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Turtle Cheesecake

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This rich vanilla cheesecake is topped with a thick layer of soft caramel, smooth chocolate and pecans–YUM!



  • 9 oz. chocolate wafer cookies (I use animal crackers)
  • 1/4 c. margarine (melted)
  • 2 (8oz.) packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/2c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. white chocolate chips (melted)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. margarine (melted)
  • 3 tsp. vanilla

Caramel Topping:

  • 32 Kraft caramels (unwrapped)
  • 1/2c. margarine
  • 1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/4c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • About 15 pecan halves.


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Crush cookies into fine crumbs and add melted margarine.  Combine well and press into the bottom of a 9-Inch Springform Pan
  • Beat softened cream cheese with sugar until smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating in between each one.
  • Add remaining cheesecake ingredients, beating until smooth.
  • Pour into crust and allow to sit at room temp for 30 minutes.
  • Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 60 minutes,
  • Turn off oven, open oven door a little and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and run knife around edge of pan.  Remove edge of pan. 
  • Allow to come to room temperature (make toppings during this time)
  • CARAMEL: Put caramels, condensed milk and margarine into a saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth (6-8 minutes)
  • CHOCOLATE:  Put whipping cream into saucepan and heat just until bubbling at edges.  Turn heat off, add chocolate chips, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, stir until smooth.
  • Pour caramel over top of cheesecake, smoothing to edges
  • Refrigerate about 10 minutes.
  • Pour chocolate over caramel and smooth into a center circle.  
  • Place pecan halves around edges and drizzle with any extra caramel you have (if desired)
  • REFRIGERATE cheesecake overnight before serving for best consistency. Remove bottom part of pan when cake is chilled.

My thoughts:

I made this for my friends Spencer and Rachel this weekend.  They are having a party to celebrate their baby’s 1st birthday!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASILINN!!!!!  

I haven’t made a cheesecake in awhile and I’ve missed it!  This cheesecake recipe is my staple recipe– the toppings and crust may vary, but the cheesecake recipe stays the same– I haven’t found another that I like better…  The caramel on this is THICK (you may want to half the recipe for it if you aren’t a huge caramel fan like I am).  This might seem like it’s a difficult recipe because of all the steps, but it really isn’t hard– start early in the evening though because its a process!  Hope you get a chance to try this!  ENJOY!   -r


About Ruthanne

Ruthanne is a scientist with a passion for baking and food photography. Using her kitchen as a lab, she loves experimenting with a variety of flavors and ingredients to create unique, fun and ultimately tasty delights! Thus she created EasyBaked, a website where sugar and chocolate overflow in fun and easy recipes. Her Motto: Money can’t buy happiness -- but it can buy marshmallows, and that’s nearly the same thing!

59 responses »

  1. This is just beyond words! Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Wow! This looks fantastic! Thanks for posting!

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  5. I will def be making this!!! I do have one question however, any particular reason you are using margarine and not real butter?

    • Well, in this recipe the reason is because the caramel topping is stolen from another one of my recipes- Caramel Chip Bars and it requires margarine to work best (its a little runny with butter). Rather than have both butter and margarine on the ingredient list for this recipe I just made everything with margarine. I hope you really enjoy it! Cheesecakes are time consuming but SO worth it! 🙂

  6. I bought all the ingredients to make this on Friday night for our friends daughters First Communion on Saturday. I am very excited. I hope mine turns out as well as yours. :0)
    Thanks for sharing

  7. This was absolutely amazing!!! I could go on and on!

  8. I made this for my husband’s birthday yesterday. I did use butter instead of margarine, even for the caramel topping. It turned out WONDERFULLY! It was just beautiful, and was a total success with everyone who had some, including of course the birthday boy! People told me it was the best cheesecake they had ever had! I have never made a cheesecake before, and honestly am not much of a baker either – what a simple, delicious, easy-to-follow recipe! Thank you for sharing this! I just wanted to put this out there for anyone who is thinking of trying this recipe – go for it! It is delicious and easy to make! It does take a while though. Set aside an afternoon and you’re good to go! Thank you again for this great recipe!!!!

    • Thank you so much for your comment- I’m so glad this recipe turned out so well for you and that it helped you wish your husband happy birthday! 🙂

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  10. Can’t wait to try this……….looks delicious

  11. This is by far the BEST cheesecake I have ever had. I found your recipe on Pinterest and made it the night before Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving day. Although I was up until midnight because I didn’t give myself enough time to work on it, it was well worth it. Everyone raved about it! Thanks

    • Thank you so much- it makes my day when someone loves a recipe so much…it does take some time to make this cheesecake- not hands-on time, but baking and sitting and cooling…but its worth the wait…..I LOVE your blog- love it! Your kids are adorable and that logo….(!) love it.

  12. This recipe looks so delicious,I had one question it states press cookie crumbs in the bottom of the pan but in the picture it looks like the crumbs cover the sides of the cheesecake also

    • Thanks- that’s actually just the browned sides on the cheesecake itself. You can certainly add some butter and cookies extra and put them up the sides. I usually don’t…too much work ;). Good luck!!

  13. Fabulus, I made individuals portions…miammm 😉

  14. What kind of animal crackers did you use? Would Oreo cookies work for the crust as well

  15. I’m just going to use the Richardson’s Caramel Sauce for ice cream toppings! 🙂 Do you think it would work out the same?

    • I’m sure it will work just fine. It will probably be more runny than the caramel sauce I make, but that just means a little gooey and messy when cutting…gooey and messy is never a problem with desserts in my opinion!! 😉 have fun!

      • May I add… ive made this probably 5 times since this post and it litterly is the best cheesecakes ive ever made. People freak out about how yummy it is. Thank you thank you!! Also, the 3 tsp of vanilla can be changed to 1 tbsp because that’s equivilant to 3 tsp 😉 thanks a bunch!

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  19. Had problems of it wanting to sag outward when I removed the edge before it was chilled… otherwise its was very yummy, just not as perfectly shaped as my cheesecakes normally are. Next time I’ll just leave sides on and chill before adding any toppings.. thanks for the yumminess!

  20. I just finished making this cheesecake for the second time! This recipe is amazing! Everyone who has it, says its one of the best and richest cheesecakes they have tasted!!! This is a WIN!

    • Thank you! It’s hard to go wrong with caramel and chocolate- lol! I’m so glad you are enjoying this recipe! Thanks for stopping by to tell me- you made me smile this morning 🙂

  21. Easy to follow recipe! And it looks delish! Just wondering what the consistency is supposed to be like. I find that mine is very soft, almost mousse like, not firm like I’m used to.

  22. I made this for a church potluck and it was gone before the last person finished getting their food! Everyone raved about it and now I have been committed to bring this everytime!! lol I had 3 other dishes to make besides this, and though a little time consuming, was the easiest dish I made! I did have to leave it in for an additional 15 minutes because the center was still runny, but it turned out great and I am looking for an excuse to make another one! Thanks for sharing!

  23. Can I substitute fat free half and half for the heavy whipping cream? Or is there another healthier option?

    • Hi! I actually think that whole cream is probably “healthier” than a lot of alternatives. Low calorie? Nope. My recommendation here is to just make the cheesecake as is and only have a small piece. Or you could look elsewhere for a low cal cheesecake and just use the toppings from here- or use fresh fruit to top it..? Lots of options :). Hope you find one that works for you!!

  24. I made this over the weekend and it was well received. I loved the caramel sauce and will probably be making it again. Love trying new recipes and loving yours.

  25. How much is 9 Oz of cookies in cups?

    • Oh, about 2 1/2 or 3 cups crushed. It doesn’t have to be exact. My cookies come in 9 oz. bags, but next time I make this I will have to measure them out for you! 🙂

  26. I am having company for Labor Day and need to make ahead. Can you freeze the finished cheesecake or would it be better to freeze the cheesecake and add toppings after thawing? Looks wonderful!

  27. Can this be made with three packages of cream cheese rather than just two? Would I have to adjust all the other ingredients?

    • All I can say is try it? You might have to adjust the other ingredients? But maybe it would work ok? Do you have a specific reason for wanting more cream cheese added?

      • I’ll try the recipe as written…. It looks and sounds WONDERFUL!
        I’ve made many cheesecakes, but never one with less than three packages of cream cheese… Lol… And my husband is a big fan of the actual cream cheese:) so that was my main reason for asking:) so, I think I’ll try it as written first and then if he wants more cream cheese, I’ll give that a try as well:)
        Thanks so much for sharing! I LOVE trying new cheesecake recipes! Happy to have found you:)

  28. Is it best to not use a water bath on this cheesecake?

    • I’ve never used a water bath. I know some people swear by them, but I can’t really tell a difference between the method of baking. I just won a cheesecake bake-off against 3 other people who did use the water bath method…? So in my opinion (at least with this recipe!) just bake it!

  29. Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser and commented:

  30. so, this has been my go-to recipe and I just love it!!! I’ve been wanting to make a larger cheesecake. What are your thoughts about doing a recipe and a half? Would that even work? I wanted it to be a thicker cheesecake. How long would it need to bake for you think?

    Thanks for this great recipe!

    • I’m so glad you like it! You’d have to just experiment with 1 1/2 the ingredients and bake it until it looks right. If you’ve made this many times before you’ll know what I mean. Done on the edges and still a tiny bit jiggly in the center- but not shiny. Sometimes starting to crack a bit. You might google cheesecake recipes that make larger cheesecakes to see how long they require in the oven and go from there.
      Sorry to not be more help. I’ve not experimented with increasing the size of this recipe yet! Enjoy!!!


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