This is guaranteed to be the BEST Gluten-Free Cheesecake recipe you’ll ever try! The texture is smooth, rich, and creamy, and served over an easy, gluten-free walnut brown sugar crust. 

Looking for incredible gluten-free cheesecake? You’ve found it! This post includes step-by-step instructions and detailed tips so you can make perfect gluten-free cheesecake every time!

shot of cheesecake on white plate topped with cherries

This vanilla bean gluten-free cheesecake is a long-time family favorite! My mom would make this exact recipe over the holidays every year, even before any of our family members starting eating gluten-free.

This recipe originally comes from a family friend who was known for her delicious southern recipes. It has a naturally gluten-free crust as well as a rich layer of cheesecake and sour cream topping.

The gluten-free cheesecake is flavored with a real vanilla bean as well as almond and vanilla extracts. It’s rich, decadent and total cheesecake perfection!

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For more perfected gluten-free baked goods try this gluten-free no-bake cheesecake, gluten-free cupcakes, gluten-free key lime pie and gluten-free angel food cake!

Why You’ll Love this Gluten-Free Cheesecake

  • Easy to make
  • Naturally gluten-free
  • Rich and decadent
  • Smooth and creamy cheesecake filling

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Walnuts: When combined with brown sugar and butter, walnuts make a perfect cheesecake crust that’s naturally gluten-free!
  • Sour cream: Sour cream has a great tang that’s a delicious compliment to the gluten-free cheesecake filling.
  • Cream cheese: Full-fat cream cheese is best for this recipe. It’s rich and decadent, making a delicious creamy filling!
  • Vanilla bean: Real vanilla bean adds depth of flavor that goes well beyond vanilla extract! You could also use vanilla bean extract for similar results.
  • Vanilla extract and almond extract: These two extracts add another layer of rich flavor that make this cheesecake extra special!

Can I Use a Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust?

Yes, of course! I love the naturally gluten-free walnut crust in this recipe, but if you’re a fan of graham cracker crust, you can use the crust recipe from this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake or this gluten-free graham cracker crust.

This recipe uses a combination of gluten-free cookies and nuts to make a tasty crust. Or you can buy gluten-free graham crackers and use graham cracker crumbs in your favorite cheesecake crust recipe.

How to Make Gluten-Free Cheesecake

how to make gluten-free cheesecake crust
  1. Start by adding the nuts, brown sugar and melted butter to a food processor.
  2. Process the mixture until it resembles sand. You don’t want big pieces of nuts.
  3. Press the cheesecake crust into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and set aside for later.
how to make gluten-free cheesecake filling

5. Make the filling! Add the cream cheese and sugar to a mixing bowl. Mix to combine then add the eggs one at a time.

6. Cut a vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds.

7. With the mixer running on low, add the vanilla bean, extract and almond extract and heavy cream to the cream cheese mixture.

8. Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust in the bottom of the spring form pan, then bake the gluten-free cheesecake.

Tip: Be sure all the ingredients are at room temperature so the gluten-free cheesecake filling mixes up nice and smooth. 

shot of cheesecake on white plate

How to Prevent Gluten-Free Cheesecake from Cracking

  • Gently beat the eggs. The first trick to preventing gluten-free cheesecake from cracking is to be sure not to over-beat the eggs. Add them one at a time with the mix running on medium speed.
  • Keep the oven door shut. Sudden drops in temperature can cause cheesecake to crack! Be sure to leave the oven door shut the whole time during baking.
  • Cut around the crust. Once the cheesecake comes out of the oven let it cool for 10 minutes. Then cut around the crust to release it from the edges of the pan. This will allow the cheesecake to contract as it cools without cracking.
  • Let cool completely on the counter before transferring to the fridge. To avoid sudden temperature changes, let the cheesecake cool for 2 hours or so at room temperature before transferring to the fridge.

Do I Need a Water Bath?

If you follow these tips there’s no need for a water bath! A water bath helps the cheesecake to cool evenly and prevents cracking. However, with these tricks and cooking the cheesecake at a lower temperature for a longer time (like the recipe states!) there’s no need for a water bath.

shot of gluten-free cheesecake with bit on fork

Topping Ideas for Gluten-Free Cheesecake

This baked cheesecake is simple and classic, so it’s perfect for any of your favorite toppings! Here are a few of my favorites for the top of the cheesecake:

  • Cherry pie filling
  • Blueberry sauce
  • Fresh berries
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Caramel sauce
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Cookie crumbs

Storage Instructions

Allow the gf cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then wrap the entire cheesecake in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least four hours before eating (overnight is best!). Then, store gluten-free cheesecake in the fridge for up to 5 days.

FAQs

Are any cheesecakes gluten-free?

Everything about most traditional cheesecake is usually naturally gluten-free, except the crust. Most often cheesecake has a graham cracker crust. This gluten-free cheesecake recipe uses a mixture of walnuts, brown sugar and butter to make an easy, naturally gluten-free crust. 

Can people with Celiac’s disease eat cheesecake?

Yes, people with Celiac’s disease can eat cheesecake, as long as it has a gluten-free crust. Though most cheesecake crust is not gluten-free, this recipe achieves a delicious gluten-free crust using a mixture of walnuts, brown sugar, and butter.

Is store-bought cheesecake gluten-free?

No, most store-bought cheesecake is not gluten-free, since the crust is typically made with graham crackers that contain gluten. Always read the ingredient list before purchasing, or make a homemade cheesecake like this one instead!

Are graham crackers gluten-free?

No, most graham crackers are not gluten-free, since they are made with gluten-containing wheat flour. However, you can buy graham crackers that are certified gluten-free from brands like Nairn’s or Pamela’s.

Is Sara Lee cheesecake gluten-free?

No, Sara Lee cheesecake is not gluten-free, including the original, Smooth & Creamy, and Cherry flavors.

Expert Tips and Tricks for Gluten-Free Cheesecake

  • For best results, be sure to use room temperature ingredients before mixing the cheesecake together.
  • Don’t overmix filling – use low or medium speed as instructed in the recipe.
  • Bake the cheesecake in a 10-inch springform pan.
  • No peeking! Keep the oven closed while the cheesecake bakes.
  • Cook until the cheesecake is set but still jiggly in the middle.
  • After the cheesecake has been out of the oven for 10 minutes, cut around the edges of the pan so it can release as it cools.
  • Cool the gluten free cheesecake completely at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. It’s even better the second day!

More Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try this gluten-free cheesecake, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

close up shot of cheesecake with cherries on white plate with fork
5 from 16 votes

Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Servings 16
The BEST Gluten-Free Cheesecake you'll ever try! The texture is smooth, rich, and creamy, and served over an easy, gluten-free walnut brown sugar crust.

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted

For the Sour Cream Topping:

  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Cheesecake:

  • 32 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean cut down the center and the seeds scraped out
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions 

Make the Crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  • Add the nuts, brown sugar and butter to a food processor. Process the mixture until it resembles sand.  Mix together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and set aside for later. 
  • Press the cheesecake crust into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

Prepare the Sour Cream Topping:

  • Mix together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Set aside while the cheesecake bakes to be sure it is at room temperature when you need it.

Make the Filling:

  • Add the cream cheese and sugar to a mixing bowl. Mix on medium-high speed until totally smooth and combined.
  • With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix briefly again.
  • Cut the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise and cut scrape out the seeds. Discard the pod. Add the vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract and almond extract. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Scrape down the sides and bottom once more to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
  • Pour the filling over the crust. Bake for 65-70 minutes until set, but the center jiggles just slightly in the middle.
  • Pour the sour cream topping over top the cheesecake and spread to combine. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes cut along the sides of the pan so the edges can release as it cools.
  • Let the cheesecake cool completely at room temperature for about 2 hours. Then transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Serve chilled with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Notes

Tips for Gluten-Free Cheesecake that turns out perfect every time:
  • Be sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before mixing the cheesecake together. 
  • Don’t overmix filling – use low or medium speed as instructed in the recipe. 
  • Bake the cheesecake in a 10-inch springform pan
  • No peeking! Keep the oven closed while the cheesecake bakes. 
  • After the cheesecake has been out of the oven for 10 minutes, cut around the edges of the pan so it can release as it cools. 
  • Cool the cheesecake completely before transferring to the refrigerator. 
  • Refrigerate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. It’s even better the second day!

Nutrition

Calories: 453.54kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.14g | Protein: 5.8g | Fat: 37.09g | Saturated Fat: 17.93g | Cholesterol: 92.94mg | Sodium: 227.69mg | Potassium: 176.74mg | Fiber: 0.73g | Sugar: 25.08g | Vitamin A: 1113.02IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 105.82mg | Iron: 0.61mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

    1. Yes you can freeze this cheesecake! Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month!

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