Turtle Cheesecake – graham cracker crust, marbled cheesecake filling, caramel sauce, pecans, and chocolate chips make every bite of this cheesecake incredible!
When I’m in the mood for a decadent dessert, cheesecake is at the top of my list. I am in love with my Almond Joy Cheesecake, and Mini Oreo Chocolate Mousse Cheesecakes are great for potlucks and parties!
FEEL LIKE YOU’RE EATING DESSERT AT A RESTAURANT!
You are in for a treat, because today I am sharing a decadent recipe for turtle cheesecake. The first time I made it, I served it at a scrapbooking retreat. Every one of the women raved. I thought it was better than any bakery cheesecake I’d ever tasted. I felt like I was at the Cheesecake Factory!
First up, you have a buttery graham cracker crust. A creamy filling with a rich chocolate swirl comes next. Finally, you top things off with crunchy pecans, tiny chocolate chips, and a heavenly caramel sauce. Simply divine!
The only thing I changed is that I thought the original recipe had too much chocolate batter. I felt it overshadowed the caramel flavor, so I revised the recipe to use half. The changes are already in the recipe below.
It is a good thing I had to take this to my scrappin’ weekend or I might have been tempted to hide it for my kids and consume the entire thing over the course of a week. It is scary yummy!
Why do they call it turtle cheesecake?
In the early 1900’s, a candy was created with caramel, nuts, and chocolate. Since this cheesecake has all these flavors, it is referred to as turtle cheesecake. But you can also call it chocolate caramel cheesecake, or caramel pecan cheesecake if you prefer. 🙂
HOW TO MAKE TURTLE CHEESECAKE
(To skip my tips and just see the full recipe card, simply scroll to the bottom of the post.)
- graham crackers (I needed about 12 full crackers. You can use premade crumbs if you prefer.)
- butter (I use regular salted butter in all of my recipes.)
- cream cheese (I have used both regular and neufchatel (light) cream cheese. Light cream cheese is softer, so you end up with a softer cheesecake. It still tastes good, but is harder to cut neatly.)
- sweetened condensed milk (Not evaporated milk!)
- granulated sugar (regular table sugar)
- eggs (I use large eggs. It is best if they are at room temperature.)
- vanilla extract
- lime juice (I use fresh, but bottled will work just fine for this recipe.)
- semi sweet chocolate chips
- caramel sauce (I use my homemade caramel sauce, but you can use your recipe, or store bought caramel ice cream topping.)
- mini chocolate chips
PREP WORK: Let your cream cheese come to room temperature by letting it sit at room temperature for a few hours. It’s also a good idea to let your eggs come to room temperature. I just place mine in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes, then dry them off.
Spray the sides of your springform pan with non stick spray for easier release. I like to place my pan on a cookie sheet, so I line the cookie sheet with foil.
I like to preheat my oven to 325 degrees after I have pressed the crust into the pan.
CRUST: For crust, combine crumbs and butter. Press into a greased 9″ springform pan, pressing up the sides.
CHEESECAKE FILLING: Use a hand mixer or kitchenaid to beat your cream cheese till it is completely creamy. Slowly add the sugar and sweetened condensed milk. You want to scrape the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula often to make sure you don’t have any lumps.
Lightly beat in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lime juice till blended. After you have added the eggs, you don’t want to over-beat the filling. That incorporates too much air in the filling, causing it to puff up too much during baking, then settle and crack during cooling.
CHOCOLATE FILLING: Melt the chocolate chips in a medium sized glass bowl at half power in the microwave. Cool slightly, then stir in about a cup of the plain cheesecake filling.
FILL PAN: Pour the plain filling over the crust in your springform pan. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter over the top. Swirl with a butter knife or handle of a spoon. Work quickly, the chocolate batter sets up as it cools.
BAKE: I like to place my springform pan on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 325 degrees for about 70-80 minutes. The sides should be set, but the very center will be a little jiggly. It will set as it cools.
COOL: Place springform pan on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Then cover and chill for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
SERVE: You can either sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips over the entire cheesecake and drizzle with caramel topping, or garnish individual slices. I prefer to garnish each slice after it is plated.
HOW TO STORE CHEESECAKE:
Because of the high dairy content, it is best to store any leftover cheesecake in the fridge. Cover it well and it should last for 4-5 days. If you know you will have cheesecake left over, I recommend storing it before you have added the garnishes.
LOVE CARAMEL? CHECK OUT THESE RECIPES:
CARAMEL TURTLE CHEESECAKE RECIPE
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full crackers)
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 3 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup caramel sauce
- For crust, combine crumbs and butter in a small bowl; mix tell well combined. Press into a greased 9" springform pan, pressing up the sides.
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- For the filling: Beat cream cheese in a large bowl till smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, scraping sides of the bowl often. Slowly beat in the sweetened condensed milk, scraping the sides of the bowl often.
- Add eggs, vanilla, and lime juice, beat on low speed just till blended.
- Melt the 3/4 cup of chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave; cool slightly. Stir in about 1 cup of the cheesecake batter till well combined.
- Pour the plain batter into the unbaked crust. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter randomly over the plain batter. Swirl with a butter knife or the handle of a wooden spoon.
- Bake in a 325° oven for 70-80 minutes. Cool completely, then chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over the top and drizzle with caramel sauce.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 614Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 381mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 2gSugar: 51gProtein: 11g
(originally posted 4/14/2009, updated March 2020)
See all my DESSERT RECIPES.