Instant Pot is the multicooker sensation that’s becoming a mainstay in homes around the world. It offers a wide array of cooking methods including slow cooking, pressure cooking and sautéing,
I regularly use my Instant Pot for savory dishes including slow-cooked curries and stews, and for pressure-cooking rice and steaming vegetables, but I rarely use it to cook anything sweet. I tried my hand at making cakes and cookies in an Instant Pot, but it was disappointing.
However, there are plenty of recipes online for making cheesecake in an Instant Pot. Usually, I make cheesecake in an oven but have to watch it like a hawk to ensure it doesn’t brown too much, while many recipes advise using a bain-marie, which is a water bath. This helps to cook the cheesecake gently, but it’s fiddly to set up and there’s always the danger water will leak into your cheesecake pan.
However, if I used an Instant Pot, which uses steam during cooking, would I be able to get the same consistent results, with minimal fuss?
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Read on to discover what happened when we cooked cheesecake in an Instant Pot, or if you’ve already decided you want to invest in a multi-cooker, check out the best prices right now:
Plenty of preparation
The more research I did on Instant Pot Cheesecake recipes, the more it became clear, pretty much every recipe utilizes the pressure cook function on the Instant Pot. The beauty of this is that the cheesecake doesn’t come into contact with a direct heat source, it cooks gently in the pressurized steam which gives a consistent result.
This is particularly appealing because there’s a fine line between a baked cheesecake that’s undercooked and one that’s overdone - you’re looking to achieve the perfect wobble, which is no mean feat. If it jiggles too much, then it won’t set as it cools, but leave it in too long and it’ll be rubbery. So the idea of baking a cheesecake with exact timings and consistent results is what makes an Instant Pot cheesecake so appealing.
There are also some accessories you’ll need when baking cheesecake in an Instant Pot. First, is a round pan that’ll fit inside your Instant Pot, preferably a springform pan with a loose base, to make it easy to remove the cheesecake once baked. You’ll also need aluminum foil for covering the pan, the foil seals it so no moisture can enter and affect the cheesecake.
The next thing to consider is how you lower the pan into the Instant Pot and also how you remove it. My pan is only slightly smaller than my pot, so the only way to lower it in and remove it without spilling the cheesecake batter was to make a sling using aluminum foil.
This is simpler than it sounds, it’s just a case of folding up a long piece of aluminum foil so you can slide it under the pan and hold on to the ends to lower it gently into the Instant Pot. Alternatively, you can buy a silicone sling specially designed for the job.
Let's get cooking
My first attempt at Instant Pot cheesecake was a decadent chocolate cheesecake with an Oreo cookie crust and a dark chocolate cheesecake filling. Given that the recipe is enough for a 7 inch/ 18cm pan, the quantities listed in the ingredients are a bit less than if you were making a larger one in your oven. But in my house this was still enough for eight portions, six if you’re feeling greedy.
The method for making the cheesecake is exactly the same as normal, crush the cookies and mix with melted butter, then allow this to cool in the freezer while you mix together the cheesecake batter.
Once everything is in the pan, the top needs to be covered with aluminum foil. I did it so that the foil was domed and not touching the batter, but this won’t be a problem if you have a deep pan. Make sure the foil is tightly sealed so that no moisture can get in and if you’re using a springform pan you’ll need another layer of foil on the bottom to stop water seeping in through the base.
Then I just needed to add water to the pot and sit the cheesecake on the trivet and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 35 minutes. This particular recipe said to allow it to cool on the counter with the foil in place and then refrigerate for six hours.
While leaving the cheesecake alone in the refrigerator for six hours was an arduous task, I managed it. The result was a deliciously rich, thick, and indulgent cheesecake with no cracks or browning, something I’d be proud to serve to guests – but actually kept for myself this time.
After my successful chocolate cheesecake, I went confidently into a vanilla cheesecake recipe. And although the ingredients list was slightly different, the method and times were virtually the same. The only exception was that this one was cooled uncovered before being put in the fridge. The finished cheesecake however was a little different from my first attempt.
This cheesecake rose slightly during cooking and due to my shallow pan, it rose up into the foil which gave it a dented appearance around the edges after it cooled. My pan is only 1.4 inches/ 3.5cm deep, but you could avoid this by using a pan that’s at least 2 inches/ 5cm deep.
This cheesecake also developed a crack in the center. Having said that, I didn’t really mind because my plan was always to smother it in homemade caramel for a show-stopping dessert. The texture was light, creamy, and perfectly set and despite the crack, I was more than happy with the finished result which also got a big thumbs up from my dinner guests.
Was it quicker to make cheesecake in an Instant Pot?
It wasn’t any quicker to make cheesecake in an Instant Pot, as while the pressure cook time was 35 minutes, it takes six minutes to preheat and the natural pressure release took 10 minutes, so it’s around 50 minutes overall, then there’s the cooling and chilling time.
Cook times in the oven are similar for a 7 inch/ 18cm pan, but some recipes require a water bath and instruct you to turn down the temperature part way through cooking, so it’s a more involved process. Plus there’s the inevitable deliberation over whether it’s cooked at the end. Whereas with the Instant Pot, you can set it and walk away until the timer goes off.
I was so impressed with the results of cooking a cheesecake in an Instant Pot. Not only were the results more consistent that using an oven, it also ensure I was able to concentrate on other things while it was cooking, rather than having to watch it to ensure it doesn’t brown too much.
Once I’ve tried out a few more recipes I’ll look forward to being able to recreate my favorites time and time again without worrying whether the finished dessert will be as good as last time or if I removed it from the oven too soon.
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Helen is a freelance writer who specializes in kitchen appliances and has written for some of the biggest home-related titles around. She has been reviewing small appliances, including blenders, juicers, and multi-cookers, for more than 8 years, and also upholsters furniture when she's not testing the latest food tech gadgets.