Turtle Cheesecake is a dessert with an Oreo cookie and toasted pecans crust, filled with a chocolate-swirled cheesecake filling and topped with caramel, hot fudge, and more pecans. Try my Turtle Cheesecake Bars for the same great flavors in a dessert bar.
The combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans means it’s a turtle dessert. I love the flavor combinations, and besides the cheesecake, I have used them in my Turtle Thumbprint Cookies and Texas Turtle Sheet Cake. In this turtle dessert, you will get the crunch of toasted pecans in both the crust and topping. The chocolate is in the Oreo cookie crust, melted chocolate chips, and hot fudge, with the caramel drizzled over top.
Turtle Cheesecake Ingredients
There are three parts to this turtle cheesecake dessert–the crust and crust topping, cheesecake filling, and the toppings.
Crust: I used Oreo cookies for the crust. You could get by with a store-bought Oreo cookie crust if you don’t want to crush the cookies yourself.
Pecans: Before adding the pecans to the top of the crust and as a topping, I toasted them on the stovetop for extra crunch and flavor.
Room Temperature Ingredients: It’s important to use room temperature ingredients. Make sure the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs are all at room temperature before combining them for the cheesecake filling.
Superfine Sugar: Also known as caster sugar, the superfine crystals make a difference in this recipe. If you don’t have caster sugar, simply process granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds.
Sour Cream: The amount of sour cream used in the filling is just enough to give the cheesecake a creamier texture, but not too much to be noticeable in the taste.
Chocolate Chips: Semisweet chocolate chips are melted and mixed in with the creamy cheesecake filling for even more chocolate.
Toppings: Caramel sauce, hot fudge, and more of the toasted pecans are used as the topping in this dessert. Make your own homemade chocolate syrup to drizzle over these bars along with the caramel sauce and pecans.
This turtle cheesecake starts with the crust. I used Oreo cookies for this Chocolate Cheesecake. Melted butter and crushed Oreo cookies are the only two ingredients you need! Make sure you crush the cookies (cream filling and all) as best you can before adding the butter. I used a food processor to get very fine crumbs, but you could also put them in a zipped plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies.
When mixing together the ingredients, use a fork to make sure every single cookie crumb is coated in the melted butter. The butter acts as the binding agent. When you see cheesecake recipes that have piles of crust left on the plate, it is usually because they were not coated with butter. Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.
To toast the pecans that will be added to the crust and the topping, first, make sure the nuts are chopped. I like to buy them this way to save time, but it is up to you. Add the pecans to a dry skillet and heat over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. The pecans will turn golden and give off a lovely roasted, nutty scent when done.
Once toasted, remove the pecans from the heat and let them cool completely. After they have cooled, measure out about 1/2 cup of the pecans and set them aside for the topping. With the remaining one cup of pecans, spread them evenly over the Oreo cookie crust.
No, you would not HAVE to toast the chopped pecans, but it makes such a difference in flavor when nuts are toasted. It enhances the flavor of the entire dessert! It only takes a few minutes, so I encourage you to give it a shot!
How to Make Turtle Cheesecake
It’s all about a creamy cheesecake recipe for the filling. To make the filling, grab a hand mixer and beat the cream cheese until it’s creamy, and then add the sugar and flour into the cream cheese. By doing this and scraping down the sides of the bowl after every step will ensure there are no lumps left before adding the ingredients with a looser consistency.
Next, add in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Then, add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat just until the egg is mixed and then add the next egg. Do not overbeat the cheesecake filling. If the filling is overmixed, it may change the texture of your cheesecake bars.
Before we are done with the cheesecake filling, there is melted chocolate added to the mix. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips. Heat up the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring as needed until melted and smooth. Measure two cups of the cheesecake mixture and stir it in with the melted chocolate.
Pour the remaining vanilla cheesecake filling on top of the pecan and Oreo cookie crust. Then, drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture over the vanilla batter and swirl it in with a knife or offset spatula.
Baking the Cheesecake
With the cake assembled and ready to bake, place the cheesecake in the oven. Bake at 325°F for 60-70 minutes. The cheesecake is done baking when 2-3 inches around the outside is set and barely puffed. Another clue that it is done is that the center will be just barely jiggly. If using a thermometer, the internal temperature of the cheesecake should read 150°F, and no more than 160°F. If it is overbaked, the cheesecake will crack and the texture will be tough.
After the baking time, turn off the oven, leaving the turtle cheesecake in the oven. Crack open the oven door and let it cool in the oven for about an hour. After it is cooled, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it come to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, top the cheesecake with caramel sauce, hot fudge, and the reserved toasted pecans. If you tightly wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container, leftovers will last up to 3 days in the fridge.
Can I Freeze Cheesecake?
Yes, cheesecake is a dessert that does well in the freezer.
To freeze a cheesecake:
- Let the cheesecake cool completely.
- Place the cheesecake (uncovered) in the freezer for about an hour. I suggest that if you are keeping the cheesecake pie in the springform pan, remove the sides of the pan.
- After the hour in the freezer, take the cheesecake off the pan (you may have to pry it off with a knife), and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
- Place the wrapped cheesecake into a zipped freezer bag or wrap it in aluminum foil. Be sure to label and date the cheesecake. It will last for up to 6 months.
Looking for More Cheesecake Recipes?
Turtle Cheesecake is a dessert with an Oreo cookie and toasted pecans crust, filled with a chocolate-swirled cheesecake filling and topped with caramel, hot fudge, and more pecans.
- 24 Oreo cookies
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick or 57g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cup pecans, roughly chopped and divided
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- ½ cup hot fudge
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Add Oreo cookies to a food processor and crush until you have a fine crumb and very few larger pieces.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crushed Oreo cookies and melted butter and stir until evenly distributed.
Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Add 1½ cup chopped pecans to a dry skillet. Heat over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant. Let cool.
Measure out ½ cup of pecans and set aside for the topping. Pour the remaining pecans over the crust and distribute evenly.
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese on medium-high until smooth and creamy.
Beat in the sugar and flour on medium-low speed, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again, if necessary, until there are no lumps.
Add in the sour cream and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low, add in eggs, one by one, until fully incorporated. Stop when the mixture is fully combined. Overheating (mixing) adds excess air into the batter, which can cause cracks in the cheesecake.
In a medium bowl, heat chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring as needed until melted and smooth. Stir 2 cups of the cheesecake batter into the melted chocolate; mix gently until incorporated.
Pour the vanilla cheesecake batter on top of the pecans and crust. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter over the vanilla batter. Then, swirl with a knife or an offset spatula.
Bake until the top of the cheesecake turns golden (60-70 minutes). The cheesecake is done when 2-3 inches around the outside is set and barely puffed and the middle barely jiggles. The internal temperature of a baked cheesecake should read 150°F (and no higher than 160°F or cracks will form and texture will be tough).
With the cheesecake still in the oven, turn off the oven and crack the oven door. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for about an hour. Next, remove it from the oven to cool on a wire rack until it is at room temperature. Then, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.
When ready to serve, top with caramel sauce, hot fudge, and reserved toasted pecans.