With a flavorful gingersnap crust, rich filling, and spiced whipped cream, this eggnog cheesecake makes for a very jolly holiday dessert.
There are some recipes I make for this site that come together super fast. I test them once or twice and they work flawlessly.
Then there are other recipes that take a lot of work. And a lot of testing. Like, a lot of testing.
This eggnog cheesecake is one of those recipes. I started working on it a year ago, but couldn’t get it quite right, so I put it on hold until I could get eggnog again.
After a few more tests and tweaks, I finally got it just right. I wanted a cheesecake with a silky-smooth filling and subtle eggnog flavor, paired with a stronger-flavored eggnog whipped cream.
I was so excited when I finally nailed this recipe. It’s a delicious cheesecake, perfect for serving at your holiday party or Christmas dinner. You’re gonna love it.
WHAT FLAVOR IS EGGNOG?
If you love eggnog, you probably just think that it tastes…well, like eggnog! But if you’ve never tried it before, you’re probably wondering what it tastes like and what flavor it adds to recipes like eggnog cookies, eggnog eclair cake, and this eggnog cheesecake.
Eggnog is sweet and creamy, with a custardy flavor and texture thanks to the eggs in it. It is traditionally made with the addition of vanilla and nutmeg, so both of those ingredients play an important role in the flavor of eggnog.
Of course, it is also common for eggnog to have rum or brandy in it. So occasionally you will see rum extract or spiced rum added to eggnog-flavored treats, but it’s not strictly necessary.
So what does that mean for this eggnog cheesecake?
It’s got all the richness you love in my classic vanilla cheesecake, with an extra silky filling and the warmth of nutmeg running throughout the crust and the filling. I like topping it with some eggnog whipped cream to really bring that flavor home.
HOW TO MAKE EGGNOG CHEESECAKE
If you’ve never made cheesecake before, I know it can feel intimidating. But I promise that it’s not as hard as you think – I’ll walk you through each step!
Ingredients you’ll need
There are 3 parts of this eggnog cheesecake: the crust, filling, and whipped cream.
For the crust, I like to use a spiced gingersnap crust. It uses:
- 8 ounces crushed gingersnap cookies (about 25 cookies)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
I have also used speculoos (Biscoff) cookies in place of the gingersnaps. Both are delicious choices!
For the cheesecake filling, you will need:
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup eggnog
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
You definitely want the cream cheese and eggs to be room temperature before you start mixing the filling. If you forget to set them out, learn how to soften cream cheese and how to bring eggs to room temperature.
Please use freshly ground nutmeg if you can! The flavor is so much better than the pre-ground stuff, and the whole nutmegs will last basically forever in your pantry.
Simply grate the whole nutmegs with a microplane when you need ground nutmeg. Easy peasy.
I suggest serving this eggnog cheesecake with eggnog whipped cream. For this, you will need:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
- ¼ cup eggnog, very cold
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
If you’ve never made whipped cream before, I have a whole post that walks you through how to make homemade whipped cream. Just remember, you want your cream and your eggnog to both be straight from the fridge and be super cold!
Making the cheesecake
Before you start assembling the cheesecake, prep your springform pan for baking the cheesecake in a water bath.
Tightly wrap the outside of the pan in heavy-duty foil to prevent leaks. If you still are nervous, you can skip the foil entirely by placing the 9-inch springform into a 10-inch cake pan and placing that into the roasting pan when filling the water bath.
To make the crust, stir together the crushed cookies, nutmeg, and butter until well combined. Press this mixture into the bottom and up the sides (about 1 inch) of the prepared springform pan.
Bake the crust for 8 minutes, then let it cool while you make the filling.
Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Add the sugar and mix well, then add the eggnog and mix until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one gets fully incorporated before adding the next. You will want to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl as needed throughout the process.
Finally, add the vanilla, flour, salt, and nutmeg and mix until smooth and well combined. Pour the filling into the crust.
Place the wrapped springform pan or springform pan and cake pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the springform.
Bake for 65-70 minutes; the eggnog cheesecake is done when the edges are set but the center still has a slight jiggle to it.
Now turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside. Crack the oven door and let the cheesecake to rest in the cooling oven for 1 hour.
After the hour has passed, take the cheesecake out of the water bath and set it on a wire rack to cool completely, then chill it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.
Making the eggnog whipped cream
When you’re ready to serve the eggnog cheesecake, place a metal bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. This will get them super cold before making the eggnog whipped cream.
Add all of the whipped cream ingredients to the cold bowl. Use the mixer to beat at low speed until combined, then gradually increase the speed to high. Mix on high until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks.
Alternately, if you prefer softer whipped cream, only mix the cream until it holds medium peaks.
Serve the eggnog cheesecake with the eggnog whipped cream. Garnish with gingersnap crumbs and some additional grated nutmeg.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Store your cheesecake covered (or in an airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
I typically leave the cheesecake in the springform pan until I am ready to cut and serve it. The pan protects the cheesecake and I can simply cover the top tightly with foil.
Just like with my caramel apple cheesecake, you can freeze eggnog cheesecake if you want to make it more than a couple days ahead of time.
If you’re freezing the cheesecake whole, place the cooled cheesecake on a cardboard round and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
Alternatively, you can freeze individual slices of cheesecake – slice and wrap each piece with plastic wrap.
Next, wrap the cheesecake or individual slices with foil.
Just to be extra safe, I often place the double-wrapped cheesecake in a freezer-safe zip-top bag, although that’s not totally necessary.
Freeze the cheesecake for up to 1 month for best flavor. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours or in the refrigerator overnight. Top with the eggnog whipped cream and enjoy!
Can I use homemade eggnog in this cheesecake?
You can use either store-bought or homemade eggnog in this recipe. I usually use store-bought eggnog, but if you happen to have some homemade eggnog on hand, feel free to use it!
Even homemade dairy-free eggnog will work in this recipe.
Can I use alcoholic eggnog in this recipe?
Because we have kids in our family, I use non-alcoholic eggnog in my eggnog cheesecake. But if you are going to an event or hosting a dinner with all adults, you can absolutely use spiked eggnog in the cheesecake and whipped cream.
Can I add rum to this eggnog cheesecake?
If you’re not using spiked eggnog but want the flavor of rum in either the cheesecake or the whipped cream, you can add spiced rum or rum extract instead.
For the cheesecake, add 1 ¼ teaspoons of rum extract or up to 2 tablespoons of spiced rum when you add the vanilla. For the whipped cream, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon rum extract or up to 2 tablespoons of spiced rum.
Again, just make sure you aren’t serving this to kids if you add spiced rum. Rum extract does not contain any rum, it simply mimics the flavor, so it is safe for kids to consume.
I don’t like gingersnaps. Is there another crust I can use instead?
If you don’t want a richly spiced crust, don’t worry. You can swap out the gingersnap crust for my classic graham cracker crust instead.
I still suggest adding the nutmeg to the crust, just to bring that nutmeg flavor into all parts of this eggnog cheesecake.
Can I make eggnog cheesecake without a mixer?
When making cheesecake, you want the filling to be super smooth, which is really difficult to do by hand.
But if you don’t have a mixer, my new favorite “hack” is to make my cheesecake fillings in the bowl of my food processor. You don’t even need to clean it out after using it to break down the gingersnap cookies for the crust if you don’t want to.
Help! My water baths always leak. What can I do to prevent this?
Here’s my favorite water bath hack to prevent leaks:
Place a 9-inch springform pan into a 10-inch regular cake pan. Both pans can now go into your roasting pan.
Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, outside of the 10-inch cake pan. You will get all of the benefits of baking with a water bath without the risk of leaks. Win!
Can I make eggnog cheesecake and the eggnog whipped cream ahead of time?
Yes! Since the eggnog cheesecake needs to chill for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator, you can make it up to 2 days in advance.
Simply leave the cheesecake in the springform pan and cover the top tightly with foil and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
If you want to make the whipped cream more than a couple hours ahead of time, I suggest using some unflavored gelatin to stabilize it, using the same process as in my whipped cream frosting.
How do you get such clean slices of your cheesecakes?
Grab a large kitchen knife. Run it under very hot water for a few seconds, then immediately wipe it dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
Now use the hot knife to slice into the eggnog cheesecake. Make sure to wipe the blade clean after each cut, and run it back under the hot water as often as necessary.
For the crust:
- 8 ounces gingersnap cookies crushed (about 25 cookies)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
For the cheesecake filling:
- 32 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup eggnog
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- pinch of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
For the eggnog whipped cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream very cold
- ¼ cup eggnog very cold
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Tightly wrap a 9 inch springform pan in heavy duty foil. This step prevents leaks when using a water bath. I also take the extra step by placing the foil wrapped spring form pan inside an oven bag while baking, but this is optional (see recipe notes below for more info on this process). Lightly spray the springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together crushed gingersnap cookies, nutmeg and melted butter until thoroughly combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan.
- Bake gingersnap crust in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and mix until combined. Add in the eggnog and mix until incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add in vanilla, flour, salt and nutmeg and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Pour batter into the prepared crust.
- Place the springform pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until it is halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake for 65-70 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have a slight jiggle to it. At this point, turn off the oven, but leave the door cracked and allow the cheesecake to rest in the cooling oven for one hour.
- After one hour has passed, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, place it into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
- Before serving, top with eggnog whipped cream, a light sprinkling of nutmeg and crushed gingersnap cookies.
To make the eggnog whipped cream:
- Place a metal bowl and the beaters of an electric hand mixer in the freezer for 10-20 minutes before making the whipped cream.
- Add the whipped cream ingredients to the cold bowl. Using the mixer, beat at low speed until well combined, then gradually increase the speed to high. Mix on high until the cream forms stiff peaks.