Baked Greek Yogurt Cheesecake is a creamy and luscious cheesecake made without sour cream or refined sugars. It’s a lighter and healthier version with the same amazing taste and texture as any classic recipe!
There’s this funny idea that substituting certain ingredients out of a classic recipe changes it drastically, and that’s just not the case here at iFOODreal! Check out these delicious Instant Pot cheesecake bites, healthy no bake strawberry cheesecake, and healthy strawberry cheesecake bars to see what I mean!
Table of contents
- Why Make Healthier Greek Yogurt Cheesecake?
- Ingredients for Baked Cheesecake Recipe
- Is Sugar Free Cheesecake Healthy?
- How to Make Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
- Why Cheesecake Water Bath?
- Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Tips for Best Results
- How to Serve Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Cheesecake?
- How Long Will Cheesecake Keep?
- More Healthy Desserts to Try
Making a lighter, healthier version of a cheesecake doesn’t take the fun out of it at all! The results are a luscious, thick, and creamy baked Greek yogurt cheesecake topped with a cherry compote that rivals anything you’ve ever tried!
We’re swapping out the sour cream for Greek yogurt and omitting as much added refined sugars as possible (except what’s already in graham crackers and other naturally occurring sugars) and replacing it with natural sugars like maple syrup or sugar free sweeteners like monk fruit extract.
It’s perfect for the holiday season including healthy Thanksgiving recipes!
Why Make Healthier Greek Yogurt Cheesecake?
- Same taste and texture: Your guests won’t know it’s a healthier version unless you tell them!
- Easy swaps: Simple tweaks of ingredients using everyday ingredients you may already have or can find at your local grocery store.
- Greek yogurt: High in protein, this replaces the traditional sour cream for a lighter, yet just as creamy, version.
- Maple syrup: Adds a wonderful flavor and sweetness to the cherry compote while providing us with vitamins and minerals that granulated sugar doesn’t have.
- Why not? If we can all find simple ways to indulge in our favorite desserts without feeling the effects the next day, why not?
Ingredients for Baked Cheesecake Recipe
For the crust
- Graham wafers: You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. You can crush your own from about 11 crackers in a food processor, or buy a box of crumbs.
- Butter, melted: Used to moisten the crumbs and help to bind them together into a crust.
Butter, melted, or melted butter? It’s important to pay attention to how recipes are worded. We are saying “butter, melted”. This means you measure out the butter, then melt it. If a recipe says “melted butter” you melt the butter first, then measure it out.
- Monk fruit sweetener: For a less sugar (almost sugar free cheesecake) use erythritol or cane sugar as the sweetener.
For the filling
- Cream cheese: Not the spreadable kind that comes in a container! This will result in a different texture than we’re looking for. You want the blocks brought to room temperature ahead of time.
- Plain Greek yogurt: Will be combined with the cream cheese to thin it out and get it to a nice light and creamy consistency for the filling.
- Monk fruit sweetener: Again, replace this with your dry sweetener of choice.
- Eggs: This is a baked cheesecake, so we need eggs for binding and to help create a light fluffy structure.
- Pure vanilla extract: A hint of vanilla makes this a vanilla cheesecake!
For the cherry compote
- Water: Needed to cook, break down and soften the cherries and bring out their naturally sweet flavors.
- Maple syrup: A non-refined sweetener that adds delicious maple flavour and provides us with added nutrients.
- Lemon juice: A common ingredient in many fruit compotes. A squirt of citrus helps to brighten up the flavours with a zing!
- Cornstarch: Helps to thicken it up taking it from a thin cherry sauce to a thicker compote perfect for topping a cheesecake without it being too runny.
Amount of cornstarch. If you are using frozen cherries, you’ll use more cornstarch. Frozen cherries produce more liquid and will need more help to thicken up.
- Cherries: Use either fresh or frozen, but make sure the pits are removed.
Is Sugar Free Cheesecake Healthy?
My takeaway is this…
As far as healthy cheesecake recipes go, yes, this one certainly is a healthier option!
To reduce the added sugar in the recipe, I use a zero calorie sweetener with erythritol and monk fruit extract. This sugar free replacement has been shown to not spike blood sugar and is low carb. I also use this in almond flour shortbread cookies and healthy snowball cookies.
As for completely sugar free, this recipe also contains dairy lactose. Lactose is made up of simple sugars that your body uses for energy. The fruit in the optional compote has naturally occurring sugars, but also antioxidants!
How to Make Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grab your 9” springform pan and grease it all around with butter. Set it aside.
- Prepare the crust: Make graham cracker crumbs in a food processor until finely ground and transfer to a medium bowl. Add melted butter and sugar of choice and mix with a spatula until combined.
- Bake the crust: Press crumbs down into the bottom of the springform pan. Level it down with a spatula, but press down gently using the bottom of a glass. This will help compact it so that it stays solid. Bake for 8 minutes and then allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Make foil barrier: Take 3 large sheets of aluminum foil and place them on the counter side by side overlapping each other. Set the springform pan in the centre and fold them up around the sides of the pan until just below the rim. Ensure there are no rips or holes.
- Prep for filling: If your oven is still on, turn it up to 450 degrees F.
- Combine filling ingredients: In a large bowl, add cream cheese, yogurt, and sugar of choice. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add eggs: One at a time, you’ll add in the eggs, beating to incorporate each time. Add vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
- Pour in filling: Gently pour filling onto prepared graham cracker crust, ensuring it is level and evenly covering the crust.
- Prep water bath: Get a large deep roasting pan and set your springform pan in the centre of it. Pour boiling water inside the roasting pan about halfway up the walls of the springform pan (about 1 1/2 – 2 inches high).
- Bake cheesecake: Place the entire thing in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes at this high heat. Then, reduce the heat to 225 degrees F and bake for another 60-75 minutes.
You’ll know it’s done when the centre of the cheesecake jiggles just a bit when you tap the pan!
- Remove and let cool: Remove the roasting pan with the springform pan from the oven. Keeping everything as it is, allow it to cool while remaining in the water for 1 hour. Then, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Chill to set: Remove the foil from the sides of the pan and cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours or overnight. This will allow it to set completely and not fall apart when slicing.
Cherry Cheesecake Topping
- Combine ingredients: Bring water, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cornstarch to a boil in a small pot. Whisking occasionally as it cooks for 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low: Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat: Cool the compote and transfer it to a glass jar.
This compote will thicken as it cools. If it looks like it’s a bit runny, just give it some time!
Why Cheesecake Water Bath?
Trust me, you’re not going to want to skip this step. It’s totally worth the little bit of extra effort and here’s why!
Baked cheesecakes are prone to cracking. Is it the end of the world if they do crack? No. However, when serving a crowd, you want it to look as close to perfect as possible, especially if you’ve decided not to top it with anything.
The steam created by the water bath adds so much moisture to the cheesecake making it smooth and creamy. It also helps to cook the filling slowly and evenly so that it rises without cracking or falling back down again once it’s taken out of the oven.
Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Other fruit topping: Use the cherry compote recipe for any type of fruit topping! Raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, peach, apple, you name it!
- Decadent topping: Switch up the compote idea and serve it with a caramel sauce or chocolate sauce.
- Fresh berries: Skip the sauces completely and serve with a side of fresh berries or sliced fruit.
- Zest: Grate a little extra lemon zest on top of each slice just before serving.
- Different crust: You know how I love my almond flour! Use almond flour instead of graham cracker crumbs to make a gluten free crust. You could also add a bit of cocoa powder in there for a chocolate flair, similar to my healthy no bake strawberry cheesecake crust.
- Coconut oil: The buttery graham cracker crust is classic, but you can replace the melted butter with melted coconut oil instead.
- Low fat cream cheese: It’s up to you, but the taste will reflect it. Also, keep in mind when something is “low in fat” what are they replacing it with? Usually some form of sugar!
Tips for Best Results
- Water bath: I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, don’t skip the water bath!
- No water bath: If for some reason you do, here’s another trick. The cracks we often see on top of cheesecake are due to rapid temperature changes. This could happen once the baking is done and the cheesecake gets taken out. To avoid this, turn off the oven and leave the oven door open a crack. Allow the cheesecake to sit in there for an hour so it cools as the oven cools. Then take it out to finish cooling. But seriously, do the water bath.
- Stick with Greek yogurt: Full fat or at least 2%. You could use 0% milk fat but the results will be less creamy. I don’t recommend using regular yogurt. It has more whey in it which can affect the consistency of the cheesecake. It may not be set.
- But if regular yogurt is all you have on hand: Strain it in a cheesecloth for a few hours to get rid of the whey and excess liquid.
- Do not over beat the egg. Beat until combined, even better if you use a spatula. Over beaten eggs are just one more way to get you a cracked cheesecake.
You bet. Sour cream is the classic ingredient in a cheesecake, along with cream cheese. We replace it with Greek yogurt because the yogurt is lower in fat and calories and has more protein. However, if that’s not something that concerns you, by all means, stick with sour cream.
Have I mentioned using a water bath? 😉 Also, don’t overbeat the eggs and avoid drastic temperature changes which means avoid sudden cooling. If you’re not using the water batch, leave the oven door open a crack to allow it to adjust to the new temperature as it cools. Covering the cheesecake while it chills is also a way to avoid any cracking.
That depends on your body’s needs. Here’s what I mean by that. Greek yogurt has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt. However, regular yogurt has higher calcium levels and fewer calories. They both provide probiotics, which we all know we could all use more of. In the end, they both serve us in different ways.
I wouldn’t. When flavours get added to yogurt, so does sugar. The pure vanilla extract is a lovely subtly warming flavour that does the job!
Certainly. The springform pan is ideal, because once you pop open the lock on the side of the pan, the walls come off seamlessly, revealing the cheesecake. However, it’s not a must. You can use any cake pan or deep-dish pie plate. You want to make to line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Leave a little up around the sides for easy lifting.
Some common substitutes are Neufchatel, mascarpone, cottage cheese, and ricotta. Each has a mild flavor, a similar texture (although some softer than others), and will result in a very similar consistency to a cheesecake with cream cheese.
Nope! Sugar, whether naturally occurring, refined, or non-refined, exists in this cheesecake in some form or another. We do everything we can to minimize the amount while still remembering, it’s a healthy dessert!
Using almond flour in the crust is a great way to keep this cheesecake gluten free!
You can make this cheesecake without a crust by pouring the filling directly into the pan. You’ll want to make sure to line it with parchment paper, however, as there is a possibility of the liquid seeping out through the cracks where the bottom meets the sides of the pan.
How Long Will Cheesecake Keep?
Fridge: Any leftover cake can be kept covered in an airtight container or remain in the pan covered with plastic wrap or foil for up to 2 days.
Freezer: Wrap an entire cheesecake still in the springform pan with plastic and/foil, or remove it and place it in a freezer friendly bag and freeze it. Thaw in the fridge overnight and enjoy!
More Healthy Desserts to Try
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 11 graham wafers (1 1/2 cups crumbs)
- 6 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tbsp monk fruit sweetener or erythritol or cane sugar
For the filling:
- 2 x 8oz blocks regular cream cheese room temperature
- 2 cups 2 % plain Greek yogurt 16 oz
- 3/4 cup monk fruit sweetener or erythritol or cane sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
For the cherry compote (optional):
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch if frozen or 1 tsp if fresh
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cherries pitted
How to make cheesecake crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and rub the bottom and sides of 9 inch springform pan with butter. Set aside.
- In a food processor, add graham wafers and process until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl, add melted butter and sugar of choice; mix with spatula until well combined.
- Transfer to previously prepared springform pan, level with spatula and press with glass into uniform packed layer. Bake for 8 minutes and remove from the oven to cool off to room temperature.
- Place 3 large sheets of aluminum foil on the counter, overlapping each other. Set the springform pan in the center and fold the foil up the sides of the pan ensuring there are no rips or holes. Keep the rim clear for rising.
How to make Greek yogurt cheesecake filling:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, add cream cheese, yogurt and sugar of choice. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, pausing and scraping the walls.
- Add one egg at a time and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and beat just until combined.
- Pour filling over baked crust in a foil wrapped springform pan.
To bake cheesecake in a water bath:
- Boil a full kettle of water and you might need to do it 2 times, depending how big is you roasting pan. Get large deep roasting pan ready. Set your springform pan in the roasting pan and pour boiling water inside the roasting pan up to half way of the springform pan, about 1.5-2".
- Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 225 degrees F and bake for another 60-75 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake jiggles a bit when you tap the pan.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven and let it rest in the pan with water for 1 hour, then transfer to a wire rack to cool off completely.
- Remove foil, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate cheesecake for at least 8 hours or overnight to allow it to fully set before serving. Slice into 12 pieces and serve.
To make cherry compote (optional):
- In a small pot, add water, maple syrup, lemon juice and cornstarch; whisk until combined. Add cherries and stir.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cool and transfer to a glass jar.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers in a cheesecake pan covered with plastic or foil for up to 2 days.
- Freeze: You can freeze leftovers or entire cheesecake by wrapping it inside the springform pan in plastic and then aluminum foil. Thaw on a counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.
- I don’t recommend regular yogurt. It has more whey in it and cheesecake might not set. What you can do is strain it in a cheesecloth for a few hours to get Greek yogurt. Also, 0% fat Greek yogurt will work but cheesecake will be less creamy.
- Low fat cream cheese: You may use low fat cream cheese but be ready for low fat taste.
- Do not overbeat the egg. Just beat until combined and even better if you finish incorporating it with a spatula. Over beaten egg causes cracks in cooked cheesecake.
- Fresh berries: Skip the sauce completely and serve with a side of fresh berries or sliced fruit.
- Different crust: Use almond flour instead of graham cracker crumbs to make a gluten free crust. You could also add a bit of cocoa powder in there for a chocolate flair, similar to my healthy no bake strawberry cheesecake crust.
- Coconut oil: The buttery graham cracker crust is classic, but you can replace the melted butter with melted coconut oil instead.
Is there a way to make this a chocolate cheesecake, maybe add cocoa powder? If so, how much?
Hi Robyn, recipe has not been tested as such, so proceed with caution, but I think it would work. I would start with adding 1/2 cup cocoa powder to the filling mixture. Definitely let us know how it goes! You could also make the plain cheesecake as is and drizzle with chocolate or serve with chocolate shavings, too!
I made this cheesecake for my birthday and I have never had such a positive reaction to a dessert. Everyone loved it. The comments consistently were: “I don’t really like cheesecake, but this is so good. Where did you buy it?” It takes a bit of time and effort to make, but it is certainly worth it!
That’s amazing! So glad everyone enjoyed it, thanks for the review!
Stunning recipe! Am going to make this with the cherry sauce and then also drizzle with chocolate before serving for New Years!
Your guests will be in for a treat to ring in the New Year! Enjoy!