Apple crisp cheesecake has a thick graham cracker crust, tangy vanilla cheesecake, cinnamon apples and oatmeal crumble on top. It’s extremely creamy with the perfect apple cinnamon flavor. Top with a drizzle of salted caramel for the ultimate fall dessert.
This recipe combines two classic desserts – apple crisp and New York cheesecake. You get the best of both worlds and end up with a decadent cheesecake that’s perfect for apple season or Thanksgiving. The cheesecake itself is extremely smooth and creamy. It’s supported with a thick and crunchy graham cracker crust that has a hint of cinnamon. On top of the cheesecake is a layer of sweet, cinnamon apples. Then oatmeal crisp topping is sprinkled on top.
The apple crisp flavor and tangy cheesecake flavor meld together perfectly, and you’ll love how the creamy cheesecake texture combines with the crunchy crust and crisp topping. You can also add a drizzle of salted caramel sauce if you really want to take it up a notch.
Making Apple Crisp Cheesecake
This recipe has 4 parts to it: the crust, the cheesecake batter, the cinnamon apples and the crisp topping. Therefore, it does take some time to make. Like any cheesecake recipe, it will need to chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours after its baked. Therefore, I recommend making it the day before you plan to serve.
You’ll first make the crust by combining crushed graham crackers, a little brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon. Then you’ll stir in melted butter to create a something that feels like wet sand. The mixture gets pressed into the bottom and about ½ way up the sides of your pan, and then baked on its own for 10 minutes. Baking the crust on its own helps to keep it crunchy and sturdy.
Then as the crust is baking, you can get on with the filling, apples and crisp topping.
I always make the apple mixture and crisp topping first so that they’re ready to go as soon as you have the cheesecake filling done. For the apples, you’ll peal 2 large apples and slice them thinly. Then toss them with brown sugar and cinnamon.
The crisp topping is made with flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, quick oats and melted butter. It should be crumbly and stick together if you squeeze it in your palm. Note that for this recipe, I like smaller crumbles because it makes it easier to slice the cheesecake after its baked. Therefore, I use quick oats instead of old-fashioned oats.
The cheesecake filling itself is very simple and you’ll find familiar if you’ve ever made a baked cheesecake. You’ll beat the cream cheese and sugars until smooth, then mix in a hint of cinnamon and corn starch. From there, mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Then mix in the eggs 1 at a time. We’re using a little brown sugar and cinnamon in this recipe to complement the apple topping and add more flavor. The corn starch helps to set the cheesecake and reduces the risk of cracking.
Then its time to assemble the cheesecake. Pour the filling over the crust and smooth the top. Then place the sliced apples in an even layer over the filling. If there’s juice in the bottom of the bowl of apples, do not pour it on top of the cheesecake. Then sprinkle the crisp topping on top of the apples. It will look like a lot, but it really won’t be once the cheesecake is baked.
Note: I tried putting the apples on the bottom, but it made the crust soggy. So I definitely don’t recommend it.
You’ll notice in the photos above that I have the cheesecake pan wrapped in tin foil. That’s because this cheesecake is baked using a water bath. The water bath method helps to keep in moisture to give the cheesecake a silky smooth texture. It also minimizes changes in temperature, which therefore reduces the risk of the cheesecake cracking. Before making the crust, you’ll wrap the outside of a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan. You need to wrap the pan at least 3 times so that all the seams are covered. The unbaked cheesecake (with the pan wrapped in foil) is placed in a large roasting pan, then about ½ – 1 inch of boiling water is poured into the roasting pan. Then the whole thing goes in the oven to bake.
Note: When you bake the crust on its own, you don’t need to bake it in the water bath.
- The cream cheese, sour cream and eggs need to be room temperature before getting started. Make sure to take them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes (ideally 60 minutes) before making the crust.
- For people outside of North America, graham crumbs can be substituted with digestive biscuits.
- Apples will soften and sweeten as the cheesecake bakes. I recommend using something that’s very crunchy and even a little sour. I typically use Granny Smith because I like the apples a little tart. You could also use a very crunchy Gala or Ambrosia. I do not recommend using McIntosh or Red Delicious.
- I used quick oats for the crisp topping, however old-fashioned oats will work too. Do not use instant oats – they behave more like flour and the crisp topping will be too dry.
- The cheesecake will need to cool slowly and then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving. Therefore, I recommend baking the cheesecake the day before you plan to serve it and letting it chill in the fridge overnight. Chilling the cheesecake is imperative for it to set properly.
More fall cheesecake recipes to add to your baking list:
Apple Crisp Cheesecake
- 9-inch springform pan
- large roasting pan (big enough for the springform pan to fit inside)
Graham Cracker Crust
- 3 cups graham crumbs
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted butter (112 grams) melted
- 2 large apples I recommend Granny Smith or Gala
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (63 grams)
- ½ cup brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup quick oats
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (56 grams) melted
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese (680 grams) room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream (120 ml) room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- boiling water for the water bath
- salted caramel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C or 160C on a fan-forced oven).
- Wrap the outside of a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan in tin foil so that the bottom and sides are covered. Wrap it at least 3-4 times so that all the seams are covered too. Lightly grease the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Mix the graham crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Then mix in the melted butter
- Press the mixture into the bottom and about ½ way up the sides of the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep the oven turned on.
- Peel and core the apples. Slice into very thin slices.
- Toss the apples with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Place in the fridge until you'll need them later.
- Stir together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl until no lumps remain. Then mix in the oats.
- Stir in the melted butter. It should look like damp sand and form clumps/crumbles if you squeeze it in your palm. Set aside until you'll use it later.
- In a very large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugars until smooth and creamy. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the corn starch and cinnamon. Then mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Again, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl to ensure there are no lumps of cream cheese.
- Mix in the eggs 1 at a time. Stop mixing as soon as the eggs are combined. You should no longer see pieces of egg yolk or egg white.
Assembling & Baking the Cheesecake
- With the pan still wrapped in foil, pour the cheesecake filling over the crust and smooth the top.
- Place sliced apples on top of the cheesecake in an even layer. Do not add any juice/liquid from the bottom of the bowl of your apples. You may not quite need all the apples to form an even layer.
- Sprinkle the oatmeal crumble mixture over the sliced apples. It may look like quite a bit, but it really isn't after the cheesecake is baked.
- Place the cheesecake inside a large roasting pan (the pan should still be wrapped in foil).
- Pour boiling water into the roasting pan so that there's about 1 inch of water in the pan.
- Place the roasting pan in the oven. Bake the cheesecake for about 50-60 minutes. When it's done baking, there should be a very slight wobble if you gently nudge the pan.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Cool in the roasting pan until it reaches room temperature.
- Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan. Cover the pan with tin foil and place in the fridge to set for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the fridge.
- Trace around the edges with a sharp knife. Then unclamp the outer ring of the springform pan.
- Slice the cheesecake using a thin, sharp knife (not a table knife). Be sure to slice all the way through the crust. This recipe can be a little messy to slice, so don't worry if your pieces don't look perfect.
- Optionally, drizzle each piece with a little salted caramel.
- Graham Crumbs: You can substitute graham crumbs for digestive biscuit crumbs if needed. When measuring, measure 3 cups of crumbs - after the graham crackers or digestives have been crushed.
- Apples: I typically use Granny Smith apples. They will sweeten as they bake. You can also use crispy Galas or Ambrosia apples. I do not recommend using Red Delicious or McIntosh. You'll need 2 large apples or 2-3 medium apples.
- Cream Cheese: Make sure to use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Do not use anything that's low fat or comes in a tub.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure the cream cheese, eggs and sour cream are at room temperature before getting started.
- Salted Caramel: This is my favorite recipe.
- Storage: Store cheesecake covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. I don't recommend freezing this recipe, because I find the crumble goes a bit soggy.
- Nutrition: Information is an estimate only and based on 1 slice without salted caramel, assuming the cake is sliced into 12 equal pieces.
Excellent recipe! My guests said that it was the best cheesecake they’ve ever eaten! The one thing I’ll say is after days 4-5ish the apples that are on top of the cheesecake have a tough consistency. Guess that just means you gotta eat more cheesecake 😁