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M&M Cheesecake

Our Valentine’s Day themed M&M Cheesecake is the perfect dessert to serve up to your sweetheart! A golden brown graham cracker crust is piled high with rich and creamy vanilla cheesecake filled with everyone’s favorite M&M candies. Topped with even more M&Ms in the shape of an adorable heart, this valentine is so much better than a card!

Top down view of a cheesecake topped with M&Ms.

M&M Cheesecake

Don’t settle for the typical Valentine’s Day cheap chocolates and wilted flowers for your significant other. This year, go above and beyond and surprise them with an entire cheesecake! Specifically an M&M cheesecake that is as decadent as it is downright adorable!

Creamy vanilla cheesecake is filled with colorful M&M candies atop a sweet graham cracker crust. The best part is how this dessert is decorated. And don’t worry – it’s quite easily done with a dusting of powdered sugar and M&Ms artfully arranged in the shape of a heart.

Surround your M&M cheesecake with piped mounds of whipped cream and your sweetheart will think you pulled out all the stops and brought in an expensive bakery treat for them. Even better, you can tell them you made it with lots of love!

Make a Valentine’s Day buffet and serve this M&M cheesecake with other sweet treats like Valentines Rice Krispie Treats, Red Velvet Truffles, Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies, Macadamia Cupcakes, and Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Key Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

  • graham cracker crumbs: This will be the base of our crust.
  • butter: You’ll want unsalted butter for this recipe and it will need to be fully melted.
  • brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar will work.
  • salt and cinnamon: Just a pinch for each! 

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • cream cheese: Full fat is preferred and softened.
  • heavy cream: This softens the texture of the cheesecake and adds some moisture to the mixture.
  • sugar: White, granulated sugar is used for the filling.
  • Valentine’s Day M&Ms: Or any M&Ms of your choice, plus additional M&M’s for decorating the top.
  • sour cream: Again, full fat is preferred and at room temperature.
  • cornstarch: Adding a touch of cornstarch to cheesecake helps to prevent cracking while baking.
  • eggs: Four large at room temperature.
  • lemon juice: This actually reacts with the fatty proteins (like in the cream cheese and sour cream) to give your M&M cheesecake that classic texture you expect out of the dessert.
  • pure vanilla extract: To add a slight bit of vanilla flavor to the cheesecake.
  • powdered sugar: For optional decorating.
  • whipped cream: Optional but always recommended! 
Ingredients needed for M&M cheesecake.

How to Make an M&M Cheesecake

For the Crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F. Be sure to adjust the oven rack to set one lower than the middle setting. Line a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil on the outside only. Set aside. Another option is to wrap the springform pan in aluminum foil then add an oven bag over the foil. Roll the top of the oven bag down so it’s even with the top of the pan.
  2. Now in a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and mix until it creates a wet, sandy texture.
  3. Transfer the crust mixture to the baking pan and press into an even layer across the bottom and up the edges about half an inch.
  4. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  1. While the crust is baking and cooling, place the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a paddle attachment to beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy and free of any lumps.
  2. Add in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and along the bottom of the bowl as needed to ensure all the ingredients are well combined.
  3. With the mixer on low, add in eggs. Then slowly add in the heavy cream.
  4. Sift in the cornstarch a little at a time. Once all of the cornstarch has been mixed in, stop the mixer.
  5. Place 1 cup of M&Ms into a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to crush the candies. Use a spatula to carefully fold in M&Ms into the filling.
  6. Once the crust has cooled completely, pour in the cheesecake filling. Smooth the top flat.
  7. Time to prepare the water bath. You’ll need an oven safe dish that is larger than your springform pan. Place the springform pan into the larger dish. Very carefully fill the larger baking dish with about 1 inch of very hot water. Be careful to not go over the top of the aluminum foil or splash water onto the cheesecake.
  8. Carefully transfer the pan(s) to the oven and bake for 80 to 90 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the sides are set and the center jiggles slightly. The internal temperature should be 145°F-150°F on an instant read thermometer.
  9. Turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake inside while keeping the door ajar for 60 minutes. This allows the cheesecake to cool down slowly and helps prevent cracking.
  10. After an hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and the water bath. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours or overnight.

Decorating and Serving:

  1. Now onto the fun part! When ready to serve your cheesecake, remove it from the refrigerator. Run a hot knife or thin silicone spatula around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the outer ring of the pan gently.
  2. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter (or a toothpick to freehand the shape), gently imprint the shape of a heart on the top center of the cheesecake.
  3. Dust the top of the cheesecake (outside of the heart) with powdered sugar. Place Valentine’s themed M&M’s around the heart shape and continue to fill the heart in with M&Ms. Place the cheesecake on the platter you intend to serve it on and pipe whipped cream peaks all around the outer edge of the dessert.
  4. Serve chilled and enjoy!
Collage showing how to make an M&M cheesecake.
Collage showing how to decorate a cheesecake.

M&M Cheesecake Tips and Variations

  • When serving cheesecake, you can achieve cleaner cuts by dipping your knife in hot water and wiping it off in between each slice. This way your cheesecake doesn’t stick and you get a prettier presentation.
  • If you don’t have a 9-inch springform pan, a regular 10-inch pan will work. However your cook time will need to be adjusted slightly as the cheesecake will be slightly thinner.
  • For an additional chocolatey flavor, use a chocolate cookie crust instead of graham cracker.
  • This recipe calls for Valentine’s Day M&Ms but feel free to switch them up for any holiday. Or use regular M&Ms for a fun midweek dessert surprise!
Slice of cheesecake with whipped cream on a spatula.

Storage

Storage: Leftover cheesecake will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3-5 days.

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Top down view of a heart on top of an M&M cheesecake.

M&M Cheesecake

5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cool Time: 11 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 1 (9-inch) Cheesecake

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ⅓ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Filling

  • 4 8 ounce blocks full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Valentine’s Day M&Ms (Plus additional M&M’s for decorating the top)
  • cup full-fat sour cream room temperature
  • cup corn starch
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • Whipped cream optional

Instructions

For the Crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F, and adjust the oven rack to set one lower than the middle setting. Line a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil on the outside only. Set aside. Optional: Wrap the springform pan with aluminum foil then place an oven bag over the foil. Roll the oven bag down, so it’s even with the top of the pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in the melted butter, and mix until it creates a wet, sandy texture.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan, and press into an even layer across the bottom and up the edges a half inch.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely before adding the filling.

For the Filling:

  • Place the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a paddle attachment to beat until creamy and free of lumps.
  • Add the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice, and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and along the bottom of the bowl as needed to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed.
  • With the mixer running on low, add the eggs. Then slowly stream in the heavy cream.
  • Sift in the cornstarch a little at a time. Once all of the cornstarch has been mixed in, stop the mixer.
  • Place 1 cup of M&Ms into a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to crush the candies. Use a spatula to fold the chopped M&Ms.
  • Pour the cheesecake filling into the cooled crust, and smooth the top flat.
  • Find an oven safe dish that is larger than your springform pan. This dish will be used for your water bath. Place the springform pan into the larger dish. Very carefully fill the larger baking dish with very hot water only to about 1 inch deep. Be careful to not go over the top of the aluminum foil or splash water onto the cheesecake.
  • Carefully transfer the pan to the oven, and bake for 80 to 90 minutes. The sides of the cheesecake should be set, and the center should jiggle slightly. The internal temperature of the should be 145°F-150°F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake inside while keeping the door ajar for 60 minutes. This allows the cheesecake to cool down slowly and helps prevent cracking.
  • After an hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and from the water bath. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature, then cover with a layer of plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours.

Decorating and Serving:

  • When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Run a knife or thin spatula around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the outer ring of the pan gently.
  • Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, gently imprint the shape of a heart on the top center of the cheesecake. (Or you can use a toothpick to draw a heart in the center of your cheesecake.) With the cookie cutter still in place, dust the top of the cheesecake with powdered sugar.
  • Remove the cookie cutter and place M&M's around the heart shape. Continue to fill the heart in with M&M's. Place the cheesecake on a serving platter, then pipe whipped cream peaks all around the top edge of the cheesecake.
  • Serve chilled. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 slice of cheesecake. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*Photos courtesy of Megan from The Kindred Whisk.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 193mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g
Recipe Rating