Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

4.87 from 44 votes

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Enjoy this flawlessly creamy and smooth dulce de leche cheesecake with a sprinkle of sea salt. Step-by-step photos, lots of tips for success and video tutorial are included below.

sliced dulce de leche cheesecake on a white serving platter.


 

Why you’ll love this recipe:

It’s no secret I love cheesecakes. The taller and creamier, the better! And preferably with lots of crust. If you do too, this cheesecake is for you!

  • Tall, buttery and crumbly crust
  • Smooth, creamy filling
  • Indulgent dulce de leche topping
  • Sprinkle of chunky sea salt to offset the sweetness

Don’t let the fancy name to fool you! Dulce de leche is nothing but cooked sweetened condensed milk. And I have an easy tutorial to make it at home!

This easy cheesecake is a perfect make-ahead dessert for any occasion!

A slice of dulce de leche cheesecake on a small plate.

Key Ingredients:

You only need 10 ingredients to make this cheesecake.

Dulce de leche cheesecake ingredients.
  • Graham crackers – I use regular plain graham crackers, but you can use any flavored graham cracker you like. You can also use digestive biscuits if you’re outside of the U.S.
  • Cream cheese – Be sure to use brick-style full-fat cream cheese for the creamiest and tastiest cheesecake. That means no whipped or low-fat cream cheese.
  • Sour cream – Adds incredible creaminess to the filling. You can substitute plain Greek yogurt, if you’d like.
  • Dulce de leche – Use either store-bought or homemade dulce de leche, or substitute caramel sauce, if needed.

How to make this recipe:

1. Prepare the pan

To ensure smooth, evenly-cooked cheesecake with no cracks, we’ll cook it in a water bath. And to prevent soggy crust we need to wrap the springform pan in a foil first.

  1. Arrange 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil criss-cross pattern on top of each other. And place the springform pan in the middle.
  2. Ensure at least an inch of foil on each side of the pan.
  3. Gently wrap the foil up the sides of the pan.

Tip

Be careful not to tear the foil and make a hole, or it’ll defeat the whole point.

2. Make the crust:

We’re going to make a tall cheesecake crust to wrap the creamy cheesecake filling all the way up.

First, we’ll crush the crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs. Then stir in sugar, followed by melted butter. The mixture should be evenly moistened and resemble a wet sand.

Step by step photos of making cheesecake crust.

Tip

The texture of the crust should be wet-sand-like. It should ball up when you squeeze it in your palm.

Now, transfer the mixture into the prepared springform pan, then evenly spread and press the crust mixture onto the bottom and all the way up the sides.

Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Spreading graham cracker crust in springform pan.

3. Make the filling:

First, we’ll whip the softened cream cheese with a paddle attachment until nice and fluffy.

Then add dulce de leche, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl half way.

Stir in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Step by step photos of making cheesecake filling.

Tip

Try not to incorporate too much air bubbles in the mixture by mixing the filling on medium low speed.

4. Bake

Pour the filling into the prepared pan and tap the pan on the counter couple of times to pop any trapped air bubbles.

Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan and pour 1-2 cups of hot water into the pan.

Bake the cheesecake for about an hour at 350°F.

Once the cheesecake is set around the edges and slightly wobbly in the center, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool in the oven slowly for at least an hour.

Then cool completely on a cooling rack and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

Spread reserved dulce de leche and sprinkle some sea salt flakes before serving.

Step by step photos of baking cheesecake.

Cheesecake Tips for Success:

  • Be sure to soften the cream cheese for the smoothest filling. Simply bring cream cheese out on the counter about an hour before you start.
  • Room temperature eggs incorporate easier into the batter.
  • Avoid mixing the filling on high speed when adding the eggs to prevent incorporating too much air into the batter, which is #1 reason for cracked cheesecake.
  • If you don’t have a large roasting pan to fit your springform pan, simply place a pan of water on the bottom rack.
  • Avoid sudden temperature change, which may cause a crack, and cool the cheesecake gently in the turned off oven for about an hour.
  • Sprinkling some sea salt on top balances out the sweetness. I love this Maldon sea salt flakes, it’s the best stuff!
sliced dulce de leche cheesecake on a white serving platter.

Cheesecake FAQ:

How to prevent cracks in a cheesecake?

1. Don’t incorporate too much air bubbles by avoiding high speeds.
2. Bake the cheesecake in a water bath.
3. Avoid sudden temperature change.

Why is it important to bake cheesecake in water bath?

Water bath helps to cook cheesecake evenly and gently, ensuring a nice and flat cheesecake without a crack.

Can you make cheesecake without a water bath?

Yes, sure. If you just want to skip the whole water bath thing, you can do that too.
But if you don’t have a large enough roasting pan, then either place another baking pan filled with hot water on the bottom rack. Or you can purchase a cheap foil pan instead of a roasting pan.

Storing Tips:

This cheesecake is a perfect make-ahead dessert.

  • Store cooled cheesecake, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Or freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Refrigerate leftover cheesecake, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
A slice of dulce de leche cheesecake on a small plate.

I really hope you’ll try this sweet and creamy treat! And if you do, please share your feedback in the comments below and give a star-rating!!

Video Tutorial:

Watch How to Make This Below!
sliced dulce de leche cheesecake on a white serving platter.
4.87 from 44 votes

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Enjoy this flawlessly creamy and smooth dulce de leche cheesecake with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
4 hours
Total: 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

For curst:

  • 16 graham crackers Note 1
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter melted

For cheesecake filling:

  • 24 oz (700g) cream cheese softened Note 2
  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
  • 1 can (400g/14oz) dulce de leche divided
  • ½ cup (125g) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • Sea salt flakes for dusting optional (I love this Maldon sea salt flakes.)

Instructions 

To prepare the pan:

  • Layer 2 large heavy-duty foil and put a 9-inch springform pan in the middle, as pictured. Tightly wrap the pan with foil, being careful not to make a hole.

To make the crust:

  • Crush graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. And add sugar and then melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
  • Transfer the crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate while working on filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

To make the filling:

  • In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar, about ¾ of dulce de leche, sour cream, vanilla extract and salt. Beat the mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition on medium low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and mix for another 30 seconds.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Tap it on the counter couple of times to burst any trapped air bubbles.

To bake:

  • Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan and pour 1 cup of hot water into the roasting pan. (Alternatively, place a baking pan of water on the bottom rack, if you don't have a large enough roasting pan to fit the cheesecake pan.)
  • Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour, or until the edges of the cheesecake is set, but the center is slightly wobbly.
  • Turn off the oven heat and cool the cheesecake in the oven slowly for 1-2 hours.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely. Then cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.
  • When ready to serve, run an offset spatula (or a butter knife) around the edges, and remove springform sides.
  • Spread the reserved dulce de leche on top and sprinkle flakey sea salt, if desired.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: You’ll need 2 sleeves of graham crackers, equivalent to 260g of crackers.
Note 2: Use full fat, brick-style cream cheese. No whipped or reduced fat cream cheese for the best result.
Storing Tips:
– This cheesecake is a perfect make-ahead dessert. Store cooled cheesecake, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 1 month.
– Refrigerate leftover cheesecake, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Servings: 1 slice
Calories: 432kcal
Carbohydrates: 27g
Protein: 6g
Fat: 34g
Sugar: 16g
Sodium: 378mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

This recipe was originally published on June 9th, 2016.

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Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

4.87 from 44 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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142 Comments

  1. I made it in a 10-inch pan instead of a 9-inch. For some reason, the filling was about half tall of yours. Any advice?
    Thanks

    1. Hi, Carlos! The answer to your question is in your question. 😉 My recipe is written and made in a 9-inch pan, so if you use 10-inch pan, your cheesecake naturally will be flatter, but wider.

  2. 5 stars
    I made adjustments only to the baking method. I followed the ingredients and amounts to a T. Delicious!

    For the baking method, I used a water bath and wrapped up my cheesecake in two sheets of 18×18 heavy duty aluminum foil. I baked the cheesecake crust for 9 minutes before the filling at 350. Lowered the temperature to 325 when baking the filling and baked for about 65 minutes. Cooled in the oven with door closed for 10 minutes, cracked the door for 10 minutes, took springform pan out on a cooling rack for 30, then fridge to cool all the way. No cracks, so smooth and creamy!

  3. 5 stars
    I have had this recipe pinned to my dessert board for several years. I recently decided to enter it into our annual autumn neighborhood cookoff, and out of over a dozen desserts, this placed third, but among my family, we decided it most definitely should have placed first. My notoriously picky 8 year old begged me to take some home for him, and I was the subject of compliments all night.

    I appreciate the fact that you went to the trouble of weighing all ingredients. It makes such a difference when baking and since I count macros, it was effortless to calculate nutritional information. I tweaked the filling ever so slightly and added in some leftover apple pie filling, and next time I may add roasted candied nuts to the crust. My only regret is that I didn’t bake this sooner!

  4. Instead of a water bath I still wrap my pan with foil but then I place a large roasting and broiler pan with boiling hot water on the oven rack directly under the cheesecake. This helps to provide the steam to help keep your cheesecake from over baking and cracking. I also line my springform pan with parchment paper and run a thin knife around the edges of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. I’ve never had a crack using this method. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    I couldn’t find dulce de leche, I used caramel sauce. Someone still thought it was dulce de leche! Although it took longer to cook and at the end, I just left it in the turned off oven for a bit, it was AWESOME. It did NOT crack, first time ever and I wonder if the thickness of the caramel helped stabilize the cheesecake more? Whatever the case, the texture is smooth and creamy and it’s a great cheesecake.

    1. Tiffany, you can make dulce de leche very easy, just put one can of condensed milk (do not open the can) in a pot crock, cover the can with water and cook it in low temperature for 8 hours. Hope this can help you. Adriana

  6. 5 stars
    Made this recipe three times now, it has been great every time. I use 2 cans of dulce de leche so the topping is a little thicker, this time I added some chopped pecans to the crust and topping as well as putting a thin layer of dulce de leche on the bottom. Can’t wait for my dinner party to serve it up tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Yay, so happy you love this recipe so much! I love your variation as well. Hope your guests enjoyed it. And thank you for your feedback, Chris!

  7. 3 stars
    I think the cheesecake would been better by blind baking the crust first and having it in a water bath. I followed the recipe, and there was a lot of puffing up (which fell) and cracking.

  8. 5 stars
    This was fabulous! Everyone loved it! I made my own “caramel sauce” by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk and it worked perfectly.