Sweet cinnamon rolls meet silky and creamy cheesecake in this cinnamon roll cheesecake recipe! Using my favorite base cheesecake batter as the starting point, you have 2 layers of plain and cinnamon cheesecake swirled together and baked into decadent perfection. A topping of cream cheese frosting and mini cinnamon rolls brings the whole dessert together!
It's almost impossible for me to open Instagram and NOT see a cinnamon roll cheesecake recipe pop up. And while I love the cinnamon roll + cheesecake love train, it never fails to make my stomach grouchy because I don't have an endless supply of slices. So I'm happily eating away at a slice as I type this post, and am so so excited to share this recipe!
Little side note: everyone has their own way of making cinnamon roll cheesecake. I saw someone make it with 2 layers of plain cheesecake and cinnamon spiced cheesecake swirled together and absolutely fell in love with that idea.
I chose to go that route because it seemed easier than making a separate mixture of cinnamon sugar - and I'm just obsessed with how the 2 distinct layers look! So I'm using my favorite tried and true base cheesecake batter with a HEAPING dash of cinnamon for this recipe.
I can't for the life of me find the account who inspired this on Pinterest, but if you know who I'm talking about, please let me know in the comments below so I can add their name to this post!!! They seriously deserve an award.
what makes this cinnamon roll cheesecake so good?
- crisp graham cracker crust
- velvety cheesecake filling
- GENEROUS dash of cinnamon flavor
- fail-proof base cheesecake batter!
cheesecake water bath (2 methods)
Cheesecake needs a steamy environment to bake gradually so it can achieve its signature silky, creamy texture and crack free top! Most traditional water baths involve placing the cheesecake into a larger roasting pan and filling that large pan with boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the pan with the cheesecake. This is a great route to take if you have a large enough pan for the job, but a lot of us probably don't!
If you don't have a large pan that you can comfortably fit your springform pan into, there's another strategy! You can place a large pan on the bottom rack of your oven and fill that with boiling water instead. Then, place the pan with the cheesecake on the rack above the water filled pan. You'll still have a steamy environment and a perfectly baked cheesecake! I personally even prefer this method because it's a lot easier to get the cheesecake out of the oven.
how to make cinnamon roll cheesecake
1. Mix together graham cracker crust ingredients.
2. Pack crust into your springform pan and bake. This helps set the crust and keep it crisp! The appearance and color of the crust will not change.
3. Beat together cream cheese and brown sugar.
4. Add in all your remaining ingredients minus the eggs and cinnamon. Mix together until combined.
5. Whisk the eggs in one at a time. Be very careful not to overmix!
6. Pour half of the cheesecake batter over your graham cracker crust. Spread into an even layer.
7. Mix cinnamon into the remaining half of cheesecake batter. Again, take care not to over mix!
8. Dollop the cinnamon cheesecake batter over the plain batter and swirl together.
9. Bake & cool. Cheesecake needs a long bake time and an even longer cool time!
10. Make the cream cheese frosting: Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth, then beat in remaining frosting ingredients until combined.
11. Frost, decorate, and enjoy!
how to tell when cheesecake is fully baked
You can't use a traditional skewer test to check the doneness of cheesecake because it's going to come out with batter no matter what. Here are four telltale signs that your cheesecake is finished baking:
- the surface of the cheesecake should no longer be shiny
- the top should be slightly puffed all around - including the center
- the edges should be golden brown
- if you jiggle the cheesecake, the center should wiggle around but the edges should be set
- Use block cream cheese. Cream cheese spread is too soft for making cheesecake. Look for the cheesecake sold in blocks - it's firmer and much better for baking!
- Room temperature everything. Not only does it help everything mix together, it also helps prevent cracks on your cheesecake!
- Don't overmix the cheesecake batter! Overmixed cheesecake batter is more prone to cracking - and it's especially important to avoid overmixing once the eggs are added. Half of this cheesecake batter will also need an extra mix to combine the cinnamon, so we need to be extra careful with mixing!
If you're using an electric mixer to make the batter, I highly recommend switching to a whisk when it's time to add in the eggs - you're much less likely to accidentally overmix if you're doing it by hand!
- Use a water bath. I already went over this earlier in the post, but it's so so important that it deserves a second reminder!
- Cool the cheesecake gradually. Cheesecake loves slow and steady - and it's no different when it comes time to cool the cake! It needs to cool slightly in the oven with the door slightly ajar, then cool to room temperature, THEN chill in the fridge until set!
- Run a knife along the edges of the cheesecake. Cheesecake begins to shrink as it cools, and if any cheesecake is stuck to the sides of you pan, it can cause rips and cracks. After about 30 minutes of cooling in the oven, run a thin knife along the edges of your cheesecake to loosen any stuck parts and to allow the cheesecake to shrink as it pleases!
Cover your cheesecake and keep stored in the fridge until you're ready to serve. It will keep for around 4 days in the fridge. Cheesecake is best served cold.
check out these other recipes!
Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Recipe
For the cheesecake crust:
- 2 cups (210g) graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the cheesecake fillings:
- 4 (8 ounce) cream cheese blocks (32oz / 900g total), at room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- ½ cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (30g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the cream cheese frosting (optional):
- 3 ounces (85g) cream cheese block, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 & ½ cups (195g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- mini pie crust cinnamon rolls (optional - for decorating)
make the graham cracker crust:
- Position 2 racks in your oven - one rack on the bottom and one rack in the center. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon to combine. Add melted butter and mix until the crumbs are moistened.2 cups (210g) graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter,
- Pack your crust into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake in the center of your preheated oven for 8 minutes to set the top. The color and appearance of the crust won't change.
- Keep your oven set to 325°F. Set aside the crust to cool slightly while you make the filling.
make the cheesecake fillings:
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon by hand, cream together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. This will take about 1 to 2 minutes with a mixer set to medium speed or 3 to 4 minutes by hand.4 (8 ounce) cream cheese blocks (32oz / 900g total),, 1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar,
- Mix in your sour cream, flour, salt, and vanilla to combine.½ cup (120g) sour cream,, ¼ cup (30g) all-purpose flour,, ¼ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing after each addition to combine. Take care not to overmix or it can cause cracks in the cheesecake! I recommend doing this step by hand with a whisk because you're less likely to overmix. If you do want to use a mixer, beat the eggs in on the lowest speed.4 large eggs,
- Pour about half of the cheesecake batter over your slightly cooled crust (it's fine if it's still a little warm!) Spread into an even layer.
- Fold the cinnamon into the remaining half of the cheesecake batter. Again, take care not to overmix!2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- Pour the cinnamon flavored cheesecake batter over the plain batter in your springform pan. Use a knife or skewer to swirl the 2 batters, taking care not to disturb the graham cracker crust.
- Place a large baking pan into the bottom rack of your oven. Fill the pan with at least 2 inches of boiling water. Place the cheesecake on the center rack directly above the water filled pan.
- Bake the cheesecake in the center of your preheated 325°F oven for 65 to 70 minutes, or until evenly puffed and slightly golden brown along the edges. If you gently shake the cheesecake, the center should jiggle but the outer edges should not.
- Once the cheesecake is baked, turn the oven off and crack the door open. Cool the cheesecake in your oven with the door slightly ajar for 1 hour. After about 30 minutes of cooling, carefully run a thin knife along the sides to loosen any stuck edges - this helps prevent cracking when the cheesecake cools and shrinks!
- Take the cheesecake out of the oven and set aside to cool completely to room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until cooled and set.
make the cream cheese frosting (optional):
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Mix together with a whisk until smooth and combined.3 ounces (85g) cream cheese block,, 3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter,
- Add powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth and creamy.1 & ½ cups (195g) powdered sugar,, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Spread the frosting over your cooled cheesecake and top with mini cinnamon rolls to decorate if desired. Slice and serve!mini pie crust cinnamon rolls