This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust (I vote in favor of the crust!).

This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust.

This creamy, classic gluten free cheesecake is anything but plain

This classic gluten free cheesecake is technically a “plain” cheesecake, but the taste and texture make it anything but plain. It’s smooth and silky, and each bite tastes light and creamy.

It’s just rich enough and sweet without being overwhelming. If you’d like to turn up the vanilla flavor, you can use vanilla bean paste (I really like Nielsen-Massey brand) in place of pure vanilla extract. The seeds of a vanilla bean never hurt, if you happen to have some of those on hand.

If you like lemon flavoring in your cheesecake, I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest and replacing half of the vanilla extract with freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Just add the zest to the cornstarch and toss it to coat. That will keep it from clumping in one part of the batter.

Why you’ll love this recipe for gluten free cheesecake

I don’t think you need more reasons to love this perfect gluten free cheesecake recipe, but just in case you, let me give you a few:

  • You only need 6 basic ingredients for the cheesecake filling
  • You only need 2 ingredients for the gluten free graham cracker crust
  • The cheesecake filling is so rich and creamy, and the crust is deliciously buttery
  • This easy gluten free cheesecake takes only 15 minutes of active prep time

A flourless cheesecake?

Typical cheesecake often contains a little bit of flour to prevent cracking and help hold things together. For this recipe, I use cornstarch instead. I don’t consider this to be a truly flourless cheesecake recipe due to the addition of the cornstarch, but you may consider so in the sense that we don’t use typical gluten free flours like almond flour or gf cake flour.

This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust.

Topping ideas for gf cheesecake

I love me a plain cheesecake, but I also love a cheesecake with delicious toppings. When you’re in the mood for something a little extra special, try these classic cheesecake toppings:

  • cherry pie filling — absolutely the easiest way to go from simple to wow
  • chocolate sauce — just drizzle it over the cake in lines for a pretty presentation
  • fresh berries — strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries all make great choices
  • whipped cream — simple but sophisticated, whipped cream is always a winner

Gluten free cheesecake ingredients

  • Cream cheese – Use full fat cream cheese for the best flavor, and be sure to leave it out for a while to soften so it’s easier to mix
  • Granulated sugar – The sweetness of sugar complements the tanginess of cream cheese perfectly
  • Cornstarch – We add just a little bit to help firm things up and set fully
  • Salt – Adding a dash of salt really amplifies the other flavors
  • Vanilla extract – Adds richness and that classic taste you associate with cheesecake
  • Eggs – Eggs acts as a thickener to give you that dense, rich texture

Should you make your gf cheese with or without a crust?

The simple ingredients in this recipe are perfectly balanced, so if your pan is properly prepared you can bake the cake without the graham cracker crust. I really prefer the cake with the cookie crust, though, since the contrasting textures balance each other just right.

To make the crust here, I used my chocolate graham crackers. But classic gluten free graham crackers or really any crunchy cookie (like Trader Joe’s gluten free Joe Joe’s) will work great, too.

I don’t recommend adding sugar to the cookie crust, though. The secret to a cheesecake that is flavorful but not overwhelming is to keep the sweetness at just the right level. The elements should complement, and not outshine, one other.

This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust.

Why you don’t need a water bath for a gf cheesecake with no cracks

I don’t think it’s necessary to bake the crust separately before adding the filling. I used my friend Mel’s method for baking cheesecake without a water bath, and the crust is never soggy. And my life is easier in general.

The purpose of a water bath is to create a moist environment in your oven so that the cake bakes evenly and slowly. Drastic changes in temperature in either direction (too hot or too cold) lead to cracks in the cake.

How to make the best gluten free cheesecake in the Instant Pot

If you’ve baked anything in an Instant Pot electronic pressure cooker, or even considered it, you’ve probably made or thought about making a “foil sling” to help lift the cake out of the pan gently. That sounded way too complicated to me. It still does.

But I was shopping at Kohl’s the other day and browsing through the housewares department. I really like Food Network-branded products and can’t seem to stay away. I usually walk away empty-handed, though, since I generally have a fully-stocked kitchen.

But then I saw that OXO brand has a silicone pressure cooker sling (that’s an affiliate link but please shop around). Since you can see in the photo below that I’m using that very sling, you know that I caved. OXO products were on sale—and I had a coupon. I’m pretty sure I ended up paying around $9 for the sling. And it worked beautifully.

Step by step tips for Instant Pot gluten free cheesecake

If you’d like to make a cheesecake in your electronic pressure cooker, now I can tell you how to do it. Simply grease and line an Instant Pot-sized springform pan, and prepare this same recipe (but reduce all the ingredients by 1/3 to accommodate the smaller pan).

Place about 1-inch of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot pan and cover the top of the springform pan with foil to prevent condensed water in the pan from dripping on the top of the cake. Place the prepared pan in the silicone baking sling, and lower it into the pan on top of the water.

Cover the Instant Pot and set the vent to sealing. Push the “manual” button and increase the time to 32 minutes. When the pot beeps to indicate the cooking time is up, turn the pot off and allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes.

Release any remaining pressure from the pot manually, open the lid, and remove the pan from the pot using the sling. Remove the pan from the sling, and place it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Chill, and serve as usual.

Gluten free baked cheesecake vs. Instant Pot

I have to say that it was very easy to make a cheesecake in the Instant Pot, and it certainly took less time overall. It’s also nice to keep the oven free if you’re preparing a meal at the same time.

But I do prefer the texture of the cheesecake when made in the oven. I find that it’s less dense and creamier.

Plus, you’re more likely to have a crack or two in your Instant Pot cheesecake since there really isn’t a way to allow the cheesecake to cool very slowly as there is when you can allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door ajar.

If you’re looking for the absolute easiest recipe without any of the fuss, you could also try our no bake cheesecake with gelatin. It’s creamy smooth, and sets up in 2 hours or less in the refrigerator.

This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust.

Tips for making the best gluten free cheesecake

Use the highest-quality ingredients possible

Because there are so few ingredients in this gluten free cheesecake recipe, you’re bound to notice when something’s a little off. For this reason, I highly recommend that you buy the best, freshest ingredients you can, especially when it comes to the cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Zip-top bag + rolling pin = no mess crumbs

If you don’t feel like pulling out the blender or food processor to crush your gluten free graham crackers, reach for a zip-top bag and your rolling pin (or other heavy, blunt object, like a coffee mug or bottle of wine).

To crush, drop the graham crackers into the zip-top bag, squeeze out the excess air, seal the bag, and then start rolling or gently pounding to break them up. Keep going until you achieve a fine texture.

Don’t overmix or you’ll get cracks

As you read this gluten free cheesecake recipe, you’ll notice that all the ingredients except for the eggs are beaten vigorously first. Then the eggs are added and beaten just until the cheesecake batter is smooth. Mel also taught me that too much air incorporated into the batter will lead to cracks in the cheesecake.

Smack out those air bubbles

When the smooth filling is transferred to the pan, smack the bottom of the pan flat on the counter a few times. That will break up any large air bubbles that we created, despite our best efforts to avoid them.

Leave that oven door closed

As your cheesecake bakes (or Instant Pot cooks), you’ll be enticed into the kitchen to sniff its heavenly aroma. Just be sure to keep your hands off that oven door (and definitely off that Instant Pot lid!), though!

As tempted as you may be to sneak a peek at your gf cheesecake to be sure it’s baking alright, resist the urge. Simply opening the oven door for a fast glance can be enough to cause a sudden, dramatic drop in oven temperature that can lead to cracking.

Release the crust from the pan

As your gluten free cheesecake cools, it will contract and pull away from the edges of the pan. If the crust is stuck to the pan, this will cause tugging and ultimately cracking.

You can keep this from happening by running a knife around the edge of the crust after the cheesecake has had about 10 minutes to cool.

Don’t sweat the small stuff (or the cracks)

Despite all your best efforts, your cheesecake has cracked. Oh, the horror!

Keep in mind that cracks are really not a huge deal. They don’t change the taste of the cheesecake in the least, I promise.

But if your cheesecake ends up with huge cracks that you can’t bear to look at, you can always chop up your cake into miniature cheesecake bites and cover your failure in chocolate.

How to store your gluten free cheesecake

Unlike traditional cakes, a gluten free cheesecake is not one that you’re going to eat warm from the oven. Cheesecake is a delicate thing that requires time and patience.

Instead, you have to allow it to cool completely, and then transfer it to the fridge to cool even more. The longer you leave your gf cheesecake in the fridge, the firmer it will become.

When storing the cake in the fridge, be sure to place it inside of an airtight storage container. This will help keep it from drying out and absorbing fridge odors. When properly stored, your cheesecake will easily last 5 to 7 days.

Can you freeze a gluten free cheesecake?

You can absolutely freeze a gluten free cheesecake. When done properly, it will stay fresh for up to 3 months.

To freeze a gf cheesecake, first allow it to cool completely on your countertop. This step is important because if you try to freeze a warm cheesecake, you’ll end up with cracking and condensation as moisture dissipates.

Once your cheesecake is cool, I recommend slicing it and storing each slice individually. It’s easier to defrost smaller pieces, and you won’t run into any mishaps from trying to slice a frozen cake.

Can I make gluten free cheesecake in advance?

Yes, and actually, you absolutely have to. That’s because cheesecake requires at least 4 hours in the refrigerator to completely firm up. Believe me: Eating cheesecake that hasn’t had time to set up is simply doing a disservice to your taste buds.

This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust.

Classic gluten free cheesecake: substitutions

So far, this has all been a good-news post. Make the cake in the oven without a water bath! Make it in the Instant Pot! With or without a crust! It’s all up to you.

Now comes the bad news: If you’re looking for tips on how to make this classic gluten free cheesecake recipe without dairy or eggs, I’m afraid I just don’t know how to do that reliably.

Gluten free, dairy free cheesecake?

For about a year, my oldest daughter was dairy-free. She’s back on dairy now (looooong story), and she ate this cheesecake happily and without incident. But she loves cheesecake, and I tried so many times to make a really good dairy-free cheesecake.

I failed over and over again. A cashew based cheesecake just does not taste like cheesecake. And I know that some of you may disagree, but I don’t find any of the dairy-free cream cheeses (and I have tried them all) to taste quite right.

If you have a cream cheese replacement that you love, try it in this recipe by all means! I just don’t feel like I can recommend that myself since I just am not convinced by any of them. And I really wanted to love some that you love—for the cheesecake, and for my daughter. I just couldn’t make it happen.

Egg free, gluten free cheesecake?

Since cheesecake contains so few ingredients, replacing any of them is kind of a big deal. I haven’t had success making a classic baked cheesecake egg-free either for that reason. Eggs provide structure and richness.

Corn free, gluten free cheesecake

If you need to make the recipe corn-free, you can replace the cornstarch with arrowroot. That’s easy enough. And sugar-free is probably possible with a granulated sugar replacement like Lankato monkfruit sweetener. You may need to add some liquid, though, since those sugar replacements tend to be drying.

This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust.

FAQs

Is cheesecake gluten free?

No, traditional cheesecake is not gluten free because the crust is typically make of graham crackers containing wheat.

Is cheesecake filling gluten free?

Not even traditional cheesecake filling is necessarily safe, since many recipes call for the addition of wheat flour in the batter.

Is Philadelphia cream cheese gluten free?

Yes, Philadelphia cream cheese is gluten free as it’s not made with any gluten-containing ingredients. This includes both the block version and the whipped option, but we’re using the block version here.

What’s the difference between a classic gluten free cheesecake and a New York-style cheesecake?

Classic cheesecake is made with three primary ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, and eggs.

New York cheesecake is heavier because it uses more cream cheese and sometimes sour cream. This results in an even creamier texture, but it’s also quite dense.

Can I use this gluten free cheesecake recipe to make mini cheesecake bites?

You can definitely use this gf cheesecake recipe to make mini cheesecake bites. I’d suggest using a muffin tin and muffin liners for easier handling and cleanup.

To make, add a spoonful of the gluten free cheesecake crust to bottom of each liner and press down. Pour cheesecake filling into the liners until they’re 2/3 full, and then bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Why did my gluten free cheesecake crack?

There are three primary reasons why a cheesecake (gluten free or otherwise) might crack:

  • You incorporated too much air into the batter by overmixing
  • You baked the cheesecake too long and it’s overcooked
  • You exposed the cheesecake to drastic changes in temperature during cooking or cooling
  • You attempted to remove it from the pan before it was fully cooled, or you baked it in a pan without removable sides and it cracked as you tried to remove it, even when cool

How to make the perfect gluten free cheesecake in the oven or instant pot, step by step

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Classic Gluten Free Cheesecake | Oven or Instant Pot

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Learn how to make the perfect gluten free cheesecake. This gf cheesecake recipe requires just a handful of ingredients and comes out so rich and creamy.
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free cheesecake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Resting and chilling time 1 hour
Servings 1 9-inch cheesecake
Author Nicole Hunn

Equipment

  • 1 9-inch springform pan
  • Stand mixer or handheld mixer

Ingredients

For the graham cracker crust

For the filling

  • 3 8-ounce packages at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs at room temperature

Instructions

To make gf cheesecake in the oven.

  • Preheat your oven to 300°F. Grease well a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a 9-inch round of parchment paper.
  • Pour 2 cups of hot water into a roasting pan or oven-safe casserole dish and place it on the bottom rack of the oven as it heats.
  • In a medium-size bowl, place the cookie crumbs and melted butter and mix until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan. Set the pan aside.
  • In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla, and beat on high speed until very light and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl at least once, and continue to beat. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the eggs one at a time and mix just until smooth.
  • Scrape the filling out of the bowl and on top of the crust in the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer and smack the bottom of the pan flat on the counter a few times to break up any large air bubbles.
  • Place the pan on the top rack of the preheated oven, and bake for 50 minutes, or until most of the cake is set, but the 2 inches in the center are still somewhat loose when shaken from side to side. If necessary, close the oven door and continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Once the cake is baked, turn off the oven and crack the oven door a bit, leaving the cake inside. Allow the cake to sit for about 30 minutes or until the oven temperature has reached about 200°F.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to reach room temperature. Cover and chill the cake, still in the pan, until ready to serve.
  • Unmold the chilled cake and loosen the bottom from the pan. Transfer the cake carefully to a serving platter, slice with a hot, wet knife, cleaned between each cut, and serve chilled.

To make gf cheesecake in the Instant Pot.

  • Grease and line an Instant Pot-sized springform pan, and prepare this same recipe as for the oven, but reduce all the ingredients by 1/3 to accommodate the smaller pan.
  • Place about 1-inch of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot pan and cover the top of the springform pan with foil to prevent condensed water in the pan from dripping on the top of the cake. Place the prepared pan in the silicone baking sling and lower it into the pan on top of the water.
  • Cover the Instant Pot and set the vent to sealing. Push the "manual" button and increase the time to 32 minutes. When the pot beeps to indicate the cooking time is up, turn the pot off and allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes.
  • Release any remaining pressure from the pot manually, open the lid and remove the pan from the pot using the sling. Remove the pan from the sling and place it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Chill and serve as usual.

Video

Notes

Originally published on the blog in 2018. In 2022, lots of textual resources added.
This easy classic gluten free cheesecake is made simply with cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. With or without a graham cracker crust. #glutenfree #gf #cheesecake #instantpot #IP

The post Classic Gluten Free Cheesecake | Oven or Instant Pot appeared first on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

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