Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Cheesecake | Chocolate | Christmas

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

December 3rd, 2019
4.82 from 11 votes
4.82 from 11 votes

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake features a buttery Oreo cookie crust, an ultra rich a decadent chocolate peppermint filling, and is topped with fudgy ganache and crushed candy canes. It’s the perfect Christmas dessert for a crowd!

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

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I can’t get enough of chocolate + peppermint this time of year.

Add in Oreos and I’m absolutely in heaven. I don’t know what it is about the combination. Maybe it’s the way the peppermint cuts the sweetness of the Oreo and complements the chocolate so beautifully.

Chocolate cheesecake with Oreo crust, chocolate ganache topping, and crushed candy canes on top

Working with peppermint used to scare me. I’d always fear my desserts would just taste like mouthwash. But this recipe is everything right about holiday baking and entertaining. This Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake is the perfect dessert to make in advance of your holiday party or to bring to a potluck.

A slice being cut out of chocolate peppermint cheesecake

By the way, if you’re making my Peppermint Oreo Truffles for the December Baking Challenge, they would go great as an ultra decadent garnish on top of this cheesecake!

Just an idea 😉

Slice of chocolate peppermint cheesecake with a bite removed

How to Bake a Perfect Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate ganache being poured onto chocolate peppermint cheesecake

Cheesecake can be a little tricky to perfect, so I suggest reading this pink box over before you head into the kitchen.

What’s the best springform pan?

Springform pans, which have deep sides and a removable bottom, make easy work of removing the cheesecake from the pan and cutting beautiful slices.

I like this Nordic Ware 10-cup springform pan. Even if your pan claims to be “leak proof,” almost no pan is existence actually is. See my water bath tips below. Be sure to hand wash springform pans to preserve their nonstick surface and spring mechanism.

How to Make Oreo Crust

Step one, don’t remove the Oreo filling!!! A food processor makes quick and easy work of grinding the cookies into fine crumbs. The finer the crust is ground, the more solid it’ll be once you go to cut a slice.

How to Stop Cheesecake Cracks

Perfectly smooth cheesecake with zero cracks requires 3 steps. However, even if a crack forms it’s no big deal in this recipe since the cheesecake will be topped with thick chocolate ganache.

1. Avoid overbeating cheesecake filling!

Be sure to use high quality full-fat bricks of cream cheese. Some ‘generic’ brands are too watery.

The cream cheese should be completely softened to room temperature. If it’s too cold, it won’t mix thoroughly and you’ll end up with little bits and pockets of unblended cream cheese which is extra obvious in a chocolate cheesecake. Make sure your eggs are room temperature too!

One of the tricks to making perfectly smooth and creamy cheesecake is to blend the cream cheese and sugar to oblivion. After the eggs are added only beat until they’re incorporated. If you overbeat the batter once the eggs are added then you run the risk of causing all sorts of problems, like large cracks on the cheesecake surface.

2. No quick temperature changes!

Cheesecake is delicate and finicky. Quick temperature changes cause cracks. You want gentle and slow heat and then slow cooling.

That’s why in this recipe once the cheesecake is done baking we actually turn off the oven heat, crack open the oven door, and allow the cheesecake to slowly and gently cool for an 45 minutes inside the oven. That’s also why we bake the cheesecake in a water bath to ensure gently baking.

To prevent the cheesecake from cracking as it cools to room temperature out of the oven, run a thin knife around the edge of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Only after chilling in the fridge should you remove the springform ring.

3. Don’t overcook cheesecake!

Cheesecake is done baking BEFORE it looks done. The residual heat of the oven will continue to cook the cheesecake.

You can the center of the cheesecake to look slightly wobbly or jiggly like Jell-O when the baking time has ended. It should look dry on the surface.

How to Prepare a Cheesecake Water Bath

Make sure you have a baking pan that’s deep enough and wide enough for the springform pan to fit inside. A roasting pan is usually ideal, but I’ve even used an extra large cake pan or a large skillet. Get creative if you need to!

Two, make sure the springform pan is protected from the water. You don’t want any water to seep through the cracks of the pan and make a mushy crust.

To seal off the pan, place a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. You want the heavy duty stuff that creates bigger sheets of foil to completely encompass the base of the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there’s three sheets of foil to ensure a waterproof seal. Gently fold the top of the foil around the edge of the pan. I’ve even used duct tape to seal the foil to prevent water from leaking through.

Reader Holly shared a wonderful tip for keeping the water out, “I use a turkey roasting bag, then put a layer of foil around the bottom and sides of the pan to hold it in place. I don’t close the bag over the top. Keeps the water out and the crust dry.”

How to Serve Cheesecake

This part requires the most patience! You must let it chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before you even think of slicing and serving it! I usually like to let it chill overnight, just to make sure it’s completely set and I’m able to cut clean pretty slices.

Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. You can leave it on the removable bottom or move it to a serving platter.

If time permits, let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving for best taste and texture. Use a fairly big sharp knife like this one to cut slices. Run the knife under hot water and wipe off the blade between each slice so they’re clean and pretty. Then slide a metal server underneath the crust to ensure it doesn’t crumble.

How to Store Cheesecake

Store the cheesecake in the fridge for up to 5 days after you top it with the ganache.

You can also freeze the cheesecake (without the ganache and candy canes). You can place the whole cheesecake or individual slices on a baking sheet inside the freezer until firm. Wrap the cheesecake or each individual slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.

To serve, defrost a whole cheesecake in the fridge overnight. You can also defrost individual slices in the fridge overnight, or at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Tall and creamy slice of Christmas Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

More Cheesecake Recipes

More Christmas Dessert Recipes

4.82 from 11 votes

How to make
Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chilling time 4 hours 45 minutes
Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake features a buttery Oreo cookie crust, an ultra rich a decadent chocolate peppermint filling, and is topped with fudgy ganache and crushed candy canes. It’s the perfect Christmas dessert for a crowd!


For the crust:

  • 24 (278 grams) Oreo cookies
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 24 ounces (680 grams) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the topping:

  • 1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Crushed candy canes


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan for a water bath. Place a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there’s three sheets of foil to ensure a waterproof seal. Gently fold the top of the foil around the edge of the pan. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the crust:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, process the cookies until you have 1 cup finely ground crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool slightly and maintain oven temperature while making the filling.

Make the filling:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chopped chocolate in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted and smooth. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth and free of lumps, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the sugar, cream, and cocoa powder and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all cream cheese is being incorporated. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating just until smooth. Gradually beat in the peppermint extract and melted chocolate until just combined. Be careful not to overbeat.
  3. Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Tap the pan against the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the top looks slightly dry but the middle is still wobbly like Jell-O. Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking.
  4. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door open and allow to cool for 45 minutes. This will prevent cracks.
  5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
  6. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate.

Make the topping:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes before stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. If needed, allow to cool and thicken. Pour over the cheesecake.
  2. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Serve or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Video

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id="G6rAzVen" upload-date="2021-01-04T23:45:29.000Z" name="How to Make A Water Bath for Cheesecake" description="Here's how to make a water bath for baking cheesecake! This is the number one key to perfectly smooth, luscious, and creamy cheesecake that bakes evenly and without cracks." player-type="default" override-embed="default"]
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : christmas
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Beth Sklar — January 1, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    I just made this cheesecake and it was delicious! I used someone’s suggestion of crushed peppermint bark instead of candy canes and it was perfect. The only thing I think I goofed on was that I melted the chocolate for the topping in the microphone (oops, I guess I didn’t read the directions through on that) and then added the heated cream to it and stirred it in. What happened is when I put it on the cake, it looked like it separated a bit and there was an beigey look to the edges of the glaze. Did I overheat the cream, or did heating the chocolate first cause it to look “separated”?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — January 4, 2023 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Beth! I’m so glad you enjoyed this cheesecake! It sounds like you probably overheated the cream and/or burned the chocolate. Unfortunately when cream gets too hot, several things can happen and you end up with a lumpy, dull and/or separated ganache. Burned chocolate will discolor or separate and have small burned bits through it. Carefully just bringing the cream to a simmer, then immediately removing from the heat and pouring over the intact chocolate, so it gently and evenly melts, should prevent this from happening next time!

  2. #
    Joanna Bernardino — December 24, 2022 at 9:37 am

    I can’t find any peppermint extract at any of my local grocery stores 🙁 is there any other extract that will work for this recipe??

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — January 3, 2023 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Joanna! Any other flavor you like paired with chocolate will work just fine – or add vanilla instead and skip the additional flavor 🙂

  3. #
    Desiree — December 23, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    I will be making this tomorrow for Christmas and This will be my first time attempting to make a cheesecake and I’m so nervous.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — January 3, 2023 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Desiree! Aw, I’m sorry you were nervous! How did it go!? I’m sure it was delicious!

  4. #
    Susan — December 22, 2022 at 8:47 am

    I made this and it turned out great! I used slow cooker lining bags. I double bagged it and didn’t use the aluminum foil.

  5. #
    Tracie Rosser — December 21, 2022 at 12:40 pm

    Someone offered to pay me to make 3 of these after they tasted mine!! Absolutely delicious!! The water bath definitely did the trick. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — December 21, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      Yay! That’s amazing, Tracie! So glad this recipe and method was such a hit for you 🙂

  6. #
    Alexis — December 14, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    Could you replace the candy canes with peppermint bark bits?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — December 15, 2022 at 8:45 am

      Hi Alexis! Yes, you could definitely swap out the crushed candy cane decoration for chopped peppermint bark. Let us know what you think once you have given this cheesecake a try 🙂

  7. #
    Ericka — November 30, 2022 at 9:13 am

    This sounds yummy!! But… I don’t have a spring form pan and sadly there just aren’t enough people in my family for a whole cheese cake. Could a cut this recipe in half and bake it in a 9inch pie??

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 30, 2022 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Ericka! We haven’t tried cutting this recipe in half, so I can’t say for sure – but this recipe is written for a 9-inch springform, so you would need a smaller pan than a 9-inch pie pan if you were to attempt this. I would alternatively recommend making the whole cheesecake in the correct pan, and simply freezing any leftovers! Cheesecake freezes beautifully, and you can even freeze individually-wrapped slices, so you can enjoy single-serve desserts for the next two months! Tessa talks about how to do this, and many many more tips, in the Tip Box above the recipe 🙂

  8. #
    Lucinda — December 24, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    Came out perfect! Whole family loved it! Only two slices left.

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

      Hooray! Thrilled to hear that 🙂

  9. #
    Julie — December 5, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    Delicious! The amount of peppermint is just right. Does not overpower at all. I will definitely be making this again!

    • #
      Emily — December 7, 2021 at 9:50 am

      So glad you enjoyed this cheesecake, Julie 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  10. #
    Julie — December 4, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Have you tried freezing this cheesecake? Wondering how it turns out.

    • #
      Emily — December 7, 2021 at 9:51 am

      Yup! Check out the pink tip box above the recipe for more details 🙂

  11. #
    Siri Zwemke — February 17, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    OMG OMG OMG. I am a hobby baker making multiple things every week to give away, but this is one of the most delicious things I think I have ever made. So yummy. First time using a cheesecake bath. Worked like a charm (be sure your springform pan is in great condition with a tight seal). SO SO good.

    • #
      Tessa — February 18, 2021 at 12:18 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this cheesecake recipe!

  12. #
    Lauren — February 5, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    This is truly the most decadent cheesecake ever!! It is so deliciously rich and such a crowd pleaser!! The combination of peppermint and chocolate is one of my all time favorites, and it is so well represented in this dessert. I made this for a gathering, and there wasn’t a crumb left! Seriously, these are the greatest, and using the water bath makes all the difference.

    • #
      Tessa — February 8, 2021 at 1:49 pm

      So glad you tried this cheesecake out!

  13. #
    Narnia — December 27, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    The instructions were perfect! I don’t have a roasting pan, so I did the water bath in a large skillet. In reference to my previous question, I put the ganache on after the cheesecake cooled to room temperature. I didn’t put the candy cane pieces until it had set overnight and was out of the fridge. This was my first time baking a “real” cheesecake and it turned out amazing! No cracking and tasted delicious!

  14. #
    Narnia — December 26, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Do you wait until the cheesecake has been refrigerated for the 4 hours before adding the ganache? Or go ahead and do it, then chill?

  15. #
    Melissa — December 24, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Oh man… I messed up… was trying to half the recipe and then added full amount of cream. I haven’t added eggs yet. Any ideas how to salvage it?

  16. #
    Katrina — December 24, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Letting the melted chocolate cool while getting everything else mixed and ready made for hardening chocolate(I did stir it before mixing it in, it was stiffening up). Mixing it in with the cheesecake mix it went straight to the bottom of my mixer bowl and hardened up. Did the best I could to ‘fix’ it. Hope it turns out ok. For clarification should the melted chocolate be added in cooled or still warm so it actually mixes?

  17. #
    Lee — December 18, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Can you used Peppermint Schnapps instead of extract? Just asking because I have that on hand and I am curious how it would compare to extract.

  18. #
    Narnia — December 18, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Have you ever used mint Oreos?

    • #
      Tessa — December 18, 2020 at 11:11 am

      I haven’t, but I’m sure that would be tasty! Just be prepared for a strong peppermint flavor 🙂

  19. #
    Erin — December 25, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    I made this for a family Christmas dinner, and it was delicious! I used Hershey’s dark cocoa, which made for a richer chocolate color and flavor, Belgian semi-sweet chunks vs chopped/morsels, and I chopped candy cane Hershey kisses to sprinkle on top (vs candy canes-Andes mints would be tasty here too). My springform pan leaked, despite the foil cover, but it really only made the crust a little soggy. Still delicious! The texture and flavor to us was more like chocolate mousse pie, which was perfectly fine with us 🙂

  20. #
    gabby — December 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Making this for christmas!! Is a water bath necessary? I have a spring pan. Using mint oreos because who doesn’t love mint?

    • #
      Tessa — December 22, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      This recipe was developed with a water bath to prevent cracks from forming. If you can’t be bothered, you can add a pan of water to the oven to add some steam but it won’t be 100% the same. You’ll also have to reduce the baking time if you don’t use a water bath.

  21. #
    Lynn Meadows — December 6, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    First off, I love your website Tessa! Second, this recipe is da bomb .com!!! =)

    I love chocolate and this hit my sweet craving at all levels. Thank you so much for everything that you do and sharing these amazing recipes.

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