In Pursuit of the Perfect Cheesecake in my Instant Pot
By Amy Dressel
So, let us deviate from the normal path of fiber musings in this blog, to talk about cheesecake. Why? Because I like cheesecake, and I love my Instant Pot, and my Instant Pot makes awesome cheesecake, with a little help from me.
I’ve been perfecting my recipe, and needed a platform by which to share my findings, so I’ve hijacked the blog for this most honorable of diversions from the norm.
The goal: A classic cheesecake. Tangy, not too sweet flavor. Crust that snaps when you put your fork into it. The cake texture should be creamy and velvety, no lumps, and no air bubbles. I glaze it with some sweetened sour cream, this makes a lovely white glaze for the top, and covers any imperfections. Really brings the presentation up a notch. If you are going to top it with fruit you can skip the glaze.
The 2 big rules to follow. Thou shalt not over mix and thou shalt not over bake. They both create a higher cake with a more airy or spongy texture. It takes some faith to take it out when it’s all loose and jiggly, but it makes for a much better taste and texture.
In the pictures the “good” cake does slope down in the center. That is my fault for cutting it when it was still warm, and the tip oozed out. Once it was fully chilled it held its shape.
After about 5 trials. this is the recipe I came up with, including my copious notes. Notes first.
Your cream cheese, sour cream and eggs need to be at room temperature. The goal is to get a smooth texture with as little stirring as possible after adding the eggs. If you do have some lumps, let them be. The lumps are much better then an airy texture from incorporating too much eggs.
The sour cream was my nemesis when it came to lumps. In order to fix this I would stir the sour cream well before adding it into the cream cheese mixture.
For the crust, I decided to bake it. You can skip this, and just freeze it before adding the filling, but you won’t get that lovely crisp crust I wanted. I also got much better results with Nabisco Graham Crackers then I did with the Aldi brand I tried. I get a very fine crumb by putting the crackers in a zip-lock bag and rolling it with a rolling pin until it is evenly crushed. I used to make this with less sugar and butter, but the crust is much crisper if you use the full amount.
For the pan: I used a 6″ pan. You can use 7″, but cook the cheesecake for 5 less minutes (27 minutes) because the cake is thinner in a 7″ pan. Also, only put the crust up the side one inch if you use a 7″ pan.
I want to keep as much moisture out of the crust as I can. Lining the inside of the pan with foil has worked the best for this. If I don’t use the foil, water seems to come up through the bottom of the pan. Lining the outside of the pan still allowed moisture to run down the pan inside the foil and make my crust soggy.
I put the cream cheese in a bowl, and put it in the 300 degree oven for 4 minutes to make sure it is really soft. This is after letting it sit out an hour.
Make the topping and let it sit out at room temperature while the cake cooks, so the topping is runny and goes on like a glaze.
I’m using a 6 quart IP.
Classic Cheesecake with Sour Cream
6″ spring form pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 Tablespoons salted butter
2 Tablespoon brown sugar.
3/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers. (I put them in a bag and roll them with a rolling pin)
Melt the butter in the dish, add in the sugar and stir, then add the crumbs and mix until it is evenly coated with butter.
Put in the foil lined pan (see notes above), and press it evenly across the bottom and 1″ up the side. Maybe 1.5″ at the most, but you want to make sure no crust is above the level of the batter as it will get soggy. I use a cup to make sure I get sharp edges and a tight pack.
Put in oven for 10 minutes, then cool in the freezer or fridge.
2 (8 oz each) packages of cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons white sugar
1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature and stirred well
2 eggs, room temperature and not beaten or stirred. You can prick the yolk to make incorporating easier.
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream the cheese, then add the sugar and mix well with a mixer (I used a hand mixer for all the creaming and mixing) Scrape bowl and mix a bit more.
Add in the sour cream and vanilla, Use mixer to incorporate. Scrape bowl well (including the bottom).
Now take your mixer and put it far away from you. You must not use it anymore!
Add in the eggs, and stir as little as you can to mix them in.
Then take that bowl, and bang it on the counter or floor at least 30 times. This will get as many air bubbles as you can out.
Pour into the finished crust in your spring form cake pan. Cover loosely with foil
Put a cup of water in your Instant Pot. Put in the trivet. Then put in your cake.
Close and set for 32 minutes, high pressure. If you do not cover your cheesecake with foil it will take less time to cook. If you use a 7″ pan it may take a few minutes more. I have plans to test those methods to find the right time, and will update once I do so.
It will take about 5 minutes to get to pressure, then after cooking about 8 minutes to natural release. Do not do a quick release with this. Take off the foil, and remove from the pot.
All but the outer 1.5-2″ of the cake will still be jiggly. It will set up once it is chilled, and this gives you the best possible texture.
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons sugar
Mix together. poor over top of hot cheesecake as soon as you remove it from the Instant Pot.
Let it cool naturally on the counter for at least an hour. Putting it in the fridge can make for a soft crust. Leave it in pan until it’s cool. Then run a knife around the edge above the crust level. Gently open the pan and lift it off. If it is going to crack, it will most likely do so right at the join of the pan, so be very careful of that area while opening it. Put cake in fridge to cool for ideally 6 hours.
Have you made cheese cake in your Instant Pot? What tricks and tips do you have for getting the best cheesecake?
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Mmm. My mouth is watering…
I really like it when folks get together and share thoughts.
Great site, keep it up!
What if you don’t have a spring pan? When you take it out what do you do? Do you leave in the pan? You said run a knife around it. I haven’t tried one yet and yours looks real simple and I love how you explained every detail for us who haven’t made one yet or new to the pot. Thanks!
The first cheesecake I made was in a glass dish (didn’t have a pan yet). I just ran the knife around the edge, cut the cheesecake in the dish, and used a pie server to dish it out in slices, much like you would a pie in a pie tin.
How do you adjust time for glass?
I have not experimented with that yet. With other items I’ve cooked in glass, i would guess you need to add 5 minute. I’m not positive on that, but it’s a good place to start.
Bummer, my springform pan didn’t fit in the IP, had to bake it instead. Added fresh raspberries to the cheese cake and it was great!
Augh! I’m glad it turned out even in the lowly oven.=) A few weeks ago I left my spring form pan at my sister’s place, and needed to replace it before I would see her again. I found out how hard it is to get a 6″ or 7″ spring form pan quickly. All the Ip-ers are snapping them up so the high sided ones I could find online were all out of stock!
had a 60% off coupon for JoAnn fabric. Just picked up a 6″ high side Wilton spring form for less than $6. Going to try this cake tomorrow!
I just did it with an 8″ pan – it just barely fit. Obviously I had to up the quantities and time. I have ordered a 6″ pan as I am hoping to make this frequently! Drove all over today and could only fine 8″+ or 4″ers.
Yes, I had a hard time finding the smaller size pans as well. I found my 6″ pan in the cake section of Joann Fabrics.
Probably stupid question, but I’m confused. Did you use a mixer to cream the cheese, then pour it in a blender to incorporate the sugar, and then back to the mixer to add the sour cream? Your cheese cake is a beauty, and I want to try it…but your caution about not over mixing makes me want to be sure I understand how you’re doing the mixing. ??
I used a hand mixer to cream the cheese, as well as the same hand mixer to mix in the sugar. Your comment made me realize I had inadvertently referred to it as a blender at one point. Sorry! I’ve fixed that now, since it was definitely confusing.
I have made many cheesecakes in my IP Smart Pot. I use a heavy duty 7″ springform pan, and I do not cover the top. It takes about 25 minutes under high pressure, and I always have to dab the top of the cake with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture. The cheesecake cools for 1-1.5 hours on my counter prior to covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight. When ready to serve, I gently remove the side ring. I have gifted several of these cakes to friends, and they always get rave reviews. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for the info. I want to make my next cake without covering the pan, so this gives me a good reference for how long to cook it for.
You mention that you line the pan with foil to ensure a crispy crust, but the pic doesn’t show that. Is that just a different picture? Are you lining with foil before pressing in the crumb crust? Thanks you.
In this picture there is no foil, because it was before I learned that the foil helped the crust be more crisp. I need to get a new picture showing the foil. I do put it in before the crust. It makes the edge of the cake not as smooth though, so if look is really important, then it’s best not to do the foil.
Wrap bottom right with foil. Keeos more moisture out away from crust. Cover with wax paper or paper towel then foil. This dies the same for the top
I’m trying really hard to stay away from aluminum foil. (dementia) Would parchment paper work?
Putting parchment in the pan first, to keep the water from seeping in would work. Just make sure it comes up the sides at least an inch. I’d just skip covering the top of the cake, in your case. It’s not necessary, so if you would rather not use foil just skip that step (and cook the cake for 7 minutes less).
Covered or uncovered, how long for 7″? Has anyone tried yet?
For a covered 7″ cheesecake I see 40 minutes used the most often as a cooking time. I don’t have a 7″, and haven’t tried it myself, but others get good results with 40 minutes.
7 inch pan should be less time than 6 inch, as it is not as thick. I did 33 minutes and it was perfect.
Thank you for the feedback. I need to get myself an 7″ pan and do some experimenting I guess!
33 minutes in a 6 or 7 inch pan? I have a 6 inch and want to try uncovered.
I cook a covered 6″ pan for 33 minutes. So for uncovered I’d try 25or 26 minutes.
Thank you for the tips! My first instant pot cheesecake came out too airy and creamy. I am trying to achieve a denser texture.
Yes, same for me. I didn’t care for the airy cheesecake. To get it denser you may want to add a few more minutes to the cooking time I have listed, as the time I use produces a dense but creamy texture.
I don’t use an ip. Water bath works as well…
Omg, this was so good. My husband’s favorite dessert. The only thing I did add was lemon juice to my mixture. (And I did not cover it, placed a paper towel over it to soak up the water.) Most do, so was surprised that you didn’t. My husband almost finished the whole thing. (And we are not big people or big dessert eaters). This is gonna be a regular at our house. The instant pot has changed my life.
I followed this recipe exactly and it is the BEST cheesecake I have ever Had! Thank you!
Yay! We’re so glad to hear it is the best! Thanks for the feedback! 🙂
I made this as you instructed and it was so delicious, and yes, my crust was crispy! I’m so happy. I actually wanted more crust, so I might add more next time.
I couldn’t stand waiting so long to cut it (I could only last about 4 hours lol) so my center drooped down a bit. Though it didn’t change the taste. Thanks for the perfect recipe. I didn’t think I’d like the sour cream on top, and thought it would need fruit but it really doesn’t. It’s so tasty. Probably the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. And also the first cheesecake I’ve ever made and it came out perfect. Thanks again!
I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you for the lovely feedback.
I’m making half the recipe for the cheesecake part. How many minutes were you thinking?
For a smaller pan, I’m not sure what would be the exact right amount of time. I’d guess around 17 minutes.
If I wanted to add pumpkin…how much would one add?
I haven’t made this recipe with Pumpkin yet, but the pumpkin cheesecakes I have made use about 1/2 cup of puree and a teaspoon of pumpkin spice. They also add an extra egg yolk to help set the cake with the extra ingredient. Cook time would likely be closer to 40 minutes as well.
Thank you! I am going to give it a try and also use a gingersnap crust!
My first cheesecake was a pumpkin one. Delicious. I used to order a pumpkin cheesecake from a local gal for Thanksgiving to the tune of $35. Not any more. Mine was just as good as hers and v. reasonable in cost. Amy’s suggestion of 1/2 cup puree and t. of pumpkin spice is spot on. But I’m going to add the extra egg yolk next time.
I made this recently with those suggestions except I used a sugar sub (truvia) and added an extra egg instead of just a yolk. I used a nut crust, Instant pot for 30 min. It was meh. I think using only the yolk might help? It was definitely too airy textured (it rose up like a souffle) and seemed very eggy to me. I am making this again in a couple of days with some mods (like hand stirring instead of a mixer for the whole recipe). Will report back.
Thank you. I made my first cheesecake (pumpkin) last week in the IP. I have a 7″ pan. I was confused why it took longer than the 25 minutes I was seeing. Well, I covered mine w/ foil. I learned from your post that this will take longer. I also garnered a few other pointers. I had already planned to bake crust off–I like it on the crispy side, too. But I’ll be careful about over beating in future. My first cheesecake was awesome, but I will be following you advice.
Third time making it and it’s been simple and great! I use a 7″ baking dish since it’s all I have, did 33 min last time. Would love to add some variation like chocolate or orange zest, may be next batch!
Hi Amy! Do you use heavy duty foil or just plain? Also, do you think the boxed graham cracker crust would work, or should I stick with smashing my own crackers? Thanks!
I just use a plain foil, if the foil is heavy it will increase the cooking time a bit.
I believe a boxed graham cracker crust mix would work just fine in this, as long as it has butter or a binding agent in it.
Thanks Amy! Looking forward to trying this out!
I want to convert this to a lemon cheesecake. Could I add 2 tsp. of lemon zest and 2 Tbs. lemon juice without affecting the texture?
I haven’t tried this myself, so I can’t speak from experience. I would leave out the vanilla, and 1 Tbs of the sour cream, just to be on the safe side.
Just a thought regarding the graham cracker crumbs. I like making the crumbs in my food processor. I know it is another item to wash though.
What adjustment should I make for an altitude to 4164 feet? I am making my cheesecake now. I have baked it at high pressure for 15 then 10 more and now another 10 minutes. I have that will do it. Suggestions?
Here is a good chart for how to up the time by percentage, based on your altitude: http://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/pressure-cooker-high-altitude-cooking-time/
I forgot to say I used almond flour and 1/2’d the sugar (used Splenda) in crust and cheesecake.
I’ve read about covering the cake with paper towel before covering with foil to keep the moisture off. Have you tried that before?
Yes, I did use paper towel the first few times. I then tried it without the paper towel, and didn’t notice a difference in the amount of moisture, so I just stopped using it.
I can’t keep the paper towel from falling into the top of the cheesecake and ruining the smooth appearance, so I’m going to try the next one without it.
Amy, I am confused a bit. Do you line your spring form pan with foil….then spray it with oil, then put the cookie crumbs on top of the oiled foil? Or is it foiled outside the pan itself next to the trivet? Thank you for helping.
I don’t oil any of the pan or foil. I just line the inside of the pan with foil, then press the crumbs into it. You can also line the outside with foil, if you want a smooth edge on your cake. You just need to make sure the foil comes up to the top edge of the pan, and is folded over inside. This keeps any water from running down between the foil and pan.
Could you post a pic of how you line your pan? (I’m one of those people who needs visuals 🙂 )
Do you know how well these freeze?? I am looking to make several ahead of time for an event.
I haven’t tried freezing this exact recipe, but in my experience with other recipes, cheesecake freezes well. The crust should stay crisp, but it may not be as crisp as it is fresh.
Made my first cheesecake in my instant pot following your instructions – 7 inch pan, foil lined, foil on top, 34 minutes, it was absolutely perfect. Thanks a lot for sharing your expertise.
Do you need to change the timing if you make crustless cheese cake?
I’ve never made a crustless cheesecake, so I don’t know the answer for this. If I were to do it though, I would use the same amount of time with or without the crust.
I just used this recipe was my first cheesecake recipe. I warmed the ingredients over a long period of time by turning the oven to 150 and shutting off. 37 minute way slightly too long for my cold InstantPot, I believe 32 would create a perfect “jiggle”.
I’m new to Instant Pot. Hit Manual and 32 minutes? I’m confused on the natural release after 8 minutes. After I set it to Manual and 32 mins… What do I do next?
After you press Manual, and adjust the time to 32 minutes you just wait. The pot will automatically start cooking, cook for 32 minutes, then slowly release pressure. After 8 minutes or so the pressure will be released, and you can take the cheesecake out to cool.
I am confused. I thought natural release meant you let it countdown to 8 minutes then slowly release the pressure?
You say right away to slowly release the pressure. Thought that is quick release rather than not touching device and letting pressure gradually go down as Pot cools for 8 minutes?
I am new to Instant Pot. You have me wondering if I have been doing my other record wrong??? They still came out, lol, so who knows???
I find it easier to fully wrap with the paper towel and foil. Less water gets in. I use a 7″ springform. After making this recipe three times, I suggest 40 min, with a 15 min NPR.
Initially I couldn’t find a 4 inch deep 7 inch springform pan on Amazon. Then I exited Amazon. Using the search box, I typed in Fat Daddio 7 inch springform and one that was 4 inches deep popped up for Amazon. I clicked on it and ordered it right away
I made a cheesecake in a 6″ springform pan in my instapot. I covered the top loosely with aluminum foil and cooked it for 35 minutes on high pressure, followed by a natural release. I cooled it in the fridge overnight, but unfortunately my cheesecake came out runny in the centre. Next time I will cook it for 40 minutes covered.
Im new to baking cheesecake in the ip and I wanted to pick your brain a bit. Can you use any cheesecake recipe in the ip or do you have to specially adjust it (not just the quantity of the batter)? For example, I would like to make a tiramisu cheesecake, but haven’t been able to find a recipe specifically for pressure cookers. Can use use any recipe or do I need one that has been specially formulated for the instant pot?
As far as I’ve found, any cheesecake recipe can be used in the IP, as long as you size it down for your pan size. The cooking times will vary from recipe to recipe, but you can always put it back in a little longer if the cake isn’t done the first go through.
? Love your recipe. I made your basic recipe but added 1 1/2 teaspoon orange extract, increased sugar to 1/2 cup, added canned mandarin oranges on top. Taste like a creamsicle.
Sounds delicious! I’ll have to give that variation a try!
Have you skipped the topping? I’m in search for the perfect cake that doesn’t crack.
I have skipped the topping. The cake is just more yellow, and less shiny on top then. There is no cracking. Cracking comes from over beating the batter, and more importantly from overcooking it.
I have made this twice now and perfect every time!! The details really help.
Followed recipe almost exactly and cheesecake was perfect. Substituted lower fat cream cheese and only had heavy duty foil to line inside of 6” pan. Can’t wait to try pumpkin, lemon and chocolate versions for the holidays!
Hoping to test run this tomorrow. Can I sub our IP Greek Yogurt for the sour cream?
Yes, you can make that substitution.
if you mix the ingredients in a blender it comes out smooth every time and only 1 pan to clean up after. just an FYI..:)
I’ve made this recipe multiple times – it’s great! I misplaced where I saved it today and freaked out trying to find it! Thank goodness I found it in time for Christmas! ☺️?☺️
Glad you were able to find us again!
Thank you for the great tips. I baked my first cheesecake yesterday. However used another recipe and I think the time was a bit off. Will try your directions for my next one.
If you use a 7 inch pan, then cook 5 min less in comparison to the 6 inch pan.
Thank you! I have updated the main text to pass on that info to future cake makers.
What size IP do you have? I read the post twice trying to see if it is the same as mine (6qt) but I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere. Thanks!
Yes, this is a 6 quart IP. I wrote this before the other sizes were common, so I didn’t state that size. I’ll make sure to add that in.
I tried the cheesecake 17 and the taste seemed off, although tasting the batter before it went in was delicious.I’m kind of new to the instant pot so not sure what was wrong. I set the cook for 32 minutes ( 6” pan) and natural release I’m going to try to make it again today, any hint but I don’t know how to be sure taste is great.
Hello Judie. Have you used your IP for making curries? Sometimes if the sealing ring has absorbed the flavors of stronger foods, it can add that essence to the cheesecake. I personal have two rings, one for sweet, one for savory.
I have a recipe for a normal oven cheesecake that is “bang on” to this recipe (only twice the ingredients) My conundrum is, my recipe calls for whipping cream, only difference to yours, I’m just curious have you ever tried it in your recipe, was it something that you had to omit in the conversion maybe? About to attempt the recipe with the cream, just curious.
Sorry I missed your comment for a few days. I would think adding the cream would be just fine. Did you give it a try? I like a dense cake, which is why I went without the cream.
It was delicious!, added 1/3 cup of heavy cream, took your advice on the less beaten eggs, it took an extra 10+ minutes of pressure time, i started with the 32 minutes, but was definitely too jiggly like still batter jiggle so put it back in for 10 more minutes. Had to fight my husband away from digging in before it cooled, and it definitely didn’t stick around long. Not any leftovers that’s for sure. Will make again for sure 😁👍
Thanks so much for the feedback! I’ll have to try one with the heavy cream in it now.=)
One thing I have learned over the years of making cheesecakes traditionally and now in the pressure cooker, a mere tablespoon of alcohol – your chosen form may vary by cheesecake flavor – allows that lovely dense cheesecake (my preference) but still allows a slight shift in the texture on the tongue because it somehow cuts the fat a bit.. consider adding a lovely dollop of limoncello added when you add the zest or a standard vanilla vodka for a classic NY style..
It’s not NECESSARY but it’s a demonstrable improvement on the tongue.
Thank you for your great detailed instructions. Always steered clear of cheesecakes, too complicated! With you holding my hand, my 7 inch cheesecake is in the IP now. My husband thanks you! He loves cheesecake. Who knew?^
Thank you for such great detailed instructions. My cheesecake got rave reviews from tough critics! Followed your instructions, didn’t change anything. Used 7 inch pan for 33 minutes, perfect!
I’m new to the IP and new to making cheesecake. I only had a 7″ pyrex bowl. I wasn’t fully understanding the foil and where it goes and why. I think it’s because the springform pan is in two parts and it could leak water between the sides and the bottom? Anyway, I lined the bowl with foil just in case anyway. I also covered the top and down over the sides with foil to keep out the moisture. The foil liner probably wasn’t necessary, but it allowed me to pull the cake out of the bowl by lifting out the foil, rather than cut it in the bowl, which was good! I set it for 37 minutes on high pressure because of the glass bowl.
I think it came out very well. I don’t have much to compare it to. I would probably not do the sour cream glaze again. The cake is tangy enough by itself. I would probably do more crust, just because I love the crust!
Personally, I prefer what I would describe as a ‘cakey-er’ cheesecake, rather than creamier. is that what people mean by airy? How does one acheive that?
Thank you for the detailed instructions and the comments. Great for a newbie like me! A photo of the foil or a video would be great too!
Do you line the outside of the pan with aluminum foil? Also can this me made with light cream cheese? Thanks so much.
I line the inside of the pan. My reason being if I line the outside,and condensation will run down the pan,and right into the foil, making a bowl that catches the moister, the opposite of what I want to do.
It should work the same with light cream cheese, though I have not tried it.
Thank you so much
This is the third time that I have made this cheesecake and served it to some friends. They said it was the best they had ever had. I cooked it about 3 minutes longer than the recipe called for and that made a big difference in the texture. So much creamier. I also do not line my pan with foil, I just cover the top with foil. Let it cool for about an hour then take it out of the pan and refrigerate. I wish I could post a picture of it.
Glad to hear it’s a winner! Thanks for the tips and verification that the foil isn’t necessary,
I’ve made two terrific cheesecakes in the Instapot, and then had two disasters. I found and followed this recipe very, very carefully, and … disaster #3. Now I am wondering if my Instapot is faulty. Any idea what has been going wrong? I wish I could post a pic, but will try and describe the mess. In the cake pan, it looks curdled. It has expanded and overflowed, leaving bits of custardy stuff in the water, then settled back down in the pan. It isn’t as bad as the last time, but still… Help!
Oh dear! That does sound like a mess! Usually we see that kind of expanding and curdling if the batter is beaten too much. Are you only just barely getting it mixed together? Not using a food processor or immersion blending to mix the batter? Maybe try just mixing it with a fork next time, to prevent any aeration at all?
This was the easiest BEST cheesecake I have ever made and I have made a lot of them over the years. Thank you for sharing.