Who doesn't love a rich, creamy cheesecake? This classic version is made with cream cheese, eggs, and heavy cream and is finished with a syrupy brown sugar pecan topping.
This Instant Pot cheesecake is a great example of the wide range of dishes that can be created in a pressure cooker. The cheesecake comes out of the Instant Pot perfectly cooked with a smooth top that's entirely free of cracks.
The pecan pie topping makes the cheesecake an excellent choice for a Thanksgiving feast or Christmas dinner, but you don't have to wait for a holiday to make this rich, delicious dessert. Surprise your family tonight—serve it plain, replace the pecan mixture with a fruit topping, or serve it with a dollop of whipped cream. Prepare the cheesecake at least four hours in advance to leave time for chilling, or the day before you plan to serve it.
- For the Crust:
- 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar (packed)
- For the Cheesecake:
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
- 8 tablespoons light brown sugar (packed)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the Topping:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 cup pecans (chopped or halves)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, the Instant Pot cheesecake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Crust
Gather the ingredients.
Lightly grease a 7-inch springform pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
Place a trivet in the Instant Pot and add 1 1/2 cups of water.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix thoroughly and then pat the crumbs firmly into the bottom and partially up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Place the pan in the freezer for 25 minutes.
Make the Filling
In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add 8 tablespoons of brown sugar and the cornstarch; beat until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to blend them into the batter after each addition. Beat in 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract just until blended. Avoid over-beating.
Remove the crust from the freezer. Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan in foil. Fold a 24-inch length of foil lengthwise into thirds to make a sling and place the pan in the center. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust. Place a paper towel over the top of the pan without touching the filling (this will help absorb excess moisture) and then cover the pan with a sheet of foil, sealing it around the edge.
Carefully lower the cheesecake onto the trivet; lock the lid in place and ensure the vent is set to "sealing." Choose the manual setting, high pressure, and set the time for 38 minutes.
When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully move the knob to "venting" for a quick release. Carefully lift the cheesecake from the Instant Pot and set it on a rack. Remove the foil. If the center is not yet set, place the pan back in the pot, lock the lid, and cook it on high pressure for about 3 to 4 minutes longer.
Let the cheesecake cool completely at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Make the Topping
Gather the ingredients for the pecan pie topping.
Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the butter and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until the mixture is bubbly and the sugar has dissolved.
Add the pecans, 1/4 cup heavy cream, corn syrup, and salt. Stir to blend.
Cook until the pecans are coated and the topping is hot, stirring constantly. Add the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and let the topping cool slightly. If the topping becomes too stiff, warm it a slightly before serving.
Place the chilled cheesecake on a serving plate. Cover the whole cheesecake with the topping or spoon it over individual servings.
How to Store and Freeze
- Wrap or cover a leftover cheesecake and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make sure the cheesecake is well covered or wrapped to ensure it stays fresh and moist and doesn't absorb other food odors.
- Wrap and freeze a whole cheesecake or portions for up to 3 months.
- To easily remove the whole cheesecake from the springform pan base, line it with a round of parchment paper.
- If you don't have a springform pan, use a 2-inch tall cake pan. Place a wide strip of parchment paper in the greased pan, leaving an overhang on each side. and then cut a round of parchment paper to fit inside the pan and lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray. When the cheesecake has cooled, use the overhang to carefully lift the cake out of the pan.
- Pecan-Graham Cracker Crust: Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans to the crust mixture.
- Cinnamon-Spiced Cheesecake: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the crust mixture and add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the pecan sauce mixture.