Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake is one of those special desserts that can instantly transform any gathering into a celebration. I’m especially excited to be sharing the recipe with you today because I’m in Kansas City for a most celebratory reason: my baby sister’s bridal shower!
Can I still call her my baby sister even though she’s now three inches taller than me, infinitely cooler, and walking down the aisle in four months?
Why yes, yes I can. Older sister privilege.
Another older sister privilege: being one of the shower hosts! My middle sister and I co-planned it. Full disclosure: as the in-town hostess, she did the majority of the heavy lifting, for which I owe her an extra-big slice of Greek Yogurt Cheesecake and then some.
Yogurt cheesecake is absolutely delicious for a lighter dessert option. This easy, lightened-up cheesecake recipe is made with Greek yogurt. The cheesecake has a buttery, graham cracker crust and is topped with fresh strawberry sauce. Hands down, the best yogurt cheesecake I’ve ever eaten!
We have a variety of surprises in store for our bride-to-be. Be sure to watch my Instagram story (@wellplated) tomorrow to catch the fun, including an up-close and personal look at the star of our shower menu, the dessert tray.
The next time you need a sweet showstopper of your own, I can’t recommend this Greek Yogurt Cheesecake recipe enough. Ignore everything you’ve heard about cheesecakes being fussy to make, prone to cracking, or heavier than a pile of bricks. This Greek Yogurt Cheesecake tastes wonderfully light and creamy. The recipe is attainable for a novice baker, and I’ve included every helpful step you need to ensure the cheesecake emerges from your oven crack-free.
And even if the cheesecake does crack? The fresh strawberry topping has you (literally) covered.
How to Create Healthier Cheesecake
Creating a lighter, healthier cheesecake recipe that still tastes satisfying and indulgent has been on my recipe development bucket list for a while. As much as I enjoy the idea of a sky-high New York–style cheesecake, they are often overly dense. I also usually start to feel a little comatose after more than a few forkfuls, a sensation I attribute to the five bricks of cream cheese, carton of sour cream, and half dozen eggs + egg yolks called for in many recipes.
Baking a New York cheesecake also usually demands a water bath, a process I find aggravatingly high maintenance and prefer to avoid whenever possible.
Not only is this baked yogurt cheesecake recipe blessedly water-bath-free (I took a major shortcut by combining the ingredients in a food processor), it delivers the luscious, creamy indulgence the name “cheesecake” promises, but in a more balanced way. I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, reduced-fat cream cheese in place of full, and a more moderate quantity of eggs. Lemon zest and pure vanilla extract give the yogurt cheesecake flavor depth and pop. And the buttery graham cracker crust I know you’re hoping for? Present!
I served this Greek Yogurt Cheesecake at a friend’s dinner party, and to be honest, I was nervous as to how it would be received. I didn’t tell the group that I’d used low-fat ingredients or mention the Greek yogurt—“low fat” and “cheesecake” are not to two words one can casually place in the same sentence without generating serious skepticism—but I was worried they’d still be able to tell.
The report: not only did my friends devour the Greek Yogurt Cheesecake, but they stated that it was one of the best cheesecakes they’d ever had. Even my friend who admitted that he didn’t usually like cheesecake went back for a second slice.
Although the Greek Yogurt Cheesecake tastes delicious on its own, I included a recipe for a fresh strawberry cheesecake topping. It’s wonderful for summer, especially if you’ve been as powerless to resist the beautiful cartons of fresh strawberries in the grocery store as I have and need a way to use them. The strawberry topping lasts in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, so after you’ve polished off the cheese, you can spoon any leftovers over vanilla ice cream or use it to jazz up a morning bowl of oatmeal or treat yourself to a Greek yogurt breakfast parfait.
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Recipe Tips
For a smooth, velvety, no-crack cheesecake:
- Follow the recipe! Everything from using room temperature ingredients to letting the cheesecake cool gradually is key to ensuring you have a beautiful, crack-free cheesecake.
- This article from King Arthur Flour has some excellent baked cheesecake tips and explains the reasoning behind them in more detail. Because this cheesecake is made in a food processor instead of a mixer, they won’t all apply to this specific cheesecake recipe, and I don’t follow every single one of them to the letter, which you will see reflected in the recipe below. That said, if you really want to hone in or are struggling to bake a successful cheesecake, this might help you identify problem areas.
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Topping Options
If you aren’t a fan of strawberry sauce, here are a few ideas for toppings this lemon cheesecake:
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs - from about 10 full cracker sheets—be sure to measure!
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Greek Yogurt Cheesecake:
- 2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt - at room temperature
- 16 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese - Neufchatel; do not use fat free, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs - at room temperature
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest - from about 1 large lemon
For the Strawberry Sauce:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 pound fresh strawberries - hulled and sliced
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a medium, microwave-safe bowl, or melt it on the stove and transfer it to a bowl. Place a 9-inch springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush a little of the melted butter on the insides of the pan, reserving the rest in the bowl.
- Prepare the crust: Add the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt to the bowl with the melted butter. Stir until evenly moistened, then pour into the prepared pan. With your fingers, press the crumbs into an even layer along the bottom and 1 inch up all sides. Bake for 8 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden and fragrant. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the springform pan to a wire rack, and let the pan cool to room temperature. (Once the pan has cooled a bit, you can also place it in the refrigerator or freezer to speed along the cooling process). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- Prepare the cheesecake filling: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the Greek yogurt and cream cheese. Once they are partly combined, add the 3/4 cup sugar and blend until perfectly smooth and blended. Scrape down the bowl then add the eggs, one at a time, blending between each. Once the eggs are incorporated, scrape down the bowl again. Sprinkle in the flour, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Process until very smooth, creamy, and completely blended, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the cooled crust and smooth the top. Place the springform pan back on the rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F in the in center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but 2 to 3 inches in the middle still wiggle a little bit when you move the pan. The center should jiggle like Jell-O but not be moving like a wave.
- Remove the cheesecake pan from the baking sheet and place the pan on a wire rack. Let the cheesecake cool COMPLETELY at room temperature, at least 2 to 3 hours. Once it has reached room temperature, cover the top of the pan with plastic and place it in the refrigerator. Let cool an 8 additional hours or overnight.
- Meanwhile, prepare the strawberry topping: Place the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Stir to completely dissolve. Add the strawberries, 3 tablespoons sugar, and lemon juice to the pan and turn the heat to medium. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the mixture and continue to heat. Break up the some of the strawberries as you stir, leaving them a little chunky. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. The mixture will continue to thicken.
- When ready to serve, run a knife under hot water, wipe it dry, then run it around the outside edges of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Carefully remove the outside of the pan. Slice and serve with the strawberry topping.
- Having all of the ingredients at room temperature is NOT optional. If any of the ingredients (yogurt, cream cheese, eggs, etc.) are cold, the cheesecake will not be smooth. Your patience will be rewarded!
- Prepare the crust and filling up to 1 day in advance. Store separately in the refrigerator, then pour the filling into the crust and bake as directed. The entire baked cheesecake can be prepared and stored up to 1 day in advance. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
- To freeze: Cover the baked cheesecake tightly and freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Leftover strawberry topping can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Any extra is delicious over vanilla ice cream, brownies, oatmeal, or Greek yogurt with fruit and granola.
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