Do you love sweet and salty? Then this gluten-free salted caramel cheesecake with an unbelievable creamy texture will become your new favorite cheesecake recipe. A simple gluten-free shortbread crust, topped with a creamy salted caramel cheesecake, a generous caramel layer and to top of the cheesecake - homemade caramel corn.
This gluten free salted caramel cheesecake is baked in a standard loaf pan (8.5 x 4) and will give you 4-6 gluten-free cheesecake bars (depending on how you cut them). Those mini cheesecake bars are the perfect dessert for a small gatherings or special occasions. But clearly you can also make them when that cheesecake craving hits.
If you love caramel desserts, make sure to check out my Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars. If you are a cheesecake fan, make sure to check out my other Gluten-Free Cheesecake Recipes.
- Recipe Ingredients Notes
- Kitchen Tools needed to make a Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- How to make Caramel Sauce
- Step by Step Instructions to bake a Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Pro-Tips making the Best Cheesecake Ever
- Garnish a Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- FAQ for Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Baking in grams
- Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
- Substitutions and Modifications
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Gluten Free Flour: For the shortbread crust I use my own gluten-free flour blend. This recipe works great Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1, King Arthur Measure for Measure or Cup4Cup, or any gluten-free flour blend you may have on your hands. Therefore use flour you enjoy the taste of and is not overwhelming in taste. (All flour-blends mentioned do contain xanthan gum)
Cream Cheese: In this recipe for salted caramel cheesecake I use a full-fat block/brick of cream cheese. My brand of choice if Philadelphia which is gluten-free according to the Kraft-Heinz website. I always recommend checking the packaging or the manufacturer’s website to ensure the products used are celiac safe. I have not tested any of my cheesecake recipes with fat free cream cheese.
Sourcream: A little sour cream added to the cream cheese batter will balance out the sweetness. You can substitute it with greek yogurt or creme fraiche.
Caramel Sauce: You can't really make a caramel cheesecake without caramel sauce. I provide a recipe to make easy salted caramel sauce at home. If this is intimidating to you, you can always use store-bought caramel sauce but believe me, making caramel sauce is easier than it sounds.
Caramel Corn: To garnish my Salted Caramel Cheesecake, I use homemade caramel corn but you can also use storebought caramel corn. The Original Cracker Jacks, which are manufactured by Frito Lay, are gluten-free according to the website. Frito Lay states that Cracker Jacks are made without any wheat-containing ingredients and are safe to eat for people with celiac disease. As always, please the packaging or the manufacturer’s website to ensure the products used are celiac safe.
Salt: I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt in all my recipes and Maldon’s Flaky Sea Salt as my finishing salt (the flaky sea salt I put on almost all my baked goods). Not all salts are created equal. If you use Morton’s Kosher Salt please be aware that their salt granules are smaller in size, denser, and crunchier. 1 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt weighs roughly 3 grams while 1 teaspoon of Morton’s Kosher Salt weighs almost 5 grams. Therefore if use another brand other than Diamonds Crystal Kosher Salt please be aware that this can throw off the entire recipe.
Kitchen Tools needed to make a Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Loaf Pan: This small gluten-free salted caramel cheesecake is baked in a standard loaf pan (8-½ x 4-½ x 2-½ inches). If you use a larger loaf pan, the cheesecake will be thinner and will also bake quicker. I do not recommend using a smaller loaf pan since the crust will be too thick and the filling too tall. (I do not test my recipes in glass or silicone bakeware) If you like, you can double this recipe and bake it in an 8" rectangular pan.
Mixer: Since this is a small batch of cheesecake, your KitchenAid Mixer may have issues mixing the ingredients. This should not be an issue if you have a smaller model but a 5-quart mixing bowl may be too big. I use a hand mixer for this recipe. Alternatively, you can also make the cheesecake filling in a food processor.
You will also need: a heavy bottom saucepan for the heavy cream, a small bowl for the cheesecake crust, a flexible rubber spatula, a whisk, a small offset knife
How to make Caramel Sauce
This easy recipe for salted caramel sauce makes a generous amount to use in the cheesecake filling as well as a topping for this gluten-free salted caramel cheesecake. You may be tempted to cut it in half but let’s be honest, there is no such thing as too much caramel. Leftover Caramel Sauce can be used to make Gluten Free Salted Caramel Meringue Cookies or Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting.
Please be careful when making caramel sauce – caramel burns can be very painful. I recommend measuring out all your ingredients before starting.
Step 1: In a medium saucepan, preferably a heavy-duty pan, combine the granulated white sugar and warm water. Stir the two together and carefully bring the mixture to a simmer. Once mixed together, don't stir the mixture (the string will cause the sugar to build upon the sides of your pot and could cause the caramel to seize) Allow to simmer on medium heat under supervision until it reaches a copper/iced tea color – this depends on your stove. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the pan from heat and carefully add the room temperature heavy cream little by little. Please be careful because the mixture will bubble up and may splatter. Once all the liquid has been added, return the caramel to the stove and carefully bring it to a simmer atb medium-low heat, and whisk to combine.
Step 3: Add the butter and salt (and vanilla extract if using) and whisk to combine. IF your caramel looks broken or gritty, you can save it with a squeeze of lemon juice (like a teaspoon or less!). Allow the caramel sauce to simmer for 1-2 minutes under supervision until it looks smooth.
Step 4: If you like, you can strain the caramel sauce with a fine mesh strainer. This will remove any "sugar lumps" left in the sauce. Allow to cool down before using it in a recipe, especially before using it on top of this salted caramel cheesecake. Remember - Caramel thickens as it cools.
Store any leftover caramel sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Step by Step Instructions to bake a Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cheesecake
I highly recommend making the caramel sauce before starting on the cheesecake. This way the caramel sauce can cool down a bit before adding it to the cheesecake batter. Traditionally cheesecakes are made with graham cracker crust but let's be honest for a minute: gluten-free graham crackers are expensive (and most of the time impossible to find). This is why this gluten-free cheesecake is made with a simple shortbread crust instead.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F and arrange your baking rack in the middle. This is the perfect spot for your baked goods to bake evenly.
Step 2: Line a standard loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5 inches) with parchment paper. Make sure to leave some overhang on the sides to remove the gluten-free cheesecake easily from the pan.
Step 3: Whisk together the gluten-free flour, brown sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Cut your butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. You can use your clean hands or two forks to work the butter into the flour until it is crumbly. Press the mixture in an even layer into the prepared pan. I like to use an offset knife for this or the back of a spoon. (yes, this gluten-free cheesecake crust is like the easiest thing to make)
Step 4: Bake the crust at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove the gluten-free cheesecake crust from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
Step 5: While the cheesecake crust is baking, combine the room temperature cream cheese and brown sugar in the bowl of your mixer and mix until light and fluffy (around 2 minutes). Turn off the mixer, and scrape down the sides with a flexible spatula. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese batter. Add the salted caramel sauce, sour cream, and vanilla extract and mix to combine at medium speed. Beat in the eggs and the egg yolk one at a time, just until combined; do not overmix once you’ve added the eggs. Turn off your mixer and with a flexible spatula fold everything together (this is to make sure everything has been incorporated fully)
Step 6: Pour the salted caramel cheesecake filling on top of the crust and smooth out evenly with the back of a spoon or a small offset knife. Tap the pan against your kitchen counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Step 7: Bake the caramel cheesecake at 325F for 28-32 minutes or until the dessert is set around the edges but still slightly jiggles in the middle. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature before transferring it to the fridge.
Pro-Tips making the Best Cheesecake Ever
Room Temperature Ingredients are the key!
It’s important to have the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream at room temperature before making this salted caramel cheesecake recipe. I recommend placing the unwrapped block of cream cheese on a microwave plate and nuking it at 50-70% power for 10-15 seconds on each side. As for the eggs, place them in a bowl of warm water until ready to use. The sour cream should come to room temperature quickly on it's own.
Don’t overmix the filling
If you mix the eggs too long, the incorporated air will cause the cheesecake to rise too quickly while being baked and then collapse. The cheesecake will still be tasty but maybe have some cracks.
Allow the cheesecake to cool slowly and completely
Cooling this gluten free salted caramel cheesecake for 30 minutes in the oven will prevent cracking of the surface. A lot of times cheesecakes crack when they are removed from the oven too early. This is mainly an issue with full sized cheesecakes. Once your cheesecake is
Make your own caramel sauce
Making your own caramel sauce may seem intimidating but have you ever looked at the ingredients of storebought caramel toppings? Most of the ingredients should not be found in a caramel sauce like natural flavors, potassium sorbate (a chemical additive), or soya protein concentrate. Especially when dealing with food allergies, some of those ingredients can be controversial. Always make sure to check the product listing caramel color - while it should be gluten-free it can be made from wheat or barley (mainly in Europe). I have written out my salted caramel sauce recipe as detailed as possible.
How to cute the picture - perfect cheesecake
Use a hot, clean Chef’s knife to cut a cheesecake. I like to dip my knife in a pitcher of hot water, dry it with a clean towel, and then cut my cheesecake. Make sure to clean the blade between each cut.
Garnish a Salted Caramel Cheesecake
You have two options when it comes to decorating this gluten-free cheesecake. Option 1 is to slice it before decorating each individual slice or you can decorate the entire baked cheesecake. No matter which option you choose, the cheesecake and the caramel sauce must be cooled before doing so. A cold cheesecake is easier to cut than one that had barely had any time to set up.
To serve top the entire cheesecake with a generous caramel layer and then top with caramel corn and some flaky sea salt. You can also skip the caramel corn but I recommend using some flaky sea salt for sure.
Store any leftovers you may have in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you would like to freeze the cheesecake I would recommend doing this before garnishing it.
FAQ for Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Is this recipe better than Cheesecake Factory Salted Caramel Cheesecake?
While I never had the Cheesecake Factory Salted Caramel Cheesecake, this recipe for salted caramel cheesecake is one of the best ones there is. And it's super simple to make. Most ingredients used are staples in every fridge and pantry. And the best part - it is budget-friendly!
Can I double this salted caramel cheesecake recipe?
Yes, you can bake this recipe for Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cheesecake in an 8×8 pan. To double the recipe, please use TWO whole eggs and ONE egg yolk. And increase the baking time to 32-36 minutes.
How long can cream cheese and cheesecake sit out?
Food safety experts recommend that 2 hours is the maximum amount of time that cream cheese and a baked cheesecake should sit at room temperature. Other experts recommend no longer than 4 hours. I highly recommend storing this small cheesecake in the fridge and only allowing for it to sit at room temperature for up to 4hrs.
How should I store a cheesecake?
To store this cheesecake place it in an airtight container and store it in your fridge for up to 5 days. You may also freeze the undecorated cheesecake up to 3 months. Thaw it in your fridge overnight or let it sit at room temperature (up to 4hrs).
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and very affordable. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to gluten-free baking or baking in general. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons. To learn more about Baking with a digital scale, make sure to check out my post about Baking by weight.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Do you love sweet and salty? Then this gluten-free salted caramel cheesecake with an unbelievable creamy texture will become your new favorite cheesecake recipe. A simple gluten-free shortbread crust, topped with a creamy salted caramel cheesecake, a generous caramel layer and to top of the cheesecake – homemade caramel corn.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 200 grams granulated white sugar
- 50 grams warm water
- 150 grams heavy cream
- 60 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 generous teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
Gluten Free Shortbread Crust
- 80 grams gluten free multipurpose flour
- 25 grams light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
- 45 gram unsalted butter, cold
Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- 225 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
- 65 grams light or dark brown sugar
- 70 grams salted caramel sauce, at room temperature
- 30 grams sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
How to make Salted Caramel Sauce
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, stir the sugar and warm water together until dissolved, keeping the sides of the pan as clean as possible.
- Carefully bring the sugar and water mixture to a simmer without stirring. Allow to simmer under supervision until it reaches a copper/iced tea color - this depends on your stove. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and carefully add the room temperature heavy cream little by little. Please be careful because the mixture will bubble up and may splatter.
- Return the salted caramel sauce to the stove and on low heat bring it back to a low simmer. Whisk in the butter, salt and vanilla extract (if using) to combine. IF your caramel looks broken or gritty, you can save it with a squeeze of lemon juice (like a teaspoon or less!).
- Allow your caramel sauce to cool completely at room temperature before topping the Salted Caramel Cheesecake. Store any leftover caramel sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
How to make a Gluten Free Shortbread Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Line an 8.5 x 4 standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside. Make sure to leave some overhang on the sides to remove the cheesecake easily from the pan.
- Whisk together the gluten-free flour, brown sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
- Cut your butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. You can use your clean hands or two forks to work the butter into the flour until it is crumbly.
- Press the mixture in an even layer into the prepared pan. I like to use an offset knife for this or the back of a spoon.
- Bake the crust at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow for it to cool on a wire rack.
- When your crust is done baking, do NOT turn off the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325F
How to make a Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Combine the room temperature cream cheese and brown sugar in the bowl of your mixer and mix until light and fluffy (around 2 minutes).
- Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides with a flexible spatula. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese batter.
- Add the cooled caramel sauce, sour cream and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat in the eggs and the egg yolk one at a time, just until combined; do not overmix once you’ve added the eggs.
- Turn off your mixer and with a flexible spatula fold everything together (this is to make sure everything has been incorporated fully)
- Top the prebaked gluten-free cheesecake crust with the salted cheesecake batter.
- Bake at 325F until the cheesecake is set around the edges but is still a bit jiggly in the center, 28-32 minutes.
Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature before transferring it to the fridge for at least 3hrs.
Decorate and serving
- Once the gluten-free salted caramel cheesecake is fully cooled, top the entire cheesecake with a caramel layer and then top with caramel corn
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container up to 5 days.
If you don't have celiac, you may use 70 grams of All Purpose Flour in the shortbread crust
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450
Calories are a guestimate.
Quick question - I’ve always baked cheesecakes in water baths. I didn’t see a note here about using one or not using one - is that necessary here? I’m assuming not, but I am unsure about when/why to use a water bath and not to. Any tips appreciated!
These Mini Cheesecakes bake so quickly, there is no water bath needed. A water bath is needed when you are making a large cheesecake (like 9" round). The water bath keeps the temperature of the filling even and bakes them gently and evenly. A lot of people like the moisture of the water bath but I never really taste a difference. Most people are scared to use water baths anyways.
Celeste H says
Wow this was good! We ended up using heath bar bits as garnish to save time and still add a bit of crunch. The shortbread crust is divine and it really holds up. I hadn’t made cheesecake in a little loaf pan before, only in a great big round—it really simplified things, the cake cooked quickly, cut nicely, and it was easy to just pop the extras in a regular tupperware container since the cheesecake was rectangular. We also had plenty of left over caramel sauce, which was a real treat with apple slices!