Filed under: Cheesecakes
October 21, 2019

Apple Cider Cheesecake

A cheesecake for fall (that isn't pumpkin!): this wonderfully creamy cheesecake is made with reduced fresh apple cider which gives it a tangy, tart and most autumn-like apple flavor.  

4.73 from 22 votes
Yield: 1 tall 9" cheesecake
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Last autumn I came up with a killer recipe for an apple cider caramel ice cream. Oh my god that stuff is good. I made it 4-5 more times after that because I was either serving it with apple pie on thanksgiving, handing tubs out as christmas gifts, or just making it because we wanted some. When cider appeared at our local markets this year, I bought some planning to make it again.

But then I did something else. I boiled down my cider and decided I wanted to venture the flavors into a cheesecake (a la this pistachio number). And oh, I am so glad I did.

 

apple cider cheesecake

Easy Creamy Apple Cider Cheesecake

This recipe has a lot in common with my pistachio butter cheesecake – it’s tall, it’s SO CREAMY and yet somehow remains light (the sour cream helps). The tang from the cream cheese is complimented by the sweet tartness of apple cider. I only added cinnamon to mine but I can imagine adding other types of mulling spices (cloves, allspice, etc) would be lovely too. I followed the methodology for my basic cheesecake recipe which does away with a water bath (which I find too tedious) and instead puts the pan of water in the oven to create more steam. We’ll cool it it very, very slowly to prevent it from sinking in the middle and retain that perfect texture. It’s quick to prepare (all in a food processor) but has a long bake, and an even longer cooling time in the fridge – and it is oh so worth the wait! Move over pumpkin – apple cider is the new fall favorite cheesecake!

Recipe Ingredients

Cider: fresh apple cider, also known as unfiltered apple juice. You can use any kind but I’ve started to use Honeycrisp cider more often because it’s more tart and the flavor comes through a bit more.

Mulling spices: optional but will add flavor to the reduced cider if you add them to the pot when boiling the cider.

Sugar: brown sugar, light or dark is fine.

Cream cheese: we’re using three bricks of cream cheese. It should be firm (not spreadable!). I like using Philadelphia because it’s always tangier and firmer than other brands. It MUST be at room temperature.

Cookie crumbs: Either graham crackers or digestive cookies. They’ll be ground into a powder for the crust.

Sour cream: Full fat.

Flavorings: I use cinnamon, fine sea salt and pure vanilla extract. If you’re using another salt, like table salt, halve the amount.

Eggs: they need to be at room temperature but you can also just take them from the fridge and set them in a bowl of warm water to warm them up.

Flour: this is a newly added ingredient, it helps the cheesecake set firm.

apple cider cheesecake

How to make Apple Cider Cheesecake

First the prepwork:

Reduce the cider: start with three full cups of fresh apple cider (unfiltered apple juice). Pour it into a large pot and boil the juice on medium high for 30-45 minutes until it has considerably reduced in volume and is thick, like a warm syrup. You’ll need 1/3 of a cup of the reduced cider for the cheesecake but you’ll probably have a little over half a cup after boiling.

Preheat the oven and prep the pan: while springform pans are more popular for cheescake because they give you that straight-edged crust, I prefer a cake pan lined with parchment paper. This way I can use the water bath (guaranteed to produce a creamier cheesecake) without worry. To prep the pan I grease it then press a sheet of parchment paper into it and secure it with metal clips:

Prepare the crust: grind the cookies into a powder then add the melted butter. Stir until you have the texture of wet sand:

Press the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan and up the sides. If you’re using the lined cake pan method the sides are a bit challenging, just do your best!

The crust goes in for a short bake to help it set. Then set it aside to cool.

Then make the filling

Gather your ingredients: room temperature eggs, room temperature cream cheese, room temperature sour cream and cool or room temperature reduced cider (as well as the rest of the ingredients like spices and flour).

Start by beating the cream cheese with the sugar and flavorings until it’s smooth

Then add the sour cream and beat until combined

Add the cooled, reduced cider and flour and beat. Scrape down the bowl as necessary to ensure you don’t have any pesky cream cheese lumps.

Eggs should go in one by one and we’re going to do our best to not overbeat them. Once the last egg is incorporated, stop the mixer.

Pour the mix into the cooled crust then set the cheesecake in a large cake pan and fill the large cake pan halfway with water. This is the water bath.

Bake the cheesecake for about an hour and 20-30 minutes, until the sides are set and it only jiggles just a bit in the center.

Cool it slowly: first by turning off the oven and leaving the oven door open then by placing the cheesecake with the water bath on the counter until it’s cool enough to lift it out by hand.

Topping the Cheesecake

In the photos you’ll see one with caramel and one with whipped cream. Here are the details:

  • To top the cheesecake with Apple Cider Caramel see this recipe.
  • Stabilized cinnamon whipped cream: in a food processor whip 2 cups heavy whipping cream (or heavy cream) with 3-4 tablespoons of powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Process on medium until thickened. If it over thickens, stir in a splash of heavy cream.
  • Fresh apples: I loved adding these to the top of the whipped cream because they added our star ingredient: APPLES! Rather than just adding freshly sliced apples I sliced two whole apples then mascerated them in a squeese of fresh lemon juice, a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. You can put this together a few hours before serving but only put it on top of the whipped cream right before serving as apples drop water and will make your cream wet.

 

Notes on cheesecake pan

  • Some of the photos show the cheesecake very tall, baked in a 6″ springform. While grand, I don’t recommend this as the filling is too much for such a small pan and will cause the cake to sink.
  • If you are using a springform pan, wrap it really well so no water seeps in when it goes into the water-bath. A more sure-way to avoid that is to use a tall cake pan (3″ high). You can prep it like I show how to in this video.

apple cider cheesecake

Make ahead notes

  • You can boil down your cider a day or more ahead of time and store it in the fridge.
  • The cheesecake can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

Recipe for Apple Cider Cheesecake



Apple Cider Cheesecake

Creamy cheesecake is made with reduced fresh apple cider giving it a tangy, tart and most autumn-like apple flavor. 
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yields: 1 tall 9" cheesecake
4.73 from 22 votes

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups digestive cookies or graham crackers 270g
  • ½ cup butter melted (113g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Filling

  • 3 cups fresh apple cider honeycrisp cider is more tart!
  • mulling spices
  • 3 cream cheese bricks 227g each, softened and at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar 220g
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream 240g
  • 1/3 cup reduced apple cider from above
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Method

  • Boil the cider with the mulling spices on high in a large pot for about 1 hour, until it has reduced to a thick syrup and you have about 1/3 cup. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Make the crust in your food processor: pulse the cookies until finely ground, add the butter, salt and sugar and pulse until it all comes together in wet crumbs.
  • Press the crumbs into an 8” round springform pan wrapped with foil or into a 8" wide, 3" high cake pan greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then chill.
  • Lower oven temperature to 325 F.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until the mixture is completely lump free. This can take a few minutes and you will likely need to scrape down a few times.
  • Add the sour cream, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and reduced cider and pulse again repeatedly scraping down and beating until you have a very creamy mixture.
  • Add the eggs and flour and beat until just combined – no more.
  • Place the cheesecake pan in a 13×9” pan filled with hot water.
  • Pour your filling into the crust and bake for 90 or more minutes, until you can shake it and the edges look set but the middle is still wobbly.
  • Shut off the oven but leave the cheesecake in. Use a wooden spoon to crack open the oven door. Let the cheesecake cool inside for about 30 minutes.
  • After the 30 minutes, close the oven door and allow the cheesecake to cool for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool on the counter, once cool place in fridge for 8 hours before serving.

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68 comments

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Recipe Reviews




  1. 4 stars
    I wasn’t as blown away by this recipe as I was with the lemon curd cheesecake. It was well received by guests though. It only chilled for perhaps 2 hours instead of 8, so maybe the flavors will deepen tomorrow.
    I made a 2/3 batch in a 9in cake pan, baked in the water bath for 1 hour but probably could’ve turned the oven off at 50 minutes. Topped with plain whipped cream (just 1/2 cup), apple cider caramel (used most of a half batch) and fresh sliced apples.
    One more thing- since it’s hard to find cider near me, I pureed six medium sized apples and pressed them in a cheesecloth to get just over 2 cups of cider. Cheaper than a whole gallon and no leftovers.

  2. I’ve baked a lot of things, but never a cheesecake. And I chose yours to try as my first! I’m sitting here, wooden spoon in the oven door (after the 90min) with the oven off, and my cheesecake is much taller than when it went in. Like it rose and grew. But only a tiny crack.
    What did I do wrong?

    • So far I think you’ve done nothing wrong. Maybe slightly overbaked it if it has cracked, but it should be fine. Once it chills for a few hours you’ll be able to slice in and see.

  3. 5 stars
    Such a beautiful recipe. This cheesecake turned out absolutely amazing and it was my first time using a water bath. I actually purchased an aluminum pan from the Dollar Tree because I didn’t have a pan big enough for my 9inch cheesecake pan. The flavors were so yummy and I made Sans Apple Cider caramel plus made a compote of sliced apples, brown sugar, butter and bourbon to put on top then drizzled the caramel on top????I love Sams recipes they never disappoint, plus she’s always willing to answer any questions I have about the recipes.

  4. 5 stars
    This turned out great! It was a big hit with the entire family, and my 10 year old niece declared it the best cheesecake she’s ever had. I will definitely be making it again!

  5. I have a standard 9” springform pan and it’s about 2.5” tall. Do you recommend I still use all of the filling? I’m just worried about it sinking or overflowing. I’ve never made a cheesecake before so I’m nervous haha

    • Ah yeah I’d be wary too, this one is quite tall! You could always go with 2/3 of the recipe (so 2 bricks cream cheese, etc., do some math with the rest of the ingredients). One big caution: wrap it very well with foil, you don’t want any water getting into the cheesecake!

  6. 5 stars
    This cheesecake was delicious! I made 2 for my Dad’s 60th birthday today. It had great reviews from his family and friends.
    I made a different apple cider caramel recipe for the top along with some cinnamon whipped cream.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  7. I just made this cheesecake tonight and it smells divine!!! I happen to have fresh apple cider in my fridge so I thought I’d give this recipe a try. I loved making the reduced cider syrup. Came out yummy! When the cheesecake is cooled down I plan to freeze it and save it for an upcoming ladies night. I plan on making your cider caramel recipe to pour over the cheesecake once it’s defrosted. I can’t wait to try this cheesecake! It will be hard to wait. I’ll post it on my Instagram and tag you when it’s all done and cut into.?

  8. 5 stars
    I’m an avid home baker and this is the best thing I’ve ever made. I baked it months ago and still think about it. A lot. Thanks for the recipe – I can’t wait to make the ice cream!

  9. Hi there, just to be clear on the ingredients: is it 3 packages of cream cheese @ 227g each, or a total of 227g of cream cheese?

  10. 5 stars
    This is a labor of love, but I love all your recipes that I make. Reducing the apple cider takes patience, the outcome was well worth it. I made the cheesecake, which is one of my favorite dessert cakes to bake. The apple cider syrup or reduction is tart and tangy and just a powerhouse of flavor on the cheesecake. The tanginess- if that’s even a word is wickedly good. I had a little left over and drizzled it on oatmeal a few days after (I am not pregnant) but wanted something tart and it hit the spot. Thanks for exposing me to the wonderful flavors and recipes. I’ll eventually get to the beautiful Pistachio Cheesecake and can’t wait to taste and review.

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve been making cheesecakes for a few years as it’s my fiancé’s family’s favorite dessert. I’ve done Martha Stewart cheesecakes and different variations but they all agreed this is their favorite! I did use graham crackers and regular sugar for the crust, same proportions. I also added a cup of cider as the comments mentioned 4 cups and it reduced nicely to 1/3 cup. Added some extra cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon) too. And I wrap my spring form in foil then tie an oven bag around it to prevent any leaks from the water bath and it works like a charm! Thanks again and I look forward to making more of your recipes!

  12. Hello! I’m thinking of making this recipe into individual cupcake tins. Do you have a recommended baking time for this? Also using fresh pressed cider that we made last week, 50 total gallons!

    • Hi! I made this a few days ago for a party. My son didn’t get his share, so he requested I make it again. But I seem to remember the recipe differently. Previously, the recipe called for 2 eggs and 1 yolk, and the baking time was 50-60 minutes, whereas now it’s 3 eggs and 90 minutes? Please help!

      • Hi Mary! Yep, good eye. I updated the recipe this week. I wanted you to be able to bake it straight in a water bath to keep it nice and creamy and avoid any sinking and drying out on the top. I also didn’t want to ask you to separate an egg, the extra white in the recipe does well. If you like it the way you first made it (water bath on the lower rack rather than directly surrounding the cake) then you can do it that way.

  13. I am so excited to try this recipe but I am a baking novice. I can only seem to find the mulling spices as whole spices. Should I be looking for a ground version or do I put them in something so I can get them out of the reduced apple cider after I’ve boiled it?

  14. How do you use the mulling spices for the apple cider syrup? I keep finding mulling spices as whole spices. Do you use ground mulling spices? Do you try to get the spices out after you reduce the cider?

  15. Hi! I want to try this with a 6 inch pan, with the crust pressed from bottom to the sides of the pan, same as yours. If I do that, would I still be needing to bake it in a water bath? And do you grease the sides of the pan so the crust won’t stick?

  16. 5 stars
    My first time ever making cheesecake and this recipe was just perfection. That apple cuder reduction I wanted to eat with a spoon too.

  17. 5 stars
    Using fresh pressed cider from my family’s farm and baking this beauty now. A bit of a hiccup with cooking the cider down too much, but my scientist brother came to the rescue. We added the candy back on the heat and added heavy cream… fingers crossed!

  18. 5 stars
    My husband works at an apple orchard bottling the apple cider. When I came upon this on your Instagram I was very excited to try it out. Mine has baked and is cooking on the counter. We can’t wait to try tomorrow for Thanksgiving. It looks amazing!

  19. Hi, this looks so wonderful! Do you think it’d be possible to halve the recipe and make a smaller (shorter) cheesecake in a 6” pan? What baking/cooling times would you recommend in that case? Thank you!

  20. Hey! This recipe looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try it. I’ve searched your Instagram a bit to see if you’ve answered a question like this before or not but here’s my question: I’ve seen people put the cheesecake directly in a water bath while baking to help it bake evenly and not crack. Is there a difference between putting the cheesecake directly in water versus having the water in the bottom of the oven? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Seth! Great question. The purpose of the water bath is twofold: to slow the baking slightly and so that the water releases steam (this prevents the filling from drying and cracking). I personally haven’t noticed a huge difference between having it directly in the water or just above it but I definitely have noticed that without the water at all, it is much more likely to crack. Short answer? If you don’t mind going through the hassle of double wrapping the pan to prevent from water getting into the cheesecake, put it directly in the water. If you do, put the pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.

  21. I love your site and recipes but struggle with the volume measures. Conversion tools aren’t truly reliable and I hope that the number of similar comments nudges you towards the accuracy and universality of metric weights soon. Then I could make the things I see here!

  22. Hi! This recipe looks so interesting! If I halve the recipe can I make them into cheesecake bars like the roasted strawberry cheesecake? Looking for a way to try these flavors out but not have a lot of leftovers. Thanks!

  23. Hello I have a question about the ingredients. You have listed 4 cups of fresh cider and then 6 tablespoons of boiked cider, are you adding both 4 cups of cider and the 6 tablespoons of boiled cider, or do you get the 6 tablespoons after being down the 4 cups?

  24. Hi – i tried making the recipe but used regular apple cider (since i can’t find fresh) but it came out too sweet… do you think i can reduce the sugar to balance it out a bit?

    • Hi Chrissy. I’m not sure what you mean by regular – do you mean regular apple juice? That would definitely be too sweet as they are different liquids. The cider is raw and unfiltered, no sugar added. Regular juice is sweeter and often has added sugars. My concern with reducing the sugar too much is that the structure of the cheesecake might suffer. Alternatively you can buy something called ‘boiled cider’ which you can find on amazon and then you won’t have to find or boil down cider. Hope that helps!

  25. Hi there, just want to make sure I’m looking at the recipe correctly, the four cups of cider get boiled down and the syrup is what is added in to the cheesecake mixture, correct?

    Your Instagram link isnt working for me

    • Hi Chloe! I would look more at the quantity it has boiled down to which should be roughly 6 TB. If you are interested, I have an Instagram Stories where there is a photo of the cider.

    • They are cookies made by McVities; a google search should pull them up. I don’t know much about gluten and grain free cookies so I can’t be much help there, sorry!

  26. This looks delicious! Is the baking temperature and time the same with a 6” pan? I love the dramatic height.

    • Hi Rachael! I’m so glad you love it too! For the 6" I baked it for about 60 minutes, and kept the cooling times the same. I always like to judge doneness by what I see and feel – the edges should be set and the center still jiggly.

  27. Hallo from Italy! Please can you help me with the translation of your measurements? How much is a cup in grams or milliliter? And a “tablespoon” is just a large spoon of something? Please excuse me and thank you! Laura

    • Hi Laura! A tablespoon is a specific measurement. If you have access to any cooking stores with american products you should find a set of spoons with measurements ranging from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. They should also have set of measuring cups which will help with the rest of the ingredients for the cheesecake.
      Measurements always vary by ingredient. Here is a chart that should help with some: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/5490-baking-conversion-chart

  28. hello I follow you from Spain could you tell me of some reliable page to convert the measures into grams, by the way that cake looks great … Thanks for sharing