Just wait until your guests get a glimpse of this gingerbread cheesecake at the Christmas table. They won’t be disappointed. And neither will you.

The cheesecake is thrice as nice as most thanks to the familiar notes of sugar and spice and everything nice playing a role not just in the filling but in the cookie crust and the stylish cookie toppers.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers are gushing over this holiday cheesecake recipe. They found it to be smooth, creamy, and not overly rich. Trudy N. “highly recommends it to gingerbread lovers.”

Larry N. is calling this the “finest cheesecake that I have ever made.” High praise, indeed.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Gingerbread cookie dough–You could substitute another roll out gingerbread cookie dough here, if you prefer.
  • Cream cheese--Use full-fat cream cheese here for the most flavor and the best texture in your finished cheesecake.
  • Unsulfured molasses–Light or dark molasses will work here, but don’t use blackstrap molasses. The flavor is too strong and bitter. If you find the flavor of molasses too strong, you can also replace it with honey.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Roll out half of the cookie dough on floured parchment and bake until golden brown. Cool completely.
  2. Roll out the remaining cookie dough. Cut and bake gingerbread cookies, according to the recipe. Save them for decorating the cheesecake.
  3. Pulse the large square of gingerbread in a food processor to make 2 cups of gingerbread crumbs. Mix them with the butter and sugar and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until set, then cool completely.
  4. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar and vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time. Add the molasses, salt, spices, and zest, and beat well.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Scrape the filling onto the cooled crust, then place the springform pan in a shallow roasting pan. Pour boiling water around the pan, then bake until the cheesecake is golden brown and almost completely set.
  6. Cool the cheesecake completely. Transfer to the fridge and store, uncovered for at least 8 hours before topping with gingerbread men and serving.

Recipe FAQs

How do I avoid cracks in my cheesecake?

There are a few different things you can do to avoid cracks in your cheesecake. Use room temperature ingredients, mix the filling slowly to minimize the addition of air, take care not to overbake it, and let it cool completely before moving it.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes. The cheesecake needs to chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours before serving, and our testers found the flavor actually improved with time, so feel free to make it a full day before serving.

How do you cut even, clean slices of cheesecake?

Wipe your knife clean between each cut, and dip the knife in a glass of hot water or run it under hot water between each cut to ensure smooth, even slices.

Helpful Tips

  • Use room temperature ingredients. This will ensure a smooth, lump-free batter, and will help to prevent cracks in the baked cheesecake.
  • To save time, you can replace the gingerbread cookie dough with store-bought ginger cookies to make the base for the crumbs. You won’t have the gingerbread men for decorating the finished cake, but you could top it with whipped cream or other decorative candies.
  • Store the baked cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze, well-wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 months.

More Great Cheesecake Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

I made this over the weekend and it is a winner. This will become part of my yearly Christmas baking routine. Thanks for sharing!

gillian
A whole gingerbread cheesecake on a white platter with a slice missing from it.

Gingerbread Cheesecake

4.75 / 4 votes
This gingerbread cheesecake tastes like classic Christmas spices—cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove—in each and every bite. A simple yet stunning holiday dessert.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Servings10 to 12 slices
Calories550 kcal
Prep Time50 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time3 hours

Equipment

  • 9-inch springform pan

Ingredients 

For the gingerbread cookie crust

  • All-purpose flour, for the work surface
  • 1 recipe unbaked Gingerbread Cookies
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the gingerbread cheesecake filling

  • 2 pounds (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap molasses)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, preferably organic (optional)

Instructions 

Make the gingerbread cookie crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • Generously flour a large piece of parchment paper. Place 1/2 of the gingerbread cookie dough on the floured paper and roll it out to a 13-by-10-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Dust off any excess flour.
  • Slide the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet and bake until it's firm and golden brown, about 14 minutes. Transfer the parchment and cookie to a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  • On another generously floured piece of parchment, roll out the remaining gingerbread cookie dough about 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, bake the remaining gingerbread cookie dough as directed in the Gingerbread Cookies recipe.
  • Break the cooled rectangular cookie into several large chunks and pulse them in a food processor until finely ground. Measure 2 cups gingerbread crumbs and dump them in a bowl. Reserve the remaining crumbs for another use (like nibbling them or sprinkling them over ice cream).
  • Add the butter and sugar to the crumbs in the bowl and mix until combined. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and 1/3 of the way up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Wrap the outside of the pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Bake until the gingerbread cookie crust is set, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the gingerbread cheesecake filling

  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (163°C). Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the sugar and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Reduce the speed to low. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the molasses, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and zest.
  • Scrape the filling onto the cooled gingerbread crust. Place the springform pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Pull out the center oven rack and set the roasting pan on the rack. Carefully pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the springform pan and then push the rack back into the oven.
  • Bake the cheesecake until the filling is an even, gorgeous pale shade of brown and appears set but is still slightly wobbly in the center, 60 to 70 minutes. (We had the best results when we took the cheesecake out at 65 minutes.) Transfer the springform pan to a wire rack and let the cheesecake cool completely.
  • When the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, slide it in the refrigerator, uncovered, and come back for it 8 hours later.
  • Before serving, run a knife or an offset spatula around the edge of the gingerbread cheesecake to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Carefully remove the pan and, if desired, arrange the gingerbread cookies around the center of the cheesecake.

Notes

  1. Ingredients–Use room temperature ingredients. This will ensure a smooth, lump-free batter, and will help to prevent cracks in the baked cheesecake.
  2. Shortcuts–To save time, you can replace the gingerbread cookie dough with store-bought ginger cookies to make the base for the crumbs. You won’t have the gingerbread men for decorating the finished cake, but you could top it with whipped cream or other decorative candies.
  3. Storage–Store the baked cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze it, well-wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 months.
Martha Stewart's Cakes Cookbook

Adapted From

Martha Stewart’s Cakes

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 550 kcalCarbohydrates: 47 gProtein: 8 gFat: 38 gSaturated Fat: 22 gMonounsaturated Fat: 10 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 178 mgSodium: 376 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 45 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Martha Stewart Living. Photo © 2013 Sang An. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is a brilliant gingerbread cheesecake recipe and one which I will certainly use during the holidays. This may very well be the finest cheesecake that I have ever made.

First let me say, the cookies make a WONDERFUL crust. I would also like to add that I added an extra tablespoon butter to the crust, which made it PERFECT. I decided not to use the lemon zest and found that it was not missed.

I also highly suggest baking the cheesecake for the entire 65 minutes. My oven runs a little hot, yet 60 minutes was still not quite enough.

I also recommend chilling the baked cheesecake for 24 hours. Honestly, the texture only improved with a bit of time. I sprinkled some of the unused cookie dust on the top of each slice as I served it.

This would be a great option in place of pumpkin pie. I LOVE THIS CAKE! This cake will EASILY feed 10 hungry dinner guests.

If you love gingerbread, you have to make this gingerbread cheesecake recipe. The cookie dough is pretty standard and makes a tender cookie on its own.

It was really hard waiting overnight to taste this! The final product was smooth and not overly rich.

Although I could have easily eaten the entire thing by myself, I gave half away to a friend and stored what was left, tightly wrapped, in the freezer. I cut myself a slice last night, and even after a week, the flavor and textures are still great. I might actually like it just as much frozen as I do at room temperature.

I included the lemon zest in the cheesecake filling, and I liked the little zip it added. I did think there was a tad too much nutmeg, and next time would cut back a little. The double layer of foil seemed to keep water out pretty well. My cheesecake baked for about 65 minutes, with the top turning a very pale brown and the edges slightly darker.

I will definitely make this again and highly recommend it to gingerbread lovers!

This gingerbread cheesecake recipe is quite good. The recipe is involved because you have to make a separate gingerbread cookie for the crust; however, each portion isn’t difficult to make.

I made the honey version of the Gingerbread Cookies and the cookies were beautifully light. I had enough cookie dough left to make small heart-shaped cookies and I used those on the cheesecake. (These looked really cute and I could see making this recipe for Valentine’s Day.)

The cookies were quite tasty and were great on their own and delicious in the crust. I think that you could use purchased gingersnaps or even another cookie entirely for the crust, though.

We had very fresh ground ginger, so the ginger flavor was a bit strong. So I’d guess that if you like a strong ginger flavor, this is perfect; otherwise, you need to adjust based on the freshness of your ground ginger. I think the lemon zest adds a bit of brightness to the batter but could be omitted. I used it, but the ginger flavor definitely is the predominant one.

A hint for the filling is to make sure the cream cheese is room temperature and that you beat it long enough. If you don’t, there might be lumps.

The cheesecake was in the oven for about 70 minutes. There was a light browning all over the top. That is, the color of the batter was slightly caramel-colored all across the top. It looked beautiful.

A simple topping for this cheesecake would be whipped cream. Its lightness contrasts with the denseness of the cheesecake. Also, if you do not use the lemon zest, it might be really nice to have a thin layer of a sour cream topping mixed with lemon juice and zest on top.

We make gingerbread cookies every year (classic Swedish, very thin, more like gingersnaps) and use a lemon juice-based royal icing. The lemon gives a brightness to the cookies and the frosting.

Another topping I’d recommend is chocolate coins (chocolate drops or you can make these yourself by dropping chocolate in circles onto parchment and setting them in the fridge.) The taste of chocolate and gingerbread is great and produces contrasting color to the top of the gingerbread. I’d make this recipe again, reducing the amount of ginger.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




16 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I sent feedback in because the baking temp seems too low at 325. Try 350-375. Creamy & delish! Yum.

    1. Thanks, M.J. Cheesecakes are often cooked at 325F in order to achieve that perfect texture. If it took an exceptionally long time to bake, you may want to check that your oven is running at the correct temperature.

  2. This one is a winner! It’s fun to make, it looks gorgeous, it tastes amazing with all the spice and texture nuances, and it makes for wonderful kitchen aromatherapy! It’s definitely worth using the different recipes with honey and molasses for colour and flavour variations. Cheers to gingerbread in all its forms of glory!