Turtle Cheesecake

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Turtle Cheesecake with Caramel, Chocolate, Pecans, and an Oreo crust is a dessert that gets talked about long after the plates are cleaned. Sweet, decadent, and almost magically delicious, this cheesecake steals the show.

I make this Turtle Cheesecake only once or twice a year and it is always by request.

Turtle Cheesecake - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

The cheesecake starts with an Oreo cookie crust that is covered in caramel sauce, then a layer of creamy cheesecake. Once cooled, it is sprinkled with toasted pecans and drizzled with both caramel and chocolate. This Turtle Cheesecake beats just about any cheesecake I’ve had from a bakery.

The crisscrossed swirls of caramel and chocolate drizzle make this cake look especially stunning. And it tastes even better than it looks!

Just the smallest sliver really is a serving. Decadent, rich and worthy of any special occasion, this is a masterpiece of a cheesecake. It steals the spotlight at any dessert table and has been known to cause more than one person to sigh with joy.

Served for dessert with a strong cup of coffee, Turtle Cheesecake is pure chocolate-caramel bliss. This is the Cheesecake to bring when you want to wow a crowd!

While Turtle Cheesecake looks gorgeous and tastes even better, it’s not a fussy recipe at all. I’m happy to tell you that this dessert is much MUCH easier to make than you might expect!

Turtle Cheesecake with an Oreo Crust

Gluten Free Cheesecake

Another thing I love about this Turtle Cheesecake recipe is that it’s incredibly simple to make it gluten free. Simply substitute your favorite gluten free cookie for the Oreo cookies in the crust. Gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies are easy to find at most grocery stores these days and work just as well as the regular cookies.

I’ve made this recipe with both gluten free cookies in the crust and regular Oreos. My family couldn’t tell the difference between the two; they’re both delicious!

The buttery caramel combined with rich chocolate and silky cheesecake center makes this one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had. Every time I bring a Turtle Cheesecake somewhere it gets a ton of compliments and requests for the recipe. Everyone’s always amazed when I tell them how simple the recipe is to make!

Turtle Cheesecake with caramel, chocolate, pecans, and an Oreo crust! - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Cheesecake Recipes

Check out all of the Gluten Free Dessert Recipes on this website and for another decadent cheesecake to try, this Coffee Cookies and Cream Cheesecake is creamy chocolate perfection!

For a cheesecake outside of the chocolate family this Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie never fails to impress. It’s a fabulous addition to any Thanksgiving menu but we’ve been known to enjoy it all year long.

In the summer time when I’m craving light, tart citrusy desserts, a No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake from 365 Days of Baking fits the bill nicely.

Light and fluffy No Bake Caramel Cheesecake Mousse and Berry Cheesecake Mousse Cups pack rich cheesecake flavor into easy-t0-make treats.

Creamy Cheesecake on a caramel oreo crust is a winner

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Can’t get enough of that chocolate and caramel “turtle” flavor? Flourless Chocolate Turtle Cookies happen to be naturally gluten free yet still decadently tasty.

I make at least a couple batches of Shortbread Turtle Cookies and Chewy Caramel Turtle Bark to include in my holiday cookie trays every year. Pecans, chocolate, and caramel go so well together!

Chocolate, caramel, and pecans add up to an awesome Turtle Cheesecake

Kitchen Tip: I use this pan when making this recipe. Both a 9 inch and 10 inch pan work beautifully for this cheesecake recipe. You can also use a smaller sized cheesecake pan but will need to adjust the baking time accordingly. When I made Turtle Cheesecake in an 8 inch pan it took another 10 – 15 minutes to bake.

Turtle Cheesecake

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crush the oreo cookies in a large freezer-weight ziploc bag. You can use a rolling pin or mallet to crush them. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse them in a food processor.

  2. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter and press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-10″ springform pan. Pour 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce over this crust and spread it out lightly with a spatula. Refrigerate the caramel-coated crust for 10 minutes.

  3. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed just until each one is blended. Pour this mixture over the refrigerated crust. Place the spring-form pan on a large baking sheet prior to placing it in the oven. (If you line the baking sheet with foil first, clean up will be a breeze.) Some of the caramel in the crust will drip through the pan onto your oven if you forget the baking sheet.

  4. Bake 65 – 70 minutes, until the center is almost set. Run a knife around the edges of the pan while it is still warm. Let cool at room temperature and then refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before removing the sides of the pan.

  5. Once the sides of the pan have been removed, sprinkle the pecans across the top of the cheesecake and then drizzle with the remaining caramel and the melted chocolate. Store the remaining cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Irresistible Turtle Cheesecake

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Chocolate, caramel, and pecans add up to an awesome Turtle Cheesecake

Turtle Cheesecake

4.5 from 22 votes
Turtle Cheesecake with Caramel, Chocolate, Pecans, and an Oreo crust is a dessert that gets talked about long after the plates are cleaned.
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 

  • 24 chocolate sandwich cookies about 2 cups finely crushed, gluten free cookies work fine
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted
  • 3/4 cup homemade caramel sauce (store-bought sauce is fine too)
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans toasted if desired

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crush the oreo cookies in a large freezer-weight ziploc bag. (You can use a rolling pin or mallet to crush them. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse them in a food processor.) Combine the crumbs with the melted butter and press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-10" springform pan. Pour 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce over this crust and spread it out lightly with a spatula. Refrigerate the caramel-coated crust for 10 minutes.
  • Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed just until each one is blended. Pour this mixture over the refrigerated crust. Place the spring-form pan on a large baking sheet prior to placing it in the oven. (If you line the baking sheet with foil first, clean up will be a breeze.) Some of the caramel in the crust will drip through the pan onto your oven if you forget the baking sheet.
  • Bake 65 - 70 minutes, until the center is almost set. Run a knife around the edges of the pan while it is still warm. Let cool at room temperature and then refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before removing the sides of the pan.
  • Once the sides of the pan have been removed, sprinkle the pecans across the top of the cheesecake and then drizzle with the remaining caramel and the melted chocolate. Store remaining cheesecake in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Notes

I typically use a 9" springform pan and I have used a 10" pan for this cake as well in the past. It simply makes for a shorter height cheesecake. An 8" pan will work too, simply adjust the cooking time accordingly. The smaller pan may take as much as 10-15 minutes longer to cook.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal · Carbohydrates: 33g · Protein: 5g · Fat: 25g · Saturated Fat: 13g · Cholesterol: 89mg · Sodium: 306mg · Potassium: 141mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 19g · Vitamin A: 756IU · Calcium: 60mg · Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally posted 12/14/12 – photos and recipe notes updated 9/10/20}

Turtle Cheesecake - a chocolate, caramel dream come true!

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Jenn says

    Oooohhh you evil temptress you!!! That cheesecake looks absolutely decadent…. I'll be there later today, hope you saved me at least one slice 🙂

  2. Tricia @ saving room for dessert says

    Wow – that is one of the most beautiful cheesecakes I've ever seen! I dream of making desserts like that! I just need more people to come and eat it. The pictures are fantastic. It's only 9 AM and I'm drooling for caramel. Thanks Mary – this is going in my book of Mary recipes I need to make someday.

  3. Misty Fuentes says

    Oh yummy! I made something like this years ago. It was a hit and some how that recipe got lost. Glad to have found yours. Thanks for posting!

  4. Mary Younkin says

    I typically use a 9" pan and I have used a 10" pan for this cake as well in the past. It simply makes for a shorter height cheesecake. An 8" pan will work too, simply adjust the cooking time accordingly. The smaller pan may take as much as 10-15 minutes longer to cook.

  5. Brittany says

    The bottom of my cake came out very gummy because of the caramel layer over the crust. We're giving it a second run with double the Oreos and no caramel on bottom.

    The cake was delicious, though!

    • Mary says

      Not a silly question at all! I asked it myself the first time I made this years ago. Leave the cream in there and just smash the cookies. 🙂

  6. [email protected] says

    This looks really yummy. I like it so much. Baking cake always involve a lot of works and ingredients so I barely bake a cake. But this one is rather simple and I love dessert. Probably I will try this… 🙂

  7. Sue Bowler says

    I live in the high desert in Calif. where the elevation is approx. 2700 ft. above sea level. Do I need to adjust the oven temp. and cooking time for this recipe?

  8. Jackie G. says

    Hey there!

    I just recently became someone with a gluten free person in my family that I need to adjust some of my cooking to. I am uneducated and trying to get educated in what is actually gluten free … so the only thing that is in this recipe that I need to be concerned with is the crust … to me it obviously is the flour in the cookies … I’ve seen other recipes that have starch in the cream cheese batter … but I don’t see that in yours so I don’t expect you to answer that. Anyway … I’m looking forward to attempting to make your recipe … it sounds really good.

    Have you ever done it in a water bath or put a water pan in the oven … if yes, did you have any success in avoiding cracks? I know that once you add the eggs you can’t over beat but I have heard that the water baths or water pan works well for avoiding cracks …. Thank you … looking forward to trying your recipe. 🙂

  9. AJ says

    Thanks for this recipe. It’s perfect. Made this cake and satisfied a craving I’ve had for years. Now I don’t have to hunt for it when I go shopping. 🙂 #fullandhappy5 stars

  10. TKG says

    Came out really good. I about doubled the amount of cookies for the crust, so upped the melted butter as well, though not quite double. I liked it thicker and could also build it up against the edges to about the height of the cake. A glass tumbler was really useful for pressing it down and shaping the crust against the edges. I went way lighter on the caramel layer on top of the crust – maybe two or three tablespoons. With the layer on top of the cake, there was plenty. I used the caramel recipe from elsewhere on this site and that came out great.5 stars

  11. Betty says

    I made Turtle Cheesecake for a family event and everyone loved this. I rate recipes after they are made and I ask my family to do the same we rated this as a 10.5 stars

  12. Aaron says

    I’ve been looking for a good turtle cheesecake recipe, and love the idea of the caramel layer over the oreo crust. However I ran into a problem just a couple days ago, as I removed the cake from the springform pan, cutting a slice to check the layers (specifically looking for caramel to ooze out a little). Instead, I found the caramel had infused with the oreo crust, hardening. I used a salted caramel recipe from another place online, so I don’t know if this is the reason for my issue. Also I should mention after adding the caramel layer on the oreo crust, I had put it in the fridge for about an hour, so I’m not sure if that attributed to the hardening.

  13. Jenna white says

    I have made this several times and every time the caramel soaks into the crust and becomes glue. Any suggestions.?

  14. Sarah Graves says

    Hi I tried this recipe and could not get the cheesecake to come off the spring form pan. The Oreos and Carmel turned into kind of a sticky goo and did not come out right. Any tips?3 stars

    • Mary says

      I’m wondering if the Oreos were crushed too crumbs or maybe in bigger pieces? If they weren’t in crumbs, they might not have absorbed the caramel to form the crust properly. I just remade this one to make the video and it worked according to the recipe, so I’m stumped. Did you substitute any ingredients? Did you refrigerate the crust before adding the cheesecake filling?

  15. Meghan says

    Not sure how this possibly could fit in a 10 inch springform pan. It was thin for an 8 inch pan and overbaked quicker than I could try to fix the oven temperature. The topping would be good on a better cheesecake recipe.1 star

    • Mary says

      Hi Meghan, As you can see from the photos and the video, this is not a deep or tall cheesecake. However, it shouldn’t have overbaked in the time noted for the recipe. I’ve made this cheesecake countless times, and as you can tell from the reviews in the comments, it typically works well. Is it possible that you substituted ingredients? or possibly left something out? I’m sorry to hear it didn’t turn out for you.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I typically grease it first and cross my fingers, Guy. With the caramel over the crust, the odds of it sticking are honestly high. I’ve found that a sharp knife slid underneath can help release the crust as well.

  16. Nichole says

    I really wish there was a photo option! My cheesecake came out perfect! I believe the ones who are leaving bad reviews either substituted ingredients or didn’t follow directions.
    I followed the directions and my cake came out perfect! The whole family loved it and was fighting over the last piece. Will make again!!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!5 stars

  17. Judy Sharp says

    I used a 10” springform pan and it was a thin cheesecake. Can I double the ingredients to make it thicker? I realize I will have to increase the cooking time.
    This was everyone’s favorite cheesecake that I had ever made. ❤️

  18. claudia rejack says

    I thought this cheesecake was delicious! I did have a little trouble with the crust sticking. Next time I may try parchment paper in the pan because I def will be making it again!5 stars

  19. claudia rejack says

    Thanks Mary. I was trying to figure out how to remove the whole thing so I could give it to someone for christmas
    Thank you so much for responding!

  20. Beginner says

    Yummy recipe but wished I had used parchment paper (made for a terrible mess and had trouble getting the springform pan off) and would have been better to prebake the crust. I think the recipe for homemade Carmel sauce would have worked better without the water. But this was the first time I made a cheesecake, so will learn from my mistakes.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the cheesecake, but sorry the recipe gave you trouble! I’ve had this leak all over my oven once when I used an older pan that didn’t seal tightly. Since then, I typically place a pan underneath or wrap the outside in foil now just in case.

  21. Stella says

    This was a total hit but I used crushed Girl Scout Samoa cookies for crust – caramel sauce is excellent as well! Rave response!!5 stars

  22. Shelly says

    So simple to make yet so delicious and in the wake of all that is going on this is just what my family need it for a little pick-me-up thank you and God bless you5 stars

    • Khadizha says

      I absolutely love this recipe. Comes out perfectly every time! Has it been updated recently or something? I could have sworn the crust called for 12 oreos instead. Either way delicious!!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m so glad that you love the cheesecake. You are correct that it can be made with just 12 crushed Oreos. Quite a few people have asked for a thicker crust though, so I’ve adjusted it. Having made it both ways, I actually prefer it with more crust as well.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I don’t use a water bath for this recipe, Gabrielle, as I don’t personally care if the cheesecake cracks when it’s being topped with sauces. You can certainly use a water bath though, if that’s your preference.

  23. Tanya Simpson says

    The recipe states 12 oreo cookies but it requires 24 and 6 tablespoons butter. I used a 8 inch pan but 12 oreos didn’t even cover half. Looked up another recipe to verify and it gave these measurements. Other than that it was great!4 stars

  24. Grace says

    Loved this recipe! Note to newbies (aka me lol)… Highly recommend mixing the cream cheese step either by hand or on the slowest stand setting. Incorporating too much air will cause it to puff up, rise, or souffle which made the center seem undercooked. I didn’t really know what I was doing and *slightly* burned the crust. Still turned out delicious! Definitely something I’ll do again! [P.S. I used dairy free cream cheese and it was still just as delicious as when I could eat dairy!]5 stars