Layers of crisp sweet n’ salty pretzel crust, vanilla cheesecake, homemade caramel, and sea salt make this Instant Pot Salted Caramel Cheesecake heavenly. A decadent Instant Pot dessert everyone will love!
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Did you know you can make CHEESECAKE in the INSTANT POT?!?!
Break out the Instant Pot and secure the pressure release. We’re heading to cheesecake heaven with this Instant Pot Salted Caramel Cheesecake recipe!
Made right in the Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker), this cheesecake is sure to wow everyone with its beauty and favors, and you’ll be amazed at how simple it really is to make.
This decadent sweet and salty dessert is built layer upon layer! A crunchie sweetened pretzel crust holds this amazing dessert apart. Then comes the velvety vanilla cheesecake topped with smooth, rich homemade caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Instant Pot lovers… let this Instant Pot Salted Caramel Cheesecake take you to cheesecake heaven and beyond! You won’t regret it!
WHY DO CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE MIXING?
Cheesecake is a smooth, creamy, dense dessert. If the ingredients or an ingredient is colder or warmer than the rest, your batter will come out lumpy. To achieve that elegant velvety smooth texture (with no lumps) make sure ALL the ingredients are at room temperature.
If you forget this step, it’s not the end of the world. The cheesecake will still taste good but it will most likely not be as smooth as it could have been.
With this cheesecake, the 3 main ingredients you’ll want to pull out of the fridge to come to room temperature are:
- cream cheese
- sour cream
Depending on the ambient temperature of your kitchen, it will take anywhere from 1-2 hours to come to room temperature. If these 3 ingredients are room temperature when you mix them, they will blend together nicely and give you a smooth, silky cheesecake batter.
PRO TIP: Make sure the ingredients come to room temperature on their own. If you decide you don’t have time to wait, place your cream cheese (while still sealed) in warm water. Don’t microwave it. Microwaving cream cheese creates hot spots and can actually make your batter even lumpier.
DID I OVERMIX MY CHEESECAKE BATTER?
This salted caramel cheesecake is meant to be dense, rich and creamy. Over mixing the batter will incorporate additional (unwanted) air bubbles into the batter.
The batter will be very thick before baking which makes it almost impossible for trapped air bubbles to escape. Air bubbles create a lighter cheesecake… but with this cheesecake, that’s not what we’re going for. Dense and rich is where it’s at.
If you happen to over mix the batter, you can tap it on the counter before or after pouring it into the pan. The more you tap the more air bubbles you’ll be able to release.
Once you’ve poured the batter into the 7-inch springform pan, you can also gently scrape the top half inch to inch with a fork. This will also help remove air bubbles.
If you over mix the batter and don’t tap the bubbles out, it’ll still taste great, it just won’t be as dense.
I DON’T HAVE AN INSTANT POT, CAN I BAKE THIS CHEESECAKE IN THE OVEN?
I’m sure you can bake this recipe, but I haven’t. I’ve made this recipe multiple times in a 6-quart Instant Pot but not in the oven.
This recipe is designed to cook in an electric pressure cooker. This recipe could be baked in the oven but the bake time would have to be calculated, which I haven’t done.
You can use any brand of electric pressure cooker. Results should be fairly similar when made using a 6-quart pressure cooker.
If you venture to oven bake this cheesecake, I’d love to hear about it. Drop a comment on this post so others can hear about it too. 🙂
AFTER COOKING, THERE’S LIQUID ON TOP OF MY CHEESECAKE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
This is normal. There will be a small amount of liquid that will form around the rim of the cheesecake.
You will need to take a clean paper towel and gently dab the extra moisture and water off the top and around the rim of the pan.
When the timer beeps on the Instant Pot immediately turn the pressure cooker off or unplug it (if left alone it will automatically switch to “warm” and will depressurize much slower–that’s not what you want. Make sure the pressure cooker is set to OFF).
Allow the cooker to depressurize naturally after turning it off. It usually takes about 15-25 minutes.
Once it has naturally released carefully remove the lid to avoid dropping any additional moisture on to the top of the cheesecake.
Then, using a paper towel, dab any moisture off the cheesecake that may have collected after opening the lid.
Make sure you don’t press too hard and damage the surface. If you puncture the surface, this can create a weak spot and as the cheesecake cools, it may crack. This doesn’t affect the flavor, just the look of it.
WHAT CARAMEL SHOULD I USE FOR THIS SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE?
USING HOMEMADE CARAMEL (MY FAVORITE!!!):
If you make this caramel recipe, you will have extra caramel. You only need about a 1/2 cup of caramel for this salted caramel cheesecake. Try these Homemade Twix Bars with the extra caramel. They are sinfully good!
This caramel recipe is pretty quick to whip up and fairly inexpensive. If you follow the directions it’s a simple recipe.
Side note— In December 2019, I helped make over 450 gourmet caramel apples using this caramel recipe. They were SOOOO good and of course, the caramel was the star.
I can honestly say I’ve made this caramel recipe dozens of times and it really is the best homemade soft caramel recipe I’ve had/made!
USING STORE-BOUGHT CARAMEL SQUARES:
You can also use store-bought caramel squares for this salted caramel cheesecake recipe. You’ll need about 14-15 squares plus about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream to help soften the caramel.
Place the unwrapped caramel squares and cream in a deep microwave-safe bowl.
Heat it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until the caramel and cream are fully blended together. Let the hot caramel cool (not hot but still spreadable) before adding it to the cheesecake.
CAN I USE TABLE SALT INSTEAD OF SEA SALT TO SPRINKLE ON TOP OF THIS INSTANT POT CHEESECAKE?
I don’t recommend using table salt on this salted caramel cheesecake. If you don’t have sea salt, you can use coarse ground pink Himalayan salt or omit the salt on top all together.
Often times table salt is iodized which changes the flavor. For this salted caramel cheesecake, a “lighter” tasting salt such as sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is what we want.
You can use coarse ground, flakes or even fine sea salt. If you only have finely ground sea salt, that will work too. I will offer the saltiness but will lack the crunch and elegance course or flakes would offer.
Another option, check the bottom of your pretzel bag. Often times salt from the pretzels will fall to the bottom of the bag. This salt may not be sea salt but it will be course. You can use this to sprinkle on top to finish your cheesecake.
IF YOU’RE A CHEESECAKE LOVER TRY THESE RECIPES:
- Cheesecake French Toast Muffins
- 5-Minute Cherry Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Easy Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- Cherry Cheesecake Pinwheels
- Instant Pot Eggnog Cheesecake
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE INSTANT POT DESSERT?
I love hearing from my readers! Shoot me an email or drop a comment! 🙂
- 75 grams pretzels, about 3/4 cup crushed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 T flour
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
Vanilla Cheesecake Filling:
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temp.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temp.
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 Tbs corn starch
- 1/2 cup Softened Caramel, homemade recipe or about 14-15 small caramel squares with 1 Tbs cream
- coarse salt
- Combine crushed pretzels, sugar, and flour together. Add melted butter. Using a fork, mix until dry ingredients are moist and will hold together. Press mixture into parchment-lined 7-inch springform or cheesecake pan. Set aside until cheesecake mixture is ready.
Vanilla Cheesecake Filling:
- Lightly beat cream cheese to break up. Add sour cream and sugar. Blend for 20-30 seconds.
- Add eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and cornstarch. Beat only until combined - don't over mix.
- Scrap side of bowl.
- Pour cheesecake mixture into prepared pan (over pretzel crust).
- Carefully tap pan onto counter or table to release any large air bubbles.
- Place wire rack in bottom of Instant Pot. Add 1 cup cold water.
- Using a tinfoil sling, carefully lower cheesecake into Instant Pot. Secure lid and set pressure release to close.
- Cook cheesecake for 30 minutes using manual HIGH pressure. When timer beeps turn Instant Pot OFF. Let cheesecake natural release (depressurize and cool without manually releasing pressure). This will take 10-20 minutes.
- Once pressure has released, open lid carefully without dripping condensation from lid onto cheesecake.
- Gently dab top of cheesecake with a paper towel to remove liquid that may be on the surface.
- Remove and set on wire rack to cool. Once it has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 2-4 hours. This will help it become firm.
- Once the cheesecake has become firm, carefully add softened caramel to top. Try this amazing homemade caramel recipe or use store bought caramel squares (14-15 caramel + 1 Tbs cream to soften).
- Sprinkle caramel with coarse or flakes of salt.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Use a warm clean knife to get smooth cuts through the caramel and cheesecake.
OP: 2.10.19 Updated: 4.14.21