Gluten-free cheesecakes are made without wheat or other gluten-containing grains. The primary ingredients in gluten-free cheesecake are:
The cheese provides the primary flavor and texture of cheesecake. Typical cheeses used include:
- Cream cheese – The most common choice for gluten-free cheesecake is full-fat cream cheese. Cream cheese provides a rich, tangy flavor and creamy texture.
- Ricotta cheese – Some recipes use all or part ricotta cheese, which provides a lighter, fluffier texture.
- Goat cheese – For a more tart flavor, some recipes use goat cheese.
- Mascarpone – This soft Italian cheese provides a very rich, creamy texture.
The type and amount of cheese can be adjusted based on personal taste and dietary needs. Many gluten-free cheesecake recipes call for 16-32 ounces of cream cheese for a standard 9-inch cheesecake.
Eggs act as an emulsifier and give structure to gluten-free cheesecake. Recipes typically call for 3-6 large eggs. The eggs should be room temperature to emulsify smoothly into the batter.
Sugar provides sweetness to balance the tangy cream cheese. Granulated white sugar is most commonly used. Some recipes also include powdered sugar. The amount of sugar can range from 1/2 cup to over 1 cup, depending on how sweet you want the cheesecake to be.
Without gluten from wheat flour, cheesecake needs an alternative thickening agent. Common options include:
- Cornstarch – The most popular gluten-free thickener, cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of milk or cream before adding to the batter.
- Tapioca starch/flour – Tapioca is a naturally gluten-free starch that provides thickness.
- Arrowroot – Arrowroot is a gluten-free starch that can be used alone or along with cornstarch as a thickener.
Around 3-4 tablespoons of starch is typically used for a 9-inch cheesecake. The thickener should be dissolved or mixed smoothly to avoid lumps in the batter.
For additional flavor, gluten-free cheesecakes often include:
- Vanilla – Vanilla extract and vanilla beans infuse cheesecake with classic flavor.
- Lemon or other citrus juice/zest – Brightens up the flavor.
- Chocolate – Cocoa powder or melted chocolate make a chocolate cheesecake.
- Fresh fruit – Fruits like strawberry or blueberry can be mixed into the batter.
- Nuts – Chopped nuts add crunch and flavor.
- Boozy flavors – Liqueurs like Amaretto or whiskey lend sophisticated flavor.
The possibilities are endless for infusing gluten-free cheesecake with new flavors!
Some amount of added fat helps make the cheesecake rich and tender. Common options are:
- Butter – Adds a wonderful richness.
- Cream – Heavy cream or sour cream provide tang and moisture.
- Cream cheese – Extra cream cheese makes the cake more indulgent.
- Oils – Small amounts of neutral oils like canola oil can be used.
Around 1-4 tablespoons of additional fat are typical for a 9-inch cheesecake.
While not all cheesecakes have a crust, it’s typical for gluten-free cheesecake. The crust provides an attractive base for serving slices. Gluten-free options include:
- Graham cracker crust – Use certified gluten-free graham crackers or use a different gluten-free cookie such as ginger snaps.
- Nut crust – Finely ground nuts like almonds, pecans or walnuts make a tasty crust.
- Chocolate cookie crust – Crush your favorite gluten-free chocolate cookies or brownies.
- Vanilla wafer crust – Look for gluten-free vanilla wafer cookies.
The crust ingredients are combined with sugar and butter or oil, then packed into the bottom of a springform pan before adding the cheesecake batter.
Making a Smooth Batter
To achieve the signature creamy texture of cheesecake, it’s important to mix the ingredients properly. Follow these tips:
- Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature before mixing.
- Beat the cream cheese first before adding other ingredients.
- Add eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next.
- Dissolve starch thickener completely before adding to prevent lumps.
- Gently fold in chunks of chocolate, fruit or nuts at the end to retain pieces.
Mixing everything smoothly is key for that perfectly silky cheesecake texture!
Gluten-free cheesecake is baked slightly differently than traditional cheesecake. Useful tips include:
- Bake in a water bath – This gently steams the cheesecake for tender, moist results.
- Bake at a lower temperature – Around 300°F to prevent over-browning on the gluten-free crust.
- Check for jiggles – The center should still jiggle slightly when done.
- Cool completely before cooling – This helps prevent cracks on the surface.
- Loosen from the pan after cooling – Then chill in the refrigerator to finish setting up.
With the right baking techniques, you can achieve the perfect texture – smooth and creamy inside with a lightly browned surface.
Gluten-free cheesecake is delicious on its own, but you can also dress it up with tasty toppings. Recommended options include:
- Fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries
- Chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or fruit compotes
- Whipped cream
- Crushed nuts for crunch
- Gluten-free cookies like shortbread
- Edible flowers for decoration
Have fun designing the perfect presentation to impress your guests! Just take care that any toppings are gluten-free as well.
Storing and Freezing
To enjoy your gluten-free cheesecake for up to a week, follow these storage tips:
- Fridge – Keep refrigerated under a cake dome or loosely covered in plastic wrap. Let slices come to room temperature before serving for best flavor and texture.
- Freezer – Wrap slices or the whole cake tightly in plastic wrap, then foil. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
With proper storage, you can prepare your gluten-free cheesecake in advance and have it ready to serve to guests anytime.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Sometimes gluten-free cheesecakes don’t turn out quite right. Here are some common issues and how to avoid them next time:
|Issue||How to Avoid|
|Cracking||Bake in a water bath, cool slowly, and don’t overbake.|
|Lumpy texture||Mix ingredients smoothly and avoid overmixing.|
|Too soft in the center||Bake a little longer at a lower temperature.|
|Too dry or dense||Be sure not to overbake and fold ingredients gently.|
|Crust falls off||Pack crust firmly and line pan for easy removal.|
With a few simple adjustments, you can perfect your gluten-free cheesecake recipe.
Gluten-Free Cheesecake Recipe
Ready to bake your own gluten-free cheesecake? Try out this delicious recipe:
- 2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 lbs cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a bowl, mix graham crumbs, 3 tbsp melted butter, and 1 tbsp sugar. Press firmly into pan. Bake 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in flour and vanilla.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour over crust.
- Place cheesecake in a large roasting pan. Fill pan with 1 inch hot water.
- Bake 50-60 minutes until center is almost set. Turn off oven, leave door closed for 1 hour.
- Cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
For added flair, top slices with fresh fruit or gluten-free chocolate sauce. Enjoy this light and delicious gluten-free dessert!
Is gluten-free cheesecake healthy?
Gluten-free cheesecake can be a healthier option than traditional cheesecake, but it is still a high-fat, high-calorie dessert. Using reduced-fat cream cheese, low-sugar recipes, and fruit toppings can lighten it up.
What can I use instead of graham crackers?
Any gluten-free cookie, nut, or wafer can substitute for graham in a cheesecake crust. Try gingersnaps, chocolate cookies, almonds, hazelnuts, or gluten-free vanilla wafers.
Do you have to use eggs to make cheesecake?
Eggs are essential for the texture of baked cheesecake. However, no-bake cheesecake gets its structure from gelatin and can be made egg-free.
Can I use Greek yogurt?
Some gluten-free cheesecake recipes substitute Greek yogurt for part of the cream cheese. This yields a slightly lighter yet still creamy texture.
What can I do if my cheesecake cracks on top?
Cracking occurs when a cheesecake bakes and cools too quickly. Bake at a lower temperature, cool slowly, and use a water bath for the smoothest top.