Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

5 from 1 reviews
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This cheesecake is a vanilla lover's dream: a buttery macadamia nut crust, creamy vanilla bean cheesecake, tangy sour cream topping, and a fluffy vanilla bean whipped cream mousse. I love making this as bars because they're so simple. The crust is looser than you might be used to because macadamia nuts don't grind up as fine as, say, graham crumbs, the taste is worth it! Plan in advance for this recipe: this dessert is best after it's chilled for 6 hours or more.
Serves: 12
Macadamia Nut Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Ingredients:
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • seeds scraped from 1/4 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • seeds scraped from 3/4 of a vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1. Make the macadamia nut crust: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling. Pulse the macadamia nuts, powdered sugar, and salt together until the macadamia nuts are finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse to mix. Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan with the flat bottom of a glass or small dish. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until very lightly browning. Leave the oven preheated.
  2. Make the cheesecake: While the crust bakes, make the cheesecake. Beat 1 package of cream cheese, half the sugar, and the cornstarch together on low speed for 3 minutes until creamy. Add the other package of the cream cheese and mix to combine. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the rest of the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until well combined after each. Pour the cheesecake over your prepared crust. Situate the pan down into a larger pan and fill the outer pan with hot water to a depth halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until the cheesecake filling barely jiggles, indicating that it’s set up. Remove to a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  3. Make the topping: Beat together the sour cream, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar together until combined. Pour over your cheesecake starting at the outer edges and moving to the center. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly over the cheesecake. Return the cheesecake to the oven for 10 minutes before removing it to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours.
  4. Make the whipping cream: Put 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Let it soften for 2 minutes before microwaving it for 30 seconds and whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Using a chilled bowl and beater, whisk the 2 cups of heavy cream, vanilla bean seeds, and powdered sugar together until the cream forms stiff peaks, stopping to add gelatin mixture about halfway through. Dollop the cream over your bars and gently spread it around. Spread the mixture evenly over the cheesecake bars. Use the foil sling to remove the bars to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.


37 Comments on Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

  1. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
    March 7, 2016 at 7:26 am (8 years ago)

    That cheesecake looks amazing!!! And your students sound like a lot of fun πŸ™‚

  2. Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
    March 7, 2016 at 8:05 am (8 years ago)

    Your students are so lucky to have you as their teacher. And this cheesecake–wow! Beautiful pictures and I love your new crust πŸ™‚

  3. Kellie @ The Suburban Soapbox
    March 7, 2016 at 9:37 am (8 years ago)

    You’re like the best teacher ever. Reading through a recipe is something I didn’t do for years…I, frequently, would run into problems about 80% of the time. Great life lesson! And that macadamia crust…I think it would be fab all by itself. This dessert looks incredible.

  4. allie @ Through Her Looking Glass
    March 7, 2016 at 10:56 am (8 years ago)

    Sounds like such a delicious Intersession. I have a friend who is a teacher and she taught stained glass windows as her Intersession last year! Everything turned out so beautifully and what a great opportunity for the kids to be exposed to many different things. These cheesecake bars are gorgeous and I’m a sucker for anything vanilla bean. Such beautiful layering!

  5. Olivia @ livforcake
    March 7, 2016 at 11:37 am (8 years ago)

    These look amazing!! Perfectly light and fluffy. Yum.

  6. Heather Baird
    March 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm (8 years ago)

    I’ll have three squares, please.

    You are so wonderful to your students. xo

  7. Alida // Alida's Kitchen
    March 7, 2016 at 9:05 pm (8 years ago)

    I love vanilla anything and everything, this is my dream cheesecake. It looks so tasty!!

  8. Megan Keno
    March 8, 2016 at 2:46 am (8 years ago)

    Holy cow, these look amazing! I could easily eat like 5!

  9. Lisa Lin
    March 10, 2016 at 10:56 am (8 years ago)

    How I wished we had intersession at school when I grew up! I’m actually going to be teaching a group of teenagers how to cook in a few months, so reading your post couldn’t have been more timely! We probably won’t be able to bake anything, but I’m thinking of maybe doing grilled cheese sandwiches with tons of toppings for the attendees to use. Anyway, sounds like a cooking class with teens can be a lot of fun!

    This cheesecake looks wonderful, and I’m sure they would be able to tackle it!

  10. Dawn
    March 28, 2016 at 11:01 pm (8 years ago)

    I actually have a question,how much vanilla bean paste would I use in place of vanilla beans? Thank you

  11. Stacey
    June 6, 2016 at 1:37 pm (8 years ago)

    I ordered my Vanilla Beans today! I can’t wait until I make this!

  12. Emily Helvin
    June 22, 2016 at 11:23 am (8 years ago)

    Hey! I am so ready to make this cheesecake! I was wondering… can I replace the bean with extract (if so, how much?) and the macadamia with almond?
    Thanks so much!

    • Julie Ruble
      June 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm (8 years ago)

      Hi Emily! I think the almonds might burn, not sure! I’ve never tried it. But to replace the vanilla bean with extract, 1 tablespoon of extract = 1 bean.

  13. Dawn
    August 12, 2016 at 11:56 am (8 years ago)

    The crust mixture was very wet. Any ideas on what I did wrong or is this how it should be? I’m just used to graham cracker crusts being a bit more dry.

    • Julie Ruble
      August 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm (8 years ago)

      Mine was too, Dawn — it’s because the nuts don’t absorb the butter like the graham cracker crumbs do. However, mine did hold together nicely. If yours didn’t, you could try decreasing the amount of butter a bit so there’s not so much moisture. I hope you enjoyed it!

  14. KW
    December 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm (7 years ago)

    This dessert looks fantastic although I am curious about the “tangy” sour cream layer. I don’t generally like sour cream, I don’t put it on tacos or baked potatoes, but of course I cook with it. Does this taste like plain sour at all? Also, where did you find macadamia nuts?

    • Julie Ruble
      December 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm (7 years ago)

      The sour cream layer does have a bit of tang. You can leave it out altogether or sweeten it up more if you’re not sure you will like it. I got my macadamia nuts at a store with bulk bins, like Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, or Earthfare. Enjoy!

      • Marji
        March 31, 2017 at 12:52 pm (7 years ago)

        Have you ever used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream?

        • Julie Ruble
          April 1, 2017 at 6:03 pm (7 years ago)

          No, but if you try it, let us know how it goes!

  15. Dani H
    January 14, 2017 at 12:55 am (7 years ago)

    I can’t wait to try this! I always make a lightly lemon-flavored cheesecake but this just sounds SO good! And my daughter doesn’t really care for the standard graham cracker crust so that’s an added bonus.

    Thanks for another exceptional recipe.

  16. Niki
    March 4, 2017 at 9:05 pm (7 years ago)

    Suggestions for alternative crust options? I’m allergic to macadamia nuts πŸ™

  17. Mary
    March 7, 2017 at 11:31 pm (7 years ago)

    Looks delicious. What size of pan do you use?

    • Julie Ruble
      March 8, 2017 at 11:21 am (7 years ago)

      Thanks! It’s an 8-inch square baking pan.

  18. Lisa
    March 21, 2017 at 11:59 am (7 years ago)

    I’m not familiar with Vanilla Beans. I’ve never baked with them before. So, when the recipe calls for so much of 1 vanilla bean what exactly does that mean? I’m so use to measuring ingredients by Cups/TB/TSP.

    • Julie Ruble
      March 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm (7 years ago)

      No worries, Lisa! It’s easy to do — this is a great little primer: BUT if you find you’d like to use vanilla extract as usual, that’s just fine too — you just won’t have the little vanilla bean seed flecks. Each vanilla bean equals about 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

  19. Shaun
    October 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm (6 years ago)

    Can this be frozen??

    • Julie Ruble
      October 2, 2017 at 12:12 am (6 years ago)

      Hi Shaun! Unfortunately the mousse wouldn’t do well frozen — the texture would suffer. Sorry about that!

  20. Nichole
    November 19, 2017 at 11:31 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Julie. Can this be made in a springform pan instead?

    • Julie Ruble
      November 20, 2017 at 12:37 am (6 years ago)

      You might be able to, but it’ll change the thickness and therefore the baking times and such! I use a pan conversion chart like this ( to decide if it’ll work and then check the doneness early and often!

  21. Carol T
    December 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm (6 years ago)

    This looks luscious and such a creative edge to traditional cheesecake or pie. Can I make this a day in advance or would the whip cream not hold up?

    • Julie Ruble
      December 6, 2017 at 6:17 pm (6 years ago)

      I think you can! I hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

  22. Ali
    February 24, 2022 at 10:29 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! Can you sub xanthan gum for the gelatin?

    • Julie Ruble
      February 25, 2022 at 10:56 am (2 years ago)

      I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure of the amounts. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  23. Aleta
    November 21, 2023 at 2:03 am (3 months ago)

    Do you think the recipe can be doubled in a 9 x 13 pan?

    • Julie Ruble
      November 21, 2023 at 1:54 pm (3 months ago)

      Yes, I think so! Just check for doneness early and often.


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