18 inch heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap the outside of your springform pan with 4 sheets of foil. You can use regular foil, but it may take a couple more sheets to ensure the water does not get into your pan.
- Add to Pan: Place the wrapped pan in a deep roasting pan. You can alternatively use a baking sheet, so long as the sides are about 2 inches deep.
- Pour Batter: Add the cheesecake batter to the springform pan and smooth the top.
- Add Water: Using very hot water, add water to the baking sheet until there is about 1 ½ inch of water around the springform pan. With the rack in the lower 3rd of the oven, carefully move the pan into the oven.
Bake Caramel Apple Cheesecake and Cool
- Bake: Bake for 1-1 ½ hours. After about an hour of baking, check the cheesecake’s consistency. A slight jiggle of the pan (while still in the oven) should tell you if it’s ready or needs more time. The cheesecake should be slightly jiggly, but not liquid. If it still seems very liquidy, give it 15 more minutes and check it again.
- Cool: Once the cheesecake has only a slight jiggle, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour or so, until the oven has cooled down. Resist the temptation to open the oven during this time! The purpose of this step is to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly as the oven cools. Doing this will prevent it from cracking, as one of the biggest reasons cheesecakes crack is the drastic temperature change going from the hot oven into the much cooler kitchen.
- Chill: Once the oven and the cheesecake are cooled, remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil lining the pan. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
- Melt Butter: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once the butter is melted, add the chopped apples.
- Sautee: Sautee the apples in the butter for 2-3 minutes, until they just begin to soften. Add the brown sugar and lower the heat to medium. Let the apples simmer in the syrup for 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the syrup begins to thicken. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir until melted. Transfer the apples to a dish and let cool completely.
- Melt Caramels: Just before serving the cheesecake, add the caramels and cream to a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until melted and you’re able to stir in the cream completely.
- Top: Top the chilled cheesecake with the apple topping and drizzle with caramel sauce. You will have extra sauce, but it’s great to keep out for those who want a little more on their slice.
Tips for Making Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Cheesecake seems intimidating for some because you have to pay attention to a few different things. You definitely don’t want a cracked, lumpy, and dull cheesecake. Here are some helpful tips to get a perfect and creamy cheesecake every time!
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients will help you achieve a silky smooth cheesecake batter. I usually get the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs out of the fridge a couple of hours before I’m ready to start baking to ensure they have enough time to soften.
- Scrape the Bowl: Scrape down the bowl several times between each step. Doing this will prevent the thicker batter from sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl, only to end up making your batter lumpy.
- Aluminum Foil: Heavy-duty 18-inch aluminum foil is one of the secrets to making cheesecake that not only bakes evenly in a water bath but prevents ANY water from getting in and making the crust soggy. I’ve tried with 2-3 layers of foil, but have found that this can still sometimes leak. Best to go with 4 layers of foil, making sure it is a big enough piece to go ALL the way up each side of the pan.
- Cooling: Letting the cheesecake cool in the oven as the oven cools will prevent it from cracking. You don’t want to poke it or stick a thermometer in it either! That will greatly increase the risk of the cheesecake cracking as it cools down.
- Kinds of Apples: Pick firm, crisp apples for the apple topping. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady are excellent options that can maintain their structure even as they are cooked and won’t turn to mush on top of your cheesecake.
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts! Luckily it’s also great in the freezer, so you can make it ahead of time and pull it out exactly when you need it!
- In the Refrigerator: The cheesecake by itself is best stored covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Once topped with apples and caramel, it will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- In the Freezer: You can freeze cheesecake for up to 3 months. Only freeze the cheesecake, and melt the caramel and add the apple after letting the cheesecake come to room temperature.
Note: The apple topping can be made a day ahead of time but may need to be slightly warmed and cooled before topping the cheesecake. The caramel topping is best made just before serving. Let it cool slightly before drizzling it over the top of the apple topping.