Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake

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Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake

  • Author: olivia hartwellen
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x


Indulging in the rich flavors of Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake today! This gourmet delight combines the aromatic vanilla with the nutty essence of browned butter for an unforgettable dessert experience.



Brown Butter

  • 1 cup butter

Brown Butter Crust

  • 2 cups graham digestive or golden oreo cookie crumbs, 240g (if oreo, cream should be removed)
  • 1 cup pecans ground, 115g
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon browned butter 120g
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Brown Butter Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 packages cream cheese, 452g (at room temperature, soft)
  • ¼ cup brown butter, 57g (try to get mostly the bottom brown bits, less of the yellow liquid)
  • ½ cup labne or sour cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar, 210g
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Two large eggs

Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (can use vanilla bean scrapings too)


  • Brown the butter: Have a heatproof bowl ready and a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Set the butter in a saucepan and turn the heat on to medium. Once the butter is melted turn the heat to medium high and cook as it sputters and spits, then foams, then goes nearly quiet. You’ll see brown bits on the bottom and it will smell nutty. Immediately pour it into the bowl, scraping the pan to get all the little brown bits. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Make the crust: preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and line a tall 8 or 9” cake pan with parchment paper. It’s okay if the paper crinkles on the sides, use metal clips to hold it in place as pictured.
  • In a bowl, stir together the ground pecans, cookie crumbs, powdered sugar and ½ cup plus 1 TB of the yellow liquid of the browned butter (reserve most of the browned bits for the filling). Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Try to get an even layer of crumbs on the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 F.
  • Make the filling: Beat together the softened cream cheese, sugar, salt, 3-4 TB of the bits of browned butter you reserved, and vanilla bean scrapings until smooth and no lumps remain (you may have to scrape down the bowl a few times). Add the sour cream and beat until smooth, scraping down as needed. Add the eggs and beat to just combine. If there’s still lumps, pour the filling into the cooled crust through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits.
  • Bake the cheesecake: Fill a 13×9” cake pan halfway with warm water and set the cheesecake in the center. Place the cheesecake in its water bath in the oven and bake for at least an hour but probably closer to 1 hour 15 minutes. It’s done when it’s no longer jiggly in the center and the top looks a bit matte. Shut off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside, prop open the oven with a wooden spoon and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. When you take it out, it should be cool enough to do so without oven mitts. Leave it on the counter for another half hour then refrigerate. Cheesecake should chill for 8 hours minimum.
  • For the whipped cream: in a food processor, process the heavy cream, vanilla, salt and sugar for a minute or two, until the cream is thick enough to scoop but not overwhipped. Top on the cheesecake and serve.
  • Store the cheesecake in the fridge. It’ll keep for about a week.


  1. Browning the Butter: The process of browning the butter is crucial for this recipe as it adds a deep, nutty flavor to both the crust and the filling. Make sure to watch the butter carefully as it cooks to avoid burning. The browned bits at the bottom of the pan are packed with flavor and should be included in the recipe as directed.
  2. Room Temperature Ingredients: For the cheesecake filling, it’s important to use room temperature cream cheese. This ensures a smooth, lump-free batter. Cold cream cheese can lead to a clumpy mixture, which affects the final texture of the cheesecake.
  3. Cooling Time: This cheesecake requires a considerable amount of cooling and chilling time to set properly. After baking, it should be left in the oven to cool gradually, then further cooled at room temperature before being chilled in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Rushing this process can result in a cheesecake that hasn’t fully set, impacting its texture and flavor.
  • Prep Time: 45MINUTES
  • Cook Time: 1HOUR
  • Category: Desserts
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 10 servings
  • Calories: N/A

Expert Tips for Perfecting Your Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake

Creating a decadent Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake is an art that combines rich flavors and creamy textures. Here are some expert tips to help you achieve perfection:

Achieving the Perfect Brown Butter: The key to unlocking the rich, nutty flavor of this cheesecake is perfectly browned butter. Cook the butter over medium heat and stay vigilant as it transitions from golden to brown, ensuring not to burn it. The nutty aroma and golden specks are your cues that it’s done.

Smooth Cheesecake Filling: To ensure your cheesecake filling is impeccably smooth and free of lumps, allow all your ingredients, especially the cream cheese, to come to room temperature before mixing. This facilitates easier blending for a silky-smooth texture.

Preventing Cracks: Cheesecake surfaces often crack due to temperature shocks. Bake your cheesecake in a water bath to maintain even heat distribution and prevent cracking. Additionally, avoid opening the oven door frequently.

Cooling Gradually: Patience is crucial when cooling your cheesecake. Allow it to cool inside the turned-off oven with the door slightly ajar for about an hour before moving it to the counter. This slow cooling process helps prevent the surface from cracking.

Chilling to Perfection: For the best texture and flavor, chill your cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. This step is essential for the cheesecake to set properly and develop its flavors.

Serving Suggestions: Serve your Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a sprinkle of vanilla bean seeds or a drizzle of caramel sauce for an extra touch of elegance.

Storage Tips: This cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for longer storage. To freeze, slice the cheesecake and place the slices on a baking sheet. Once frozen, wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container.

By following these tips, your Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake will not only look stunning but also taste divine, making it a memorable treat for any occasion.

Serving and Presentation Tips for Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake

Elevate your Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake with these serving and presentation tips to impress your guests and make your dessert the highlight of any meal.

1. Garnishing for Elegance:

Fresh Berries: Top your cheesecake with a selection of fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries for a burst of color and freshness.

Edible Flowers: Edible flowers such as pansies or violas add a touch of sophistication and are perfect for special occasions.

Mint Leaves: A few mint leaves can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the cheesecake.

2. Sauce Drizzles:

Caramel Sauce: A warm caramel drizzle not only adds flavor but also creates a visually appealing effect. Try a salted caramel for a sweet and savory twist.

Chocolate Ganache: A drizzle of silky chocolate ganache can make your cheesecake even more irresistible. Consider using dark, milk, or white chocolate depending on your preference.

3. Dusting and Sprinkles:

Powdered Sugar: A light dusting of powdered sugar just before serving adds a simple yet elegant finish.

Crushed Nuts: A sprinkle of crushed pecans or almonds can introduce a delightful crunch and echo the nuttiness of the brown butter.

4. Creative Slicing:

Serve slices of cheesecake on individual plates with a sauce drizzle and a garnish on the side. Experiment with different angles or shapes for the slices to create visual interest.

5. Plate Decoration:

Use sauce, syrups, or coulis to draw designs on the plate before placing a slice of cheesecake on top. Simple swirls, dots, or zigzags can add an artistic touch to your presentation.

6. Texture Contrast:

Accompany each slice with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream to introduce a contrast in textures. Vanilla, caramel, or berry flavors complement the cheesecake well.

7. Beverage Pairing:

Offer a beverage that complements the flavors of the cheesecake. A dessert wine, coffee, or a glass of milk can enhance the overall dessert experience.

Remember, the presentation is nearly as important as the taste. These tips will help you serve your Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake in style, making any occasion a little more special.

FAQs for Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake

Q: Can I use regular butter instead of brown butter?

A: While you can use regular butter, brown butter adds a deep, nutty flavor that significantly enhances the cheesecake. It’s highly recommended to follow the step for browning the butter to achieve the full flavor profile.

Q: What can I use if I don’t have a vanilla bean?

A: If a vanilla bean is not available, you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of high-quality pure vanilla extract. The flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.

Q: How do I know when the cheesecake is perfectly baked?

A: The cheesecake is done when the edges are set, but the center still jiggles slightly when gently shaken. Overbaking can lead to a dry texture, so it’s crucial to monitor closely towards the end of baking time.

Q: Can this cheesecake be made gluten-free?

A: Yes, to make this cheesecake gluten-free, use gluten-free graham crackers or cookies for the crust. Ensure all other ingredients are certified gluten-free.

Q: Why did my cheesecake crack, and how can I prevent it?

A: Cracks can occur due to sudden temperature changes or overbaking. To prevent cracks, bake the cheesecake in a water bath and cool it slowly in the oven after turning it off.

Q: Can I freeze the cheesecake?

A: Yes, this cheesecake freezes well. Cool it completely and either freeze it whole or in slices. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. It can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Q: How long can I store the cheesecake in the refrigerator?

A: Properly stored in an airtight container, the cheesecake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Q: Can I use store-bought caramel or chocolate sauce as a topping?

A: Absolutely! Drizzling store-bought caramel or chocolate sauce over the cheesecake before serving adds an extra layer of flavor and makes for a beautiful presentation.

Q: What’s the best way to serve the cheesecake?

A: For the best texture, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to serve it. This allows it to soften slightly for the perfect creamy texture.

Q: My cheesecake filling seems lumpy. What did I do wrong?

A: Lumps in the filling usually occur if the cream cheese wasn’t soft enough. Ensure your cream cheese is at room temperature before mixing. If you still have lumps, you can strain the filling through a fine mesh sieve before pouring it into the crust.


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