This easy Vanilla Wafer Crust makes the ideal base for creamy cheesecakes. The crisp crust lends a more refined vanilla flavor than a traditional graham cracker crust, which allows the cheesecake filling to shine.
As someone who makes cheesecake often, I've always relied on graham crackers for my crust base. However, when baking a festive Little Debbie-inspired cheesecake recently, I decided to try a vanilla wafer cookie crust instead.
After one bite cutting through the crispy, delicate cookie crust into the smooth filling, I was hooked! This subtle, sweet vanilla wafer crust lets the cheesecake shine while adding wonderful texture.
This easy recipe is a fun spin for whenever you feel like changing things up from a classic crumb crust.
Vanilla Wafer Cookies - Nabisco or generic brands work equally well. Mini vanilla wafers can also be substituted.
Granulated Sugar - I usually make this recipe with white sugar, but brown sugar can be used if you want a deeper flavor. I also like brown sugar when doing a no-bake crust as it has a little more moisture in it.
Butter - If you are using unsalted butter then you may want to add a pinch of salt.
How to Make Vanilla Wafer Cheesecake Crust
1) Crush the Cookies
- Pulse the vanilla wafers into fine crumbs using a food processor.
- If you don't have a food processor, seal the cookies in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
- The smaller the crumbs the better the crust will hold together.
2) Add Sugar
- Transfer the cookie crumbs to a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar.
3) Mix in Butter
- Place the butter in a small bowl and microwave using 30-second increments.
- You can also melt on the stovetop if you prefer.
- Pour in melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand.
4) Press into Pan and Bake
- Press the crumbs in an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
- I like to use a measuring cup or glass with a flat bottom to help smooth and compact the unbaked crust.
- Pressing firmly prevents cracks as the crust bakes.
- You can use your finger as a stopping point around the sides of the pan so that the crust is level.
- Bake at 325°F (165°C) for 8 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- Let it cool completely before adding your creamy cheesecake filling.
Pro Tip: If cracks develop, use the cup to press the sides back in place while it is still warm.
Bake vs No-Bake Cookie Crust
The benefit of baking the crust is that it increases the stability. The ingredients are set together and will hold their shape.
It's an important step when preparing a baked cheesecake. If you skip it then you will end up with a soggy crust.
If you are making a no-bake cheesecake and don't want to turn on your oven that's okay! This crust will still work, it will just be a little more crumbly. It's also fine to skip the baking when making cheesecake parfaits.
A no-bake crust needs to be refrigerated for at least 15 minutes before adding the filling.
Yes, this recipe is enough for 24 individual cheesecakes. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and scoop 1 ½ tablespoons of fine crumbs into each cup and pack them tightly against the liner. Bake for 5 minutes, then cool completely.
Definitely! Just pour the crumb mixture into a pie pan and press firmly across the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. You may have ¼ cup or so leftover. The bake time is the same.
Sure, it's fine to bake a day or two ahead. Just wrap it with aluminum foil or plastic and store it at room temperature until you are ready to use it. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
More Cheesecake Recipes
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Vanilla Wafer Cheesecake CrustRecipe by:
- 65 Vanilla wafer cookies 2 cups of crumbs
- 6 tablespoons salted butter melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Place the vanilla wafer cookies into a food processor and pulse them until they are fine crumbs. If you do not have a food processor, place them in a large resealable plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or mallet.65 Vanilla wafer cookies
- Transfer the crumbs to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, then add the melted butter. Mix until fully combined and the texture of wet sand.6 tablespoons salted butter, ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Using a flat-bottomed measuring cup or glass, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a springform pan.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F. (165°C).
- Before the crust has cooled, check to see if the sides have fallen or cracked. While it is still warm you can use a cup to press the crust back into place. Cool completely.