Ultimate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Recipe - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Cheesecake | Dessert

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

By Tessa Arias
November 9th, 2020
4.50 from 6 votes
4.50 from 6 votes

This is the ULTIMATE Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe! Made with an easy graham cracker and peanut crust, creamy peanut butter cheesecake filling, and a delicious peanut butter topping!

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Loaded with nutty peanut flavor to balance the sweet tanginess of the cheesecake!
Texture: The crust is crunchy, the filling is velvety smooth, and the peanut butter topping is rich and fudgy.
Ease: Definitely more of a weekend baking project, but totally doable! Tons of cheesecake tips below.
Pros: Perfect special treat for peanut butter lovers.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Oh definitely.

I dream of peanut butter desserts.

Next to chocolate, it’s one of my most craved categories.

Usually, I combine chocolate and peanut butter. But today, I want the PB to shine!

That’s why I created this peanut butter cheesecake recipe with peanuts in the crust, peanut butter in the filling, and a peanut butter ganache topping, for absolute nutty decadence!

How to Make Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Cheesecake:

  • Graham Crackers – The crust for this easy cheesecake is made from graham crackers and peanuts.
  • Peanuts – Be sure to use lightly salted and roasted peanuts. These are used in the crust, but you can also sprinkle some on top for an extra crunch and garnish.
  • Sugar – Used in the crust and filling, to sweeten and balance the tanginess.
  • Cinnamon – Just a dash of cinnamon in the graham cracker crust adds amazing flavor to complement the peanut butter.
  • Butter – Be sure to use melted, unsalted butter.
    Here’s how to properly melt butter: Place the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally, until melted. You can also place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted. Allow to cool.
  • Cream Cheese – Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese that has completely and totally softened to room temperature. If it’s not soft enough, your batter won’t be smooth!
  • Peanut Butter – Don’t use the natural stuff that separates! Make sure to use conventional creamy peanut butter for this recipe that has an added oil in the ingredients list to emulsify.
  • Sour Cream – Helps with that perfectly tangy flavor and creamy, thick texture.
  • Flour – Thickens the peanut butter cheesecake filling and helps it set up.
  • Eggs – 4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk are used to give this cheesecake its ultra-rich, creamy, and velvety texture. Make sure to pull your eggs out a couple of hours before making this recipe so they can come to room temperature. You can alternatively let them soak in a bath of warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Heavy Cream – All you need is heavy cream and peanut butter for the most amazing peanut butter ganache topping. Be sure to whisk vigorously so it doesn’t separate. Alternatively, you could also simply finish with whipped cream!

Why Bake Cheesecakes in a Water Bath?

A water bath helps to create a gentle, moderated cooking environment, which:

  • Prevents cracks and sunken middles
  • Ensures an ultra-smooth and even texture
  • Guarantees the outside of the cheesecake doesn’t become overbaked or curdled before the inside can finish baking.

How Do You Prepare a Cheesecake Water Bath? 

  1. Make sure you’re using a quality springform pan and wrapping it at least 3 times in wide heavy-duty aluminum foil. You can also use a turkey oven bag or slow cooker bag to protect the pan from the water.
  2. Place the springform pan in a larger roasting pan, and then place it onto the oven rack.
  3. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  4. Check out this article here for more tips on water baths for cheesecakes
peanut butter cheesecake batter in springform pan wrapped in foil ready for water bath

How Do You Prevent Cheesecake Cracks?

Generally, there are 3 causes of cheesecake cracks:

1. Overbeating

  • You want to beat the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and peanut butter very thoroughly.
  • Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl often, and beat until totally smooth.
  • However, once the eggs are added, ONLY beat until combined, then stop mixing.

2. Overcooking

  • The residual heat of the oven will continue to cook the cheesecake, even after you’ve turned the heat off.
  • Be sure to follow the tips below to know when the cheesecake is done baking.

3. Quick temperature changes

  • Quick temperature changes can be caused by opening the oven door too often or cooling the cheesecake down too quickly.
  • You want gentle and slow heat. That’s why in this peanut butter cheesecake recipe, the cheesecake cools inside the oven with the door cracked.
  • To prevent the cheesecake from cracking as it cools, run a thin knife around the edge of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  • Only after chilling should you remove the springform ring.

How to Tell When Cheesecake is Done Baking

You want to stop cooking once the cheesecake looks dry on top but is still gently wobbly in the very center. It will finish setting up as it cools in the warm oven and as it chills in the fridge.

How to Slice Cheesecake

  1. If you have the time, let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, for the best taste and texture.
  2. Open the springform latch and gently remove the sides.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut slices.
  4. Run the knife under hot water and wipe off the blade dry between each cut, so the slices are clean and pretty.
  5. Slide a pie metal server underneath the graham cracker crust to ensure it doesn’t crumble.
overhead shot of slices being cut from peanut butter cheesecake

How Long Does Cheesecake Last?

This cheesecake will keep for 5 days loosely covered in the fridge. Note that the longer it’s stored, the less crunchy the crust will be.

Can you Freeze Cheesecake?

Yes! Cheesecake freezes beautifully. Here’s how to freeze Ultimate Peanut Butter Cheesecake:

  1. Place a whole cheesecake or individual slices on a baking sheet inside the freezer until firm.
  2. Once firm, wrap the cheesecake or each individual slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.
  3. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  4. 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 You’ll Love:

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

4.50 from 6 votes

How to make
Ultimate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Chilling Time 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 40 minutes
This is the ULTIMATE Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe! Made with an easy graham cracker and peanut crust, creamy peanut butter cheesecake filling, and a delicious peanut butter topping!


For the crust:

  • 15 (230 grams) whole graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) lightly salted roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 32 ounces (907 grams) cream cheese, completely softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (270 grams) conventional creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Boiling water, for the water bath


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch diameter springform pan with at least a 2 1/2-inch depth for a water bath. 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. Alternatively, use a turkey roasting bag to seal the pan from the water bath. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the crust:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers, peanuts, sugar, and cinnamon until very finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is moistened like wet sand. Press firmly into the bottom and quarter-way up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Make the filling:

  1. 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 and paddle as needed. Add the peanut butter, sour cream, sugar, and flour and beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl and paddle completely, then blend again until combined and smooth. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.

  2. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. It will fill almost completely to the top. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles in the batter.

  3. 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. This is usually best done once the pans are already on the oven rack, to avoid spilling boiling water.

  4. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour, or until the top looks slightly dry. If the middle is slightly wobbly, that’s fine. Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking.

  5. Turn off the oven heat and open the oven door open just by 1-inch. Let the cheesecake cool inside the oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the oven is just warm. This will prevent cracks from forming.

  6. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and from the water bath, unwrap the foil, and transfer it to a cooling rack. Run a thin-bladed flexible knife around the edge of the cheesecake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool completely to room temperature on the rack.
  7. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.

Make the peanut butter topping:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Add the peanut butter and stir until it begins to melt. Remove from heat and stir vigorously until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour over the chilled cheesecake. Return to fridge for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow topping to set before slicing and serving.

  2. Store the cheesecake uncovered very loosely covered to avoid condensation. Store for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Recipe Video

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”G6rAzVen” upload-date=”2021-01-04T23:45:29.000Z” name=”How to Make A Water Bath for Cheesecake” description=”Here’s how to make a water bath for baking cheesecake! This is the number one key to perfectly smooth, luscious, and creamy cheesecake that bakes evenly and without cracks.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : cheesecake recipe, peanut butter cheesecake, ultimate peanut butter cheesecake
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Melinda — December 10, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    I made this and it was mostly perfect and delicious. Would have given 5 stars, but when I made the topping it “broke? “, never got creamy, oil separated from the peanut butter. I ended up melting peanut butter and spread that on top instead.

  2. #
    Valerie Brown — August 10, 2022 at 8:23 am

    Can you make the peanut butter topping and refrigerate it if your not eating it until the next day and then heat up the topping the next morning and then pour it on 30 min before cutting it.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 11, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Valerie! We have not tried that, but it should work just fine! Just be sure to re-chill before slicing, so the topping has time to set. Happy baking! 🙂

  3. #
    Hez — August 9, 2022 at 2:40 am

    I have a request, can the recipe be translated for an 8-inch springform pan? Please

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 9, 2022 at 9:07 am

      Hi Hez! I’m sorry, but we haven’t tried this recipe in an 8-inch pan! I think this amount of cheesecake might potentially overflow and be too much for an 8-inch pan. I would recommend reserving some of the cheesecake (and perhaps making those into cupcake-sized cheesecakes!). Follow the sensory indicators Tessa mentions in the recipe (how the cheesecake should look, smell, etc) because the baking time will be a little different. Let us know how it goes! 🙂

  4. #
    James K Lipscomb — June 14, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    I love this one. I even managed to make it in a toaster oven!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 15, 2022 at 7:58 am

      Wow, that’s so great to hear, James! So happy you love this cheesecake 🙂

  5. #
    Valerie — June 1, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    I’m giving this a 3 star for the taste. Your better off not using a spring form pan due to to complexity of having to foil the pan in addition to using a “baking” oven bag to keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake pan. Anyone that can do this with out burning your self while inserting the cake pan covered with foil and baking wrap into the boiled water in the oven deserves credit. I’m sticking to the Maida Heaters cheesecake recipe. NEVER fails!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 3, 2022 at 10:02 am

      Hi Valerie! I’m sorry you didn’t find this cheesecake to be as you had hoped. We find the water bath has so many benefits, as Tessa describes in so much detail in the pink Tip Box above the recipe. Yes, there are extra steps involved, but we believe the additional work is worthwhile for the incredible texture the resulting cheesecake has! If you follow Tessa’s instructions for placing the well-wrapped springform inside a larger roasting pan, and place the pans on the oven rack before pouring in the boiling water, it’s easy to avoid burns. The cheesecake is then cooled inside the oven for 30-60 minutes, allowing enough time to cool to pans and water down enough to avoid burning yourself. However, if you have found another way that gives you perfect cheesecakes with a perfectly creamy consistency and no cracks every time, that’s great! Happy baking 🙂

  6. #
    Kathleen — March 28, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Can I sub sour cream for plain Greek yogurt?

    • #
      Emily — March 30, 2022 at 3:04 pm

      We haven’t tried that! Let us know how it goes if you do!

  7. #
    Janice — February 28, 2022 at 7:24 am

    I added Vanilla extract to this, left out sour cream. I also used a pecan and shortbread crust. It turned out perfect.

  8. #
    Angela C. — January 21, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    Could this be converted for the instant pot?

    • #
      Emily — January 24, 2022 at 2:18 pm

      We haven’t tried that!

  9. #
    harry aden — December 13, 2021 at 2:58 am


    can i use almond butter or walnut butter instead of peanut butter.

    what is the weight of 1/2 cup nut butter
    and half cup heavy cream?

    • #
      Emily — December 13, 2021 at 3:47 pm

      We haven’t tried that, so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out!

  10. #
    harry aden — December 12, 2021 at 5:28 pm


    could i do the topping with almond butter instead of peanut butter?

    • #
      Emily — December 13, 2021 at 3:14 pm

      We haven’t tried that! Let us know how it goes if you give it a try 🙂

  11. #
    Lucia Turner — August 24, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Is this for a deep dish?

    • #
      Emily — August 25, 2021 at 7:49 am

      Hi Lucia! As stated in the recipe, this cheesecake is made in a 9-inch diameter springform pan with at least a 2 1/2-inch depth. The pan we used is linked in the directions of this recipe. Hope that helps!

  12. #
    Nagy — June 30, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    If you are obsessed with PB like I am – run to make this recipe! It is soooo good and full of Peanut Butter flavor! I made this without the additional PB topping and it was still so good.

    • #
      Tessa — July 1, 2021 at 10:09 am

      I’m so happy to hear this!

  13. #
    Hameed — June 18, 2021 at 5:10 am

    Hi, can i add pistachio paste instead of peanut butter to make pistachio cheesecake.

    • #
      Tessa — June 18, 2021 at 8:58 am

      I haven’t tried that, so I can’t say for sure that it would turn out. I’d recommend instead searching for a pistachio cheesecake recipe online.

  14. #
    Maria — February 6, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    Can I use biscoff instead of peanut butter?

    • #
      Tessa — February 8, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      I haven’t tested that personally, but I think it would work!

  15. #
    Mollie — November 15, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Amazing recipe! This was my first time making a cheesecake so I was a tad nervous and preparing for the worst. But thanks to all of Tessa’s tips and detailed instructions, it went beautifully!! I’m not typically a huge fan of cheesecake, but this recipe has converted me! Will definitely be making this again

    • #
      Tessa — November 16, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      This makes me so happy! I love when you guys try a new recipe out for the first time. Thrilled this recipe was enjoyed!

  16. #
    Sabrina — November 14, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    what a fun cheesecake, great alt flavors for me, thank you!

    • #
      Tessa — November 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this cheesecake, Sabrina!

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