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Cinnamon roll cheesecake is sheer perfection. It’s smooth and creamy, classically flavored, and oh so cozy. Don’t miss it.

cinnamon roll cheesecake with a slice on a serving knife
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Why we love this recipe & why it works

Let me start by saying that this cinnamon roll cheesecake is a little bit more understated than some of the recipes with similar names that you’ll find in chain restaurants and online. That’s by design.

It packs all the beautiful flavors of creamy, classic cheesecake, plus a gorgeous, gooey ripple of cinnamon sugar — and that’s it. No random layer of cake inside to interrupt the creaminess. No whole pastries looking like Princess Leia’s space buns on top. Just a really excellent dessert.

This recipe works because:

  • Having the ingredients at room temperature helps them mix together smoothly.
  • A little bit of sour cream adds the subtlest tart dimension to the mix, tempering the sweetness just enough.
  • Baking at a low temperature in a water bath and then leaving the cake in the oven results in a perfectly creamy, evenly baked filling.
  • Chilling the cake overnight after cooling completely allows you to slice it into the neat wedges you’d expect from a great cheesecake.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • A “sheet” of graham crackers means a whole sheet of four perforated crackers. Four of these should yield about ½ cup of crumbs. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free graham crackers.
  • For both the crust and the swirl, I use a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.
  • Ground cinnamon graces both the crust and the cinnamon-sugar ripple, adding plenty of dimension without overpowering.
  • Use good old blocks of cream cheese. (Two pounds is four eight-ounce blocks.) Don’t use whipped cream cheese or the softer kind that comes in tubs. It won’t yield the right consistency.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a beautiful cinnamon roll cheesecake. It takes a little advance prep, but it’s easier than you might think. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. To make the crust, spread the butter all over the bottom and sides of the pan. Crush the graham crackers and cinnamon into crumbs and pour them into the pan. Tilt and tap the pan around until it’s coated with crumbs. Then tap out any excess.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and gradually add the sugar, eggs, creams, and flavorings. You’ll mix until smooth and creamy without incorporating too much air.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.
  4. Pour about 3/4 of the filling into the crust, dollop on the cinnamon sugar mixture, and swirl. Top with remaining filling. Bake in a water bath (see recipe card for details) and then leave in the oven with the door ajar. Cool, then chill overnight. Your cheesecake is ready!
cinnamon roll cheesecake on a plate with a fork

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I put the ripple on top instead of in the middle?

If you’d like to highlight the appearance of the cinnamon sugar swirl, you can add it after all the filling rather than in the middle. (The result will look more like my raspberry lemon cheesecake.) I’ve called for putting it in the middle so the top of the cake will be uninterrupted, rather than having some crevasses. But it looks great, and cooks perfectly, whichever way you choose.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Yes! Not only can you do so, but you must. Cheesecake has a bit of a long timeline. First, all the ingredients have to be at room temperature, so you’ll need to take them out of the fridge several hours before, if not the night before.

The baking process is fairly long, because the cake bakes for about an hour and then rests in the oven (turned off, with the door ajar) for another hour. Then you’ll need to cool the cake completely, wrap it up, and chill it overnight before slicing and serving.

Leftovers will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

More favorite cinnamon roll desserts

cinnamon roll cheesecake on a plate with a fork

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cinnamon roll cheesecake with a slice on a serving knife
4.60 from 5 votes

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Cinnamon roll cheesecake is sheer perfection. It's smooth and creamy, classically flavored, and oh so cozy. Don't miss it.
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total: 13 hours 40 minutes
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Ingredients 

For the crust

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) salted butter
  • 4 sheets graham crackers, for 1/2 cup crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the filling

  • 2 pounds (907 grams) cream cheese
  • 1 ⅓ cups (266 grams) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar swirl

  • ½ cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) salted butter, melted

Instructions 

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the center. 
  • Spread the butter all over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Combine the graham crackers and the 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and crush into crumbs. You can do this in a sealed plastic bag with a rolling pin or in a food processor.
  • Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the greased pan and tap to distribute them around the bottom and sides, forming a thin crust. Tap out any excess.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese for 30 to 60 seconds, just until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour in the sugar little by little and beat until smooth and creamy, a minute or two.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the heavy cream, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat briefly, just until combined.
  • Pour about 3/4 of the creamy filling into crust. (See note 4 below.)
  • I?n a small mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.
  • Dollop on the cinnamon sugar mixture and use a skewer or knife to swirl it into the filling. Pour remaining filling evenly overtop.
  • Wrap the outside of the pan tightly with foil. Place the pan into a roasting pan or large baking dish.
  • Position the pan on the center oven rack and then carefully pour boiling water into the outer roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the outsides of the cake are set and the center still jiggles when you move the pan.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar (you can use a utensil to prop it open). Let the cake rest in the oven for an hour.
  • Remove cake from oven and from water bath. Remove foil. Let cake cool completely in pan.
  • Cover cake and refrigerate overnight to chill through completely.
  • Carefully remove outer ring from cake before slicing and serving.

Notes

  1. Starting with all ingredients at room temperature is very important to achieve the creamiest result.
  2. A graham cracker sheet means a whole sheet of four perforated crackers. To make this recipe gluten-free, simply use gluten-free graham crackers.
  3. Use the good old cream cheese that comes in 8-ounce blocks. Softer cream cheese in tubs or the whipped kind won't work.
  4. If you'd like to highlight the appearance of the cinnamon sugar swirl, you can add it after all the filling rather than in the middle. (The result will look more like my raspberry lemon cheesecake.) I've called for putting it in the middle so the top of the cake will be uninterrupted, rather than having some crevasses. But it looks great, and cooks perfectly, whichever way you choose.
  5. Tightly covered leftovers keep well in the fridge for a week.
  6. This recipe is heavily adapted from Joy of Cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 125kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 123mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cakes
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.60 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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