Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Me. Wait, should I admit that? Here I am on Tiny Kitchen Big Taste showing you how to make the Best Homemade Cheesecake in an Instant Pot and I don’t even like it?!? What’s the deal?
Here is the deal. As I often talk about in my blogs, I used to be a very picky eater. You might remember my “protest” (ahem, photoshopped “protest”) against the Avocado.
For most of my life, in all honesty, I did not like avocados. And today—literally just a couple of hours ago—I was at the grocery store buying a couple of avocados to make guacamole. I love Avocados and can’t get enough of them now.
But there was a time that I “didn’t.” I put didn’t in quotes because I had never even given them a chance. I just didn’t like them because I didn’t like them. And the longer it went on, the more ingrained I was in that position, despite never really trying them or giving them a chance.
I think that where I’m at with Cheesecake. I have had it at restaurants. I tasted it, I liked it, but refused to eat it. I had it on an airplane once. I tasted it, I liked it, but refused to eat it. My mom has made our family recipe which has been swooned over by many. I tasted it, I liked it, but I refused to eat it.
OH, THE INSANITY! THIS MUST STOP!
From this day forward, I am going to start giving foods I don’t like a shot. That means, every once in a while, trying things that are just not my thing…in hopes that they might become my thing. I can think of three right off the top of my head. Raw tomatoes, Salmon and sour cream. (Don’t Judge)
Enough about me, let’s make a cheesecake!
Three Steps for Making a Cheesecake
Cheesecake is not that hard to make. Not at all. There are just little nuances to the recipe that could change the end result, so it is good to be aware of those before you start.
Making a cheesecake, itself, is pretty straightforward:
- You make the crust
- You make the batter
- You put ‘em together and bake.
Sounds easy enough, right? So what do we need to look out for?
A few things come to mind:
Make Sure All Your Cheesecake Ingredients Are at Room TemperatureThe first thing you have do is easy! Take out all your ingredients and let them come up to room temperature. This is a hugely important step. I cannot overstate it.
If you think 30 minutes will do the trick for a block of cream cheese, think again. [Learn from my mistakes.] You really want all the ingredients completely up to room temperature, so give it a couple of hours just to make sure.
What Is a Cheesecake Pan?
You know a cake is special when it has its own pan. And the Cheesecake has its own cheesecake pan. You might be familiar with what is known as a Springform pan. It’s got a little clasp on the side that opens so that the bottom of the pan falls out. This allows you to remove the cheesecake easily. I mean, think about trying to remove a whole cake from a cake pan. Usually, you flip it over. You can’t with a cheesecake. Thus, the Springform pan.
Two Kinds of Cheesecake Pans
There is another type of pan that you can use too. That’s what I am using today. It looks like a regular pan (no clasp) except that the whole bottom of the pan is removable. Thus, you can push the cake out from the bottom with missing a beat.
This second type of pan works best for an Instant Pot Cheesecake. The clasp on the Springform pan gives the pan a bigger footprint, which doesn’t work as well in an Instant Pot, where real estate is at a premium. Plus, the second type of pan has a handle on it, so you can easily place the cheesecake in the Instant Pot and remove it just the same.
Make it Non-stick
One important thing to keep in mind about both is that you still want to make sure that the cake doesn’t stick to either pan. So, I like to put non-stick aluminum foil on the bottom of the pan. Until recently, we would always use parchment paper. Since I discovered non-stick aluminum foil about a year ago, my world has changed. (I am actually serious about that…this stuff is amazing!!!) The non-stick aluminum foil will let the cake slide right off the pan.
You’ll also want to spray the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Making the Cheesecake Crust
I think the graham cracker crust is what makes me want to love cheesecake. Graham crackers and butter. Yum.
As for the graham crackers, they usually have a plain (or honey) variety and a cinnamon variety at the store. Either one will work just fine. If you use the cinnamon variety, just leave out the additional cinnamon if you like. You don’t have to because a little extra cinnamon won’t overwhelm the taste, but I mention it just in case that’s a concern to you.
I always prefer getting the honey variety and adding my own cinnamon. It allows me to keep it consistent and that’s important to me. That’s just a personal preference.
Bake or Freeze?
Some people like to bake their crust first. Some people freeze theirs. It is just a matter of personal preference. I think it is a little bit easier to freeze it, but again, that’s just my preference. It saves a little time because you don’t have to wait for the crust to cool before adding the batter…and in the Tiny Kitchen, I am all about saving time when it doesn’t adversely impact the finished product.
Plus, since we’re making this Cheesecake in an Instant Pot, freezing it works great. You really just want to make sure that the crust is firm so that little crumbs of crust don’t mix in with the cake batter. You want a cheesecake with two distinct layers.
Making the Cheesecake Batter
So your ingredients are all at room temperature, right? Great! From here, you know how to put ingredients together to make a cake. You got this!
So what do you need to keep in mind? Slow and steppy! That’s right, slow and steppy.
Slow and Steppy!
What do I mean by slow and steppy?
First, slow. You want to make sure that your hand mixer is on low (or medium-low, if necessary). You don’t want to overwork the batter and fill it with air bubbles. You want the cheesecake to be smooth and creamy so take a little time at this point to make sure the finished cake is.
Second, steppy! I know it’s not a word…but you won’t forget it. 😉 What I mean by steppy is that you want to add the ingredients in steps, a little at a time. After the addition of an ingredient, mix it just enough to where it is incorporated into the batter and move on to the next step/ingredient, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula occasionally.
That’s it, slow and steppy.
After you pour the batter into the cheesecake pan, just lightly tap it a few times on the counter to help encourage any air bubbles to come to the top.
Baking a Cheesecake
This is where the Instant Pot shines and distinguishes itself from the usual baking technique.
The key to cheesecake, generally, is to cook it slowly. To do so, ordinarily, you will bake it in a water bath to provide some insulation to the cake and allow it to bake consistently slow. The problem with water baths is that they are messy and you really have to wrap the pan properly so that water doesn’t find its way into the crust. Then you bake it for upwards of an hour.
That’s why I love the Instant Pot for cheesecake.
First, no messy water bath. You’ll pour a little water in the Instant Pot and throw in the trivet, which helps to elevate the cake and keeping it from touching the water…so you don’t have to wrap your pan.
Second, it bakes in about half the time…kind of.
The only thing to watch out for is condensation under the lip when you remove the top of the Instant Pot after pressure cooking it. Open it VERY SLOWLY, trying not to disturb any of the little water droplets under the lid that can drip onto your cake. And if one does, no biggie. Just grab a paper towel and carefully blot it.
No Cracks in the Cheesecake
The cornstarch we added to the cheesecake helps to keep the cheesecake from cracking. Still, though, sometimes, the cake can be a little rebellious. Still, though, we can try.
The other thing that will help to keep the cheesecake from cracking is to let it cool slowly. That means, when cooking in an Instant Pot, you want to let the pressure in the Instant Pot come down naturally. It will take about 10-15 minutes. Do not press the instant release button.
Also, when you take the cake out of the Instant Pot, let the cheesecake cool on the counter for a while to slowly get it to room temperature before popping it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to chill. Slow and steppy! That goes for cooling too!
Top it Perfectly
This is where my family’s recipe really stands out. A little sweet, a little tangy, this sour cream topping not only tastes yummy, but also it helps to hide any of the imperfections on the top of the cake. Who doesn’t love that!So you think you’re ready to tackle a cheesecake in your Instant Pot? It really is an easy recipe. Like I said, you got this! Just remember slow and steppy and you’ll be set and happy!
And, for the record, I tried this Cheesecake, I liked it…and I did eat it!
Instant Pot Cheesecake
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
***Before starting, take out Cream Cheese, Eggs, Sour Cream so they can come up to room temperature.***
Make the Crust
- Place Graham Crackers in Gallon size Ziploc Bag and crush into very fine consistency (Note: You can use a food processor if you have one). Place crumbs into a Large Mixing Bowl
- Add melted Butter, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon and mix until it all comes together. (Note: it should stick together then pressed.)
- Line the bottom of the Cheesecake Pan with Non-stick Aluminum Foil and secure in Cheesecake Pan.
- Place Crumb Mixture into Cheesecake Pan and press down to pack crumbs on the bottom.
- Pop into the Freezer for about 15 minutes.
Make the Batter
- Place room temperature Cream Cheese and Cornstarch into a Large Mixing Bowl.
- Mix with the Hand Mixer on low/medium-low speed until mixed and smooth.
- Add Vanilla and 1/2 of the Sugar. Mix until combined.
- Add remaining Sugar and continue mixing. (Note: it is good to scrape down the sides occasionally with the Silicone Spatula.)
- Add one Egg and mix. Add second Egg and mix until combined.
- Last, add Sour Cream and mix until all combined and smooth.
Make the Cake
- Take the Cheesecake Pan out of the freezer and spray the sides of the pan with Non-stick Cooking Spray.
- Add Batter over the Graham Cracker crust.
- Tap the pan several time to help eliminate air bubbles.
- Add 1 cup Water to your Instant Pot and place metal trivet at the bottom (Note: you will set the Cheesecake Pan on the trivet so it doesn’t touch the water)
- Turn Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook High.” Turn off “Keep Warm.” Press “Start.” For a 6 inch Cheesecake, set timer to 30-35, depending on preference. (Note: the longer you cook it the denser the finished cake will be)
- When the Water starts to boil, place the Cheesecake into the Instant Pot. Place lid on machine and lock into place. Let it cook.
- When finished, let the pressure come down naturally (about 10-15 minutes). (Note: DO NOT press the quick release button.) Take lid off very carefully so the condensation on the top doesn’t drop onto the cake. Let cake sit to cool to room temperature and then place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to completely chill.
Make the Topping
- In a Mixing Bowl, add 1/2 cup Sour Cream, Powdered Sugar and Vanilla Extract. Mix until thoroughly combined. Top cake. (Note: you can make this in advance and just store it in the freezer.)