This apple pie stuffed cheesecake is what dreams are made of! Creamy baked cheesecake filled with apple pie filling sits on top of a classic graham cracker crust. Pour salted caramel sauce on top to make the ultimate Fall dessert for any occasion.
I love apple pie. I also love cheesecake. What could be better than fusing the two together to make a decadent apple pie stuffed cheesecake! Cheesecake lovers and apple pie lovers will adore this on your Thanksgiving dessert table.
First, we make a homemade apple pie filling with butter, brown sugar, and all the warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom. We layer that between rich and creamy cheesecake batter on a graham cracker crust and bake it up!
This is a great recipe to make if you have lots of apples from apple picking laying around. It's a dessert your guests will ask for year after year.
For more cheesecake recipes, try brown butter pumpkin cheesecake, raspberry brownie cheesecake, or matcha cheesecake. If you love apple recipes, check out these apple spice cupcakes, honey apple crisp, and apple cider cupcakes!
Here are notes about some of the ingredients used. Quantities and full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Apples- My favorite apples for making pie filling are Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Cortland. All of these have a bright tartness that shines through when cooked in sugar. They also don't get soggy when cooked down. I used Pink Lady apples when testing this recipe and it turned out great!
- Sugars- We're using brown sugar in the apple filling and graham cracker crust for moisture and a subtle molasses flavor. It can be light or dark brown sugar, just make sure it's moist and fresh! Regular granulated sugar is in the apples and cheesecake filling.
- Butter- Unsalted butter is key for giving the apples and crust a rich, buttery flavor. If you only have salted butter, that's ok! Just leave out the additional salt in the apples and crust.
- Spices- Apple pie filling is flavored with a homemade apple pie spice blend. It includes ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cardamom.
- Cornstarch- Some cornstarch helps thicken the apple filling and helps the cheesecake filling set up in the oven. It also prevents cracks!
- Graham cracker crumbs- Use any brand of graham crackers you like. You can buy graham cracker crumbs, pulse whole crackers in a blender or food processor, or crush them by hand in a plastic bag with a rolling pin.
- Cream cheese- Make sure to use softened full fat cream cheese for the best thick and creamy texture. It should come in a block. Don't use cream cheese spread in a tub because it's too runny.
- Sour cream- This helps to slightly offset the dense, rich texture of the cream cheese and adds moisture and a tangy flavor.
- Eggs- 3 large eggs bind the cheesecake filling ingredients and add rich flavor. Make sure the eggs, cream cheese, and sour cream are all room temperature so they mix easily. Take out of the refrigerator 1-2 hours before you start baking.
Substitutions & Variations
- Feel free to change the apple pie spice blend to your taste. You can add other spices like black pepper, anise, or even a little turmeric. Leave out whatever you don't like!
- You can use a different kind of biscuit or cookie to make the crust instead of graham cracker. Gingersnaps or Biscoff cookies would be delicious.
- Plain full-fat Greek yogurt the best substitute for sour cream.
- Sprinkle chopped pecans or walnuts in the batter or on top for more nutty flavor and some crunch.
- Top the cheesecake with a crunchy streusel crumble, whipped cream, or meringue to make it look and taste even more impressive!
Helpful Equipment & Tools
Bake the cheesecake in a 9-inch springform pan. This type of pan has latched sides that separate from the bottom so it's easy to remove the cheesecake from it.
Step by Step Instructions
STEP 1: First, cut the apples (peeled or unpeeled) into ½ inch thick slices. Add the butter to a large pot over medium heat and add your apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and spices. Cook for 10 minutes or until the apples are tender stirring occasionally.
STEP 2: When the apples are nearly done, create a slurry in a small bowl by whisking cornstarch and water together with a fork. This will help thicken the filling.
STEP 3: Add the slurry to the filling and turn the heat down to low. Stir until the apples are coated in a syrupy sauce. Take off the heat and let cool completely before making the cheesecake filling.
STEP 4: To make the graham cracker crust, first preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, melt your butter, and let it cool slightly. Stir graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and salt together in a large bowl and then pour in cooled melted butter. Stir to coat the crumbs.
STEP 5: Firmly press the graham cracker mixture into a lined springform pan using the bottom of a measuring cup. Press the crust up the sides of the pan so the filling doesn't stick. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, lower the heat to 325°F/165°C, and fill a cast iron skillet or casserole dish with an inch of hot water and place it on the bottom rack. This is our "water bath". The stream from the water creates a humid environment that prevents the cheesecake from drying out and cracking.
STEP 6: In a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat softened cream cheese and sugar together on low until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get any clumps.
STEP 7: Next, beat in the vanilla, cornstarch, and salt on low until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and mix in the sour cream.
STEP 8: Next, mix in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl after the second and third egg. Switch to a rubber spatula and mix the batter by hand to eliminate air bubbles.
STEP 9: Pour half of the cheesecake batter on top of the pre-baked crust and smooth it out. Add an even layer of apple filling (you won't use all of it).
STEP 10: Pour the the rest of the cheesecake batter on top of the apples and smooth it out with an offset or rubber spatula. Quickly place it in the oven on the rack right above the water bath and close the door. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the cheesecake is puffed up and jiggles like Jell-O. If it's wobbly like a glass of juice, it's not done yet.
STEP 11: Turn off the oven and crack the door open. Let the cheesecake cool in the warm oven for 1 hour. Then take it out and let cool on top of the oven for another hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
STEP 12: Once the cheesecake is set, release the sides of the pan, top with extra apple filling or caramel sauce, slice, and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Use room temperature cream cheese. Softened cream cheese is easier to mix into a smooth, uniform consistency. We don't want big chunks of cream cheese in the batter!
- Make sure the apple filling is completely cool. If the apples aren't cool before assembling the cheesecake, the filling will melt.
- Use a water bath. A water bath is important because the steam and moisture from it keeps the cheesecake from getting rubbery, dry, and cracking.
- Cool gradually. Don't open the oven door while the cheesecake is baking! The sudden cold air can shock the cheesecake and make it crack. Cool it gradually to prevent cracks, moving from inside the oven, to on top of it, to the refrigerator. As cheesecake cools, it shrinks. If it shrinks too quickly, it can crack.
Storage & Freezing
Store the apple pie stuffed cheesecake in a large airtight container (like a cake carrier) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze individual pieces of cheesecake rather than the whole thing. Cheesecake slices are much easier to thaw! Slice it up, place the pieces in an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw the slices in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
You sure can for a shortcut! You'll need one 21 ounce can.
Yes, you do! Definitely don't skip it. The water bath prevents cracks, but it also helps create a smoother, creamier, richer cheesecake texture. It keeps the cheesecake from browning on top too.
Give the pan a little shake. If the cheesecake has a stiff jiggle (like Jell-O), it's ready. If it sloshes or wobbles, it needs to bake a little longer.
More Fall Recipes to Try
Apple Pie Stuffed Cheesecake
Apple Pie Filling
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs 2 sheets
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
Apple Pie Filling
- First, cut the apples into ½ inch thick slices. Add the butter to a large pot over medium heat. Add sliced apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and spices. Cook for 10 minutes or until the apples are tender stirring occasionally.3 lbs apples, ¼ cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
- When the apples are nearly done, whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl with a fork to create a slurry.2 tablespoon cornstarch, ¼ cup water
- Add the slurry to the apples and turn the heat to low. Stir until the apples are coated in a syrupy sauce. Take off the heat and let cool completely.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Whisk graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and salt together in a large bowl and then pour in cooled melted butter. Stir to coat the crumbs.2 cups graham cracker crumbs, ⅓ cup brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ cup unsalted butter
- Firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the bottoms and up the sides of a lined springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, lower the heat to 325°F/165°C, and fill a cast iron skillet or casserole dish with hot water and place it on the bottom rack. This is our "water bath" which creates steam to keep the cheesecake from cracking.
- In a large bowl with a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat softened cream cheese and sugar together on low until smooth.24 oz cream cheese, ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Beat in vanilla, cornstarch, and salt on low. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in the sour cream.2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅔ cup sour cream
- Mix in the eggs one at a time. Switch to a rubber spatula and mix by hand to pop air bubbles.3 large eggs
- Pour half of the cheesecake batter on top of the pre-baked crust in an even layer. Add a layer of apple filling and top with the rest of the cheesecake batter. Smooth out the top.
- Quickly place the cheesecake in the oven on the rack above the water bath and close the door. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the cheesecake is puffed up. It should jiggle like Jell-O, not wobble.
- Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool in it for 1 hour with the door cracked open. Take it out and let cool on top of the oven for another hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
- Once the cheesecake is set, release the sides of the pan, and top with remaining apple filling and caramel sauce. Enjoy!