Basque Cheesecake Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)

Basque cheesecake is the easiest cheesecake ever: creamy and sweet with a burnished burnt top that contrasts with the insides just right.

Basque cheesecake is the best combination of taste and texture. The edges of the cheesecake are slightly firmer with a lingering tongue coating smoothness that gives way to a supple molten cream center that barely holds together. The contrast is what gets me every time – a soft and cake tender shell surrounding a velvety smoothness that barely holds its shape, like the most decadent slice of triple cream brie.

Confession:I don’t know if I’m proud to admit this or not, but I ate an entire cheesecake. By myself. Okay, Mike had one tiny slice, but I absolutely ate the rest of it. And the truth is, this isn’t even the first time I’ve eaten a whole cheesecake. Cheesecake is my jam. I love it so much. It can be dense like New York style, or fluffy, like Japanese. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, there’s just something about cheesecake that is so addictive.

Basque Cheesecake Recipe · i am a food blog (1)

I don’t like to make cheesecake much because it’s so dangerous to me. But when I do make it – more often than I’d like to admit, I will always, always make a Basque burnt cheesecake. They’re glorious: a creamy, lightly sweetened cheesecake with a deeply burnished almost burn top that contrasts beautifully with the insides.

What is Basque cheesecake?

Basque cheesecake is somewhat new. It was invented in San Sebastian (a seriously good food city – Mike and I are dying to go back) in the 70s, back when they first got Philadelphia cream cheese. They did a bunch of experiments and the one cheesecake they kept coming back to was a crustless, burnished cake that was light yet dense and full of cream cheese flavor.

The restaurant that invented it is called La Vina and while there are plenty of recipes online that claim they have the recipe, I went with an amalgamation of a bunch of different ones because after I went down the Instagram cheesecake hole, I discovered that the Japanese version of Basque cheesecake looks even more amazing because they have the slightest bit of ooze in the middle.

You might be skeptical of the burnt top, but when you taste this, all those thoughts will fly out of your heat. The top reminds me of the very slight bitterness of the brûlée on creme brûlée. The actual cake is lightly sweet, with a good amount of cream cheesiness and is just the right amount of dense. Basque cheesecake is incredibly addictive.

Basque Cheesecake Recipe · i am a food blog (2)

Are you convinced?

If you aren’t, here are a couple reasons why you should make a Basque burnt cheesecake

  • because you love cheesecake
  • you want to make a cheesecake without a springform pan or a finicky water bath
  • it’s a cheesecake recipe without a lot of ingredients: this one has only 4!
  • you saw Basque cheesecake on the socials and you’ve been interested but haven’t made the leap
  • you can make it in the air fryer!

Cheesecake Ingredients

One of the reasons I love this cheesecake so much is that it only has 4 (only four!) ingredients:

  • Cream cheese. My favorite cream cheese is Philly cream cheese, of course. Make sure you temper it at room temp so it it silky smooth and creamy without any lumps
  • Sugar.Not too much sugar, just enough so it’s lightly sweet and delicious. I’ve only ever used granulated sugar, but I think brown sugar would add a hint of depth and caramel flavor.
  • Eggs. You’ll need 4 large eggs to stabilize and hold the cake together. Make sure you get some nice, high quality eggs.
  • Heavy Cream. Heavy cream is what makes this cake SO smooth and rich. You might also know heavy cream as whipping cream. Either will work as long as it has over 36% milk fat.

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How to make Basque cheesecake

  1. Cream. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar. It’s best if your cream cheese is ultra soft. I like to leave it out at room temp for as long as possible before creaming so it blends up completely lump free. If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and remember to scrape down the sides.
  2. Mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in completely without adding too much air. If you’re using a stand mixer, add the eggs and beat with the paddle on low.
  3. Stir. Slowly pour in the cream and stir until combined.
  4. Bake. Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined pan and bake in a super hot oven so the top gets nice and burnt while the inside stays creamy.

The best (and easiest) cheesecake I’ve ever made

Seriously guys, this is my best cheesecake ever. Usually it only takes me a couple of days to finish the entire cake, which is bad news. The good news is that Basque burnt cheesecakes are incredibly easy to make. There are no water baths, you don’t have to use a finicky springform pan, you can just squish your parchment paper in rustic style, and somehow, magically, you don’t have to worry about cheesecake cracks. All you need to do is remember to have everything at room temp so the cream cheese mixes up nice and smooth.

Basque Cheesecake Recipe · i am a food blog (4)

Basque cheesecake FAQ

Can I make this in the air fryer?

Yes, you can absolutely make air fryer basque cheesecake, especially since it’s made in a 6 inch pan. To air fry, preheat your air fryer at 400°F then bake the cheesecake for 20-25minutes, depending on if you want a runny or set center.

What kind of pan should I use for Basque cheesecake?

The best pan is one that has tall sides so your cheesecake can be burnished and brown on the top with just the slightest bit of jiggle in the middle. I like to use 6 inch rounds that are at least 3 inches in height []( . I’ve also baked Basque cheesecake in loaf pans and it comes out really nice when you slice it up. The best part about Basque cheesecake is that you don’t need to use a springform pan and you don’t need a finicky water bath. Take advantage of that and use any pan you have. The deeper and smaller the pan, the more likely you will have a jiggly ooze-y cheesecake. The larger and more shallow your pan, the more likely you’ll have a firm cheesecake.

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How to line the pan for Basque cheesecake

Measure out a piece of parchment paper larger than you cake pan, scrunch it up into a ball, then flatten it out. That will make it easier to line and push the parchment into the edges of the pan. If you’re worried, you can double line the pan.

Which cream cheese for basque cheesecake

They always, always, use Philadelphia cream cheese for Basque cheesecake in San Sebastián. Really, it’s the only cream cheese I use too. Let it sit out on your countertop to come to a soft and squish temperature so your cheesecake batter ends up super smooth.

Baking time

This depends on how creamy and jiggly you want the middle of your cheesecake to be. For a runny, creamy, just set center bake for 20 minutes. For just a bit creamy, go for 25 minutes, and for set, 30 minutes.

Burnt top: To the the burnished top while still have a runny center, turn on the broiler and keep a close eye on it while it browns. It only takes a couple of seconds.

Do I need to chill Basque cheesecake?

It’s best to let it cool completely: The cheesecake will continue to set and bake after you take it out of the oven, so leave it in the pan and let it cool completely before removing and serving. If you like a cold cheesecake you can pop it into the fridge and serve it once it’s completely cold. For a still runny center, after it’s completely cool, remove from the pan and slice without placing in the fridge.

What to serve with Basque cheesecake:

NOTHING! It’s truly perfect as is, just sweet enough with so much flavor. Serve this up confidently just on it’s own or with a little nonchalant dollop of softly whipped cream. Some summer ripe berries wouldn’t be remiss, but I like it best on it’s own with nothing to distract from the glorious richness. The perfect accompaniment is a cup of coffee, hot and black, to highlight the sweetness.

Basque Cheesecake Recipe · i am a food blog (6)

Basque Cheesecake

The easiest, creamiest, best cheesecake you’ll ever make, period.

Serves 8

4.88 from 40 votes

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 30 minutes mins

Total Time 40 minutes mins


  • 2 bricks cream cheese room temp, 8oz bricks
  • 3/4 cup sugar 5.2 oz/150 g
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 6.3oz/180 g


  • Heat the oven to 430°F. (If you have convection mode, set the oven to convection.) Line a 6 inch round 3 inch tall cake pan with parchment paper with an overhang of 2 inches. I like to double line it just to make sure it pops out of the pan easily.

    In a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth, making sure the sugar is completely incorporated, and the mixture is light, fluffy, and lump free. Be sure to scrape the bowl down.

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  • Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure the batter is smooth and incorporated before adding another egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.

    Slowly pour in the cream, mixing until just combined.

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  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. The top should be a dark amber and the middle should still wobble and jiggle. If you want the top to be more caramelized, leave it a bit longer, but know that the center will not be as gooey.

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  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack at room temp until completely cool. Remove the cake from the tin and slice at room temperature for a gooey, lava-like cheesecake. If desired, place in the fridge to cool which will result in a soft and creamy cheesecake without the ooze. Enjoy!

    Basque Cheesecake Recipe · i am a food blog (10)

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Basque Cheesecake

Amount Per Serving

Calories 382Calories from Fat 275

% Daily Value*

Fat 30.6g47%

Saturated Fat 18.4g115%

Cholesterol 186mg62%

Sodium 211mg9%

Potassium 118mg3%

Carbohydrates 21.1g7%

Fiber 0.01g0%

Sugar 19.1g21%

Protein 7.9g16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Basque Cheesecake Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)
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