What’s not to like about a slow cooker cheesecake recipe that tastes like real cheesecake, is easy to make, and is almost impossible to mess up? It also has a very satisfying creamy texture and because of the steam in the slow cooker, the top of this cheesecake doesn’t crack.
Who knew that a slow cooker with a ½- inch of water on the bottom would provide the perfect environment to bake a cheesecake?
America’s Test Kitchen outdid themselves with this Rich and Creamy Cheesecake recipe from their Complete Slow Cooker cookbook. I’ve now made this cheesecake seven times, and it has turned out perfectly each time except for once when I left it in the slow cooker until the internal temperature of the cheesecake got up to 180 degrees instead of the desired 150. It tasted fine, but was a bit tough.
Devices and Utensils You Will Need
- A 6” diameter springform pan (see below)
- A slow cooker wide enough to fit a 6” diameter springform pan (see below)
- A food processor (I’ve listed my favorite model below that’s only $50)
- An instant read digital thermometer (I use this Fubosi for almost everything I cook)
- A spatula
- Some aluminum foil to make a base that the springform pan can sit on—raising it about an inch from the bottom of the slow cooker floor which has at least a half-inch of water in it.
6 whole graham crackers broken into pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
18 ounces of cream chesse (This equals 2 full packages and 2 oz of a third pakage. So be sure to get 3 packages, although I have forgotten to add the extra 2 oz of cream cheese and it turned out just fine)
2 large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions for the Crust
1. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor, making the crumbs fine (about 20 or more pulses)
2. Add the melted butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Pulse about 4 to 8 times to mix it all together.
3. Sprinkle the crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan and press into an even layer using the bottom of a glass, cup or in my case, your fingers.
Directions for the Filling
1. Clean out the graham cracker crumbs from the food processor.
2. Put the cream cheese, vanilla, ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅔ cup sugar in the empty food processor. Turn it on for about 15 seconds until everything is combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the sour cream and the eggs, and process for about 15 seconds—no more than that.
4. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan on top of the graham cracker crust. Smooth out the top.
5. Fill the bottom of the slow cooker with ½ inch of water.
6. Place the scrunched up aluminum foil snake-like circle or rack on the bottom of the slow cooker; make sure it’s taller than the water or the water will soak into the bottom of the springform pan and turn your cheesecake into a gooey mess.
7. Cover and turn the slow cooker on high. It should look somewhat like this, only with the glass lid all steamed up.
8. Cook on high for 1 ½ to 2 hours—until the cheesecake registers approximately 150 degrees on an instant thermometer that you stick in the center of it.
9. Turn off the slow cooker once the cake is 150 degrees on the inside but do not remove the cheesecake. (Stick a digital thermometer into the center of the cake make the call.) Put the cover back on the slow cooker and let the cheesecake sit in the steamy slow cooker for another hour. This way it will continue to gently cook in a steamy environment.
10. Take the cheesecake from the slow cooker and put it on a wire rack. Run a small knife around the edge of the cake, but do not yet remove it from the pan.
11. Let it cool in the pan to room temperature, or about an hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.
12. Before serving, run a small knife around the edge of the pan once again. Then undo the latch on the side of the springboard pan, and remove it.
13. While I have never done this, the cookbook says to invert the cheesecake onto a piece of parchment paper and then do your ever loving best to flip it. Then, carefully run a knife between the bottom of the crust and the bottom of the springboard pan. Remove the bottom of the pan, lay a serving dish over it, flip it back over, and pray.
Water Under the Slow Cooker Lid
The slow cooker lid collects a lot of condensation, as in little drops of water. Be mindful of this when you are removing the lid so you don’t dump water onto the top of the cheesecake. I’ve seen it recommended to tip the lid to one side before removing it, but I prefer doing a gentle vertical lift and then pull it all the way off the side of the crock pot and out of harm’s way. Dry the bottom of the lid before putting it back on the crock pot after you’ve checked the cheesecake’s temperature.
My Slowcooker of Choice for This Cheesecake
You can probably make this cheesecake in an oven, but I never do because using a slow cooker works perfectly.
You will need a slowcooker that fits a 6” springform pan which is actually 6.5 inches in diameter. I have a dedicated 5-Quart Round Crock Pot that I use for cheesecake. I got it on sale at Kroeger/Fred Myers for less than $20 as opposed to the current $30-something on Amazon.
I measured our 7-quart oval Crock Pot, and it’s plenty wide enough to fit the 6” springform pan, although its 8-quart brother for $30 gets exceptional reviews. (As long as you’re going with 7 quarts, why not get 8?)
I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $19.95 for a slow cooker except for the seriously pricey Cuisinart catastrophe that my wife wanted for Christmas a few years ago. Each of my cheapo slow cookers tops that uisinart catastrophe whose teflon insert started peeling the third time we used it. And the controls on the Cuisinart slow cooker are so confusing I still haven’t figured them out.
So unless you’ve got money to burn, keep an eye out for slow cooker closeouts at Walmart and Crock Pot sales at places like Fred Myers (our version of Kroeger here in the Pacific Northwest). And look out for coupons that will give you an additional 15% off of appliances. After Christmas sales are even better.
The 6” Wilton Springform Pan To Cook Your Cheesecake In
I was able to find this at Amazon, Michael’s and Fred Myers. It’s a nice pan and if you like cheesecake, you’ll get lots of use out of it. But it often costs between $12 and $15. If you can find it at Michael’s, be sure to sign up to receive their coupons ahead of time. Your inbox will be spammed daily—think of a coupon spammer with ADHD and that’s Michaels—but Michael’s will usually include a 40% or 50% off coupon for one regular priced item.
The Hamilton Beach Food Processor that Still Brings Tears To My Eyes
When one of our livestock guard dogs was diagnosed with myasthenia graves (essentially Lew Gherig’s disease but localized to the throat), I had to find a way to effectively powder hard dog kibble so I could feed him dog food soup. This wouldn’t have been problem if he had been a Chiweenie or Teacup Poodle, but Lucca was 140 pounds and that was a shitload of dry dog food to pulverize every day. For more than 3 years, I used this inexpensive Hamilton Beach Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper to do the job, and it outlasted poor Lucca.
I don’t know how much more abuse you can throw at a food processor than I threw at this one, and it performed without a single hiccup in more than 3 years. There’s clearly a reason why it has more 5 star reviews than any of the other Hamilton Beach food processors. It’s usually cheaper at Walmart.com than Amazon.
Amazon Affiliate Links: I make a few cents when you purchase products that I link to on Amazon. The proceeds help to feed and pay for the medical care of the dogs and llamas we rescue here on our small farm. However, I try to find the least expensive products for you, which runs counter to the wisdom of affiliate marketing, where they encourage bloggers to link to more expensive products so they can make more money.