Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Peanut butter + chocolate + cheesecake lovers unite. Immediately.

I’ve made a lot of cheesecakes and what I’m about to say does not diminish my love for any of the past cheesecakes in my life. But people, this creamy, delectable, peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake just might be the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. Strong, seemingly exaggerated words, I know, but truth is truth. Ridiculously delicious, there is no question, no question at all, that this cheesecake is happening at our Thanksgiving spread this year. And that lightly sweet peanut butter whipped cream sitting there on top of that slice? Best stuff ever.

In case my testimonial isn’t enough, listen here. I made this and took it to my Aunt Marilyn’s house to share the love (and the calories); this was before I had even tasted it to verify it as a thumbs up or thumbs down cheesecake experience. Risky, I know. In hindsight, I should have saved my worries for the caramel brownies I made later that week (in which I accidentally stirred the melting caramels with the same spoon I was making lentil chili with – and in case you are wondering, chili powder and oregano and bits of lentils don’t really go well with caramel).

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

This cheesecake won everyone over (even my Uncle Dan who isn’t a cheesecake-lover, though we still love him for that frailty). So light and sweet, those little chunks of peanut butter cups nestled in the smooth and creamy filling were almost my undoing. Or rather, my kids’ undoing as I tried to spear the morsels from their slices without them noticing. They weren’t amused. And incidentally my lame distraction techniques did not work. Apparently the old “Hey look! There’s a bear over there!” is, like, so last summer and doesn’t work with kids in this generation like it did in mine.

Anyway, just know that I can’t give enough stars for this cheesecake. You know the dreamy part about serving cheesecake, right? It’s a completely make-ahead dessert, in fact it needs to be made ahead of time, which means all those seemingly daunting steps below actually don’t mean a thing because you won’t be doing any of it during crunch time. If you are entertaining (or even if you’re not), cheesecake isย a fuss-free way to bring out a rockstar-worthy dessert that will make everyone ooh and awe and exclaim and drool and probably kiss your feet. Just trying to prepare you.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

One Year Ago: Gourmet Caramel Apples + Free Printable Handout
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Three Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Yield: Makes a 9- or 10-inch cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

In truth, you could probably nix the water steam bath in the directions since the cheesecake will be covered with ganache to hide any cracks (also remember that overmixing the batter will make a cheesecake prone to cracking).

I haven't tried this cheesecake using natural peanut butter (I use the Skippy brand of creamy peanut butter). Also, if you like a little sweetness to your ganache, consider adding a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar to the cream/chocolate mixture.


  • 20-22 Oreo cookies (about 9 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2.75 ounces) roasted, salted peanuts
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup (6.75 ounces) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 10 regular-sized peanut butter cups (7.5 ounces), chopped
  • Ganache Topping:
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped baking chocolate)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (2.25 ounces) creamy peanut butter
  • Optional Garnishes:
  • Hot fudge sauce or extra ganache for drizzling
  • Chopped peanut butter cups


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Position the oven racks so one is just above the middle position and the other is in the bottom third of the oven. Lightly grease a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan.
  2. For the crust, add the cookies, brown sugar and peanuts to a blender or food processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the butter and blend/process until the mixture is sandy in texture and evenly coated with butter.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2-inch or so up the sides of the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.
  5. In a large bowl with an electric mixer (or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer), whip the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, sour cream, peanut butter, and vanilla together until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and mix until just combined (over mixing can cause the cheesecake to crack while baking thanks to all the extra air beat into the filling). Fold in the chopped peanut butter cups with a spoon or spatula.
  6. Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust and spread evenly. Place a metal 9X13-inch or similar-sized pan on the bottom rack of the oven and pour in 2-3 cups of boiling water. Immediately place the cheesecake on the upper rack and bake for 50-65 minutes until the cheesecake is set around the edges. A slight jiggle in the center of the cheesecake is fine.
  7. Turn the oven off and prop the oven door open a few inches. Keep the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
  8. For the ganache, heat the cream until it just starts to simmer (in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove). Off the heat, stir in the chocolate and vanilla. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir to combine until it is silky and smooth. Spread evenly over the cooled cheesecake.
  9. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight (up to 24 hours).
  10. Prepare the peanut butter whipped cream (you can do this a couple hours in advance and refrigerate) by combining all the ingredients in a blender (or in a bowl using a handheld or stand electric mixer). Process or whip until the mixture is thick and creamy and smooth.
  11. To serve, run a long knife under hot water, wipe dry and cut the cheesecake into slices (repeating the water trick between cuts if you want really clean slices).
  12. Garnish with the peanut butter whipped cream and the hot fudge sauce and peanut butter cups, if desired.

Recipe Source: inspired by this recipe at (adapted the crust from thereย andย altered this beloved cheesecake for the filling)

61 Responses to Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust

  1. Sheila says:

    Wow, this is indeed high praise from you! And I am excited that the ganache will cover my grand canyon cracks. You are the best! Sure hope I can manage to get this on the Thanksgiving table.

  2. Jodi says:

    I’m completely drooling! Peanut butter cup anything rocks my world. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks Mel!

  3. Alicia says:

    Trying to figure out how I could make this and transport it 6 hours for my family’s Thanksgiving gathering. It looks amazing!

    • Mel says:

      Alicia – it actually should transport pretty well if you make it the day before and it’s chilled when you take it the next morning. If you have the room, I’d try to sandwich it in a cooler with a few ice packs and it should be fine for the 6 hours.

  4. Laurel says:

    Oh how I adore cheesecake! This looks divine! Wish my boys had received a bunch of Reese’s on Halloween so I had an excuse to make this. Unfortunately they only have one or two, a sad day for this PB loving soul. Maybe I’ll swap out for snickers. They have a bucketful of those babies.

  5. Sarah says:

    This looks delicious! I was trying to decide what peanut butter treat to make for my coworkers birthday. I think I have a winner!

  6. Sarah says:

    This looks delicious! I was trying to decide which peanut butter treat to make for my coworkers birthday. Looks like I have a winner!

  7. Teresa R. says:

    This looks amazing and I’ll be making it soon! I actually have 8 Reese’s cups left from Halloween. I decided not to hand them out for treats because some kids have peanut allergies, but mainly because I was saving them for myself! Thanks for another great recipe!

  8. Jen T says:

    Oh yum, this looks so wonderful for Thanksgiving!!! Thanks!

  9. Paige says:

    Peanut butter cheesecake has to be one of the greater inventions to ever make its way to mankind. This looks amazing, and we’ll definitely be giving this a try really soon!


  10. Danielle Hale says:

    First I have to say I just love you and find you amazing. Next, I’ve been waiting for the right moment to make your chocolate no bake cheesecake and when I make it I want it perfect of course. That crust is a chocolate graham cracker crust and this one is an Oreo crust. If I had to choose between graham crackers and Oreos Oreos would win every day of the week and twice on Sunday. But you know your stuff. So tell me, is there a reason I want to use the graham crackers instead of this crust for that cheesecake?

    • Mel says:

      Great question, Danielle, and I’m afraid the only real reason is that sometimes I just like to change things up. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you like Oreos, I’d say that the no-bake chocolate cheesecake would be delicious with an Oreo crust. Go for it!

  11. The cheesecake looks insanely good! I am a major cheesecake fan and love finding new recipes and combinations! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Dani |

  12. Tara says:

    I must try this! I made your no-bake chocolate cheesecake for Labor Day and it was a huge hit (people were literally fighting over the last piece).

  13. Barb says:

    I just noticed mini reese cups in the candy aisle. They are small and bite size and I bet they would work in this recipe. I am looking forward to your Thanksgiving menus and
    recipes. This year I feel restless and want to make something new and different.

  14. Becki says:

    Oh my goodness – that looks like it is straight from a fancy restaurant! Anything with chocolate and peanut butter is a favorite in my book – yum!

  15. Nicole Miller says:

    Mel, have you seen the bags of “unwrapped minis” they have of the Reese’s cups? Thinking that might be fun here. I have to say the mini Rolo’s rocked my world over the summer (straight from the freezer!). Will definately try this dessert! I was singing praises for your caramel apple Bundt cake last month, such a hit at my Bunco party. Show stopper. Have a great week!

    • Mel says:

      Glad that caramel apple cake was a hit, Nicole! Someone else suggested the Reese’s minis too and I think they look great…I wonder though if they’ll miss out on the extra peanut butter to chocolate ratio in a larger PB cup? Someone better experiment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Jessica Romney says:

    I want to make this for Sunday dessert, but have a CRAZY Saturday. Will it still be good if I make it Friday and keep it in the fridge closer to 48 hours?

    • Mel says:

      As long as you don’t put the whipped cream on it until serving time (the ganache is fine spread on before), I think it should be fine! The crust might be slightly softer than after just 24 hours but not a deal breaker, I don’t think.

  17. Beverley says:

    we are cheesecake lovers in my home along with PB so putting these together is surely going to bring my boys home for the holidays xoxo

  18. Kristen M says:


    Love, love, love your recipes!

    Can you recommend an alternative for a springform pan? I’m not a big cheesecake person, so I don’t have this pan, but I must try this recipe!


  19. ann in E. oregon says:

    This is sort of a technical question, but I’m wondering how you slice through all those layers without the layers looking “smeared”. ๐Ÿ™‚ The cake is amazing!

  20. Amanda says:

    I have this in the oven right now for my girl’s night that I’m hosting tomorrow. It seems to be taking a little long to set up enough in the oven (just about 70 minutes in a 9 inch pan), but I’m sure it will be great! Out of curiosity, what kind of Oreos did you use for the crust? I used double stuff because that’s what I had. Regular Oreos should just be called what they are – diet. Hoping it turns out okay!

  21. Anna says:

    Do you put the ganache on while it is still in the pan or after it is removed from the springform pan?

    • Mel says:

      I put the ganache on while it’s still in the pan and then refrigerate – but you could put it on after you remove, too – especially if you want it to run down the sides for a cool-looking effect.

      • Anna says:

        Thank you! I made this cheesecake for a brunch and it was great! Everyone asked for the recipe! Interesting way to do a water bath.

  22. Jenny says:

    Mel, help! How do I adjust baking time and/or temperature if I want to make mini cheesecakes (I think my mini springform pans are about 4″ in diameter). Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t made mini cheesecakes for this recipe but I’d keep it at the same baking temperature – just start checking after about half the time and see how they look. Good luck!

      • Jenny says:

        For anyone else in the same conundrum: I ended up cooking them about 40 minutes, and leaving them in with the oven off and oven door cracked for about 15 minutes. Texture tasted good to me!

  23. Maralie says:

    I made this for yesterday’s feast, and oh my, were you right! I got so many compliments, the best coming from my husband (whose all time favorite dessert is creme brulee) who said it was the best dessert he’s ever had. Ever. From anywhere. One of my guests said it was better than anything at the Cheesecake Factory. This will officially go in my annual Thanksgiving menu. Excellent recipe!

  24. Megan says:

    Amazing! This tastes like a professional divine dessert. It was a hit at our thanksgiving. I got cracks even with the steam bath but the ganache hid them. It was perfect. Thanks Mel!

  25. Jackie says:

    Do you think this could be a dessert that I could make ahead and freeze?

  26. Courtney says:

    Made this for Thanksgiving dessert and it was delicious. I had made your vanilla bean cheesecake over the summer so I knew this one wouldn’t disappoint. I didn’t do the water bath and it cracked, but you were right the ganache covered that right up.

  27. Becca says:

    Hi Mel! I’m so looking forward to this for Christmas Eve. I’m just wondering if this could be made in advance and frozen? If so, at what step would you freeze it?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Becca – I have frozen this before. I made it, baked it, let it cool, topped it with ganache, covered it with foil and put it in the freezer. I waited to do the PB whipped cream until we served it. Hope that helps!

  28. Bri says:

    Is the cheesecake also cooked at 300? There isn’t a temperature given.

  29. Jerrod says:

    I tried making this and it tasted great! But I went wrong somewhere in cooking it as it didn’t hold. One of my friends said that it was probably because of the oreo crust. Did I miss something here? Should I have taken the cream off the cookies or something?

  30. Sara says:

    Do you know any tricks on how to stabilize the whipped cream so that I can make it the day before? I will be transporting this and do not think that I will have the time to make it the day of.

    • Mel says:

      I’ve heard that adding a bit of cornstarch can help stabilize but I’ve never tried. The only way I’ve ever stabilized before (for a no-bake cheesecake) was using gelatin. You might try googling “stabilized whipped cream” and see what the best/easiest option is.

  31. Alysia says:

    I’m just wondering if the “leaving the oven open” step at the end of baking is for if you did the steam bath? Or is that step imperative even without the steam bath? I somehow completely missed seeing that step and so I pulled mine out of the oven at 65 minutes…I’m worried when we cut into it tomorrow I will have messed up the texture…? Also, I’m not sure what I did but my pan was condensating or something! It was dripping water the whole time it was baking!!! So weird. I can’t figure out why it was doing that. The batter was tasting fantastic but something weird was happening during baking.

    • Mel says:

      How did it work out? Leaving the door open at the end helps the cheesecake finish setting up without overcooking and helps prevent cracks sometimes, although the steam bath helps with that too.

  32. Kimberly says:

    I’d love to make this for my hubby’s bday tomorrow (we’ve been out of town and I can’t go get ingredients today- Sunday) and am wondering if I could make it in the morning and serve it at night? I could put it in the freezer for part of the fridge time? He would love it but I don’t have the overnight chill time

    • Mel says:

      As long as it has time to chill after baking, it should be fine (maybe using the freezer may help).

      • Kimberly says:

        It worked out great! I made it in the morning and then after it was cool to the touch I put it in the freezer for a few hours and then moved it to the fridge. Everyone loved it and someone at the party called it a triumph ๐Ÿ™‚ thx!

  33. Julie says:

    Why do you do the steaming water under it? And I have never heard of continuing to bake with the oven kind of open? What does that do?

  34. Dann says:

    seems to me you would remove the cream from the cookies, is that right?

  35. Amanda says:

    Hi Mel,
    I love your recipes! I have never frozen a cheesecake and I was wondering how long this particular cheesecake takes to defrost? Do you leave it in the fridge to thaw out or on the counter? Thanks for the help.

  36. Amanda says:

    Hi Mel!
    I’m curious how you defrost this cheesecake and for how long? Do you recommend thawing in the fridge or on the counter?

    • Mel says:

      I usually defrost it in the fridge overnight – it would be faster, obviously, to leave it on the counter. Maybe a couple of hours?

  37. Holly says:

    Would this work in a regular glass pie dish if I don’t have a spring-form pan?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Holly – I think the filling might be too much for a glass pie dish – if trying it, I’d make sure to use a deep 9.5-inch pie plate if you have it (or separate it into a couple dishes).

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