Pistachio Cheesecake 

Why you’ll love this pistachio cheesecake

  • Ingredients and process are simple and does not require an *actual* water bath. 
  • It’s smooth and creamy but dense and rich, like a classic cheesecake.
  • The recipe can be adjusted to make different sizes, from a small batch 6 inch cheesecake to a large 10 inch cheesecake. 

Ingredients & substitutions

  • Cream Cheese: make sure to use the full-fat brick cream cheese. I prefer the Philadelphia brand. 
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar but this recipe works with light or dark brown sugar as well, it will just slightly darken the color and alter the flavor.
  • Sour Cream: I’ve tested this recipe with equal amounts of sour cream and greek yogurt several times and have never noticed a difference.
    • Plain yogurt should also work fine, just make sure it’s unsweetened.
  • Eggs: Use large, room temperature eggs.
    • If you’re in a pinch, place them in hot water for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Vanilla: I recommend vanilla bean paste or actual vanilla beans. If you’re in a pinch, pure vanilla extract works well too. 
  • Pistachios: I used lightly salted pistachios and just ground them as fine as I could. Then pulsed them with water to make a paste.
    • Pistachios have a very subtle flavor so if you want to add pistachio extract as well, I would do about ½ -1 tsp.
    • I haven’t tested this with store bought pistachio paste but I reckon it would turn out fine. I believe it’s more runny than the homemade version I made so I recommend reducing the sour cream by half or adding 2 tsp of cornstarch (add with the sugar). The color and texture will be more smooth and more green. 
  • Crust: I used honey graham crackers and paired them with brown butter and just a tiny touch of cinnamon for the most incredible crust. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare your pan by removing the edge of the springform pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto the bottom of the pan so that it hangs off the edge. Then attach the side of the springform pan back to the bottom, so the parchment paper should be secure between the two pieces. Lightly spray the sides of the pan with baking spray.

Step 2: Make the crust by browning the butter and then set it aside. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until they’re fine crumbs. Add the browned butter, sugar and cinnamon and pulse until it’s evenly distributed. Spread the crust into the prepared pan, coming all the way up the sides. Use a ½ cup measuring cup to make the bottom smooth and the corners sharp. 

Step 3: Make the pistachio paste by pulsing the pistachios in a food processor until they’re as ground up as they’re going to get. Then add the water and pulse until it sticks to itself and turns into a paste.

Step 4: Make the filling by creaming the room temperature cream cheese with the sugar and pistachio paste until it’s smooth, creamy and glossy. Make sure there are no chunks of cream cheese left.

Step 5: Add the sour cream, vanilla and egg, mixing on low speed until the batter is completely smooth. 

Step 5: Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 300F (148C) for 35 minutes nwxy to another pan full of water. Then turn the oven off and use a knife to release the cheesecake from the edge of the pan.

The cheesecake needs to cool slowly to prevent cracking so let it rest for 10 minutes with a crack open and then 10 minutes with the door fully open. 

Step 6: Cheesecake should still have wiggle in the center, let it cool on the counter for a few hours before transferring to the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight. 

Expert tips to get the perfect bake and prevent cracking

  • Weighing your ingredients with a digital scale is always recommended.
  • Bake the cheesecake at a lower temperature than normal for a longer period of time. The cheesecake should grow slowly and bake more evenly resulting in a flatter, even top. You can see how my cheesecake in the photo grew up higher on the edges and settled lower in the center – that’s because the outside of the cheesecake baked too quickly compared to the center.
    • That happens when the oven temperature is too high or the cheesecake is more liquidy (like subbing heavy cream for sour cream).
  • The cheesecake needs to cool slowly to prevent cracking so let it rest for 10 minutes with a crack open and then 10 minutes with the door fully open. 
  • Allow the cheesecake to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) so that it sets fully. 

How to bake a pistachio cheesecake in different size pans

I adapted this from my original cheesecake recipe which I tested in 4 different sizes. It’s pretty straightforward to adjust to whatever pan size you need. The original cheesecake I wrote as an 8 inch. I made this as a 6 inch so it’s easy to size up.  

The amount of cheesecake you’ll need for each size pan:

  • 10 inch pan: 4 batches of filling, double batch of crust – bake for 65-75 minutes, rest in the oven for 25 minutes.
  • 9 inch pan: 3 batches of filling, 1.5 batch of crust (also works with a 4 batches if you want a taller cheesecake) – bake for 55-60 minutes, rest in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • 8 inch pan: 2 batches of filling, 1 batch of crust (also works with 3 batches if you want a taller cheesecake) – bake for 45-50 minutes, rest in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • 6 inch pan: 1 batch – bake for 35 minutes, rest in the oven for 15 minutes. 

How to store these cheesecake

To refrigerate, cover the cheesecake with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to a week. Serve cold or bring to room temperature 1-2 hours before serving. 

To freeze the whole cheesecake, wrap it in plastic wrap and then wrap it twice in aluminum foil (or place it in an airtight container big enough). 

To freeze slices, place them tightly in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. Bring them back to room temperature by thawing at room temperature for a few hours before serving. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.

If you make my pistachio cheesecake recipe, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

slice of pistachio cheesecake on a plate with pistachios on the side

Pistachio Cheesecake Recipe

Bernice Baran
Rich and creamy pistachio cheesecake baked in a brown butter graham cracker crust. Recipe can be easily adjust to any size pan.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 55 minutes
Course Cheesecake
Cuisine American
Servings 6 slices
Calories 386 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 6 Tbsp (85g) salted butter, browned to be 56g*
  • 1 pack 124g/8 full sheets of graham crackers
  • 1 Tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon *optional

Pistachio Paste**

  • 2 oz lightly salted pistachios without shells
  • 3-5 tsp water

Cheesecake Filling

  • 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60g) pistachio paste
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg room temperature

Instructions
 

Brow Butter Graham Cracker Crust

  • In a small pot, over medium heat, cook butter cook the butter for 5-10 minutes, stirring intermittently until it begins to bubble and foam.
    6 Tbsp (85g) salted butter, browned to be 56g*
  • Then stir continuously until you see the milk solids browning and settling on the bottom. Pour the butter into a bowl and allow it cool for a few minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 300F (148C) conventional (no fan) and grease and line a 6 inch springform pan with baking spray and parchment paper.*
  • Place the graham crackers in the bowl of your food processor and turn it to full speed, until the graham crackers are finely ground.
    1 pack
  • Add the sugar, cinnamon and the melted butter (should be 4 Tbsp/56g after browning) and pulse until the butter looks evenly distributed.*
    1 Tbsp (25g) granulated sugar, Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to press it down evenly, coming up only halfway on the edges.
  • Bake the crust for 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the filling.

Pistachio Paste**

  • Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until they're as ground as they're going to get.
    2 oz lightly salted pistachios
  • Add the 3 tsp of water to it and blend. Add 1 more tsp at a time if needed, just until it sticks to itself and turns into a paste.
    3-5 tsp water

Pistachio Cheesecake Filling

  • It's important that everything is softened to room temperature. If you need to, place the cream cheese (with the packaging) and the egg in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes and microwave the sour cream for 10-20 seconds.
  • Place the cream cheese with the pistachio paste and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer). Turn the mixer to low speed and mix for 1-2 minutes, scraping the edge of the bowl every so often to make sure the mixture is smooth and there are no chunks of cream cheese left.
    1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, 1/4 cup (60g) pistachio paste, 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese
  • Add the sour cream, vanilla and salt and mix at low speed, until they're fully combined. Then add the egg and mix just until it's fully combined.
    1/4 cup (60g) sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 large egg
  • Scrape the edge of the bowl well and give it one more good mix. Make sure to get smooth out any visible chunks and don't increase the speed so you don't incorporate air.
  • Fold the batter a few times before pouring it over the crust. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven and place another pan full of hot water next to it.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. The edges of the cheesecake should be set but the center should still be jiggly.
  • Turn the oven off and leave the door a little open for 10 minutes. Then open the door of the oven all the way for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature for a couple of hours. Then refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Notes

*if you skip browning the butter, make sure to use 56 grams to mix with the graham crackers.
  • Double the recipe for an 8 inch pan
  • Triple the recipe for a 9 inch pan
  • Quadruple the recipe for a 10 inch pan
** If you want a brighter green color and less of a brown color you'll need to peel to skin off the pistachios. To do that, just bring a small pot of water to a boil, place the pistachios in for 2 minutes and then drain and run under cold water to cool for a minute. Then peel the skin off. This is tedious and requires more time but that's what I did for this color. Alternatively you could also add a drop of green food coloring.

Nutrition

Calories: 386kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 6gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 320mgPotassium: 183mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 996IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 1mg
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  1. Do you think I could make this in a tart pan reducing the baking time and perhaps not using all the filling ? I don’t have springform pans and don’t want to purchase.

    • Hi Kimberly, I don’t see why not! You may need to use the whole filling since it’s just a six inch cheesecake but yeah, still bake at 300 and start checking for doneness around 15 minutes. Make sure the top is no longer wet and you have a slight jiggle in the center (if it doesn’t jiggle that’s fine too, it’ll def baking more evenly in a tart pan).