The peanut butter cheesecake of your dreams. My version has an Oreo crust and decadent chocolate ganache topping sandwiched around a deliriously smooth, creamy, and oh-so-peanut-buttery filling. And did I mention it’s made WITHOUT a water bath!? Recipe includes tips, tricks, photos, and a how-to video tutorial!
What you’ll love about this peanut butter cheesecake:
- Smooth, creamy texture: a splash of heavy cream really smoothes things out.
- No water bath needed. Water baths are fussy, messy, and far too often can leave you with a soggy crust. I don’t use a water bath here (or in any of my cheesecake recipes), yet we still get perfect, crack-free results.
- Rich peanut butter flavor: yet you can still taste the “cheesecake” flavor too–it’s utterly perfectly balanced (if I do say so myself)!
- Crisp, Oreo cookie crust: a no-brainer, really. Chocolate and peanut butter go SO well together!
- Chocolate ganache topping: the cherry on top, I recommend finishing things off with a layer of chocolate for my fellow peanut butter & chocolate lovers. If you’re feeling fancy, I recommend adding some homemade whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed Reese’s pieces on top, too!
A Carefully (obsessively?) tested recipe
For such a classic flavor, I had quite a difficult time trying to tackle this peanut butter cheesecake. In fact, I’ve actually been testing this recipe on and off for years!
Most often, my biggest challenges were a lackluster peanut butter flavor and a dense, almost crumbly texture (also stemming from the peanut butter). After many attempts, I finally figured out how to strike the perfect balance of peanut butter and cream cheese, and I even added a surprise ingredient I NEVER use in cheesecakes but found necessary here.
What You Need
It’s very important that all of your ingredients are at room temperature; this will help them mix easier and prevent over-mixing (which can cause cracking or a sunken cheesecake). Here’s what you need!
- Peanut butter. Stick with creamy peanut butter for a smooth texture. I have not tested this recipe with natural peanut butter, so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out if you used it.
- Cream cheese. Just like my chocolate cheesecake and strawberry cheesecake (okay, actually all of my cheesecakes!), you need to use full-fat, block-style cream cheese. Low-fat or spreadable cream cheese will NOT work here.
- Oreos. Oreos and peanut butter work so well together! We’re using the same Oreo crust from my Oreo cheesecake, which means you must remove the filling from the Oreos. I don’t recommend using my traditional Oreo crust (with the cream included), because the cream tends to leak out of the springform pan during baking. I haven’t tested this recipe with my homemade Oreos yet, but it’s on my to-do list (for a truly 100% from-scratch version).
- Sour cream. While we are still including sour cream in this recipe, you may notice that it’s a smaller amount than usual. This is intentional; it still gives depth of flavor while allowing the peanut butter flavor to shine.
- Heavy cream. Adding a splash of heavy cream (something I never do in my classic cheesecake, but do use in my basque cheesecake) lightens the custard and gives it the proper consistency.
SAM’S TIP: Be gentle with the eggs! Over-mixing the eggs can cause your cheesecake to have a curdled texture. To avoid this, lightly beat each egg before adding it and work one at a time. Mix each egg on low-speed until just incorporated, then stop!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Make the Crust
- Scrape and discard the cream filling out of 35 Oreos, then place the cookies in a food processor. Scraping out the filling is necessary because otherwise it wills eep out of the springform pan and leak all over your oven, leaving you with a mess, a soggy crust, and a bad taste in your mouth that has nothing to do with the tase of the cheesecake.
- Pulverize the cookies into fine crumbs.
- Add the melted butter and pulse until evenly distributed. All the crumbs should be moistened by the butter.
- Press the crumbs into the bottom and high up the sides of a 9″ springform pan. Go as high up the sides as you can–this will allow the crust to shrink with the cheesecake as it cools, preventing cracks. Set aside.
Make the Cheesecake
- Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the peanut butter and sugar and mix on low until combined. Remember when mixing, slow and steady is the way to go. Don’t beat in too much air, but do make sure everything is smooth and well incorporated.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and stir well.
- Gently stir in the eggs, working one at a time and mixing until just combined after each addition.
- Add the heavy cream and stir until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl; there should be no lumps, and the batter should be smooth and uniform.
SAM’S TIP: With all of my cheesecakes, avoiding over-mixing is important, but it’s especially important here. Over-mixing the ingredients could cause the cheesecake to rise much too much, which will then cause it to either over-brown, collapse in on itself (it’ll still taste good) or just look funny with raised edges and a sunken center (will still mostly taste good!).
Bake and Decorate
- Pour the filling into your prepared crust and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 50 minutes at 325F (160C), then let sit a room temperature until no longer warm. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours.
- Prepare the ganache, then evenly pour it over the chilled cheesecake. Place the cheesecake back in the fridge to set for about 20 minutes.
- Top with whipped cream before serving (if desired) and enjoy!
SAM’S TIP: A classic graham cracker crust would work here too, or for a fun twist, feel free to toss in half a cup of finely chopped peanuts to your graham cracker crust!
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately this recipe will make too much filling for a store-bought crust. In fact, I think you would probably need two store-bought crusts to use it all. If you do this, your bake time will be less; though I can’t say for sure what it would be.
Nope! My recipe was specifically designed to be made without a water bath. Follow the tips listed throughout the post above, and you’ll have a smooth, perfectly textured, and crack-free cheesecake. AND you don’t need to worry about ending up with a soggy crust.
This peanut butter cheesecake will last for up to 5 days in the fridge. I like to store mine in the springform pan covered in foil, then when I’m ready to serve, I just remove the ring. You can also freeze this cheesecake for up to 3 months–just make sure it’s tightly wrapped (you can slice it and freeze individual slices, the cheesecake can be enjoyed from frozen or thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying).
What other cheesecake flavors would you like to see? Let me know in the comments!
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
- 35 Oreo cookies
- 5 Tablespoons (75 g) unsalted butter melted
- 24 oz (678 g) cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (280 g) creamy peanut butter
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (120 g) sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs room temperature and lightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 oz (85 g) chocolate
- ½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream
- ½ batch homemade whipped cream optional
- Preheat oven to 325F (160C).
- Twist apart each Oreo cookie and use a butter knife to scrape out and discard the filling. Place cookies into food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.35 Oreo cookies
- In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter and toss until all crumbs are moistened. Pour crumbs into 9” springform pan and use a measuring cup or glass to press crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan (press as far up as possible to help minimize risk of cracks). Set aside.5 Tablespoons (75 g) unsalted butter
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) Stir cream cheese until smooth and creamy.24 oz (678 g) cream cheese
- Add peanut butter and sugar and use mixer to beat on low-speed until smooth.1 cup (280 g) creamy peanut butter, 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- Add sour cream and vanilla extract, stirring until thoroughly combined.2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ cup (120 g) sour cream
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing briefly after each addition until each egg is just combined.3 large eggs
- Add heavy cream and stir until batter is smooth and uniform. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Pour batter into Oreo crust. Transfer to center rack of 325F (160C) oven and bake for 50 minutes. When finished, the center will still jiggle some like Jell-O if jostled, but the edges should be set and may have even puffed a bit.
- Allow to cool at room temperature until no longer warm, then transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- In a medium-sized microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine chocolate and heavy cream.3 oz (85 g) chocolate, ½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream
- Microwave for 25 seconds on high, stir, then microwave for another 25 seconds. Stir well until chocolate and cream are completely smooth and melted.
- Once cheesecake is set, pour ganache evenly over top of cheesecake. Return to refrigerator and allow ganache to set (about 20 minutes) before removing springform pan, slicing, and serving.
- If desired, top with homemade whipped cream before serving.½ batch homemade whipped cream
Peanut butterThis recipe has not been tested with “natural” peanut butter (the kind that separates).
StoringStore covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
FreezingCheesecake may be frozen for up to 3 months. May be frozen whole or sliced and frozen, wrap cheesecake tightly to prevent freezer burn. Cheesecake may be enjoyed from frozen or thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.