This Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake Recipe will produce the best, smoothest, creamiest dessert. It's truly heavenly decadence in your mouth. Easy to make with my simple directions, I'll guide you through the process to make this show stopper cheesecake!
This cheesecake is popular year round, and can also be a favorite at holiday parties and gatherings.
This was inspired by my Lilikoi (Passionfruit) Cheesecake on this site, and pairs well with my Cranberry Cheesecake and Paula Deen Pumpkin Cheesecake. For a classic cheesecake look to our Philadelphia Cheesecake.
Why I love this recipe:
It's smooth, rich and creamy. It's the perfect New York Cheesecake with vanilla and delicious chocolate cheesecake swirled into it. I love that I can make the chocolate dark or milk. When I'm in the mood for extra chocolate I enjoy it with swirls of dark chocolate cheesecake and an OREO crust.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy, step by step instructions - Making cheesecake can sometimes feel overwhelming. They can be easy to mess up, they take a long time and are expensive to make. That can be a lot of pressure! With our step by step, easy to understand directions I am confident you will be able to produce the perfect cheesecake.
- Party Friendly - It's beautiful and it tastes amazing, making it perfect for a party. It also cuts up into about 16 small slices, meaning it will feed a crowd.
- Perfect for a holiday dessert- I absolutely love making cheesecakes for my holiday dessert table! Anything from Thanksgiving, to Christmas, Easter and birthdays. Cheesecake is always a hit and that perfect indulgence for a celebration.
- graham crackers - graham crackers form the base of the crust. It's sweet enough without adding any sugar, so you won't find the extra sweetness in this crust.
- butter - to mix with the graham crackers for that perfect crust. I love using salted butter in a graham cracker crust for that salty sweetness, but you can also use unsalted.
- Philadelphia cream cheese -not sponsored, but no other cream cheese produces as smooth of results! Quality matters and can make a HUGE difference in the outcome of your cheesecake. If you're going to spend the time and money to make a cheesecake, do it the right way.
- corn starch - I've used ARGO and off-brand corn starch and haven't noticed a difference.
- sugar - to sweeten up all that cream cheese. I use regular granulated white sugar in this recipe.
- vanilla - Pure vanilla will create the best results and the best flavor. I get mine from Costco. I recommend pure vanilla over imitation vanilla for this recipe.
- eggs - use eggs at room temperature for best results. I use regular large eggs.
- heavy whipping cream - It needs to be 'heavy' and not regular.
- semi-sweet chocolate baking bar - I like to use Baker's brand, which can be found at pretty much all grocery stores. Make sure to use a high quality bar for the smoothest texture and best results.
See recipe card for quantities.
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Crush graham crackers using a rolling pin and large ziploc bag or a food processor. Mix with melted butter then press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a standard cheesecake pan. Bake for 3 minutes to set the crust.
2. Place one brick of room temperature cream cheese in a large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Add corn starch and ½ cup sugar and beat on medium low for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides at least once while mixing.
3. Add the remaining cream cheese, one brick at a time, beating for one minute each, scraping down after each addition. Beat in the remainder of the sugar, then the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla, then gently stir in the whipping cream to combine.
4. Take out about ⅓- ½ of cheesecake batter and place it in a separate bowl. Melt chocolate according to package directions, then stir into the smaller bowl of batter.
5. Pour about half of the regular batter onto the graham cracker crust. Plop about half of the chocolate batter on top of the regular batter by large spoonfuls. Using a damp finger, gently press the chocolate batter into the regular cheesecale batter.
6. Repeat step 5 with the remaining batter. Then get a knife and make vertical figure 8 patterns once moving from left to right. Rotate the pan 90 degrees, or a quarter turn, then make another set of vertical figure patterns across the cake.
7. Bake in a water bath at 350* F for 70-85 minutes. The water bath is imperative to getting an even bake and no cracks. I recommend using this pan, this moat, or this method done twice. The top should be a light golden tan, and the cheesecake should still be wobbly when nudged. *Note: if baked without a water bath, the bake time will be around 60 minutes.
8.Chill for 2-4 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate another 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Hint: Don't over swirl the chocolate batter into the regular batter, or you'll lose the beautiful swirls!
- gluten free - make the easy switch of graham crackers to gluten free graham crackers for a gluten free version. We make it this way for my brother in law and it tastes great!
- OREO crust- use 24 crushed OREO cookies without the cream. Mix with 5 Tablespoons melted butter and press into the springform pan.
- cocoa powder- this is MUCH trickier to do and will definitely affect the texture of your cheesecake. Stir in an extra 1 Tablespoon of cream into the chocolate portion of batter, then add ⅓ cup cocoa powder and stir to combine.
- cream cheese- as said above, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend using Philadelphia cream cheese. I've tried about 8 different kinds and none of them measure up. If you MUST use a different kind, Kirkland brand is sort of okay, and the brands more expensive than Philadelphia should work okay.
- Spicy -if you like spicy chocolate, mix in ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper into the chocolate batter for that chocolate cayenne flavor.
- Dark Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake- use bitter instead of semi sweet baking chocolate.
- White Chocolate- reduce the sugar by 1.5 Tablespoons, then use white chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate.
- springform pan- I highly recommend getting one like this or a cheesecake moat like this. It makes the water baths much easier
- mixing bowls
- handheld mixer or stand mixer
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. At 3 days it will start to separate and the texture won't be as creamy and amazing.
This cheesecake can be frozen! Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving or at room temperature for about 45 minutes.
Use a water bath for best results. One of the biggest mistakes made with cheesecakes is rushing the cooling process. This can lead to a gooey or even chunky center. Cool a minimum of 3 hours at room temperature before moving to the refrigerator.
Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
- 10 sheets graham crackers
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- 32 ounce cream cheese 4 bricks, only full fat, PHILADELPHIA brand at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract pure
- 3 eggs large, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 ounce semi sweet baking chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350*F. Crush graham crackers by using a food processor or a rolling pin.
- Melt butter and mix with graham crackers. Press into a 9" springform pan. Bake for 3 minutes to set the crust.
- Using an electric mixer on medium low, beat one brick of room temperature cream cheese, the corn starch and ½ cup of sugar for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides at each minute. Add the rest of the cream cheese, 1 package at a time for one minute each, scraping down the sides after each addition.
- Beat in the remaining sugar on medium for one minute. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined and scraping down the edges of the bowl after each one. The mixture should be smooth and beautiful and creamy. See picture above.
- Stir in the whipping cream on low speed, just until combined. Pour about ⅓ or a little more of the batter into another bowl. Melt chocolate according to package directions. It should be smooth and runny. Mix in the chocolate into the small bowl of cheesecake batter.
- Pour half of the regular batter into the springform pan. Drop half of the chocolate batter on top, using large spoonfuls. Gently press the chocolate into the regular with a damp finger. Repeat with the rest of the batter. See pictures above for guidance.
- Place in a water bath. Use a cheesecake moat or double wrap your pan in aluminum foil to prevent leaking. Bake at 350*F for 70-80 minutes, until it starts to turn a light golden tan color and is wobbly when nudged.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 3 hours without bothering it. Refrigerate another 4 or more hours or overnight.
- The 2 most common cheesecake mistakes are 1- using low quality or neufchatel cream cheese and 2- cooling the cheesecake too quickly. It is imperative to let the cheesecake cool for at least 3 hours at room temperature without disturbing it before moving to the refrigerator.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
Melt baking chocolate and mix into ⅓ the cheesecake batter. Place ½ the plain batter in your pan, drop ½ of the chocolate on top in spoonfuls. Gently press in the chocolate, then repeat. Swirl the top using a figure 8 pattern, being careful not to do too many.
Put half the normal cheesecake batter in the pan, plop half of the mixture to be swirled in spoonfuls across the top. Press in then repeat. Using a figure 8 pattern, swirl the 2 together, being careful not to do too many.
- Do not eat raw cheesecake batter, as raw eggs may cause food poisoning
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove