Red Velvet Cheesecake

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This Red Velvet Cheesecake recipe is a delicious and creamy cheesecake with an Oreo Crust.  It’s covered with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting too.  Watch the video showing you how to make this cheesecake, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home!

slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake

What is Red Velvet Cheesecake?

You’re probably familiar with the classic red velvet cake, which has cream cheese frosting.  Or maybe you’ve tried my recipe for my very popular Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake! Well, this red velvet cheesecake is frosted with a good, thick layer of cream cheese frosting too.  Does that make it rich and decadent?  Yes, it does!  Cheesecake is always a mega sweet-treat, and this one is over the top.  I’ve made it a few times, and it’s always a big hit with cheesecake (and red velvet) lovers!

The Oreo crust is a nice pairing.  Use the whole Oreo for the crust (cream and all). You can choose to make a classic graham cracker crust, if you’d like.  Or you can use chocolate graham crackers for the crust instead.

What’s the best occasion for serving a Red Velvet Cheesecake?

This Red Velvet Cheesecake is such a pretty cheesecake to make for the holidays.  It’s nice for Christmas because I love that it has all of the “Santa” colors.  It’s a festive one for New Year’s Eve.  And it’s always a hit for Valentine’s Day too.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

How do you make Red Velvet Cheesecake?

First you’ll make the Oreo crust.  It’s a simple trio of Oreos that have been crushed into crumbs combined with melted butter and sugar.  A classic 9-inch springform pan is used for this recipe, so the Oreo crust is just pressed into the bottom of the pan.  The crust does NOT need to be baked.

The filling is next.  It’s a classic cheesecake made with cream cheese, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla.  But to turn it into a red velvet cheesecake, you’ll add unsweetened cocoa, buttermilk, white vinegar and red food coloring.  If you prefer to use gel paste instead of red food coloring, just add in the red gel paste until you get a nice, deep red hue to the cheesecake batter.  The batter is then scraped into the pan on top of the Oreo crust.

Then it’s ready for the oven!

slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake

Do you have to bake this cheesecake in a water bath?

If you just bake your Red Velvet Cheesecake in the oven like you’d bake a regular cake, you run the risk of some major cracking. Lucky for you, there are two options for baking this cheesecake. You can choose to bake it in a water bath.  This method just means you wrap foil around the cheesecake pan and set it into a larger pan that has a little bit of water in it.  This ensures your cheesecake will stay moist during the long baking process.  Some people are wary of using this method because of the possibility of water leakage through tears in the foil.

If you don’t like to use a water bath, then you can choose this alternate method. Simply place a pan of water on a lower rack, and bake the cheesecake on a rack above the pan.  Having the water in the oven will still create enough moisture to help keep the cheesecake moist.  I actually prefer to use this method most of the time when I’m baking cheesecakes.  Take a look at the photo above.  This cheesecake turns out very moist!

FOLLOW-UP NOTE: There are a few people who have shared that the water bath method (or pan underneath) didn’t work well for them– that it made the crust too soggy. You are welcome to bake this without any kind of water bath. If it cracks on top, it’s okay since you will be covering it with icing.

Red Velvet Cheesecake cut into slices

What do you do if the top of your Red Velvet Cheesecake cracks?

It’s okay!  Once the cheesecake has been chilled in the refrigerator for a good number of hours, you’ll be covering the top of it with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting.  So if there are any cracks there, they’ll be buried by the frosting!

slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake

Are there make-ahead instructions for Red Velvet Cheesecake?

It’s probably a good idea to make this recipe one day ahead of serving.  Go ahead and frost it too.  It will be easiest to cut neat slices if it has been well-chilled.

Here are a few more great cheesecake recipes to try:

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4.84 from 18 votes

Red Velvet Cheesecake

This Red Velvet Cheesecake is a creamy and delicious cheesecake with cream cheese frosting and an Oreo crust.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Rest Time in Oven 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 616kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword red velvet cheesecake



  • 17 OREO cookies (don't remove the cream), crushed into crumbs
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar


  • 24 ounces (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • cups granulated white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 ounces red food coloring (two 1-ounce bottles)


  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • mint sprigs for garnish, optional



  • Stir together the Oreo crumbs, melted butter, and sugar.  Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray, and then press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan. NOTE: the video for this recipe shows that you have to bake the crust. That's an error. You DO NOT have to bake the crust!
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare a water bath: Fill a large roasting pan (big enough for springform pan to fit into) with about 1-inch of water. Place in the oven and allow to preheat along with the oven.  Alternately, if you don't want to put the cheesecake INTO a water bath, you can put the pan on a lower rack and plan to bake the cheesecake on a rack ABOVE the bath.


  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and sugar at medium-low speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and remaining cheesecake ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour the batter into the prepared crust.


  • If using the WATER BATH method, take out two sheets of heavy duty foil and layer them on top of one another. Place the springform pan on top of the foil and wrap the foil gently around the pan and up the sides. Make sure that there are no tears or holes and that the foil comes all the way up around all sides of the cake. Carefully place the foil-protected pan into the water bath in the preheated oven.  Alternately, if not using a water bath, just place the springform pan on a rack above the pan of water.
    NOTE: There are a few people who have shared that the water bath method didn't work well for them-- that it made the crust too soggy. You are welcome to bake this without a water bath. If it cracks on top, it's okay since you will be covering it with icing.
  • Bake for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 300°F. Bake for an additional 75 minutes or until the center is firm (it might take 15 minutes more or so... you don't want the cheesecake to be jiggly in the middle). Turn the oven off. Let the cheesecake stand in oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Cool on the rack for a couple of hours, until the cheesecake becomes close to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours (or overnight). Remove the sides of the springform pan.


  • Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cheesecake. Garnish, if desired.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.



  • You may sub 1 1/ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (or regular graham cracker crumbs) for the crushed Oreos.
  • If your cheesecake cracks, don't worry!  You'll be covered the top of it with frosting, and no one will know.
  • Some readers have indicated that there is far too much frosting for this recipe. I personally like a lot of frosting, so you can see a thick layer of frosting in the photograph. If you're not big on frosting, you can leave it off entirely or cut the frosting recipe in half.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 1320IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 2.2mg
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  • Lynne wrote:

    Hi Lori. I have made this cheesecake a number of times, and have had people raving about it every time. I have even made it in my Ninja Foodi and it turned out even better. I pressure cooked it for 40 minutes, and natural release for 10 mins. It was DEVINE, super moist. So thank you for such a delicious recipe.

  • Mary wrote:

    Yes, the pan of water was on the rack below- have made many cheesecakes this way. The crust was soggy and I was unable to get it off the pan in one piece.

  • Mary wrote:

    Made this according to directions- used pan of water below cake. Crust was so soggy I couldn’t get it off the pan- use more cookies or bake a little before putting in filling?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Soggy? I’m not sure how it would be soggy… you put a pan of water on the rack below the rack where you placed the pan?

  • Bev Cote wrote:

    Does this freeze well? Today is Monday, I made it tonight for a party on Saturday?. Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Did you make and assemble the whole thing? I guess I’d freeze it, then wrap it and put it back in the freezer. It should be fine to defrost on Saturday!

  • Carl wrote:

    Easy way to get the cheese cake out of the Pan bottom

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Run a sharp knife underneath while still frozen. Also… if you line the cheesecake pan with parchment, that helps.

  • Harley wrote:

    I tried this and it was super bitter. I followed the recipe precisely, but it wasnt sweet at all

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      That’s really strange… something must have gone wrong!

  • Shannon Sellars wrote:

    I’m not a fan of crust, can I make this without a crust?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I haven’t tried making this as a crustless cheesecake, so I’m not sure!

  • Delphine Worthy wrote:

    I am a bit confused about the frosting, just below the cream cheese it says crush into fine crumbs, are there Oreos in the frosting if so, how much?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Thank you so much for catching this– obviously a mistake! Fixed.

  • Meg wrote:

    Hi Lori! Is there a way I could convert this recipe into cupcake-sized cheesecakes?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I haven’t tried it!

  • Weston wrote:

    I made this with my roommates and it was pretty good! We baked the crust and used parchment paper, which was probably a mistake, as it stuck pretty badly to the paper and was hard to get off, so don’t do that! Otherwise, I received only compliments. If someone likes cheesecake, they’ll like this!

  • Brandie wrote:

    The video shows baking the crust first, but the directions don’t mention this?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I know, sorry– I need to fix that. You don’t need to bake the crust!

  • Dea Harrington wrote:

    I posted this last night, not sure if you answered, if so no it looks lumpy in the cheesecake part just wondering why the need to add vinegar to the mix, thinking that is what curdled it mix
    I made this last night and it looked like my batter curdled not sure why, and everything I had was fresh to use not out of date at all

  • Dea Harrington wrote:

    I made this last night and it looked like my batter curdled not sure why, and everything I had was fresh to use not out of date at all

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Everything should have turned out fine in the end, did it?

  • Kristi wrote:

    Do you add just the Oreo cookie outsides? Or frosting as well??

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      The whole cookie with the cream.

  • Dawn Harrison wrote:

    This may be a silly question but, do you take the Oreo cookies apart and scrape the filling off first before crushing them?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      No, use the whole cookie.

  • Kim wrote:

    Love this recipe.
    In the video it says bake the crust which it doesn’t in the description. What should it be?
    And how do you crumble a cookie with filling??
    Can’t wait to finish this.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Sorry for the confusion- I’ll have to change that. No need to bake the crust!

  • Crystal W wrote:

    How would you change this recipe to work in a springform pan in an instant pot?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not sure as I’ve never done that!

  • Michelle wrote:

    Would love to make this for Christmas Day! I don’t have a proper processor for the Oreos. Cannot you just use pre ground Oreo crumbs and if so how many?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not sure… you can just put the Oreos in a large plastic baggies and smash the heck out of them 🙂

  • Carol Migliori wrote:

    I was wondering if I could use red gel food color instead of liquid food color?

    • Lori Lange wrote:


  • Sandy Willbanks wrote:

    I’m confused by the frosting. I have seen this same recipe somewhere else and the frosting said 8 oz cream cheese. Did you really mean 3 ounces?? That seems like an odd amount. Hoping to make this tomorrow. Thanks!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      yes, just three ounces of cream cheese.