Filed Under: Cheesecake | Dessert

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
November 9th, 2020
5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 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! It’s 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 delicious 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 used 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 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 put the eggs out a couple hours before making this recipe so they can come to room temperature. You can also 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!

How do you prepare a cheesecake water bath?

A water bath helps to create that gentle moderated cooking environment which prevents cracks. It also ensures an ultra smooth and even texture.

The downside to water baths is that they’re a little messy and it’s easy for the water to leak into your pan and create a soggy cheesecake crust.

To avoid this, 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.

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:

Overbeating

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

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 for when the cheesecake is done baking.

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 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 while it chills in the fridge.

How to slice cheesecake:

If you have the time, let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving for best taste and texture.

Open the springform latch and gently remove the sides.

Use a sharp knife like to cut slices. Run the knife under hot water and wipe off the blade between each slice so they’re clean and pretty. Then 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!

You can place a whole cheesecake or individual slices on a baking sheet inside the freezer until firm. Wrap the cheesecake or each individual slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.

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 30 minutes.

More Cheesecake Recipes to Try:

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

5 from 2 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!

Ingredients

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

Directions

  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’s 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. 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 with the pans 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.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheesecake recipe, peanut butter cheesecake, ultimate peanut butter cheesecake
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  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Sabrina — November 14, 2020 at 5:19 pm

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

    • #
      Handle the Heat — November 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this cheesecake, Sabrina!

  2. #
    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

    • #
      Handle the Heat — 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!

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed