Chocolate hazelnut swirls running through classic cheesecake turn this already delicious dessert into a Nutella lovers dream. This is a smooth creamy cheesecake with a lightly sweet graham cracker crust. If you want another amazing flavor combination that will please even the pickiest cheesecake lovers in your life, you have to try my Salted Carmel Swirl Cheesecake or my Italian Cheesecake with Ricotta and Mascarpone.
Nutella swirl cheesecake is the ultimate dessert for a special occasion, whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or just an evening with friends. The cheesecake requires only a few common ingredients, but it does require some patience. I have outlined step by step instructions with helpful hints so that you can make a cheesecake worthy of any of the special occasions you are preparing for.
Table of contents
Ingredients you will need, notes and substitutions
- Graham cracker crumbs: You can make your own by putting whole graham crackers through a food processor until you have fine crumbs. I like to save a few steps and buy the prepared graham cracker crumbs.
- Unsalted butter: The butter will need to be completely melted. I don’t recommend using salted butter because it may make the crust too salty.
- Cream cheese: It should be room temperature, full-fat cream cheese that comes in brick form. Whipped cream cheese or cream cheese that comes in a tub for easy spreading is too soft to be used in this recipe.
- Eggs: You will need large eggs that have come to room temperature to produce a fluffy cheesecake.
- Nutella: You can substitute another chocolate hazelnut spread if you can’t find Nutella at your grocery store. To make measuring the Nutella easy, spray your measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray before spooning the Nutella into it. It will slide right out when adding it to the cheesecake filling.
Step by step instructions and baking tips
A moist environment and baking at a low temperature is what creates the best results. The secret to a crack free, creamy cheesecake is baking it in a water bath. It is not difficult to do and it makes a huge difference in the final texture of the cheesecake.
- Prepare the graham cracker crust: Line the outside of a springform pan with aluminum foil. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl and mix with a fork until it resembles wet sand. Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press along the sides and bottom of the pan.
- Tip: Use a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup to press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Tip: It is important that the aluminum foil covers all the way up the sides of the pan in one piece so that water does not get between the foil and the pan. I use 18″ wide heavy duty aluminum foil.
- Make the batter: Place the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl if using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix at medium speed until creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the Nutella, into the cream cheese mixture. Beat just until the ingredients are evenly distributed and the batter is smooth. Set the mixer to low speed and add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are just combined into the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. Pour all but about 1/2 cup of cheesecake mixture into the crust.
- Tip: Don’t over beat the batter or you will incorporate too much air into it.
- Make the Nutella batter: Beat the Nutella into the remaining cheesecake batter until it is creamy and smooth. Drop large spoonfuls of Nutella batter on top of the cheesecake batter. Run a butter knife through the Nutella batter creating Nutella swirls.
- Tip: Don’t let the tip of the knife touch the crust.
- Bake the cheesecake in a hot water bath: Place the cheesecake in the center of a roasting pan and carefully pour enough hot water around the cheesecake to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake at 325F for 55-60 minutes.
- Tip: Place the cheesecake in the center of the oven so that the top of the cake is away from the heating elements.
- Tip: Be careful not to splash water on the top of the cheesecake when adding water to your roasting pan.
- Tip: The cheesecake is done when only the center of the cheesecake jiggles when the pan is shaken lightly. The cheesecake will firm up as it cools.
Cooling the cheesecake
Patience is a virtue when baking cheesecake. It needs to cool very slowly. It will further ensure that your cake does not fall or crack. This is an important rule to follow when making any cheesecake.
When the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven and open the door a crack, leaving the it in the oven for 1 hour. Then and only then remove the baked cheesecake from the water bath, run a butter knife around the edges of the cake and place it on a wire rack. Once the it is at room temperature, you can cover it and place it in the refrigerator to finish cooling.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours to give it time to firm up. I like to leave mine in the refrigerator overnight before serving it.
I highly recommend using a water bath if you want a cheesecake that looks as good as it tastes. Here is why. Cheesecake is not really a cake, it is a custard. Custards need to cook gently at very low temperatures. The water bath is an insurance policy that your cheesecake will cook gently resulting in smooth creamy texture without cracking. This is because the water surrounding the springform pan will never get higher then about 200F no matter what temperature the oven is set at.
Cheesecake needs to bake slowly and cool slowly. A sudden drop in temperature can cause a cheesecake to fall in the center or crack. When you remove the cheesecake from the oven, run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan. This keeps the sides from sticking to the pan as the as it cools and contracts.
To cut nice smooth slices of cheesecake, start with a long thin knife. Run the knife under hot water and wipe it dry. Then place the knife over the cheesecake and press straight down. Never lift the knife out of the cheesecake or it will bring the filling out with it. Instead, pull it straight out toward you and repeat the process with each cut.
More decadent chocolate desserts
If you need to quench a craving for chocolate you will love this Chocolate Budino with Kahlua Mascarpone Cream or Mousse al Cioccolato (Italian Chocolate Mousse). My Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies and Chocolate Mocha Cake also deliver amazing chocolate flavor.
I love to get your feedback so if you tried this Nutella Swirl Cheesecake or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below. I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!
Nutella Swirl Cheesecake
- 1 Springform pan 9"
- 1 Rimmed roasting or baking pan It should be large enough to hold the baking pan and deep enough so that water can come half way up the side of the springform pan.
- 1⅔ cups Graham cracker crumbs
- ⅓ cup Sugar
- 7 tbsp Butter melted
- 24 oz Cream cheese 3 bricks, softened
- 3 Eggs large
- 2/3 cup Sugar
- 1 tbsp Flour all purpose
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
- Hot water for the water bath
- Preheat your oven to 325°. Prepare a springform pan by covering the outside of the pan with aluminum foil so that the sides of the pan are covered to the top rim of the pan. Boil enough water to come half way up the sides of the springform pan.
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in medium sized bowl. Add the butter and stir with a fork so that all of the crumbs are completely moistened. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use a measuring cup or flat bottomed glass to press the crumbs evenly against the sides and bottom of the pan.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until it is smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add the flour and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
- Pour all but about ½ cup of batter into the prepared springform pan. Add the Nutella to the batter left it the mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Using a spoon, add the chocolate batter to the white batter in the spring form pan, in dollops. Run the tip of a knife through the batter creating swirls.
- Place the Springform pan in the center of the roasting pan. Pour enough hot water in the roasting pan to come half way up the side of the springform pan.
- Carefully place the roasting pan on a rack in the lower third of a preheated oven. Bake for 55 minutes or until only the center of the cake jiggles when the pan is gently shaken.
- When the cake is done, turn off the oven and crack the door open. Leave the baked cheesecake in the oven to cool for 1 hour. Remove it from the oven and place the springform pan on a cooling rack or your stove top. Run a knife along the inside of the pan to loosen cake from the pan and release the pan ring. Once the cheesecake has come to room temperature, tighten the ring on the pan, cover it with aluminum foil and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.