Cranberry Orange Cheesecake – The Recipe Critic


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There is no better way to ring in the holidays than this Cranberry Orange Cheesecake. It’s infused with a cranberry sauce that takes this dessert to another level, and is sure to be the talk of your party!

It’s no secret I love cheesecake. If you have hesitated making cheesecake for any reason, I’m here to change your mind! I take the mystery out of cheesecake with my step by step instructions. You will make a delicious and creamy cheesecake every time! There’s nothing like a homemade cheesecake, and you’ll love this classic New York Cheesecake, this festive Eggnog Cheesecake, and this loaded with flavor Tiramisu Cheesecake.

A piece of orange cranberry cheesecake being lifted out of the whole by a pie spatula.

Orange Cranberry Cheesecake

Oh cheesecake, how I love you! And this orange cranberry cheesecake is a keeper for sure. It’s everything you want in a holiday recipe and then some. The tangy and zippy flavor of orange and cream cheese, with a swirl of cranberry sauce. What’s not to love?! They really aren’t as hard as people make them out to be either. They may be a little more work than a holiday cookie or cranberry Christmas cake, but they are totally worth it!

I break down this recipe into easy steps. If you follow this recipe with all of my tips, I promise it will turn out great! I also recommend making your cranberry sauce from scratch because it adds extra orange flavor that you’ll love. The graham cracker crust is perfect for the flavors in this cheesecake, and it’s so easy to whip up. You’ll be so glad you tried this recipe!

Process photos showing graham cracker crust pressed in a springform pan, the batter being added on top, the cranberry sauce in the blender, and finally the cranberry sauce put on top of the cheesecake.

Ingredients

The ingredients in this cranberry orange cheesecake are so simple, but packed with flavor! I recommend making a homemade cranberry sauce to really ramp up the flavor in this cheesecake. This cheesecake will knock your socks off with fresh and fun flavors.

Crust And Cranberry Filling

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs: You can buy them at the store or make your own crumbs using Graham Crackers and pulsing them in a food processor.
  • Granulated Sugar: This is just your regular pantry sugar to help sweeten the crust. You could leave this out if you wanted to.
  • Butter: Butter helps the crust stick together. You’ll want to use unsalted because there is added salt in this crust already.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to bring out all the lovely flavors!
  • Canned Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce or Homemade: You can easily buy a can, or make it yourself homemade! I have a great recipe for cranberry sauce that you’ll want to save for later anyways!

Cheesecake

  • Cream Cheese: You will need to buy 4 8oz packages of cream cheese. It’s a lot! But thats what makes this cheesecake so creamy and tangy.
  • Granulated Sugar: Your pantry sugar will work great.
  • Sour Cream: This makes the cheesecake extra creamy and tangy! You’re going to love the flavor this adds.
  • Eggs: I always use large grade A eggs in my recipes.
  • Vanilla Extract: Whatever you have on hand for baking will do.
  • Orange Zest: You will want to buy an orange and zest fresh orange into this cheesecake. It makes such a difference!
A whole orange cranberry cheesecake with two slices slightly removed on a plate with oranges and cranberries to the side.

Cranberry Orange Cheesecake Recipe

If you have never made a cheesecake before, you have nothing to worry about! I’ve included lots of insider tips from my years of experience that will help you make the perfect cheesecake every time! This orange cranberry cheesecake is perfect for the season, so get ready for your new favorite holiday dessert!

Crust

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 325℉. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by spraying with cooking spray.
  2. Mix: In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and salt together. This should resemble damp sand.
  3. Press: Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan and press evenly into the pan. You can use the bottom of a flat glass or a flat measuring cup to really press it in well and get a nice, even crust.
  4. Bake: Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Cheesecake

  1. Beat Cream Cheese: Add the softened cream cheese to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle at medium/high speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for another minute or so, until very smooth.
  2. Mix: Add the sugar and sour cream and mix at medium/low speed until just combined. Scrape the bowl again and mix again for 30 seconds.
  3. Beat: Add the eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds-1 minute. Scrape the bowl again. Beat until just combined. At this point the batter should be smooth and fairly runny.
  4. Blend Sauce: Add the cranberry sauce to a blender and blend until a smooth puree forms.

Bake the Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

  1. Wrap Foil: Using 18 inch heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap the outside of your springform pan with 4 sheets of foil. You can use regular foil, but it may take a couple more sheets to ensure the water does not get into your pan.
  2. Add to Pan: Place the wrapped pan in a deep roasting pan. You can alternatively use a baking sheet, so long as the sides are about 2 inches deep.
  3. Pour Batter: Add half of the cheesecake batter to the springform pan. Carefully spoon half of the cranberry puree over the cheesecake batter and smooth as best you can. Again, carefully spoon the remaining cheesecake batter on top and smooth.
  4. Add Sauce: Add the remaining cranberry puree over the top of the cheesecake batter. Use the back of a paring knife to swirl just the top layer of cranberry into the cheesecake by making figure 8s in the batter.
  5. Pour Water: Using very hot water, add water to the baking sheet until there is about 1 ½ inch of water around the springform pan. With the rack in the lower 3rd of the oven, carefully move the pan into the oven.
  6. Bake: Bake for 1-1 ½ hours. After about an hour of baking, check the cheesecake’s consistency. A slight jiggle of the pan (while still in the oven) should tell you if it’s ready or needs more time. The cheesecake should be only slightly jiggly, but not liquid. If it still seems very liquidy, give it 15 more minutes and check it again.

Cool and Serve

  1. Cool: Once the cheesecake has only a slight jiggle, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour or so, until the oven has cooled down. Resist the temptation to open the oven during this time! The purpose of this step is to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly as the oven cools. Doing this will prevent it from cracking, as one of the biggest reasons cheesecakes crack is the drastic temperature change going from the hot oven into the much cooler kitchen.
  2. Chill: Once the oven and the cheesecake are cooled, remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil lining the pan. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
  3. Enjoy: Before serving, run a knife around the edge of the pan to ensure an easy release when the springform is removed. Top the cranberry orange cheesecake with the whipped cream topping and enjoy!
Cheesecake on a plate with cranberries and oranges in front of it.

Tips for Making Cheesecake

Cheesecake can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some helpful tips to get a perfect and creamy cheesecake every time!

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients will help you achieve a silky smooth cheesecake batter. I usually get the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs out of the fridge a couple hours before I’m ready to start baking to ensure they have enough time to soften. 
  • Scrape Down Bowl: Scrape down the bowl several times between each step. Doing this will prevent thicker batter from sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl, only to end up making your batter lumpy. 
  • Aluminum Foil: Heavy-duty 18-inch aluminum foil is one of the secrets to making cheesecake that not only bakes evenly in a water bath, but prevents ANY water from getting in and making the crust soggy. I’ve tried with 2-3 layers of foil, but have found that this can still sometimes leak. Best to go with 4 layers of the foil, making sure it is a big enough piece to go ALL the way up each side of the pan.
  • Cooling: Letting the cheesecake cool in the oven as the oven cools will prevent it from cracking. You don’t want to poke it or stick a thermometer in it either! That will greatly increase the risk of the cheesecake cracking as it cools down. 
  • Cranberry Sauce: If you don’t like canned cranberry sauce, make your own cranberry sauce! Let it cool completely before pureeing and adding to the cheesecake. Making your own will enable you to have it spiced just the way you like it.

A slice of cheesecake with a bite taken out of it with a fork and fresh fruit next to it.

Storing Leftover Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

Cheesecake makes great leftovers! It’s just as creamy and delicious the next day, so it’s a good one to make ahead. Follow these tips to get the most out of this recipe.

In the Fridge: The cheesecake by itself is best stored covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

In the Freezer: You can freeze this cheesecake for up to 6 months, just cover it in plastic wrap or an airtight container. Let it sit out on the counter for a few hours before eating.


Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 325℉. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by spraying with cooking spray.

  • In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and salt together. This should resemble damp sand.

  • Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan and press evenly into the pan. You can use the bottom of a flat glass or a flat measuring cup to really press it in well and get a nice, even crust.

  • Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Cheesecake

  • Add the softened cream cheese to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle at medium/high speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for another minute or so, until very smooth..

  • Add the sugar and sour cream and mix at medium/low speed until just combined. Scrape the bowl again and mix again for 30 seconds.

  • Add the eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds-1 minute. Scrape the bowl again. Beat until just combined. At this point the batter should be smooth and fairly runny.

Bake The Cheesecake

  • Using 18 inch heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap the outside of your springform pan with 4 sheets of foil. You can use regular foil, but it may take a couple more sheets to ensure the water does not get into your pan.

  • Place the wrapped pan in a deep roasting pan. You can alternatively use a baking sheet, so long as the sides are about 2 inches deep.

  • Add half of the cheesecake batter to the springform pan. Carefully spoon half of the cranberry puree over the cheesecake batter and smooth as best you can. Again, carefully spoon the remaining cheesecake batter on top and smooth.

  • Add the remaining cranberry puree over the top of the cheesecake batter. Use the back of a paring knife to swirl just the top layer of cranberry into the cheesecake by making figure 8s in the batter.

  • Using very hot water, add water to the baking sheet until there is about 1 ½ inch of water around the springform pan. With the rack in the lower 3rd of the oven, carefully move the pan into the oven.

  • Bake for 1-1 ½ hours. After about an hour of baking, check the cheesecake’s consistency. A slight jiggle of the pan (while still in the oven) should tell you if it’s ready or needs more time. The cheesecake should be only slightly jiggly, but not liquid. If it still seems very liquidy, give it 15 more minutes and check it again.

  • Once the cheesecake has only a slight jiggle, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour or so, until the oven has cooled down. Resist the temptation to open the oven during this time! The purpose of this step is to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly as the oven cools. Doing this will prevent it from cracking, as one of the biggest reasons cheesecakes crack is the drastic temperature change going from the hot oven into the much cooler kitchen.

  • Once the oven and the cheesecake are cooled, remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil lining the pan. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

  • Before serving, run a knife around the edge of the pan to ensure an easy release when the springform is removed. Top with the whipped cream topping and enjoy!



Serves: 12

Calories577kcal (29%)Carbohydrates56g (19%)Protein8g (16%)Fat36g (55%)Saturated Fat20g (100%)Polyunsaturated Fat2gMonounsaturated Fat10gTrans Fat0.2gCholesterol166mg (55%)Sodium344mg (14%)Potassium181mg (5%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar46g (51%)Vitamin A1367IU (27%)Vitamin C2mg (2%)Calcium115mg (12%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Keyword cheesecake, cranberry, Cranberry orange cheesecake



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