Cheesecake used to mean graham cracker crust and cherry sludge—but over the years, it’s become a category of its own. The Cheesecake Factory menu is good evidence of this. Currently, there are over 30 flavors, from pineapple upside-down to ultimate red velvet. Most of which I would happily never eat. But! There is one contemporary flavor that has become a classic in its own right: Oreo.
Unlike most other cheesecake flavors, Oreos have a leg up because they can figure in the crust and the topping. Talk about bang for your buck. The chocolate wafers offer a similar crumb as do graham crackers, while the creamy filling brings sweetness. If you add crushed Oreos to the cheesecake from the start they’ll sink right to the bottom; so, we add them when the cheesecake is almost finished baking—this way, the topping stays crunchy.
This method relies on a food processor, one of our most loved appliances in the test kitchen. If you don’t have one, but do have a stand mixer, you can adapt to that instead with the whisk attachment. Just follow the same visual cues.
To amplify the recipe’s chocolatey vibes (because who doesn’t want that?), we swirled in a creamy chocolate ganache. Obviously, this looks cool. But it also tastes really good, almost like a black-and-white milkshake.
You’ll notice that we skip the usual water bath—and you’re welcome. Water baths are famous for yielding evenly baked, not-curdled cheesecakes. But they’re also famous for sloshing hot water all over your forearms and mid-bake dessert. I learned a better way from our not-recipe cheesecake guide: covering the pan with foil and using an ultra-low oven temperature. And, for extra insurance, stirring a little flour into the mixture stabilizes the custard, which helps avoid curdling and bumps up creaminess.
For many rounds of this cheesecake’s creation, our test kitchen used an 8-inch springform pan, which created a traditionally thick cheesecake. Then, one day, we used a 9-inch pan by accident and realized that we liked this thinner format way better (and it baked faster). A happy mistake, indeed. —Emma Laperruque
- Prep time 35 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 35 minutes
- Makes 1 (9-inch) cheesecake
- Oreo crust
Oreos (about 2 cups crumbs)
unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- Oreo cheesecake with chocolate swirl
cream cheese, at room temperature
pure vanilla extract
kosher salt, plus more to taste
large egg yolk
1 1/2 ounces
bittersweet or dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Oreos, crumbled by hand
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Blitz the Oreos in a food processor until they’re as fine as cornmeal. Add the salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand; it should easily hold together when squeezed. Evenly press into an 9-inch springform pan (a measuring cup helps flatten the bottom and push up the sides). Set on a sheet pan and bake for 12 minutes. As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, use a measuring cup again to push up the sides of the crust and even out the bottom. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F and let the crust cool while you work on the filling.
- Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Run the machine, stopping and scraping down as needed, until the mixture is fluffy. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and salt, and mix again. Add the eggs and egg yolk and mix. Now sprinkle the flour on top and mix again.
- Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave until it’s steamy and hot to the touch. Add the chocolate, espresso, and a small pinch of salt. Let set for a minute (so the chocolate can melt), then stir until smooth.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the Oreo crust. Now pour the chocolate ganache on top in a swirly, twirly pattern. Use a chopstick or skewer to drag around the chocolate just a bit (you don’t want them to blend completely). Tightly cover the top of the pan with foil (taking care that the foil doesn’t touch the cheesecake). Bake at 300°F for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the foil. Gently sprinkle the crushed Oreos evenly on top (they shouldn’t sink). Continue to bake the cheesecake, uncovered, for 15 to 25 more minutes, until the center barely shimmies when you shake the pan (or the center reaches 155°F with a kitchen thermometer).
- Let cool at room temperature before covering and refrigerating until completely chilled. Serve cold.