Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
This New York-style dulce de leche cheesecake is irresistibly rich and creamy. The sweet caramel topping gives it a beautiful look and an exceptional flavor.
Cheesecake can be challenging to make, but I have all the tips and tricks you’ll need to get this perfect on the first try!
One of the most important ingredient in this recipe is, of course, cream cheese! Buy the kind that comes in blocks – not whipped cream cheese. And, make sure that it is at room temperature. If your cream cheese is too cold, it will not incorporate properly with the other ingredients.
My cheesecake uses a mix of cream cheese and sour cream. The sour cream makes the cake fluffier than if I had just used the cheese. Always use full-fat sour cream and make sure that it, too, is at room temperature.
You can use store-bought or homemade dulce de leche or cajeta for this recipe. I like to make dulce de leche from scratch because it is so very easy; all you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk!
How It’s Made
I like to use a gingersnap or a graham cracker crust for this cheesecake. Food process the gingersnaps or graham crackers with a little sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a greased 9″ springform pan and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.
To make the cheesecake itself, add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix until fully combined, then add milk and mix until fully combined.
In a separate mixing bowl, mix eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and flour until fully combined.
Add this egg mixture to the mixer and mix until smooth.
Check your batter at this point. If it is totally smooth and there are no cream cheese lumps, move on. If not, your ingredients may not have been the correct temperature. Push the batter through a fine sieve to make sure sure it is totally smooth.
Next, remove one cup of the batter and mix it with 1/2 cup of dulce de leche to make a dulce de leche layer of the cheesecake.
Because the cheesecake gets baked in a water bath, it’s important to wrap the bottom of the springform pan tightly with foil that goes more than halfway up the side of the pan.
Put the foiled pan into a baking dish. Fill with the plain batter and top with the dulce de leche batter. Add boiling water to the dish (being careful not to get any on the cheesecake), filling halfway up the side of the springform pan.
Bake for one hour or until the edge of the cheesecake is set; the center should still jiggle a good amount when gently shaken.
Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven to finish baking with the residual heat for at least a few hours.
Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, then loosely cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the side of the springform pan. Pour or carefully spread dulce de leche all over the top and finish it by sprinkling on some kosher salt.
Expert Tips and FAQs
These tips will not only help with dulce de leche cheesecake, but they will also help you make chocolate orange cheesecake, turtle cheesecake, or any of your favorite cheesecakes turn out perfectly.
Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature. This is especially important for the cream cheese. If the cream cheese is at all cold, it won’t mix properly and the cheesecake batter will be lumpy. If your house is chilly, even room temperature may not be warm enough and you’ll need to microwave the cream cheese for twenty seconds or so to warm it further.
Grease the side of the springform pan. One of the reasons that cheesecakes crack is that the cake sticks to the side of the springform pan as it cools and contracts.
Bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Tightly wrap the springform pan with aluminum foil at the bottom and partially up the side to keep water from seeping in. Place the springform pan in a deep baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking dish so that it goes halfway up the side of the springform pan. (I use a tea kettle for this). The steam from the hot water will lift the cheesecake up slowly and evenly, reducing the risk of cracks.
To get the smoothest cheesecake possible, make sure you start with smooth batter. Remember to allow your ingredients to come to room temperature before using them. If the batter looks lumpy after mixing, press it through a fine sieve to remove the lumps. You can then microwave any of the lumpy parts that didn’t fit through the sieve for about thirty seconds and run them through again.
Remember when you turn the heat off to leave the cheesecake in the oven for several hours after it is done to cool slowly; cheesecakes that cool slowly are much less likely to crack. That said, it’s not that big of a deal if this recipe cracks since you’ll be covering the top of the cheesecake with dulce de leche!
Always grease (coat lightly with butter) your springform pan. This should help the cake pull away easily.
Yes! You can use any caramel sauce in this recipe in place of the dulce de leche.
- How to make dulce de leche
- How to make cajeta (goat milk dulce de leche)
- Dulce de leche cake
- Dulce de leche frosting
- Turtle cheesecake
- Basque cheesecake
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
- 9" springform pan
- Large baking dish
- 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers or gingersnaps about 12 graham crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 32 ounces cream cheese room temperature, four packages
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup whole milk room temperature
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 2 cups full-fat sour cream room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dulce de leche divided
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease a 9" springform pan on the bottom and up the side.
- Mix all crust ingredients until fully combined. I use a food processor to make this easier.
- Evenly press into the bottom of the pan and about 1/3 of the way up the side.
- Bake for fifteen minutes.
- Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Tightly wrap the pan in aluminum foil around the bottom and up the side.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth.
- Mix in milk until fully combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and flour until fully combined.
- Add egg mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix until smooth. (If you see any clumps of cream cheese remaining, push the batter through a fine sieve to remove them.)
- Remove one cup of batter and mix with a half cup of the dulce de leche in a small bowl.
- Set the foiled springform pan into a large deep baking dish. Pour the plain batter into the springform pan and then top with the dulce de leche batter.
- Fill the baking dish with boiling water halfway up the side of the springform pan.
- Bake for one hour. The edge of the cheesecake should be set but the middle will be very jiggly.
- Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for several hours until it cools.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, remove the ring from the springform pan.
- Spread remaining dulce de leche over the top of the cooled cake.
- Sprinkle with sea salt.
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