Turtle Cheesecake

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Turtle Cheesecake transforms the iconic flavors of turtle candy into a decadent dessert featuring a chocolate cookie crust topped with caramel, pecans, and layers of rich chocolate and vanilla cheesecake.

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A cake server holding up a slice of turtle cheesecake.

If you love chocolate turtles, you’ll love this caramel turtle pecan cheesecake! It takes the familiar flavors of turtle candy and makes them into a decadent dessert. This cheesecake is packed with cozy caramel and toasted nuts for a special treat.

Why You’ll Love This Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

  • Caramel! I’ll admit it: this is one of my favorite parts of this turtle cheesecake recipe. You can use homemade caramel sauce or pick up a can of Dulce de Leche at the store to keep things simple.
  • Gorgeous. This cheesecake is as beautiful to look at as it is good to eat. Let the caramel drip down the sides of the cake for a pretty finishing touch.
  • Layers of flavor. This recipe layers a crisp cookie crust with caramel sauce and pecans, chocolate cheesecake, and plain cheesecake, so you’ll get a ton of different flavors in every bite.
The ingredients for turtle cheesecake are shown portioned out on a white background: eggs. pecans, caramel, cream cheese, chocolate chips, brown sugar, vanilla, sour cream.

Turtle Cheesecake Ingredients

  • Chocolate sandwich cookies: Oreos are a classic choice for a cheesecake crust.
  • Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter.
  • Cream cheese: Use block cream cheese rather than a tub of whipped cream cheese. I like full-fat cream cheese in cheesecake for richness.
  • Sour cream: You can use full-fat or low-fat sour cream.
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar is fine.
  • Eggs and egg yolk
  • Flour
  • Heavy cream: Or substitute half-and-half if needed.
  • Vanilla paste: You can use the same amount of pure vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla paste.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips: Or use dark chocolate chips.
  • Caramel sauce: Or Dulce De Leche.
  • Pecans
A turtle cheesecake dripping with caramel sauce is displayed on a bronze cake stand.

How to Make Turtle Cheesecake

  • Prepare. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Make crust. Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor.
  • Add butter. Pulse in the butter until combined.
  • Form. Press the cookie crust down evenly and firmly in the springform pan.
  • Make filling. Beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, and then add the brown sugar.
  • Add eggs. Beat in the eggs and yolk one at a time, then mix in the cream and vanilla.
  • Mix in flour. Gradually add the all-purpose flour.
  • Add chocolate. Stir in the melted chocolate to 2 cups of batter.
  • Make pecan layer. Mix together the pecans and the caramel.
  • Layer. Spread the caramel-pecan mixture evenly over the crust.
  • Assemble. Spread the chocolate batter over the caramel and top with the plain batter.
  • Bake. In a water bath, bake the cheesecake, then let cool completely before refrigerating.
  • Make topping. Melt the chocolate chips and cream together, then drizzle over the chilled cheesecake.
  • Serve! Drizzle caramel sauce over the cake, add some chopped Oreos and pecans, and serve.
A slice of turtle cheesecake is slightly pulled out of the whole cheesecake on the cake stand.

Tips for Making the Perfect Cheesecake

  • Use room temperature ingredients. To create the smoothest cheesecake layers, bring the filling ingredients to room temperature (the cream cheese should feel soft when you press it) before making the cheesecake.
  • Don’t overmix. Too much air in the filling can create air bubbles while the cheesecake bakes, which causes unsightly cracks. When your filling is creamy and blended, stop beating it and proceed with the recipe.
  • Leave the oven door closed. As with most baking, opening the oven door during baking is not a good idea! Cheesecake, in particular, is very sensitive to changes in temperature, so resist opening the oven to check on it so it doesn’t fall or cook unevenly.
  • Use the water bath. This may seem fussy, but it will help your cheesecake turn out tall and creamy.
  • Checking for doneness. You’ll be able to tell when your turtle cheesecake is done when you insert a toothpick into the cheesecake 1 inch away from the outside edge when the timer goes off and see if it comes out clean. You can use a digital thermometer, which should read 175°F when the cheesecake is fully baked.
A slice of turtle cheesecake served on a dessert plate.

Proper Storage

Leftover turtle pecan caramel cheesecake keeps well, and you can make it a few days in advance before serving it if you wish. Store the cheesecake, well-covered with foil or plastic wrap or in an air-tight container, in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Let the cheesecake thaw in the fridge before you serve it.

More Cheesecake Recipes

Turtle Cheesecake

Turtle Cheesecake takes the flavors of turtle candy and turns them into an amazing cheesecake! Luscious caramel and toasty pecans are balanced on a crisp chocolate cookie crust and topped with rich chocolate and vanilla cheesecake layers.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Cooling: 5 hours
Total Time: 7 hours
Servings: 12 servings


Oreo Cookie Crust:

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 2 blocks (8 ounces each) full-fat cream cheese,, softened
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs,, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk,, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste,, or vanilla extract
  • cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips,, melted and cooled
  • cup caramel sauce or Dulce De Leche
  • cup chopped pecans

For the Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons caramel sauce / Dulce De Leche
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 2 oreo cookies,, chopped
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  • Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap a layer of aluminum foil around the springform pan.
  • In a food processor, process the sandwich cookies until fine crumbs form. Add in the butter and continue to process until well combined. Transfer the cookie mixture to the prepared springform pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or a flat-bottomed glass (or the back of a spoon) to press down firmly and create a compact, even crust. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Place an extra large sheet pan in the bottom of the oven and carefully fill it halfway up with boiling water. Leave the water and the oven to heat up and create steam on which the cheesecake will be baked.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the softened cream cheese and the sour cream until smooth.
  • Add light brown sugar to the cream cheese mixture and mix well with the mixer on low speed until the sugar dissolves. Then add the eggs, one at a time, and the egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Finally, beat in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  • Gradually add in the flour to the cheese mixture, and beat with the mixer on low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Remove 2 cups of the batter and place it in a small bowl. Stir the melted chocolate into the batter.
  • In another small bowl, using a rubber spatula, mix the caramel with the chopped pecans until well combined. Spread this caramel-pecan mixture evenly over the Oreo cookie crust inside the springform pan.
  • Then, spread the chocolate batter in an even layer over the caramel. Carefully spoon the plain cheese batter over the chocolate layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  • Place the cheesecake in the water bath inside the oven and bake it for 1 hour 10 minutes; then, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 30 minutes without opening the door.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it continue to cool at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate for an additional 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare the Topping

  • In a small saucepan, combine semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream over low heat. Stir until melted and smooth. Let it cool slightly, then drizzle the chocolate over the chilled cheesecake.
  • Drizzle caramel sauce or Dulce De Leche over the top of the chocolate ganache.
  • Sprinkle chopped pecans and chopped Oreo cookies.
  • Cut and serve.


  • Bring Ingredients to Room Temperature: For a smooth cheesecake, ensure that the filling ingredients, especially cream cheese, are at room temperature and soft to the touch before starting.
  • Avoid Overmixing the Filling: Overbeating the filling can incorporate too much air, leading to air bubbles and cracks during baking, so mix until just creamy and blended.
  • Resist Opening the Oven: Cheesecake is sensitive to temperature changes, so keep the oven door closed during baking to prevent uneven cooking or the cheesecake from falling flat.
  • Water Bath Method: Using a water bath might seem like an extra step, but it’s key to achieving a tall and creamy cheesecake texture.
  • Check for Doneness in Different Ways: To test if your turtle cheesecake is done, insert a toothpick an inch from the edge when the timer goes off—it should come out clean. Alternatively, use a digital thermometer; the cheesecake is ready when it reaches 175°F.
  • Storage: Keep the turtle cheesecake in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. For freezing, wrap the whole or individual slices in plastic and foil, then store in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge before serving.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 259mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 453IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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