If you dig the combo of peanut butter and chocolate, are cheesecake-friendly, and possess an Instant Pot, this black-bottomed beauty has your name written all over it. An easy-peasy, no-bake chocolate cookie crust—made with just a smidge of salt, so as not to be too sweet—is pressed into a 7-inch springform pan (the perfect size for a 6-quart Instant Pot, FYI) and placed in the freezer. I like a no-bake crust in an IP cheesecake, as turning on the oven when IP’ing just doesn’t sit well with me. But if you are “pre-bake or go-home” when it comes to crumb crusts, be my guest (8 minutes at 350°F should do the trick). While the crust chills, softened cream cheese is gently mixed with cornstarch (to prevent cracking), heavy cream (for richness), eggs (for a smooth texture as well as a thickener), brown sugar, vanilla, and salt (all of which marry so beautifully with PB)—and, speaking of which, creamy peanut butter (I’m partial to Skippy). The smooth, dense filling comes together quickly and effortlessly (provided all of your ingredients are at room temp) and is transferred to the crumb-crusted pan and lowered into your Instant Pot, for a mere 26 minutes, plus a natural release. After its stint in the fridge, to firm up and chill out, a simple dusting of Dutch-processed cocoa powder is all this baby needs, providing color, flavor, and an excellent camouflage, on the off chance the cake’s surface is less than perfect. (This cake will not crack, but you might miss an air bubble, despite your best efforts, and if so, cocoa powder’s got your back, as do I.) —Jessie Sheehan
- Prep time 4 hours 30 minutes
- Cook time 26 minutes
- Makes one 7-inch cheesecake
(2-inch) crispy chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco, or about 1 1/3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
light brown sugar
unsalted butter, melted
fine sea salt
light brown sugar
fine sea salt
plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
cream cheese, at room temperature
plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (not all-natural)
heavy cream, at room temperature
pure vanilla extract
large eggs, at room temperature
Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting
- Line the bottom of a 7x3–inch round springform pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper. Lightly spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray or lightly grease with softened butter.
- To make the crust, process the cookies in a food processer until finely ground. Add the sugar, melted butter, and salt and process until combined, scraping the bowl if necessary. Transfer the crumbs to the prepared pan, and using a jar with a flat top on it, press the crumbs down firmly with the upside down jar. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
- To make the filling, combine the sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk to combine, breaking up any lumps of sugar with your fingers if necessary.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese on low until smooth, about 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly add the sugar mixture, stopping the mixer once or twice, and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the peanut butter, heavy cream, and vanilla and mix again until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix only until combined, scraping the bowl periodically as needed.
- Transfer the filling to the prepared pan. Gently drop the pan on the counter a few times to flatten the surface and to pop any air bubbles (it is impossible to pop them all). You may try to smooth the top with a small offset spatula, if you have one, but if you cannot achieve the surface of your dreams, do not fret.
- Place 1 cup cold water in the Instant Pot, add the trivet, and place the cheese cake on top of the trivet. Secure the lid and make sure the valve on the top is closed. Push the manual button, and set the timer for 26 minutes on high pressure. The IP will come to pressure almost immediately.
- Allow the pot to naturally release, about 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the IP off. Carefully remove the lid, being mindful not to let condensation drip on the cake. However, despite your best efforts, there will be some water on the surface. Use a paper towel to blot it up.*
- Let the pan cool in the pot until you can easily remove it. Place it on a wire rack and very gently run a paring knife around the edges of the warm cake. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.
- Remove the cake from the sides of pan and with a large spatula, remove the cake from the parchment-lined bottom. Place on a serving platter. Dust with cocoa powder if using, and for clean slices, cut with a large knife dipped in hot water and dried between each cut. The cake will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- *Some recipes suggest covering the cheesecake in a sheet of paper towel and foil before baking, so as to avoid water on the surface of the cake. But doing so requires you to cook your cheesecake for longer than makes sense to me. I mean, one of the major benefits of baking a cheesecake in an Instant Pot is the speed in which you can do so, not to mention the fact that the water that might accumulate on the surface, once blotted up, has nary an impact on your finished cake.