This Huckleberry Cheesecake recipe is ridiculously good! The cheesecake is rich, dense, and incredible on its own, and made even better with the tart and sweet huckleberry topping!
If you don't have access to fresh huckleberries, we also include a recipe where you can make this with huckleberry preserves.
What are Huckleberries?
Huckleberries are similar to blueberries, but a little bit smaller, and they are a delightful combination of tart and sweet. The huckleberry flavor balances a rich cheesecake perfectly, giving it just the right level of tanginess.
Huckleberries grow in the wild in the Pacific Northwest, usually reaching their peak in ripeness in August. They are tiny berries that are picked individually off the plant. Because it is so time-consuming to harvest huckleberries they are a pricy berry that is highly coveted.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Rich Cheesecake Base - The filling for this cheesecake is similar to a classic New York cheesecake. That means it has a lot of cream cheese is dense with a smooth texture.
Sweet and Tangy Flavor - Huckleberries have a delicious, unique flavor that is both tart and sweet.
Make Ahead - Cheesecake is best after it has been chilled for 8 hours, so you can make this recipe the day before an event so you aren't rushing around at the last minute
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
- Cream Cheese: This recipe uses two pounds of cream cheese, which makes it creamy, dense, and delicious! Use full-fat cream cheese for the best results.
- Eggs: Eggs add more creaminess to the cheesecake, and contribute to the rich texture. But too many eggs can cause your cheesecake to crack. I have found that 4 large eggs and 2 egg yolks is perfect.
- Flour: Another way we fight against cracks is by adding flour to the cheesecake. This provides structure to the cheesecake and helps it to stand firm.
- Sour Cream: Adds moisture to the cheesecake, without making it too liquidy.
- Lemon Juice: Boosts the flavor and helps break down the cream cheese, resulting in a smooth cheesecake. Lime juice can also be used.
- Graham Crackers: This makes a classic cheesecake crust. Digestive biscuits can be substituted. And you can also try this with other types of cookies, like shortbread or ginger snaps.
- Huckleberries: If you live in the Pacific Northwest then you can usually find huckleberries at local groceries stores and farmers markets between July and September. Since I am in Texas, I purchased mine frozen from Northwest Wild Foods. If you have extra huckleberries be sure to try this homemade Huckleberry Pie!
How to Make Huckleberry Cheesecake
1) Make the Crust
- If you are using whole graham crackers, turn them into crumbs by pulsing them in a food processor or crushing them in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin.
- Stir the graham cracker crumbs in a medium bowl with melted butter, sugar, and salt, until the mixture looks like fine sand.
- Wrap your springform pan with aluminum foil so that the water bath does not leak into your cheesecake.
- It can be tricky to get a crust distributed evenly. To make this easier, use a measuring cup or flat-bottomed glass to press in the crust to the bottom and sides of your springform pan.
- When the crust bakes, the sides may slip down. But don't fret! Just use that same measuring cup while the crust is still warm, and you can press the sides back up.
2) Make the Filling
- use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer to beat the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until it is smooth.
- Add each ingredient individually, scraping the bowl in between each addition so that everything is mixed in fully.
- It is okay to beat your cream cheese and sugar together on high speed but mix the rest of the ingredients in on low speed until they are just incorporated.
- Fold the huckleberries in last.
3) Bake Cheesecake
- Pour the creamy filling into the prepared graham cracker crust, then place the foil-wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan in the bottom ⅓ of your oven.
- Carefully pour boiling hot water into the roasting pan and cook for 90-100 minutes.
- Look for your cheesecake to be just developing some light brown spots, with the middle still being a little bit jiggly.
- Turn your oven off and crack the door open. Let the cheesecake cool slowly for an hour.
- Remove from the oven and refrigerate for 8 hours.
4) Prepare Huckleberry Sauce
- Place the huckleberries, water, and sugar into a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. This softens the huckleberries and draws out the juices.
- Mix the cornstarch with lemon juice until it is smooth. This makes a slurry, which is a starch and liquid mixed to thicken a sauce. Add the slurry to the huckleberry mixture and cook it for a few minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
- If you want your topping thinner, then add more water, a half tablespoon at a time. If you want it thicker, make another slurry and add a half teaspoon at a time to the mixture.
- Let the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This helps your ingredients incorporate together without having to overmix.
- Don't overmix. Mixing your cheesecake batter heavily will add too much air into your cheesecake. Then when it bakes the cheesecake will fall, causing cracks in the surface.
- That said, don't stress if the cheesecake cracks! This cheesecake is covered with huckleberry topping so no one will know!
- Let the cheesecake cool slowly in the oven without disturbing it. This helps prevent cracking.
Do I Have to Use a Water Bath?
The cheesecake will still turn out even if you do not use a water bath. But a water bath releases steam that allows your cheesecake to cook evenly and also keeps it from cracking.
Using a water bath is not as scary as it sounds! Just follow these simple steps.
- The most important part of preparing for a water bath is wrapping your springform pan with heavy-duty foil. Use foil that is 18" wide so that you can use an 18x18-inch square. Place the pan in the middle of the foil and bring the foil up around the pan. The pan should be wrapped where there are no creases or holes on the bottom half of the pan, where water can get in.
- A silicone springform pan wrap is a great alternative to aluminum foil! Give it a try if you are concerned about water leaking into your pan.
- Place the springform pan, filled with the cheesecake, in a large roasting pan. If you do not have a large enough pan, you can place the springform pan directly on an oven rack and put the water in a pan on the rack below. While this may not work as effectively, it is still an improvement compared to not using a water bath at all.
- Pour boiling water into the pan, being careful to not splash into the cheesecake. Fill the roasting pan with 1 inch of water.
- About halfway through baking, check the pan and add more water, if needed.
You can easily substitute blueberries if you do not have access to huckleberries. You can also make this recipe using strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries!
This recipe can be made in a 9x13 pan or two cake pans. Check your cheesecake after it has been cooking for an hour, as the baking time will vary based on the pan that you are using.
This recipe is best using full-fat cream cheese. You can substitute Neufchatel cheese but the cheesecake will have a creamier texture.
Cheesecake will last up to 5 days if stored properly. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
More Cheesecake Recipes
Huckleberry CheesecakeRecipe by:
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs about 12 full graham cracker sheets, 180 grams
- ⅓ cup sugar 67 grams
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 85 grams
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 32 ounces cream cheese (4 eight-ounce blocks), room temperature
- 1 ¾ cups sugar 350 grams
- 3 tablespoons flour 24 grams
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup sour cream 123 grams, room temperature
- 1 cup huckleberries 5 ounces
- 2 cup huckleberries 10 ounces
- ½ cup sugar 100 grams
- ¼ cup water 60 ml
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
Graham Cracker Crust
- Pulse graham crackers in a food processor to create fine crumbs. Alternatively, you can crush the crackers in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin.
- Transfer the graham cracker crumbs to a medium bowl and add the sugar, melted butter, and salt. Mix until fully combined.1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, ⅓ cup sugar, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Wrap the outside of a springform pan with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Using a flat-bottomed measuring cup or glass, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325° (165°C).
- If the crust has fallen or crumbled then use the measuring cup to press back against the sides while it is still warm
- Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese for 1 minute. Add sugar and continue beating for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.32 ounces cream cheese, 1 ¾ cups sugar
- Add flour and mix until incorporated. Then add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat on low speed until combined.3 tablespoons flour, 4 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed in between each addition. Scrape the bowl before adding the next egg.4 eggs, 2 egg yolks
- Mix sour cream into the mixture, using low speed. Then fold in 1 cup of huckleberries.½ cup sour cream, 1 cup huckleberries
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust and use a spoon or spatula to smooth the batter.
- Pour several cups of water into a large stock pan or tea kettle and bring to a boil.
- Place the cheesecake into a roasting pan. Pour the boiling water into the pan until it reaches 1 inch up the sides of the pan.
- Bake the cheesecake at 325¯F (165°C) for 90-100 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set. The edges should be slightly puffed and golden brown and the middle of the cheesecake will still be jiggly.
- Turn the oven off and crack open the oven door, allowing the cheesecake to cool for 1 hour without moving it from the oven.
- Remove from the oven and discard the foil. Run a knife around the edge of the pan so that the cheesecake does not stick. Place plastic wrap over the top of the cheesecake and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Place huckleberries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.2 cup huckleberries, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup water
- In a small bowl, make a slurry of cornstarch and lemon juice, mixing together until smooth.2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Stir the cornstarch slurry into the huckleberries and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until thickened, then remove from the stove and cool to room temperature.
- When ready to serve, remove the outer ring from the springform pan and pour the huckleberry topping over the top of the cheesecake.
- You can beat your cream cheese and sugar on high speed, but after they are whipped mix everything else on low speed.
- Room temperature ingredients help all of the ingredients incorporate fully.
This recipe was originally published on December 8, 2020. It was updated on June 6, 2023, with new images, as well as additional tips and ingredient information to help you make the best cheesecake! I also modified the recipe to add huckleberries to the cheesecake in addition to the topping. Here is one of the original recipe photos.