Ready for the best way to use up leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving? Add it to this cranberry swirl cheesecake, a quick and simple citrus and vanilla cheesecake with ribbons of fresh cranberry sauce and a sweet and spicy gingersnap cookie crust. A delicious and festive holiday dessert! Gluten free friendly.
Do you always have cranberry sauce leftover at Thanksgiving, too?
This cranberry swirl cheesecake is my favorite way to use some of it up, and come away with a a vibrant and festive holiday dessert (that’s a whole lot less work than pie).
Simply set aside a few big spoonfuls of homemade cranberry sauce beforehand. I’m partial to an oh, so easy version with fresh cranberries, orange juice (go for high pulp), aromatic vanilla, and a cinnamon stick. You’ll still have plenty of sauce for the big meal, but you’ll also end up with a dreamy cheesecake topped with pretty ribbons of ruby red, sweet and tart cranberries.
The tangy sauce is a lovely complement to the creamy orange and vanilla infused cheesecake filling, the natural tartness cutting through some of the richness of the cream cheese, especially when paired with a spicy gingersnap crust. Tis’ the season, after all!
What you’ll love about this cranberry swirl cheesecake:
While the end result may look fancy, this pretty cheesecake requires mostly very basic ingredients. The filling is simply cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. The crust combines gingersnaps (the only unusual player here), butter, cinnamon, and salt. And the cranberry swirl takes great advantage of leftovers (or comes straight from a can!).
The components all come together quickly, with no need for a water bath like some more complex cheesecake recipes. You can also easily make it ahead of time and/or into mini cheesecakes or bars, for sharing at holiday parties. Creamy, tart, and sweet… and utterly irresistible!
How to avoid your cheesecake cracking:
Cracking on the surface of cheesecake (and other baked custards like pumpkin pie) generally happens for two reasons. Either too much air is whipped into the batter during mixing, or the cheesecake is overbaked.
The cranberry swirls on top will actually mask some of this, but as a general rule we want to avoid both scenarios.
First, be sure to mix your ingredients on low speed and beat only until creamy and well combined. It greatly helps for all of the ingredients for the filling to be at the same (room) temperature before mixing for the creamiest, dreamiest cheesecake.
Then, as your cheesecake bakes, you’ll know that it’s done when the edges are set and beginning to show just a bit of color. At this point, the center should still wobble when the pan is gently shaken. Even if the center looks a little bit uncooked, it will continue to cook as it cools. Once fully cooled and set, it will firm up properly.
Having a bit of patience to wait a couple of hours – or better, overnight – before diving in will pay off, with a more flavorful cheesecake, and a smoother, creamier texture. Happy baking!!
Other easy and delicious cranberry recipes to make next:
- Apple cranberry crumble
- Chewy oatmeal cookies with cranberries and dark chocolate
- Cranberry pear puff pastry turnovers
- Rosemary citrus and cranberry cocktails
If you make this cranberry cheesecake, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it! Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, LauraPrint