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Christmas Cheesecake

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a close up shot of Christmas Cheesecake on a plate
Our Christmas cheesecake is a stunning dessert that will be the star of your holiday meal with its creamy layers of cheesecake, whipped cream, and tart cranberry compote.
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Table of Contents
  1. Christmas Cheesecake Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Christmas Cheesecake Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This amazing Christmas cheesecake is a show-stopper with plenty of Christmas cheer, making it the highlight of this holiday season. The stunning dessert is brimming with festive flavors featuring creamy cheesecake and white chocolate whipped cream layers on top of a tangy cranberry compote.

a close up shot of Christmas Cheesecake on a plate

Christmas Cheesecake Ingredients

Christmas Cheesecake raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Candied Fresh Cranberries Garnish

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

PRO TIP:

The candied cranberries need to be made ahead of time as they require an overnight soak and chill before they can be used for the garnish on the top of this cheesecake. If you are able to chill your cheesecake overnight, then you do not have to make the candied cranberries ahead of time as they can chill in the refrigerator overnight along with the cheesecake, then you can top your cheesecake before slicing and serving.

For the Cranberry Compote Layer

  • 1 (14-ounce) can of whole berry cranberry sauce (I used Ocean Spray brand)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

PRO TIP:

Make sure that you get the whole berry cranberry sauce. DO NOT use the jellied sauce. Choose a good quality brand that you would serve at your holiday dinner table. I do not suggest doubling the amount of the cranberry compote layer, as you don’t want your bottom crust to get soggy when your cheesecake is baked and cooled.

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

PRO TIP:

Because there are so many steps to this homemade cheesecake recipe, I like to use shortcuts when possible, and a great shortcut is the pre-packaged graham cracker crumbs. You can find them in the baking aisle of your grocery store. If you want to make your own crumbs, you can do so by adding whole graham crackers to a food processor and grinding them yourself.

For the Cheesecake Layer

  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the White Chocolate Whipped Cream Layer

  • 2½ cups heavy cream, very cold, divided
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces white chocolate baking bar, broken into smaller pieces
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

DAIRY: I used full-fat cream cheese, sour cream, and heavy whipping cream for this Christmas dessert recipe. Cheesecakes are a rich and indulgent dessert, and the full-fat dairy products will give you the best results.

WHITE CHOCOLATE: When choosing the white chocolate for this heavenly dessert recipe, you need to use a good quality baking bar and NOT white chocolate chips. The chips do not melt as easily and do not mix as well with the whipped cream. The chips have added ingredients and stabilizers in them that the baking bars do not have.

NUTS: I used finely chopped pecans in this crust, but you can substitute walnuts or even blanched almonds if you desire. Just remember to chop them very fine so that they incorporate into the graham cracker crumbs well. Alternatively, if you do not want nuts in your crust, you can omit them and just add an additional ½ cup of graham cracker crumbs.

How to Make This Christmas Cheesecake Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

When making this recipe, I highly suggest you read all the steps thoroughly before beginning. There are quite a few elements to this Christmas cheesecake, so you want to make sure that you are prepared before beginning. Plan to make this the day before you plan to serve it, as it really does need a good long chill to allow the cheesecake to set up properly. 

STEP ONE: In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add the water, ½ cup sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugars. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour the sugar water over the fresh cranberries in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You will use the remaining 1 cup of sugar to coat the cranberries after their overnight soak.

water poured over the fresh cranberries in a bowl

STEP TWO: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. In a large, oven-safe dish, add 1 to 2 inches of water and set aside. You will NOT place your springform pan into the dish with the water. The dish with the water will go onto the lower rack in your oven, while the cheesecake will cook on the middle rack. This will create a moist baking environment for your cheesecake to cook evenly without risking water seeping into your springform pan while your cheesecake bakes.

STEP THREE: First, you will make your cranberry compote by adding the whole berry cranberry sauce, granulated sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, and cook for 5 minutes or until the sugars are dissolved and the cranberry compote has thickened. Remove from the heat and cool while making the other components of the Christmas cheesecake.

STEP FOUR: In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, finely chopped pecans, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter until completely incorporated. Pack the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan with the crust mixture. You can use the bottom of a flat dry measuring cup to press the crumbs into a thick, tight crust. Place the springform pan, with the crust pressed in, into the freezer to chill while you make the cheesecake filling.

graham crumbs mixture pressed into a thick tight crust

STEP FIVE: In another large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, add the cream cheese and beat for 1 to 2 minutes to get all the lumps out of the cream cheese before adding the granulated sugar. Continue to beat for another minute to incorporate the sugar into the cream cheese.

STEP SIX: With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, being sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next, then add the sour cream, all-purpose flour, and vanilla extract and mix just until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Be sure not to beat too much air into the cheesecake batter.

STEP SEVEN: Take the crust out of the freezer and add the cooled cranberry compote mixture to the bottom of the crust in an even layer.

cooled cranberry compote mixture added to the bottom of the crust layer

STEP EIGHT: Very slowly, add the cream cheese mixture on top of the cranberry compote layer. Be careful not to mix the compote into the cream cheese.

cream cheese mixture added to the top of the cranberry compote layer

STEP NINE: Place the water-filled dish onto the bottom tray of the oven, then place the Christmas cheesecake on the middle rack and bake the cheesecake for 50 to 60 minutes. Your cheesecake is done when the center is just barely jiggly when you move your springform pan.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cheesecake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

STEP TEN: Turn off the oven and crack the door open a couple of inches to allow your cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool on the counter before placing it into the refrigerator to cool completely. 

STEP ELEVEN: While your cheesecake is baking and cooling, you can make the white chocolate whipped cream by adding 2 cups of heavy cream to a large bowl and beating it on low speed for 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat it until it is thick with just slightly stiff peaks. Do not overbeat.

STEP TWELVE: Heat the remaining ½ cup of heavy cream in a microwave-safe, large-sized bowl for 1 minute. Once hot, add the white chocolate bar that has been broken into smaller pieces. Allow the hot heavy cream to cover the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth.

STEP THIRTEEN: In a small dish, add 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle over the unflavored gelatin. Once the gelatin has absorbed the water, heat it for 20 seconds in the microwave, then add it to the bowl of melted white chocolate. Stir to completely incorporate.

STEP FOURTEEN: Add about 1 cup of the whipped heavy cream to the white chocolate and stir to combine. Add another 1 cup of whipped cream, but this time you will gently start to fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate. Repeat until you have gently folded all the whipped cream into the white chocolate. Be sure to be gentle while folding the whipped cream into the white chocolate, as you do not want to deflate your white chocolate whipped cream.

whipped heavy cream added to the white chocolate and stirred in a bowl

STEP FIFTEEN: Transfer half of your white chocolate whipped cream to a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip, and store the piping bag and bowl of whipped cream in the refrigerator until your cheesecake has cooled completely.

STEP SIXTEEN: Once your cheesecake has cooled to room temperature on the counter, you can top it with the other half of the white chocolate whipped topping that is not in the piping bag. You want a nice thick layer.

chocolate whipped topping topped on top of the cheesecake

STEP SEVENTEEN: Place your cheesecake into the refrigerator to cool for a minimum of 8 hours, but an overnight chill is ideal. 

STEP EIGHTEEN: For the sugar-coated fresh cranberries, you will drain the liquid off them and, using a slotted spoon, toss a handful of the sweetened cranberries into a bowl of the 1 cup granulated sugar and coat them in the sugar. Remove the sugar-coated cranberries with the slotted spoon, allowing any excess sugar to filter back into the bowl, and place the coated berries onto a plate. Repeat until all the cranberries have been coated.

cranberries tossed into the granulated sugar in a bowl

STEP NINETEEN: Once your cheesecake has completely chilled and set, you can remove the outer form from the springform pan, place your cheesecake onto a serving plate and garnish the center with the sugar-coated cranberries and pipe the remaining white chocolate whipped cream around the edges for a beautiful finish.

white chocolate and whipped cream pipped around the edges of the cheesecake

How To Serve

This festive dessert will look like a masterpiece on your holiday table, and any cheesecake lovers will not believe how amazing it tastes. Serve it with a cozy homemade hot chocolate or pumpkin spice latte for dessert.

For more holiday delicacies, our Christmas red velvet poke cake and Christmas fudge are two favorites.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store your Christmas cranberry cheesecake in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I highly recommend waiting until you are ready to serve it before adding the garnish of the sugared cranberries and piped white chocolate whipped topping.

IN THE FREEZER: You can also keep this dessert in the freezer for up to 2 months. Wrap it well, and we’d recommend waiting to add the garnish until you are ready to serve.

a close up shot of a slice of Christmas Cheesecake on a plate with a fork grabbing a piece

You’ll know the effort is worth it when you bite into this delicious dessert. With layers of tangy cranberry, creamy cheesecake, and sweet white chocolate whipped cream all set on top of a buttery graham cracker crust; I’m not sure you could get any more decadent.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make this holiday cheesecake ahead of time?

This Christmas cheesecake is a labor of love and has a number of steps and needs patience, so it is best to make it ahead for the best outcome.

How do you prevent your cheesecake from cracking?

To prevent your cheesecake from cracking, don’t overmix your batter, as it will cause bubbles that will burst during baking, potentially causing cracks on top of the cheesecake. Also, don’t overbake your cheesecake and once your cheesecake is finished baking, let it sit cooling in the oven for an hour. This also helps prevent cracking on the top.

Can I leave the nuts out of the crust?

If you prefer to stick with a nut-free dessert, you can certainly leave the nuts out and turn it into a graham cracker crust.

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a close up shot of Christmas Cheesecake on a plate

Christmas Cheesecake

4.92 from 34 votes
Our Christmas cheesecake is a stunning dessert that will be the star of your holiday meal with its creamy layers of cheesecake, whipped cream, and tart cranberry compote.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 10 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

Candied Fresh Cranberries for Garnish

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup water
  • cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Cranberry Compote Layer

  • 14 ounces whole berry cranberry sauce
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons vanilla extract

White Chocolate Whipped Cream Layer

  • cups heavy cream, very cold, divided
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces white chocolate baking bar, broken into smaller pieces
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add the water, ½ cup sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugars. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour the sugar water over the fresh cranberries in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You will use the remaining 1 cup of sugar to coat the cranberries after their overnight soak.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. In a large, oven-safe dish, add 1 to 2 inches of water and set aside. You will NOT place your springform pan into the dish with the water. The dish with the water will go onto the lower rack in your oven, while the cheesecake will cook on the middle rack. This will create a moist baking environment for your cheesecake to cook evenly without risking water seeping into your springform pan while your cheesecake bakes.
  • First, you will make your cranberry compote by adding the whole berry cranberry sauce, granulated sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, and cook for 5 minutes or until the sugars are dissolved and the cranberry compote has thickened. Remove from the heat and cool while making the other components of the Christmas cheesecake.
  • In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, finely chopped pecans, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter until completely incorporated. Pack the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan with the crust mixture. You can use the bottom of a flat dry measuring cup to press the crumbs into a thick, tight crust. Place the springform pan, with the crust pressed in, into the freezer to chill while you make the cheesecake filling.
  • In another large mixing bowl, with a handheld mixer on medium speed, add the cream cheese and beat for 1 to 2 minutes to get all the lumps out of the cream cheese before adding the granulated sugar. Continue to beat for another minute to incorporate the sugar into the cream cheese.
  • With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, being sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next, then add the sour cream, all-purpose flour, and vanilla extract and mix just until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Be sure not to beat too much air into the cream cheese mixture.
  • Take the crust out of the freezer and add the cooled cranberry compote mixture to the bottom of the crust in an even layer.
  • Very slowly, add the cream cheese mixture on top of the cranberry compote layer. Be careful not to mix the compote into the cream cheese.
  • Place the water-filled dish onto the bottom tray of the oven, then place the Christmas cheesecake on the middle rack and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Your cheesecake is done when the center is just barely jiggly when you move your springform pan.
  • Turn off the oven and crack the door open a couple of inches to allow your cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool on the counter before placing it into the refrigerator to cool completely.
  • While your cheesecake is baking and cooling, you can make the white chocolate whipped cream by adding 2 cups of heavy cream to a large bowl and beat it on low speed for 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat it until it is thick with just slightly stiff peaks. Do not overbeat.
  • Heat the remaining ½ cup of heavy cream in a microwave-safe, large-sized bowl for 1 minute. Once hot, add the white chocolate bar that has been broken into smaller pieces. Allow the hot heavy cream to cover the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth.
  • In a small dish, add the 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle over the unflavored gelatin. Once the gelatin has absorbed the water, heat it for 20 seconds in the microwave, then add it to the bowl of melted white chocolate. Stir to completely incorporate.
  • Add about 1 cup of the whipped heavy cream to the white chocolate and stir to combine. Add another 1 cup of whipped cream, but this time you will gently start to fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate. Repeat until you have gently folded all the whipped cream into the white chocolate. Be sure to be gentle while folding the whipped cream into the white chocolate, as you do not want to deflate your white chocolate whipped cream.
  • Transfer half of your white chocolate whipped cream to a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip, and store the piping bag and bowl of whipped cream in the refrigerator until your cheesecake has cooled completely.
  • Once your cheesecake has cooled to room temperature on the counter, you can top it with the other half of the white chocolate whipped topping that is not in the piping bag. You want a nice thick layer.
  • Place your cheesecake into the refrigerator to cool for a minimum of 8 hours, but an overnight chill is ideal.
  • For the sugar-coated fresh cranberries, you will drain the liquid off them and, using a slotted spoon, toss a handful of the sweetened cranberries into a bowl of the 1 cup granulated sugar and coat them in the sugar. Remove the sugar-coated cranberries with the slotted spoon, allowing any excess sugar to filter back into the bowl, and place the coated berries onto a plate. Repeat until all the cranberries have been coated.
  • Once your cheesecake has completely chilled and set, you can remove the outer form from the springform pan, place your cheesecake onto a serving plate and garnish the center with the sugar-coated cranberries and pipe the remaining white chocolate whipped cream around the edges for a beautiful finish.

Notes

  • The candied cranberries need to be made ahead of time as they require an overnight soak and chill before they can be used for the garnish on the top of this cheesecake. If you are able to chill your cheesecake overnight, then you do not have to make the candied cranberries ahead of time as they can chill in the refrigerator overnight along with the cheesecake, then you can top your cheesecake before slicing and serving.
  • Make sure that you get the whole berry cranberry sauce. DO NOT use the jellied sauce. Choose a good quality brand that you would serve at your holiday dinner table. I do not suggest doubling the amount of the cranberry compote layer, as you don’t want your bottom crust to get soggy when your cheesecake is baked and cooled.
  • Because there are so many steps to this homemade cheesecake recipe, I like to use shortcuts when possible, and a great shortcut is the pre-packaged graham cracker crumbs.  You can find them in the baking aisle of your grocery store. If you want to make your own crumbs, you can do so by adding whole graham crackers to a food processor and grinding them yourself.
  • When making this recipe, I highly suggest you read all the steps thoroughly before beginning. There are quite a few elements to this Christmas cheesecake, so you want to make sure that you are prepared before beginning. Plan to make this the day before you plan to serve it, as it really does need a good long chill to allow the cheesecake to set up properly.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cheesecake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 9946kcal | Carbohydrates: 1144g | Protein: 97g | Fat: 582g | Saturated Fat: 326g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 36g | Monounsaturated Fat: 163g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 1935mg | Sodium: 4812mg | Potassium: 2749mg | Fiber: 24g | Sugar: 977g | Vitamin A: 19361IU | Vitamin C: 74mg | Calcium: 1472mg | Iron: 15mg
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  1. Maureen says

    5 stars
    I haven’t made cheesecake for the holidays but this recipe gives me pause to rethink my dessert. I love cranberries and white chocolate is a must.
    This might be my new Christmas dessert.

  2. Pat kanous says

    5 stars
    My favorite topping on cheesecake is strawberry. Something about the sweet and the tangy just seem to go together. I do make a blueberry torte which is similar tocheesecake, except it is made on a cookie sheet. Delicious.,

  3. Ashley van Vuuren says

    5 stars
    This looks awesome. This would be the first time I plan on serving a cake like this. Super excited about this

  4. Kathleen says

    4 stars
    This recipe looks very good. I believe I would like to fizzle a little white chocolate over the top prior to serving.

  5. Stephanie says

    My favorite cheesecake topping is fresh berries or cherries, but…sometimes there is nothing better than big bite of plain cheesecake…sweet, creamy, and delish!

  6. Jeanine Hebner says

    I always make a cheesecake for the holidays. I have a plain cheesecake that has a flour based crust I love. Usually serve on the side so people can add what they like…..cherries and fudge sauce or use both. Also have a chocolate cheesecake that uses an Oreo crust that is a family favorite. Cheesecake is always a hit holidays or any family gathering. I love cranberries so can’t wait to try this recipe.

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