This ultra creamy, super decadent chocolate orange cheesecake is the absolute dreamiest! Plus, we’ve got lots of tips and tricks to make baking this showstopper a piece of (cheese)cake!
Intense chocolate meets fresh and citrusy orange in this decadently rich chocolate orange cheesecake! Featuring an Oreo cookie crumb crust, a velvety smooth chocolate orange filling and chocolate ganache topping, this cheesecake recipe is the perfect festive dessert for the holidays!
Our chocolate orange cheesecake recipe calls for all of the typical cheesecake ingredients, along with orange zest and juice!
- Oreos: Crushed Oreo cookies form the base of our chocolate orange cheesecake. For more detailed crust tips, make sure to check out our Oreo cheesecake crust recipe.
- Unsalted butter: The butter is melted and mixed with the crushed Oreos to form the crust.
- Semi-sweet chocolate: Use high-quality semi-sweet chocolate to ensure a rich and balanced chocolate flavor in your cheesecake.
- Heavy cream: The heavy cream is mixed with the chopped chocolate to form ganache. You’ll mix ganache into the cheesecake and use it again to top the cheesecake.
- Cream cheese: Any brand of full-fat cream cheese, such as Philadelphia, will work well for this cheesecake.
- Granulated sugar: The sugar sweetens the cheesecake filling, providing the perfect balance to the richness of the chocolate and cream cheese.
- Orange juice and zest: Orange juice and finely grated orange zest bring a vibrant citrusy kick to your chocolate orange cheesecake.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: A bit of cocoa powder adds a deep chocolate flavor without additional sweetness, creating a rich and indulgent base for the cheesecake.
- Sour cream: Sour cream adds a subtle tanginess that complements the sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Eggs: Eggs act as a binding agent, contributing to the structure and stability of the cheesecake.
- Vanilla extract: A whole tablespoon goes into the chocolate orange cheesecake to enhance the other flavors.
- Kosher salt: Just a pinch of salt balances the flavors.
- Candied oranges: I made my own candied oranges for this cheesecake. But you can also buy candied orange slices at grocery stores. I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s, especially around the holidays!
Step by step instructions and photos
Step 1: Start by making the crust for the chocolate orange cheesecake. Combine the melted butter with the crushed Oreo cookies until evenly coated.
Step 2: Pour the cookie mixture into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan to form an even crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 325°F (160°F).
Step 3: Beat the room temperature cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer.
To quickly soften cream cheese, you can microwave it on 50% power in 20 second increments until slightly warm.
Step 4: Rub the orange zest into the granulated sugar with your fingertips. This helps to release the essential oils from the orange zest, intensifying the citrus flavor and infusing it into the sugar. Add the citrusy sugar, cocoa powder and salt to the cream cheese and mix until fully incorporated.
Step 5: Add the sour cream, vanilla extract and orange juice to the cheesecake batter. Mix until fully incorporated.
Step 6: Add the eggs to the batter one at a time, beating after each addition. Make sure not to overmix here – beat the eggs until just combined.
Step 7: Make the ganache! Place the chopped chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small pot over medium heat until it just begins to simmer and a film forms over the top. Pour over the chocolate, cover tightly and set aside for three minutes.
Step 8: Whisk the ganache until completely smooth. If your chocolate isn’t completely melted, you can heat the bowl in the microwave in 5 second increments until the mixture is smooth.
Step 9: Once the ganache has cooled slightly, pour it into the cheesecake batter. Fold the mixture into the cheesecake batter until fully incorporated.
Step 10: Pour the chocolate orange cheesecake batter into the cooled Oreo crust.
Step 11: Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes at 325°F (160°C). Reduce heat to 250°F (120°C) and bake an additional 35-40 minutes or until the cheesecake is mostly set around the edges, but still very jiggly in the center. Turn off the oven, leave it slightly cracked and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 30 minutes.
Expert Tip: The cheesecake is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Don’t worry about poking your cheesecake with a thermometer – this won’t cause any cracks. Cracks in cheesecakes are caused by overbaking.
Step 12: Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then transfer to the oven for at least six hours (and preferably overnight).
Step 13: Release the chocolate orange cheesecake from the springform pan. Garnish with a layer of chocolate ganache and candied orange slices.
Storage and freezing
Your chocolate orange cheesecake will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days. Because the candied oranges can cause the ganache to soften, I recommend adding them on the day of serving.
To freeze, wrap individual cheesecake slices or the entire cheesecake in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. The cheesecake will keep well in the freezer for up to three months.
Expert Tip: I don’t recommend freezing the chocolate ganache topping or candied orange garnish. It’s best to add these final touches after thawing.
To thaw the cheesecake, place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Unwrap the cheesecake an hour or two before serving.
Expert tips and tricks
Making cheesecake can be tricky! Here are some of our favorite tips to make sure your chocolate orange cheesecake comes out beautifully:
- Choose quality ingredients. Use full-fat cream cheese and sour cream and make sure you’re using a quality chocolate. I recommend bar chocolate over chocolate chips for making a smoother ganache.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Using room temperature cream cheese and sour cream will help the ingredients blend together smoothly, preventing any lumps in your cheesecake.
- Avoid overbaking. Overbaking cheesecake is incredibly common. Your cheesecake is ready when the edges are set. The center will still be wobbly. I highly recommend checking the internal temperature using an instant read thermometer. It should be at 145°F (63°C) when you turn off the oven and will increase a few degrees as it rests in the warm oven.
And for all of our best cheesecake tips and tricks, make sure to check out our guide to New York Style Cheesecake!
Recipe variations and substitutions
- Switch out the Oreos. You can use your favorite cookies or even graham crackers for the crust!
- Use other citrus. While I’ve only tested this recipe with navel oranges, it would also work well with blood oranges or even lemons!
- Garnish with Terry’s chocolate orange slices. This cheesecake is basically a Terry’s chocolate orange in cheesecake form! Instead of candied oranges, you can decorate the cheesecake with Terry’s chocolate orange slices!
Yes, full-fat cream cheese provides the best flavor and texture in this cheesecake recipe. Make sure to use cream cheese in brick form for best results.
Cracks in cheesecake are caused by overbaking. To prevent overbaking, we bake the cheesecake at a higher temperature for 30 minutes, followed by a much lower temperature until it’s cooked to perfection. Use a digital thermometer to check the cheesecake’s internal temperature. It should be 145°F (63°C) when you turn off the oven and carryover heat will take it to the ideal temperature of 150°F (66°C).
Nope! Especially around the holidays, many grocery stores carry already candied orange slices. Trader Joe’s regularly has them in stock. You can also use candied orange peels!
Yes! I recommend making this cheesecake 1-2 days ahead of time, but adding the ganache and candied orange garnish on the day of serving.
This chocolate orange cheesecake recipe was designed to be perfectly smooth and creamy without a water bath. As long as you avoid overbaking the cheesecake, a water bath is completely unnecessary!
To achieve professional looking cheesecake slices, use a sharp, non-serrated knife. Run the knife under hot water and dry it off before each cut. Pro Tip: Freeze the cheesecake for an hour or two before slicing to make it even easier.
Loving this chocolate orange cheesecake recipe? For more cheesecake inspiration, check out these recipes:
- Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
- Classic New York Cheesecake
- Toblerone Cheesecake
- San Sebastian Cheesecake
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
- Apple Crumble Cheesecake
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