Valentine’s Day Cheesecake

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This Valentine’s Day Cheesecake is the perfect way to spoil your sweetheart! A buttery graham cracker crust is filled with rich and creamy vanilla cheesecake, then topped with festive M&Ms in the shape of a heart. 

Looking for more delicious Valentine’s Day dessert ideas? Try my Valentine’s Rice Krispie Treats, Red Velvet Truffles, Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies, Macadamia Cupcakes, or Red Velvet Cupcakes

Top down view of a cheesecake topped with m&ms.

Easy M&M Cheesecake Recipe

I think one of the best ways to spoil your partner for Valentine’s Day is by making them a delicious, made-from-scratch dessert. I mean, what’s more special than that? 

This M&M cheesecake is the perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day. It’s decadent and delicious, looks adorable, and is surprisingly easy to make. It’s a creamy vanilla cheesecake filling surrounded by a sweet graham cracker crust and topped with pink, red, and white M&Ms in the shape of a heart. 

This Valentine’s cheesecake looks like an expensive bakery treat, but it’s made with love right at home! 

How to Make M&M Cheesecake for Valentine’s Day

This M&M cheesecake recipe looks a whole lot more complicated than it actually is. Just one step at a time! Here’s a quick summary of the recipe. See the recipe card below for more detailed instructions!

Make the Crust

  1. In a bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir until combined.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a foil-lined springform pan, then press it into the bottom and up the sides.
  3. Bake until lightly browned, then cool completely.
Graham cracker crumbs with sugar and butter in a bowl.
Graham cracker crust in springform pan.

Add the Filling

  1. Place softened cream cheese and sugar into your stand mixer bowl, then use the paddle attachment to beat until smooth and creamy. Add in the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, then turn the mixer to low and add the eggs and heavy cream.
  2. Sift the cornstarch into the filling a little at a time until smooth.
Cream cheese and sugar mixed together in a bowl.
Eggs and cheesecake batter in a mixing bowl.
  1. Add M&Ms to a food processor and pulse to chop, then gently fold into the cream cheese filling. 
  2. Transfer the filling to the cooled crust, then place the springform pan into a roasting pan. Carefully add one inch of hot water to the roasting pan.
Crushed m&ms in a food processor.
Crushed m&ms being stirred into cheesecake batter.
  1. Set the pan in the oven and bake at 300ºF until the edges are set and the center is only slightly jiggly.
  2. Turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake inside. Let it cool in the oven for 60 minutes with the door ajar, then remove from the oven and water bath and cool completely. 
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or until completely set.
Cheesecake batter in a springform pan.
Baked m&m cheesecake.

Decorate

  1. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to gently imprint the shape of a heart on the top center of the cheesecake. 
  2. Gently dust the top with powdered sugar, then place M&Ms around and inside the heart shape. 
  3. Pipe whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake, then slice and serve.
Cheesecake with a heart shaped cookie cutter on top.
Top down view of a cheesecake with candy and whipped cream

Tips for Valentine’s Cheesecake

  • Use a springform pan. A springform pan makes it so much easier to remove the cheesecake without damaging it. 
  • If you don’t have a 9-inch springform pan, you can use a regular 10-inch baking pan. However, the cooking time will need to be adjusted slightly since the cheesecake will be thinner.
  • Cool the crust completely. If you add the filling while the crust is still hot, it will just melt. 
  • Use full-fat dairy. When it comes to the cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe, it’s best to use full-fat. Lower fat ingredients won’t create that rich, creamy, velvety texture that we all love about cheesecake.
  • Soften the cream cheese. This helps it blend more smoothly into the filling so you don’t have to worry about clumps!
  • Wrap the pan in foil. The foil adds an extra barrier so there’s less of a risk of water from the water bath getting into the cheesecake. 
  • You’ll know the cheesecake is done, when the edges are set and the center jiggles only slightly. If you’re not sure, I recommend using an instant read thermometer to check the temperature. It should be 145 to 150ºF. 
  • Cool slowly! Once the cheesecake is done cooking, you’ll turn the heat off but leave it in the oven for another hour with the door slightly open. The slow cooling process prevents the filling from cracking on top.
  • To cut clean slices, run a sharp knife under hot water, wipe it dry, then slice. Repeat between slices. 
  • Customize! You can totally use other colors of M&M or other cookie cutter shapes to customize for different holidays. 

Storage 

A finished cheesecake will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing it because the creamy texture will be affected.

Sliced cheesecake on a cake stand.

Which Cheesecake is Better: Bake or No-Bake?

While both are inarguably delicious, there is something really special about baked cheesecake. It has a smoother, creamier, denser, more velvety texture. No-bake cheesecakes tend to be lighter and fluffier with a texture more similar to that of mousse.

Both are delicious, but a baked cheesecake is hard to beat!

What Does Putting a Cheesecake in a Water Bath Do?

A water bath is the secret to the perfect creamy cheesecake! The water helps regulate the temperature of the cheesecake so that it bakes slowly and evenly. It also creates a more moist environment so there’s less risk of the cheesecake drying out and cracking.

Overall, the water bath is super important. Don’t skip it!

Slice of cheesecake with whipped cream on a spatula.

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

Valentine’s Day Cheesecake

5 from 1 vote
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Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cool Time: 11 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

Cheesecake Filling

  • 32 ounces block-style cream cheese, 4 (8 ounce) full-fat packages; softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup Valentine’s Day M&Ms, (Plus additional M&M’s for decorating the top)
  • 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.
    1 ⅓ cups graham cracker crumbs
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 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.
    32 ounces block-style cream cheese
    1 cup granulated sugar
  • Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla 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.
    ⅓ cup sour cream
    3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • With the mixer running on low, add the eggs. Then slowly stream in the heavy cream.
    4 large eggs
    1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Sift in the cornstarch a little at a time. Once all of the cornstarch has been mixed in, stop the mixer.
    ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 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.
    1 cup Valentine’s Day 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.
    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.
    whipped cream
  • 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: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 777mg | Potassium: 287mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 738IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 329mg | Iron: 1mg
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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