Sensuously smooth and utterly decadent, my Red Velvet Cheesecake with Oreo Crust boasts a rich red velvet cheesecake filling, a crushed chocolate cookie crust and a simple cream cheese frosting!
Easy Red Velvet Cheesecake With Oreo Crust & Frosting
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind us, it’s nice to take part in the more low-key celebrations leading up to spring. Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day are two of my very favorites!
On Valentine’s Day, I sometimes go all out with decorations, treats and a special dinner. Other years, it’s more like a hasty glass of wine and a candy bar at the end of a long day. This year, I’ll be splitting the difference and making this easy but luxurious red velvet cheesecake.
This elegant dessert looks as good as it tastes! The deep red of the smooth and creamy cheesecake filling is so lovely, and the delicious white frosting will satisfy any sweet tooth, while providing a lovely visual contrast!
What is Red Velvet?
Red velvet cakes and other desserts usually contain buttermilk, vinegar and cocoa powder, which give a special cheesecake-like flavor to the dessert, as well as a reddish color thanks to the reaction between the ingredients. Red food coloring is also used to highlight that red color and enhance it. The result? A sweet treat that tastes creamy and chocolatey, with a beautiful scarlet color.
For our recipe, we’re taking red velvet cake a little further by making it an actual cheesecake! The velvety red cheesecake filling uses cream cheese rather than buttermilk and gets poured into a delicious crumb crust made of crushed Oreos and melted butter.
This super-indulgent recipe actually contains fairly basic ingredients! All you need are Oreo cookies and pantry staples like butter, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
For the Oreo Crust
- Oreo Cookies: You’ll need about two cups of crushed Oreos.
- Butter: Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. I use unsalted, but salted will also work.
For the Red Velvet Cheesecake Filling
- Cream Cheese: You’ll need 32 ounces of cream cheese, softened, for the cake portion of this dessert. That’s four 8-ounce blocks or tubs.
- Sugar: To sweeten this large cheesecake, I use one and a half cups of ordinary granulated sugar. Raw sugar will also work.
- Cocoa Powder: Just three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder gives this recipe its red velvet chocolate flavor.
- Sour Cream: You’ll need one cup of sour cream; I try to find sour cream without additives or stabilizers for the best quality.
- Vinegar: A tablespoon of white vinegar adds needed acidity.
- Vanilla: For the best results, use pure vanilla extract.
- Eggs: Lightly beat four large eggs.
- Red Food Coloring: You can omit the food coloring if necessary, but I use two ounces of red food coloring to give it the classic red velvet look, so appropriate for Valentine’s Day.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese: To make the frosting, you’ll need three ounces of cream cheese in addition to the cream cheese used for the cake.
- Butter: Bring ¼ cup of butter to room temperature.
- Powdered Sugar: Two cups of powdered sugar bring a light, fluffy sweetness to the frosting.
- Vanilla: You’ll need two teaspoons of vanilla for this frosting.
How to Make Red Velvet Cheesecake
Making this dessert is a breeze! I think it’s a fun one to involve the kiddos with. They love helping to crush cookies, scrape down the mixing bowl, add ingredients, and watch the filling turn bright red when the food coloring is added.
Make the Crust
- Prepare Pan: Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray, or grease with butter. Wrap the outer bottom of the pan tightly with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Make Crust Mixture: Combine the crushed Oreos and melted butter in a mixing bowl, and stir well until blended together evenly.
- Form Crust: Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Do not press it up the sides of the pan.
Make the Cheesecake
- Cream Sugar & Cream Cheese: Start making the filling by using an electric mixer, set to low speed, to beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Beat for 2 minutes.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: Add the remaining cheesecake filling ingredients, and continue to beat on low speed until well combined.
Make the Frosting
- Combine Butter & Cream Cheese: Prepare the frosting by using an electric mixer, set to medium speed, to beat together the cream cheese and butter. Mix until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: Add the remaining frosting ingredients and continue to beat until smooth and well combined.
- Prepare Oven & Water Bath: Preheat your oven to 325°F and place the oven rack in the lower third position. Fill a large roasting pan with about 1-inch of water to create a water bath for the cheesecake to bake in. Place the water bath in the oven and allow it to preheat along with the oven.
- Bake Cheesecake: Take your cheesecake batter and pour it into the prepared crust. Carefully place the cheesecake into the preheated water bath, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300°F and bake for another hour and ten minutes or so, or until the center is firm.
- Let Cool: Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stand in the oven for 40 minutes. Then remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it on a wire cooling rack. Let it cool for a few hours, or until the cheesecake reaches room temperature, and then cover and transfer it to the fridge. Let it chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Frost Cheesecake: After the cheesecake has chilled, carefully release the springform pan. Remove the ring carefully. Spread the frosting in an even layer over the top of the cheesecake.
- Enjoy! Serve this delicious dessert immediately, or keep refrigerated.
Tips for the Best Red Velvet Cheesecake
This dessert can be tweaked in a number of ways! I’ve even seen bakers using blue food coloring instead of red to make “blue velvet” cakes for Hannukah, and I suppose you could also use green for St. Patrick’s Day. Food coloring aside, here are a few of my tips and tricks for making a delicious cheesecake.
- Substitutions: If you’d like, substitute graham crackers for the Oreos in the crust. Graham cracker crusts are so delicious!
- Is It Done? You’ll know that it’s time to turn that oven off when your cheesecake is mostly set, with only a couple of inches in the center that are still wobbly when you jiggle the pan.
- Frost Away: This dessert is super delicious with the frosting, but it’s also amazing as-is! Want the topping without as many calories? Try using half a batch of frosting instead of a full batch.
How to Store Homemade Cheesecake
- To refrigerate, place leftovers in airtight food storage containers. Cheesecake lasts in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Can I Freeze Cheesecake?
- Yes, cheesecake freezes well! To freeze this one, I recommend wrapping chilled slices individually in two layers of plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Cheesecake generally keeps frozen for one to two months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Can I Make this Dessert Ahead of Time?
- Yes, you can make this cheesecake up to a week in advance! I recommend storing the cheesecake and the frosting separately, with the cheesecake still in its springform pan. Cover everything tightly with plastic wrap.
- Take the frosting out a little early so that it can soften up. Then release the springform pan and frost just before serving.
Red Velvet Cheesecake with Oreo Crust
For the Cheesecake
For the Frosting
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 and place the oven rack in the lower third position. Fill a large roasting pan with about 1-inch of water to create a water bath for the cheesecake to bake in. Place the water bath in the oven and allow to preheat along with the oven.
- Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and wrap the outer bottom of the pan tightly with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Make the crust by combining the crushed Oreos and melted butter in a mixing bowl.
- Press crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Make the filling by using an electric mixer set to low speed to beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
- Add the remaining cheesecake filling ingredients and continue to beat on low speed until well combined.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust.
- Carefully place the pan into the preheated water bath and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300˚F and bake for 70 to 80 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is firm.
- Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stand in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and its water bath; place the cheesecake on a wire cooling rack. Let it cool for a few hours, or until cheesecake reaches room temperature. Cover and transfer it to the fridge. Let it chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Prepare the frosting by using an electric mixer set to medium speed to beat together the cream cheese and butter. Mix until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining frosting ingredients and continue to beat until smooth and well combined.
- Spread the frosting in an even layer over the cooled cheesecake which has been removed from its pan.
- Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated.
- The Oreos can be substituted with graham crackers if preferred.
- This recipe works just as well with half the frosting recipe, or with no frosting at all.
- Oven temperatures can vary so your cheesecake may need more time to bake. You will know when it is done baking when the outer edges of the cheesecake feel firm and the center looks set with a slight jiggle when shaken.
- Before starting on the cheesecake, please make sure that the cream cheese is softened and butter is at room temperature.
Other Desserts to Try
Want some more holiday-worthy cake recipes? Be sure to check out the following treats.