If you are obsessed with unique and easy-to-make sweet treats, then you will LOVE these Dulce de Leche cheesecake bites. This recipe is super easy to make and follows the rules of a traditional cream cheese cheesecake mixture.
I’ve also included a comprehensive guide on how to make vegan and reduced-sugar variations for this recipe, as well as expert tips and tricks to ensure your cheesecake bites come out perfectly each and every time.
Why I Love This Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Recipe
There are only three ingredients to this great recipe: the cinnamon graham cracker crust, the luscious cream cheese cheesecake filling, and the dulce de leche caramel topping.
Each of these ingredients is incredibly easy to make and relatively quick, too. And, other than the dulce de leche, all of the ingredients you need are super easy to find.
Another aspect of this recipe that I adore is its adaptable nature. You can have a look at my variations section to learn more, but this recipe can easily be made with less sugar and even vegan!
These Dulce de Leche cheesecake bites make perfect snacks for picnics, small sweet treats at parties, and even gifts at baby showers or weddings.
What is a dulce de leche?
Dulce de leche is a heavenly concoction originated from Latin America, primarily composed of milk and sugar that have been slowly cooked to perfection.
It boasts a creamy texture and a rich, sweet flavor with a hint of caramel, making it a delectable addition to various desserts, adding that extra layer of indulgence!
What is dulce de leche cheesecake made of?
As mentioned before, there are three main components to this wonderful recipe.
Graham Cracker Crust
First, you have the crispy crust made from graham crackers, sugar, cinnamon, and unsalted butter.
I always recommend using a high-quality brand of graham crackers. They don’t have to be expensive, but the super cheap brands tend to taste funny. You can check out this handy list of amazing graham crackers brands.
For the sugar, I use caster sugar to reduce graininess in my crust, however, you can use regular granulated white sugar. For an added caramel flavor, use granulated brown sugar.
Adding cinnamon is optional, but it really complements the creamy cheesecake mixture and Dulce de Leche topping well.
And finally, always use unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, it may throw off the balance of sweet and salty flavors.
If you love Graham recipe, you may like the Vanilla-Chocolate Graham Cracker Cheesecake.
Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Batter
Next up, arguably the most important component of this cheese cake recipe, the cheesecake batter.
For this cheesecake mixture, you will need high-quality full fat cream cheese, sugar, Dulce de Leche, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and eggs.
You have to use full fat cream cheese! The Philadelphia Full Fat Cream Cheese is always the best option because they are known for their exceptional flavor and uber-creamy texture.
Then, for the Dulce de Leche. If you aren’t sure about exactly what it is, the best way to describe it is as a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and caramel. You can find Dulce de Leche at various grocery stores or online retailers.
Dulce De Leche Topping
Last, but certainly not least, the topping for this Dulce de Leche cheesecake ties all of the flavors together perfectly.
You only need Dulce de Leche caramel and heavy cream. The heavy cream will help thin the topping mixture slightly so that it’s more easily spreadable.
How To Make Dulce De Leche Cheesecake
Before diving into the delightful process of creating these irresistible Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bites, ensure you have all your ingredients measured and ready. This way, each step will flow smoothly, leading you swiftly to a world of creamy, caramel bliss.
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. Blend graham crackers to crumbs in a blender, then transfer to a bowl.
2. Mix in sugar and cinnamon using a fork, add melted butter and blend until crumbly. Press this mixture into the dish, ensuring it fills the edges.
3. Bake the crust for 8 minutes and let it cool.
4. In a separate bowl, blend cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Then, mix in sugar until fluffy and add in dulce de leche.
5. Integrate vanilla, lemon juice, and eggs one at a time, blending in between. Spread the batter consistently across the chilled crust.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the center is slightly jiggly. Let it cool for 1 hour.
7. For the topping, blend dulce de leche and heavy cream until fluffy and lighter in color, then spread it over the cooled cheesecake.
8. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt, cut into 15 bites and savor every bite!
Variations For This Dulce De Leche Baked Cheesecake Recipe
Now that you know exactly what you need to make my version of this perfect dessert, let’s take a look at some variations you can try.
Reduced-Sugar Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Variation
All homemade cheesecake recipes need some sugar. The sugar helps balance out tangy ingredients like cream cheese, lemon or lime juice, sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt.
That being said, you don’t have to use processed granulated sugar.
There are many sugar-free and even zero-calorie sweeteners you can use as alternatives. My favorites include Erythritol and Xylitol. An added bonus is that both these options are vegan too!
Now, what about the Dulce de Leche? It’s basically JUST sugar seeing as it’s a form of caramelized milk.
While this is true, there are actually many sugar-free Dulce de Leche recipes out there. You might even be able to source some pre-made Dulce de Leche products online (although this will be a little difficult).
Vegan Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Recipe
The key ingredients you have to replace include melted butter, softened cream cheese, eggs, heavy cream, and Dulce de Leche.
Other ingredients you need to ensure are vegan including the graham crackers and sugar. Some graham crackers aren’t certified as being vegan, so you have to check the ingredients list.
You can easily find vegan butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream. In terms of eggs, you can use vegan egg replacers or make your own with chia seeds or flaxseeds.
And finally, to replace the Dulce de Leche with a vegan alternative, your best bet is to make it yourself or go in search of vegan Dulce de Leche brands. I love the coconut Dulce de Leche alternative by My Vegan.
Other Fun Variations You Can Try For This Dulce De Leche Cheesecake
Instead of graham crackers, you can use cookie crumbs or digestive biscuits. Both will work and the cookie crumbs especially allow you to play around with different flavors (for example, choosing caramel cookies).
Instead of vanilla extract, you can also incorporate some other flavorings. Caramel extract, mint extract, and coffee extract all work wonderfully with this recipe.
You can also make individual Dulce de Leche mini cheesecakes with this recipe. Use a muffin pan for the best results.
For the Dulce de Leche finish, you can use whipped cream. This will give the topping an airy texture that melts in your mouth.
Tips And Tricks For Making The Best Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bites
There are many tips and tricks that will ensure your Dulce de Leche cheesecake recipe comes out perfectly!
Ingredient Cheesecake Tips
Always ensure that you use melted butter for your graham crackers cheesecake crust. If you don’t, the crust may turn out lumpy and unevenly colored after baking.
Also, don’t forget to use a prepared pan before pressing in the crust. This will make it easier to remove once the Dulce de Leche cheesecake has been completely cooled and set.
Use a food processor to get the graham cracker crumbs uniform in size.
Ensure that you beat cream cheese until it has a fluffy and lump-free consistency. This adds to the luscious texture of the cheesecake filling.
For this Dulce de Leche cheesecake recipe, you don’t have to use a prepared springform pan. I use a 9×9 baking dish to cut beautiful individual Dulce de Leche cheesecake squares. You can double the recipe and use a large baking pan or large roasting pan instead.
Preparation Tips For This Dulce De Leche Cheesecake
I cannot stress enough the importance of leaving the crust to cool after baking. Adding your cheesecake batter on top of a cooled crust will help completely prevent a soggy crust.
Make sure your oven temperature isn’t too high or low. This will cause issues in how the Dulche de Leche cheesecake bakes and potentially ruin a perfect cheesecake.
Also, when you bake cheesecake, don’t open the oven door until at least 75% of the baking time has elapsed. If you do, the cheesecake will deflate.
This recipe is a baked cheesecake. It’s essential that you follow the cooling technique exactly to prevent your beautiful Dulce de Leche cheesecake from cracking. This means that you have to let your cheesecake cool inside your hot oven with the oven door slightly open. Then, let the creamy cheesecake set before adding the Dulce de Leche caramel topping.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bites
- 9×9 baking dish
- Parchment Paper
- Hand Mixer
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 ¼ cups Graham Crackers crumbled
- 2 Tabsp Sugar
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ¾ cup Unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounce 3 packages of cream cheese
- 1 cup White granulated sugar
- ½ cup dulce de leche
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- ⅔ cup dulce deleche caramel
- 3 Tbsp heavy cream
- Sea Salt
Prepare the Crust:
- Start by preheating your oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and lining a 9×9 square baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a blender, pulse graham crackers until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add sugar and cinnamon, mixing with a fork. Pour in melted butter and blend until a crumbly mixture is achieved.
- Press the crumbly mixture firmly into the prepared dish and bake for 8 minutes, then let it cool completely.
Prepare the Cheesecake Filling:
- In a new bowl, blend cream cheese until smooth to avoid clumps in your cheesecake.
- Add sugar, blending until fluffy, followed by dulce de leche caramel. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and one egg, mixing until combined, then incorporate the remaining eggs one at a time, until a smooth, slightly orange/brown batter is formed.
- Pour the batter over the cooled crust, smoothing it evenly across the pan, and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center begins to puff and cracks appear. Allow cooling for 1 hour.
Prepare the Topping:
- In a small bowl, mix dulce de leche with heavy cream until the mixture becomes fluffy and lightens in color.
- After the cheesecake cools, pour the caramel topping and spread it evenly, followed by a sprinkle of sea salt. Cut into 15 bites, and enjoy your scrumptious Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Bites!