Layered Turtle Cheesecake

Total Time

Prep: 40 min. Bake: 1-1/4 hours + chilling


12 servings

Updated: Sep. 15, 2023
After receiving a request for a special turtle cheesecake and not finding a good recipe, I created my own. Everyone is thrilled with the results and this cheesecake remains a favorite at the coffee shop where I work. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • Additional caramel ice cream topping, optional


  1. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and pecans; cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° until set, 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup flour, cream and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until blended. Remove 1 cup batter to a small bowl; stir in melted chocolate. Spread over crust.
  4. In another bowl, mix caramel topping and remaining 1 teaspoon flour; stir in pecans. Drop by tablespoonfuls over chocolate batter. Top with remaining batter. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
  5. Bake at 325° until center is just set and top appears dull, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. For ganache, place chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chips; whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove side of springform pan. Spread ganache over cheesecake; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate until set. If desired, drizzle with additional caramel topping before serving.
Turtle Cheesecake Tips

Do you have to bake turtle cheesecake in a water bath?

We recommend baking every cheesecake in a water bath, even if the recipe doesn't call for it. A water bath is simply a pan of hot water that you place in the oven. It helps more delicate bakes like cheesecakes to bake more evenly, and helps prevent them from drying out. Just make sure that you use hot water!

Can you make a different type of crust for turtle cheesecake?

Yes! There's no shortage of crust options you can use to make turtle cheesecake. Try making a crust out of crushed graham crackers, Biscoff cookies, Nilla wafers or shortbread cookies instead. Pull inspiration from other turtle recipes with plenty of chocolate, caramel and pecans.

How do you prevent cracks in the cheesecake?

There are a few things you can do to prevent cracked cheesecake. Always grease your pan (even if it's nonstick) in order to stop any cheesecake from sticking to the edge and pulling as it contracts, creating a gash. Also, don't overbeat your eggs: doing so puts extra air into the filling, which can then create cracks on the top. Cracks can also occur when the top of the cake bakes too quickly. In order to prevent this, keep your cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven.

How do you know when the turtle cheesecake is done?

To check if your turtle cheesecake is done, try the wobble test! This involves giving the pan a gentle but firm rap with a spoon to see if it wobbles. An underbaked cheesecake will ripple and jiggle noticeably. The key to a perfect cheesecake is a subtle wiggle—not a sloshy jiggle. Learn more about how to tell if cheesecake is done to master this turtle cheesecake recipe.

—Sammi DiVito, Taste of Home Assistant Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 piece (calculated without additional caramel topping): 664 calories, 46g fat (25g saturated fat), 182mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate (36g sugars, 2g fiber), 11g protein.