Cranberry and cheesecake, a dessert combination that’s perfect for the holiday season! This swirled cranberry cheesecake is decadent, fluffy and melt-in-your mouth good! Plus, your guests will be super impressed with the delicate design on the top that’s made with cranberry sauce. I start out with a basic cheesecake recipe and add cranberry sauce into the cheesecake batter. This cheesecake recipe yields a fluffy and velvety smooth cake, just the way a cheesecake should be. The addition of the cranberry adds a hint of tangy and loads of incredible berry flavor!
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Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions and all the details for making this swirled cranberry cheesecake! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
Ingredients for Cranberry Cheesecake
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for making this tart and fruity cheesecake!
- Cream Cheese: I recommend softening the cheese at room temperature for at least 1 hour prior to mixing it. This will make it much easier to use.
- Graham Crackers: for making the classic graham cracker crust.
- Cranberry Sauce: you can use store-bought sauce or make a batch of my homemade sauce. Recipe linked below!
- Sour Cream: adding sour cream into the cheesecake batter gives it a tart and creamier flavor and texture.
- Eggs: have the eggs at room temperature for best results.
How to Make Swirled Cranberry Cheesecake
This amazing creamy and tart cheesecake is bound to become a favorite!
- I start with a simple graham cracker crust! Just crush the cookies until fine crumbs form and toss them with melted butter. Press them into a 9-inch spring form pan.
- Next, prepare a classic cheesecake base: cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream and vanilla. The cream cheese needs to be beaten by itself until it’s extra creamy and smooth, then add the remaining ingredients!
- Next, I add in the cranberry flavor! In my video recipe, I used canned cranberry sauce but you can also try out my homemade sauce instead! Check out my ‘Cranberry Orange Sauce’ recipe for a homemade version! It’s made with orange zest which adds so much amazing flavor!
- Garnish the top with more cranberry sauce, creating the beautiful swirl topping. Bake the cheesecake at 300F for about 2 hours, using the water bath method.
- Cool the baked cheesecake slowly so it doesn’t crack! Allow it to set overnight in the refrigerator, then enjoy!
Adding the Swirl Topping
Making the delicate cranberry sauce design on top of this cranberry cheesecake is actually super simple! And, it looks like a million dollars! Just use cranberry sauce and drop little dollops of the sauce using a dispenser bottle. You can thin the sauce out with water to make it easier to pipe. Add the drops in a spiral moving outwards from the center and make them larger as you move out. Then grab a toothpick and pull it through each dollop. That’s it!
Using the Water Bath Method
For best results, use a water bath to bake your cheesecake! This will make your cheesecake level on top and preserve the design. First, wrap the bottom of your springform pan with two layers of foil. I recommend using extra wide foil so there are no leaks! Place the cake into a larger casserole pan and add about an inch of water. As the cheesecake bakes, the extra moisture in the oven will help prevent cracking. Add more water as needed!
Enjoyed this delicious and tart cheesecake? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Ricotta Blueberry Cheesecake – all the berry flavor in this fluffy cheesecake, topped with blueberry whipped cream!
- Ombre Cranberry Orange Cake – this decadent and delicious cake is going to steal the show at your next holiday party!
- Tiramisu Cheesecake – delicate coffee and amaretto flavored cheesecake topped with whipped cream! This one is a must-try!
- Chocolate Orange Cheesecake – rich and chocolatey cheesecake with orange zest, orange whipped cream and fresh oranges!
- Triple Chocolate Cheesecake – layered cheesecake with three chocolates: semi-sweet, milk and white chocolates!
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Cranberry Cheesecake Recipe (video)
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 10 whole crackers
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 32 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 14- ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1/2 cup cranberry jelly
- red food coloring
- Preheat oven to 300F. Prepare a 9-inch spring-form pan: double wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with extra-wide foil. You will also need a deep, oven-roasting pan.
- Place graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until mixture comes together. Transfer the crumbs into the spring-form pan. Use a large spoon and press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan, creating a firm and even crust layer; set aside.
- Place softened cream cheese into a stand mixer bowl. Beat cream cheese for 10 minutes, until the cheese is very light and airy, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Add the sugar, sour cream and vanilla; beat for another 5 minutes. Next add the eggs; beat for another 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl often!
- Divide the cheesecake filling evenly between 2 bowls. Into one bowl, add the whole berry cranberry sauce. Gently fold into the filling. Pour the cranberry cheesecake filling first into the prepared pan. Spread evenly with a spatula. Next, gently pour the plain cheesecake filling over the top. Spread evenly with a spatula.
- Prepare the garnish: whisk together the cranberry jelly with red food coloring until very smooth. I microwaved my jelly for 20 seconds to make it smooth. Transfer the jelly into a dispenser bottle or ziplock bag. Starting from the center of the cheesecake, place small dots in a spiral, increasing the dot size gradually. Next, gently run a toothpick through the top of each dot, creating a swirl pattern.
- Place cheesecake into oven-roasting pan. Fill the pan half-way with water; fill the rest of the pan once it’s on the oven-rack for easier transfer. Bake cheesecake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 45 mins to 2 hours. The center should be just set but still slightly wobbly when pan is moved. Turn off oven, open oven door and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour. Then, transfer the cheesecake to a warm corner of your kitchen and let it cool gradually for a few hours. Finally, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to set overnight.
- When serving, remove the cheesecake 30 minutes prior to. Release the spring form and transfer the cheesecake carefully onto a cake platter. Can serve with additional cranberry sauce.