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If you love the flavor combination of chocolate + peppermint as much as I do, then this Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake is for you!
There’s something about the combination of chocolate + peppermint + Oreos that I absolutely adore.
I don’t know what it is about the combination. Maybe it’s the way the peppermint cuts the sweetness of the Oreo and complements the chocolate so beautifully.
Working with peppermint used to scare me. I’d always fear my desserts would just taste like mouthwash. But this recipe is everything right about holiday baking and entertaining!
This Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake is the perfect dessert to make in advance of your holiday party or to bring to a potluck.
If you really want to take the decadence level over the top, try topping this cheesecake with my Peppermint Oreo Truffles!
How to Make Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
What’s the Best Springform Pan for Cheesecake?
- Springform pans have deep sides and a removable bottom, making easy work of removing the cheesecake from the pan and cutting beautiful slices.
- I like this Nordic Ware 10-cup springform pan.
- Be sure to hand wash springform pans to preserve their nonstick surface and spring mechanism.
- Even if your pan claims to be “leakproof,” almost no pan in existence actually is. See my water bath tips below.
The Oreo Crust
Don’t remove the creme filling from your Oreos! A food processor makes quick and easy work of grinding the cookies into fine crumbs. The finer the crust is ground, the more solid it’ll be once you go to cut a slice.
How to Prevent Cheesecake Cracks
Perfectly smooth cheesecake with zero cracks requires 3 steps. However, even if a crack forms, it’s no big deal in this recipe since the cheesecake will be topped with thick chocolate ganache.
1. Avoid Overbeating Cheesecake Filling!
Be sure to use high-quality full-fat bricks of cream cheese. Some ‘generic’ brands are too watery.
The cream cheese should be completely softened to room temperature. If it’s too cold, it won’t mix thoroughly and you’ll end up with little bits and pockets of unblended cream cheese, which is extra obvious in a chocolate cheesecake. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature too!
One of the tricks to making perfectly smooth and creamy cheesecake is to blend the cream cheese and sugar to oblivion. After the eggs are added, only beat until they’re just incorporated. If you overbeat the batter once the eggs are added, you run the risk of causing all sorts of problems, like large cracks on the cheesecake surface.
2. No Quick Temperature Changes
Cheesecake is delicate and finicky. Quick temperature changes cause cracks. You want gentle and slow heat and then slow cooling.
Once the cheesecake is done baking, we turn off the oven heat, crack open the oven door, and allow the cheesecake to slowly and gently cool for another 45 minutes inside the oven. That’s also why we bake the cheesecake in a water bath, to ensure gentle baking.
To prevent the cheesecake from cracking as it cools to room temperature out of the oven, run a thin knife around the edge of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Only after the cheesecake has thoroughly chilled in the fridge should you remove the springform ring.
3. Do Not Overbake Cheesecake
Cheesecake is done baking BEFORE it looks done. The residual heat of the oven will continue to cook the cheesecake. You want the center of the cheesecake to look slightly wobbly or jiggly like Jell-O when the baking time has ended. It should look dry on the surface.
How to Prepare a Cheesecake Water Bath
- Make sure you have a baking pan that’s deep enough and wide enough for the springform pan to fit inside. A roasting pan is usually ideal, but I’ve even used an extra-large cake pan or a large skillet. Get creative if you need to!
- Two, make sure the springform pan is protected from the water. You don’t want any water to seep through the cracks of the pan and make a mushy crust.
- To seal off the pan, place a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. You want the heavy-duty stuff that creates bigger sheets of foil to completely encompass the base of the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there are three sheets of foil, to ensure a waterproof seal. Gently fold the top of the foil around the edge of the pan. I’ve even used duct tape to seal the foil to prevent water from leaking through.
- Reader Holly shared a wonderful tip for keeping the water out, “I use a turkey roasting bag, then put a layer of foil around the bottom and sides of the pan to hold it in place. I don’t close the bag over the top. Keeps the water out and the crust dry.”
How to Serve Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
This part requires the most patience! You must let it chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before you even think of slicing and serving it! I usually like to let it chill overnight, just to make sure it’s completely set and I’m able to cut clean pretty slices.
- Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. You can leave it on the removable bottom or move it to a serving platter.
- If time permits, let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving for best taste and texture.
- Use a fairly big sharp knife like this one to cut slices.
- Run the knife under hot water and wipe off the blade between each slice so they’re clean and pretty.
- Then slide a metal server underneath the crust to ensure it doesn’t crumble.
How to Store Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
Store the cheesecake in the fridge for up to 5 days after you top it with the ganache. If you need to store the cheesecake longer than that, see the freezing instructions just below.
How to Freeze Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
I recommend freezing the Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake without the ganache and candy canes. You can place the whole cheesecake or individual slices on a baking sheet inside the freezer until firm. Wrap the cheesecake or each individual slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
To serve, defrost a whole cheesecake in the fridge overnight. You can also defrost individual slices in the fridge overnight, or at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
More Cheesecake Recipes
- Ultimate Classic Cheesecake
- Oreo Cheesecake
- Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
- Caramel Brownie Cheesecake
- Ultimate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
More Christmas Dessert Recipes
- Christmas Funfetti Sheet Cake
- Peppermint Mocha Bundt Cake
- Peppermint Oreo Truffles
- Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies with Icing
- Loaded Peanut Butter Christmas Cookie Bars
For the crust:
- 24 (278 grams) Oreo cookies
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 24 ounces (680 grams) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the topping:
- 1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Crushed candy canes
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Prepare a 9-inch springform pan for a water bath1. Place a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there are three sheets of foil to ensure a waterproof seal. Gently fold the top of the foil around the edge of the pan. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Make the crust:
- In the bowl of a food processor, process the cookies until you have 1 cup finely ground crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool slightly and maintain oven temperature while making the filling.
Make the filling:
- In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chopped chocolate in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted and smooth. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth and free of lumps, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the sugar, cream, and cocoa powder and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all cream cheese is being incorporated. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating just until smooth. Gradually beat in the peppermint extract and melted chocolate until just combined. Be careful not to overbeat.
- Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Tap the pan against the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the top looks slightly dry but the middle is still wobbly like Jell-O. Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking.
- Turn off the oven and crack the oven door open and allow to cool for 45 minutes. This will prevent cracks.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate.
Make the topping:
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. If needed, allow to cool slightly to thicken. Pour over the cheesecake.
- Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Serve or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated with additional recipe tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.