Cranberry Cheesecake

4.34 from 6 votes

This velvety cranberry cheesecake has delicious sweet-tart cranberry swirls throughout. It's perfect for holiday hosting and is sure to wow your guests!

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This homemade Cranberry Cheesecake is a gorgeous dessert perfect for any holiday get-together! The cranberry swirl is so pretty and vibrant, but it’s not just for looks—the tart flavor of the cranberry is the perfect complement to the sweet, decadent cheesecake. This cranberry cheesecake is the best of both flavor worlds!

Cranberry swirl cheesecake with a few slices cut and one piece being pulled away.
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Cranberry cheesecake is tart, creamy, and sweet, all in one perfect bite. Unlike my No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake, this is a traditional cheesecake recipe, is baked in the oven with a water bath.

Don’t let that intimidate you, though! This cranberry cheesecake recipe is still quite easy, but it’s also sure to impress. (If you ask me, that’s the best kind of dessert!)

As with most cheesecake recipes, we start with a buttery graham cracker crust. The filling is made with a base of cream cheese and sour cream, which gives it that signature tangy flavor and creamy texture, and then you’ll swirl in the cranberries.

The crimson cranberry marbling makes this cranberry cheesecake gorgeous for a Christmas dessert, but you can enjoy it all through cranberry season—and believe me, you’ll want to!

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Oven
Dietary Info: Vegetarian, With Gluten-Free Option
Key Flavor: Tart, Tangy, and Sweet
Skill Level: Intermediate


  • The Decadence You Want for a Holiday. When it comes to holiday gatherings, we all have pretty high expectations for our desserts. And rightfully so! After all, the holidays are a time of indulgence and celebration. This cranberry cheesecake doesn’t cut any corners, making it worthy of a special occasion.
  • Easy to Make: If you’re intimidated by the thought of making a cheesecake from scratch, don’t worry! This cranberry cheesecake recipe is straightforward and easy to follow. Read the recipe all the way through before you start baking so you know exactly what to expect from each step.
  • Tart Cranberries Balance the Richness: Some cheesecake recipes pile on layers of chocolate, chopped candies, and add even more decadence to an already indulgent dessert. I love the cranberries here because the tartness naturally balances the richness, so it doesn’t feel like too much.
  • A festive, show-stopping dessert: The cranberry swirl adds a beautiful deep red color to the cheesecake, making it perfect for the holidays!

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Cranberry Cheesecake

Ingredients for recipe in individual bowls: cranberries, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, butter, graham cracker crumbs.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs: You can purchase readymade graham cracker crumbs, or make your own by pulsing graham crackers in your food processor.
  • Granulated Sugar: This doesn’t just add sweetness, it also helps the crust hold together.
  • Unsalted Butter: Using unsalted butter gives you more control over the flavor of the recipe.

Cheesecake Filling

  • Cream Cheese: Use the full-fat variety that comes in blocks, not tubs.
  • Sour Cream: The sour cream should also be full-fat for a rich, creamy cranberry cheesecake.
  • Granulated Sugar: Also known as white sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract: To make the base of our cheesecake vanilla flavored. I recommend using pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
  • Lemon Juice: Use freshly squeezed, which has a brighter flavor than bottled.
  • Salt: Just a bit for balance.
  • Eggs: While cream cheese and sour cream are the heavy hitters, eggs are the unsung hero that gives cheesecake its sliceable, cake-like texture.

Cranberry Swirl

  • Cranberries: Fresh cranberries can be found in bags in the produce section or sometimes in tubs of water. Avoid berries that look deflated or wrinkled; they should also be deeply colored, not white or pink. (Fresh, ripe cranberries bounce when you throw them on the ground, but I don’t recommend trying that at the grocery store!)
  • Sugar: Cranberries are very tart on their own, so sugar is key to making them palatable.
  • Water: Water helps us get just the right consistency for marbling the cranberries into the cheesecake.
  • Make It Gluten-Free: Swap the regular graham crackers for gluten-free. Make the rest of the recipe as written.
  • Try a Chocolate Crust. You can use chocolate wafers to form crumbs for the crust instead of graham crackers for a slightly different take on this cranberry cheesecake.
  • Use Another Fruit. Blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries can be used for the swirl instead of cranberries. Adjust the amount of sugar if needed, and strain any seeds through a fine mesh strainer for best results.
  • Garnish. Make double the cranberry sauce and spoon it onto plates before adding a slice of cheesecake for a restaurant-style touch. Sugared cranberries or sprigs of fresh mint are nice too!

How to Make Cranberry Cheesecake

When planning your baking, keep in mind that the cranberry cheesecake needs to chill for at least 8 hours before serving.

Make the graham cracker crust

  1. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
  2. Transfer the crumb mixture to a springform pan.
  3. Use a measuring cup or flat-bottomed glass to press the crust into the bottom.
  4. Press the crust about 1 inch up the sides, then bake until it’s golden and feels dry to the touch.
4 image collage make crust: 1- graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl, 2- crust mixture added to springform pan, 3- measuring cup flattening crumbs into pan, 4- after pressed completely.

Prepare the cranberry swirl

  1. Combine the sugar, water, and cranberries in a saucepan.
  2. Once the sauce has thickened, use an immersion blender to puree it smooth.
2 image collage making recipe in a pot: 1- cranberry and sugar in a pot, 2- after cooking down until thickened.

Prepare the cheesecake for baking

  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt until well-incorporated.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Pour half of the cheesecake mixture into the crust, then spoonfuls of half of the cranberry sauce over the top.
  5. Use a butter knife or toothpick to create a swirl.
  6. Repeat with the remaining cheesecake filling and cranberry sauce.
6 image collage making recipe: 1- cream cheese and sugar in a bowl before mixing, 2- after whipping together with sour cream and vanilla added, 3- egg added, 4- cheesecake poured into prepared crust with some of the cranberry sauce added, 5- after remaining cream cheese and cranberry added with a fork swirling it into mixture, 6- after swirling.

Bake the cranberry cheesecake

  1. Place the cake pan inside a roasting pan and add boiling water halfway up the sides.
  2. Bake until the edges of the cake are set, but the center is still a bit jiggly.
2 image collage before and after baking cheesecake in a water bath.

Tips for Making the Best Cranberry Cheesecake

  1. Use Room Temperature Dairy and Eggs. This ensures a smooth and creamy consistency and helps all of the ingredients incorporate evenly.
  2. Blend the Cranberry Sauce Well. If there are large pieces of cranberries in it, it will be difficult to create the perfect marbled look.
  3. Prevent Cracks. To keep your cranberry cheesecake from cracking, make sure not to over-mix the batter, avoid opening the oven door while baking, and once the baking time is done, let the cheesecake cool inside the oven with the door cracked for a full hour. After removing the cheesecake from the oven and setting it on a wire rack, don’t move it again until it is completely cool.
  4. Make Perfect Clean Cuts. For perfectly smooth, clean cuts when serving your cranberry cheesecake, dip a knife in a glass of hot water and carefully wipe it dry before using it to slice through the cake. Wipe it clean and repeat with each cut.
Cranberry cheese cake cut into slices with a serving on a small plate nearby and a small bowl of fresh cranberries nearby.

How to Store Cranberry Cheesecake

If you have any leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container or wrap them on a plate and store them in the refrigerator.

How Long Will Cranberry Cheesecake Last in the Fridge?

Leftover cranberry cheesecake will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze Cranberry Cheesecake?

Yes, you can freeze cheesecake for up to 2 months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then store the wrapped slices in a freezer bag, or airtight container, or wrap them in another layer of foil. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use frozen cranberries for the sauce?

Yes, if you can’t find fresh cranberries, frozen ones are just fine! Thaw them before starting the recipe.

Is the water bath necessary?

A water bath isn’t necessary when making cheesecake, but it does produce better results. It’s less likely that the cheesecake will crack if you use a water bath, and the cheesecake will also be creamier and more evenly baked.

What should I do if the cheesecake cracks?

Cracked cheesecake may be unsightly, but it still tastes good! If you’re feeling self-conscious about it, you can add a layer of whipped cream or chocolate ganache on top of the cheesecake to hide the crack. The nice thing about this cranberry cheesecake is that the marbling can make it hard to notice any cracking!

Slice of cranberry swirl cheesecake on a plate to show inside texture and layers of cranberry throughout.

Give your holiday dessert table an upgrade with this beautiful cranberry cheesecake recipe—because every special occasion should be celebrated with homemade cheesecake!

More Cranberry Recipes:

If you try this feel good Cranberry Cheesecake recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

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Cranberry Cheesecake

This velvety cranberry cheesecake has delicious sweet-tart cranberry swirls throughout. It's perfect for holiday hosting and is sure to wow your guests!
4.3 from 6 votes
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Calories 377
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Resting time 10 hours
Total Time 11 hours 25 minutes
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Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter

Cheesecake Filling

  • 32 ounces block cream cheese room temperature
  • 8 ounces sour cream full fat, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs room temperature

Cranberry Swirl

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • cup water


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a 9-inch spring form pan by wrapping the outside with heavy-duty aluminum foil. For the best results, double or triple the foil layer to ensure no water leaks into the pan. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.
  • Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl. Add the crust mixture to the springform pan and use a cup or flat-bottomed glass to press the crust into an even layer and about 1 inch up the sides.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Cranberry Swirl

  • While the crust is in the oven, make the cranberry sauce. Add cranberries, sugar, and water to a saucepan. Cook until cranberries begin to pop and sauce thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend the cranberry mixture smoothly. Set aside to cool completely.

Cheesecake Filling

  • To a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add cream cheese and sugar, beating on medium-low speed until smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla, and salt, and continue to mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Mix until just combined.
  • Pour half the cheesecake mixture into the baked crust. Add spoonfuls of the cranberry sauce and swirl into the cheesecake filling with a knife or toothpick. Top with the remaining cheesecake batter and the remaining cranberry sauce, and swirl again.
  • Tap the pan on a flat surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in a large roasting pan and carefully pour the boiling water ½ the way up the springform pan.
  • Bake for 55 minutes or until the edges are set, and the center is slightly jiggly.
  • Turn the oven off and open the door, allowing it to slowly cool down for about 1 hour. Then, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Gently run a knife around the edges of the pan and carefully release the ring of your springform pan.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 377kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 726mg, Potassium: 291mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 39g, Vitamin A: 483IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 305mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Dessert
4.34 from 6 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. B says:

    Proportions are way off and the instructions are not specific at all. Not sure how it will taste but cooking it was frustrating.

    1. Yumna says:

      So sorry to hear this was a frustrating experience for you. Can you let me know what you mean by the proportions are off? Also what specifically in the instructions needs more clarity? Would be happy to expand on anything that is unclear!

  2. Fatima Abbas says:

    Hey, can we use strawberries instead of cranberry and how much sugar to go in strawberry sauce ?

    1. Yumna says:

      Yes, feel free to swap the cranberries for you fruit of choice. The sugar you need to add will depend on your taste, but I’d say start with about 1/4 cup and go from there.