Turtle Cheesecake

This Turtle Cheesecake Recipe is made with a graham cracker crust and plenty of caramel, chocolate and pecans! It’s rich, creamy and sure to be a hit!

This post is sponsored by Challenge Dairy, but all opinions are my own.

Turtle Cheesecake recipe

Whole Turtle Cheesecake

I am a big fan of turtle candies. The combination of chocolate and caramel is my jam. Not to mention the cute shape of them when you actually get them in their true shape. If you aren’t familiar, turtle candies are called “turtles” because the pecans are placed in a way that looks like turtle legs and the caramel and chocolate are placed so that they look like turtle shells. They are delicious and cute little candies that is great for the holidays.

But perhaps even though you love the turtle flavors, but really want a cheesecake. Well then, this cheesecake is for you!

What’s in a Turtle Cheesecake?

This Turtle Cheesecake is made with several layers of turtle flavors throughout. To start, there’s the crust. In addition to graham cracker crumbs, the crust has pecans right it in for extra flavor and crunch. The cheesecake filling has a layer of caramel with more pecan chips mixed in, a layer of chocolate and then a creamy brown sugar cheesecake. The whole cheesecake is topped with even more buttery caramel, smooth chocolate and crunchy pecan chips. Delicious!

How to Make a Turtle Cheesecake

First, you’ll make the caramel sauce – arguably the best part of this Turtle Cheesecake. It’s basically the same as my Homemade Caramel Sauce, with a few tweaks to make it a little thicker.

The first ingredient for the caramel is the sugar, which gets melted down. Once melted, butter is added, then heavy whipping cream. It makes the most amazing caramel sauce with such a smooth, buttery flavor. Seriously, that buttery flavor is to die for, which is why I used my favorite Challenge Butter.

You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again – Challenge Butter is a wonderful, high quality butter that is perfect for baked goods. Their butter is made from fresh milk at family-owned dairies and goes from farm to fridge in just two days. It has no added hormones, artificial flavors or fillers, which I’m a big fan of. I usually find it at Walmart, but it’s now also available in Kroger. And if you’re near a Harris Teeter, you can also usually find it there. If you aren’t sure, find a location near you where they carry it. It’s good stuff!

Best Turtle Cheesecake recipeBest Turtle Cheesecake recipe

When your caramel sauce is made, it’s time for the crust. Combine all the ingredients and bake for 10 minutes.

Next up is the filling. You’ll start by adding some of the caramel sauce to the crust, then making the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate ganache in an even layer on top of the caramel.

The next part of the cheesecake filling is the cream cheese mixture. Again, I rely on my trusty Challenge Cream Cheese, which is as close to homemade as it gets with nothing artificial and no added hormones. It’s super creamy and perfect as the base of the cheesecake filling. It’s combined with brown sugar, vanilla and your usual ingredients for a silky-smooth filling.

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath, then refrigerate until firm.

How do you bake a cheesecake in a water bath?

While water baths can seem intimidating, they really aren’t hard and they are totally worth it. I have a tutorial on how I set up my water baths that is quite helpful. I not only use aluminum foil, but also a crock pot liner bag to ensure that water doesn’t get into the cheesecake. Works like a charm!

As for benefits of a water bath, it’ll keep your cheesecake from browning too much, sinking and will help prevent cracks. Definitely the way to go!

Once the cheesecake has cooled, it’s topped with some of the remaining caramel sauce, more chocolate ganache and pecan chips. There’s nothing quite a beautiful as a dessert covered in caramel and chocolate! Nothing quite as tasty either!

The final cheesecake is smooth, creamy and the perfect combination of turtle candy flavors and cheesecake. Such a fun holiday dessert that makes a great alternative to pumpkin! Bring it on!

Turtle Cheesecake overhead viewFavorite Turtle Cheesecake slice

Read transcript

You might also like Turtle candy desserts:

Turtle Brownie Cheesecake
Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake
Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes
Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake
Turtle Chocolate Cookie Cups
Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll

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Turtle Cheesecake | Easy Cheesecake Recipe with Caramel & Chocolate

Turtle Cheesecake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Turtle Cheesecake Recipe is made with a graham cracker crust and plenty of caramel, chocolate and pecans! It’s rich, creamy and sure to be a hit!



Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (112gsalted Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 5 tbsp (41g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup (28g) pecan chips


  • 2 cups (268g) graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (112gsalted Challenge butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28g) pecan chips


  • 4 oz (2/3 cup | 116g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 24 oz (678g) Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (144g) light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp (24g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (230g) sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 2 oz (1/3 cup | 58g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) heavy whipping cream


1. To make the caramel sauce, pour the sugar into an even layer in a large saucepan.
2. Heat on medium-high heat, whisking the sugar until melted. The sugar will clump up first, but will eventually completely melt. This should take about 10 minutes.
3. Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking and allow to cook until the sugar has turned to a little darker amber color. You may notice a nutty aroma. The change in color will happen quickly, so don’t let it go too long or get too dark or it’ll burn. Remove the caramel from the heat.
4. Add the butter and whisk until combined. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, but keep whisking until all the butter has melted and combined.
5. Slowly pour the heavy cream into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. I find it can help to add just a bit at a time until the caramel starts to thin out, then you can add the rest. Whisk until well incorporated and smooth.
6. Set about 1 cup of caramel sauce aside for topping. Add the flour and pecan chips to the remaining caramel and set that aside.
7. To make the cheesecake crust, preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
8. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
9. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
10. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in (see how I prepare my pan for a water bath). Set prepared pan aside.
11. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (148°C).
12. Pour the caramel sauce with the pecans and flour into the bottom of the crust and spread into an even layer.
13. To make the cheesecake filling, put the chocolate chips in a small bowl.
14. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
15. Pour the chocolate into an even layer over the caramel sauce in the crust.
16. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar and flour on low speed until well combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
17. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until well combined.
18. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
19. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust, over the chocolate.
20. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
21. Bake for 1 hour 35 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
22. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but slowly begin to cool as well.
23. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
24. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the water bath and wrapping.
25. Pour about 1/2 cup of the remaining caramel sauce over the top of the cheesecake and spread into an even layer. If the caramel sauce has firmed up too much to pour, heat it up for about 10 seconds.
26. Refrigerate cheesecake until completely cool and firm, 5-6 hours. When the cheesecake is cool and firm, remove it from the springform pan and place on a serving dish.
27. Place the chocolate chips for the drizzle in a small bowl. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 3-4 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
28. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce and chocolate sauce over the cheesecake and sprinkle with a few more pecan chips. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve.

Keywords: Turtle Cheesecake, cheesecake recipe, how to make cheesecake, cheesecake water bath how to


Collage of Turtle Cheesecake

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Recipe rating

  1. Britt

    Just finished making for the 2nd time as my son requested it for his birthday dessert this year. I made it 1st time last Thanksgiving for my mom and everyone was thrilled with it. It takes some time but good things do and it’s absolutely amazing. The recipe is extremely written out well and easy to follow. Thank you for this as I have a feeling this is going to be a family thing now, teehee.

  2. Maggie Tirrell

    This recipe is fantastic – also wonderful if you use chocolate graham crackerS!! I always get rave reviews about this cheesecake.

  3. Tracy

    I am going to try to make 3 of these for my sister’s wedding next month. Can this be made ahead a couple weeks and frozen, or do you have any other recommendations?

    1. Lindsay

      Cheesecake generally freezes well, it’s just hard to know if the cake/ladyfingers will do well or get soggy. You may want to test it.

  4. Bridget

    I’m making this recipe for my birthday tomorrow because it has some of my favourite flavours…chocolate, caramel
    pecan and cheesecake. I baked the cheesecake yesterday and put the caramel sauce on top. However, the caramel sauce isn’t firm…didn’t solidify. Was it suppose to? The 1 cup that was put aside has firmed up in the fridge. I’m not sure why the difference. The sauce was put on as per the recipe after it was taken out of oven after 30 minutes with oven door cracked. I’m thinking that maybe the cheesecake should have been completely cool before adding the sauce on top… Regardless, I’m sure it will be delicious!

    1. Nicky

      I agree! I ruined part of the cake and thought the exact same thing. I would out the caramel on after the cake is set. Either way this is another incredible recipe.

  5. Debbie

    Amazing was told I could easily sell this in a fancy restaurant
    Did take awhile to make but well worth it. This is a winner

    1. Lindsay

      Hi! Yep! It keeps the caramel sauce from disappearing into the cheesecake. Without it, you’ll never know the caramel sauce was there when you cut into it.

  6. Janet Bond

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it for my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary and it turned out absolutely beautiful! I could not find the proper slow cooker bag you had suggested, so I went ahead and cooked it without a water bath and thankfully it turned out perfectly! There wasn’t one single crack in it. Again – thank you so very much for this beautiful recipe. Blessings!

      1. Pam F

        I’ve made this a half dozen times now and love this recipe! It’s delicious. Before I saw your post above helping with the conversion to 7” cakes, I did my own for 2-7” cakes and am happy to see that my measurements met yours! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Krista

    This recipe is so good. I have made another turtle cheesecake recipe a number of times and enjoyed it but decided to make this and I am sure glad I did! Love the flavours. My favourite part is the caramel and chocolate layers under the cheesecake. They are the perfect texture. A great recipe, Lindsay!

    1. Lindsay

      You should cut the recipe by a third. I’m not sure of the exact bake time, but it will be a little bit longer because the cheesecake will be a little bit thicker.

  8. Marja

    Ah, this was delicious! I made this for my sister’s birthday – she loves turtles, she loves cheesecake – it seemed like a perfect pairing. This is the most detailed and delicious turtles cheesecake I have come across. I modified the crust a tiny bit and added 1/4 cup of crushed pecans to the graham mixture. Added a great nutty texture. Thanks!

  9. Carrie

    Question Lindsay. I made your amazing tutor cheesecake and had no problem making the caramel. The problem I had was the caramel got grainy the next day. It was nice and smooth when I put it on. Wondering what I could do different

  10. Ruth

    I am making this by request for my Mother’s 99th birthday. I would not have attempted this if the very detailed instructions were not included. Caramel sauce is my nemesis and you led me through every stage of making it, what it should look like and what to expect. Thank you! I will definitely make this again. And I will add an update once my family tries this.

  11. Meri Mooring

    I was going to make this on a Friday night for my mom’s surprise 50th on Saturday, do I go ahead and put the toppings on (pecans, caramel, etc) or do I wait until Saturday to do so? I wasn’t sure if it was okay to refrigerate the whole thing. Thank you!

  12. Renee

    This cake was AMAZING!! It tasted like a professional bakery made it!! It was the prettiest cheesecake I have ever made! Thanks for the suggestion to use the crock pot liners, it worked perfectly!

  13. Catherine

    This is my absolute favorite cheesecake recipe! If I wanted to make it in a 6-inch springform, would reducing the ingredients by 1/3 make the most sense? Thank you!

  14. Galia

    I made this for my daughter’s 26th birthday and it came out perfectly! So delicious, not a crack in the crust, and cooked in the middle. Honestly, I found the hardest part was making the caramel. My sugar got crystallized and would not remelt, so I had to strain it. Turned out fine with creamy buttery caramel and great texture. This is a keeper but for special occasions only! Lots of calories, butter, sugar, decadent and delicious!!

    1. Lindsay

      Unfortunately, yes. The eggs help hold everything together and firm it up, much like custard. They also give lots of flavor.

  15. Darlene

    Just made it today came out lovely hoping it tastes as good as it looks for our daughter and son in law birthdays on Saturday

  16. HK

    Hi, I was wondering if the first layer of caramel would work if we didn’t have the crust going up the sides? I was planning on doing just a flat layer of crust. 

    1. Melissa Rosser

      It would probably be fine, but the caramel may stick to the sides of the pan. You may want to try to keep the caramel in the center rather than touching the sides of the cheesecake.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12